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Articles of 2004

Boxing’s most Shocking Moments in 2004

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Boxing started the year on the ropes, as the sport continued a slow descent into the abyss as a result of years of crooked ruling bodies, bad matchmaking and ill-advised comebacks. But boxing has waged a dramatic comeback, thanks to some exceptional performances in 2004 and, perhaps more importantly, shocking developments that made the sport interesting again, forcing the average Joe sports fan to take notice.

The 6 most shocking boxing moments of '04 so far.

1. Roy Jones Jr. lying prone on the canvas: Jones entered his May 15 rematch with Antonio Tarver a slight favorite to retain his light heavyweight titles. There was little reason to doubt that the fighter who had reigned supreme over the game's pound-for-pound rankings for the better part of 10 years would steamroll Tarver like he had previous return opponents like Montell Griffin. But Tarver, bigger, stronger and younger than Jones, showed no signs of intimidation and proceeded to stiffen Jones with the first big punch he threw – a looping left that sent Jones crashing to the deck in the second round. Jones gamely found his feet, but referee Jay Nady thought better of it and stopped it – giving Jones the first legitimate loss of his 15-year pro career.

2. Roy Jones Jr. lying prone on the canvas, Part 2: Jones needed a strong-but-limited opponent with which to stage his comeback on Sept. 25, so he selected veteran Glencoffe Johnson, who was good enough to hold an alphabet title, but not considered to be in Jones’ league. As it turned out, Johnson was even stronger than anticipated and not quite as limited as Jones thought, and the underdog took the fight right to Jones. He hurt him in the fourth round, and stayed close, refusing to let Jones unleash his still-formidable combinations. Johnson didn't let the upset escape him, and in the 9th round, unleashed an overhand right that caught Jones on the chin and sent him down on his back. This time, Jones hardly budged as the ref counted him out. With this, Johnson effectively ended the Roy Jones era.

3. Oscar De La Hoya writhing in agony: Sure, De La Hoya was a big underdog to unseat middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins when the two superstars squared off on Sept. 18. After all, he gave away height, reach and strength advantages to the future Hall-of-Fame champion, and his attempt at adding the 160-pound title to his belt collection was considered bold. But when Hopkins dropped De La Hoya to the deck with a single left hook to the liver, no one could have imagined the dramatic scene that it would produce. There was Oscar, one of the most durable fighters in boxing, writhing on the canvas – his mouth agape, his face contorted and etched with agony. He never came close to making it up, and the “Golden Boy” was counted out for the first time in his career.

4. Acelino Freitas…quitting: The Aug. 7 showdown between Freitas and fellow powerpuncher Diego Corrales was considered one of the can't miss fights of the year going in, and the two lightweights didn't disappoint. Freitas built an early lead by getting on his bicycle and utilizing his rarely-seen boxing skills against his much-taller opponent, and it worked splendidly through the early and mid rounds. But then Corrales found the mark, and put “Popo” down again and again. But, after the last knockdown in the 10th round, Freitas got up, wearing a resigned expression. And when the ref asked Freitas if he wanted to continue, he answered “no” and walked back to his corner. It was a Brazilian “no mas”, and Freitas immediately took his place among fellow quitters Roberto Duran, Genaro Hernandez and Andrew Golota in boxing's hall of shame.

5. Andrew Golota fighting for the heavyweight title, and doing it well: No way did Golota deserve his April shot at IBF heavyweight champ Chris Byrd. He had fought an F list of nobodies heading in, with his last meaningful fight being the infamous 2000 quit job against Mike Tyson. But, when not facing a big puncher, Golota suddenly becomes a capable heavyweight, and he showed his skills in earning a draw with Byrd. Golota used the jab and boxing skills that first gained him notice in 1996 against Riddick Bowe, but this time, there were hardly any bombs to the groin. It was as disciplined and determined an effort as Golota had ever produced, and some feel he should've won. Now, for better or for worse, he's back in the title picture and will face John Ruiz in December. If he rids the division of the unwatchable Ruiz, all of his previous missteps will be forgiven.

6. Kostya Tszyu…fighting!: When undisputed junior welterweight champ Tszyu stepped in the ring with Sharmba Mitchell Saturday, it marked the first time in 22 months that the “Thunder From Down Under” stepped inside a boxing ring. That he was awesome in dispatching Mitchell was a bonus for boxing, a game that is in desperate need of a superstar. Now with Tszyu and Felix Trinidad back in fine form, boxing promises to be more prosperous in 2005 than it was in '04. A list of prospective Tszyu opponents includes Arturo Gatti, Floyd Mayweather and Cory Spinks.

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List

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The final boxing pound-for-pound list of the year for 2004.

1. Bernard Hopkins: The top guy from beginning to end, Hopkins took care of Oscar De La Hoya with a body shot in the biggest fight of 2004. Now, he'll wait for Jermain Taylor to progress a little further, or he'll go the rematch route with Felix Trinidad. Either way, Hopkins stands to earn a lot of money in 2005 and extend that all-time middleweight reign.

2. Floyd Mayweather: How long has it been since we've seen Mayweather in a meaningful fight? Certainly not in 2004, when he outpointed the difficult DeMarcus Corley. He's slated for a January outing against a no-name. Enough stalling, already, “Pretty Boy”. Fight someone we care about (preferably Kostya Tszyu), or you'll lose your #2 position sometime in 2005.

3. Felix Trinidad: “Tito” stormed back with a magnificent knockout of Ricardo Mayorga in 2004, and now hopes to capitalize on it with big money fights. He'd like nothing more than a rematch with his only conqueror, Hopkins, but he may also opt for old nemesis Oscar De La Hoya. Either way, Trinidad is sure to fight a big fight sometime in the coming year.

4. Kostya Tszyu: What a difference one fight makes. As recently as late October, the boxing world was wondering whether Tszyu was even serious about the sport anymore. We found out with a second round demolition of Sharmba Mitchell. And that made the junior welterweight division very attractive. Tszyu has several options now, including Arturo Gatti and Mayweather or even a hop up to welterweight to challenge Cory Spinks. Let's hope one of them happens in 2005.

5. Manny Pacquiao: Pacquiao fought twice in 2004, and what a fight the first one was. His thrilling war with Juan Manuel Marquez was the best brawl of the year, and there is a chance that the two rivals will go at it again in 2005. If not, Pacquiao has a list full of options: Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, etc. Pacquiao will fight one of them in the next year.

6. Marco Antonio Barrera: Another guy thought to be washed up when the year started, Barrera resurrected his career for the second time with a masterful victory over Paulie Ayala and a close decision over rival Erik Morales in another great fight. Barrera is obviously shooting for a return with Pacquiao, who decimated him in November 2003. Barrera says it was an off-night. Hopefully, we'll find out if that was the case.

7. Winky Wright: Winky entered the “superstar” realm in 2004 with a pair of decision victories over Shane Mosley. The first was very impressive, as Wright practically shut Mosley out. The second was closer, but proved once again that Winky was the superior fighter. He'd like a shot at Trinidad or Oscar De La Hoya, but neither will happen. He'd probably be best off shooting for a name like Fernando Vargas or Ricardo Mayorga.

8. Juan Manuel Marquez: After several years on the outside looking in, Marquez is finally in a position to make some money after his courageous performance against Pacquiao. He rose from three first-round knockdowns to wage the fight of his life in a fight that was ruled a draw. It would also be interesting to see Marquez against countrymen Barrera and Erik Morales.

9. Erik Morales: “El Terrible” fought another great fight against Barrera, but, again, it was in a losing cause. He has now lost two of three to his fierce rival, and probably wants nothing to do with him anymore. But, eventually, talk of Barrera-Morales 4 will come up again. In the meantime, Morales could shoot for Pacquiao or Marquez.

10. Glencoffe Johnson: The newest entry, Johnson pumped some life into boxing in 2004 with a pair of upsets of Roy Jones Jr. and Antonio Tarver. Now, he's set to make some really big money in rematches with either, or a shot at old conqueror Hopkins. Either way, Johnson is better than anyone imagined.

11. Jose Luis Castillo: Castillo made some comeback noise of his own in 2004, beating Juan Lazcano for his old vacant title and decisioning Joel Casamayor for another big win. He says he wants Kostya Tszyu next, and if that materializes, boxing fans will be in for a treat. If not, Castillo vs. Diego Corrales is a great fight.

12. Oscar De La Hoya: Hard to erase that picture of De La Hoya grimacing in agony courtesy of a Hopkins shot to the ribs, but the “Golden Boy” had no business fighting at 160 pounds. He should drop down to junior middle or even welterweight again if he has any hope of regaining his past form. But 2005 could be the final year for one of boxing's all-time great attractions.

On the brink: Antonio Tarver, Diego Corrales, James Toney

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Articles of 2004

Heavyweight Joe Mesi Bringing Lawsuit

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As reported by the Buffalo News, Joe Mesi is suing the New York State Athletic Commission and the MRI center that conducted tests on the heavyweight boxer after his bout with Vassiliy Jirov. Mesi reportedly suffered brain injuries in the Jirov bout, which has left his boxing status uncertain.

The lawsuit alleges Mesi's medical records were improperly released to the NYSAC. The records, the lawsuit goes on to allege, were then released to the media, prejudicing Mesi's right to have his status reviewed by the appropriate boxing authorities.

The lawsuit does not seek specific monetary damages, as the extent of damages will be affected by whether Mesi is able to resume his career as a leading heavyweight contender.

Mesi hopes to have his status reviewed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission within the coming month. The ruling of the NSAC promises to be key in whether Mesi will be able to resume his boxing career.

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Articles of 2004

The Best in Chicago Boxing Returns

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Dominic Pesoli's 8 Count Productions and Bob Arum's Top Rank Incorporated along with Miller Lite presents SOLO BOXEO DE MILLER, THE ARAGON RUMBLE, another installment of The Best in Chicago Boxing on Friday, January 14th, broadcast live internationally as part of Telefutura's Friday night professional boxing series.

The newly remodeled Aragon Ballroom is located at 1106 W. Lawrence Ave. near the corner of Lawrence and Broadway in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and is easily accessible, just 4 blocks west of Lake Shore Drive and just 4 miles east of the Kennedy expressway. There are three large parking lots located within a 1/2 block of the Aragon Ballroom. Additionally, the Howard Street Blue Line stops just across the street. Doors will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

Headlining the action packed card is the American debut of super-bantamweight Ricardo “PIOLO” Castillo, 12-2 (6KO's) of Mexicali, Mexico as he squares off in a scheduled ten rounder against WBO Latino Champion, Edel Ruiz, 24-12-3 (13KO's) of Los Mochis, SI, Mexico. Castillo will be accompanied to the ring by his brother, World Lightweight Champion Jose Luis Castillo.

In the co-main event of the evening, one of Chicago's most popular fighters, middleweight “MACHO” Miguel Hernandez, 14-1 (9KO's), battles hard swinging local veteran “MARVELOUS” Shay Mobley, 7-4-1 (2KO's), of One In a Million Inc.in a scheduled eight rounder.

The huge undercard bouts include;

Carlos Molina vs TBA, six rounds, junior middleweights
Frankie Tafoya vs TBA, four rounds, featherweights
Ottu Holified vs. Allen Medina, four rounds, middleweights
Francisco Rodriguez vs. LaShaun Blair, four rounds, bantamweights
Rita Figueroa vs. Sarina Hayden, four rounds, junior welterweights

Said Dominic Pesoli, President of 8 Count Productions, “it was a terrific evening last month and our fans were thrilled to be at the Aragon to watch David, Speedy and Luciano. David Diaz's fight against Jaime Rangel was a fight people will talk about for a long time. Our commitment to our fans is to make every event of ours better than the last one. This main event is terrific, both guys are very tough Mexicans who won't take a step back.

The fans love Miguel and Mobley figures to be a very tough opponent. Him and David Estrada had a six round war last June at our show. And the undercard showcases a lot of new, younger talent that is coming out of Chicago right now. Tafoya and Holifield have both had very successful beginnings to their careers and Francisco Rodriguez comes with fantastic amateur credentials and David Diaz says he has all the talent to be a great pro.”

“We've got big plans for 2005 and this show should take up right where last months show left off. The huge crowd loved the action last time and I'm sure they'll say the same thing this time.”

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