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Articles of 2004

Breaking Down a Night of Heavyweight Boxing



You have to give Don King and his organization credit. They have put together quite a show for tonight. The general public is fascinated with watching the heavyweights letting the leather fly—as the bigger they are, the harder they hit, and the further they have to fall. Knowing this, the HBO PPV broadcast on Saturday features six fights from the heavyweight division, including two title tilts.

The most recent bout added to the Madison Square Garden card pits DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson against “The Atomic Bull” Oliver McCall. None of the half dozen bouts stand out as exceptional fights on paper, but they’ll fight anyway and we may be pleasantly surprised.

Regardless, the quality of the night at least is assured through its quantity.

Headlining title fights have WBA champion John Ruiz defending against Andrew Golota, while the IBF belt is up for grabs as Chris Byrd puts his title on the line facing Jameel McCline. Supporting bouts include Hasim Rahman versus Kali Meehan, Evander Holyfield dancing with Larry Donald, Monte Barrett looking to continue his good form against undefeated Owen Beck and the newest addition, Williamson-McCall.

Each one of these bouts offers a certain amount of intrigue to boxing fans.

Many are wondering if Andrew Golota’s solid performance against Chris Byrd was a case of Byrd slowing down with age or Golota finally putting the physical and mental aspects of boxing together at the same time. Ruiz is a rough and tumble fighter, the kind of guy who can get under the skin of even the most level-headed boxers. Ruiz will test the Foul Pole’s mental mettle, and the answer to how Golota reacts is the answer to the fight.

For Chris Byrd, many were wondering what happened to the slick, stylish southpaw in the Golota bout. Byrd sat down on his punches more and subsequently was hit more when he fought Golota to a draw back in April of this year. Byrd claims he will be back to shakin’ and bakin’ versus the mammoth McCline. The 6’6” giant will be looking to connect with his solid jab and slow down the elusive Byrd in order to zero in for his heavy power shots. McCline tipped the scales at 270-pounds on Thursday and whether he has enough gas in the tank to chase Byrd for twelve heats is the key here.

Hasim Rahman wants back into the championship circle of friends and he comes into the fight Saturday weighing a svelte 232-pounds. This will mark the fifth fight of the year for the Baltimore native as he started the year weighing 255-pounds, then 257, down to 248, 246 in his last fight – and now a lean mean 232. His opponent, Kali Meehan was most famous for being knocked out in one round by Danny Williams and for being Lamon Brewster’s sparring partner. After unsuccessfully challenging Brewster for real, Meehan gets a shot at a top ten heavyweight in an eliminator for the IBF #2 ranking. Both men have power and both have been knocked down. Whoever takes the other’s shots best will tell the tale between these two bangers.

Old-timer Evander Holyfield lives to fight another day in an attempt to reverse a two-fight losing skid after being out-boxed by Byrd and then stopped by James Toney. Byrd was just too fast and too slick for Holyfield, while many feel Toney just might be one of the best heavyweights today. If “The Real Deal” can’t get by Larry Donald, then he simply isn’t The Real Deal anymore. Donald will be looking to work behind his jab and be more active than Holyfield, which isn’t something Donald does often. Still, he has only lost to Riddick Bowe, Kirk Johnson and Vitali Klitschko so it won’t be easy for Evander.

Undefeated Owen “What the Heck” Beck is 24-0 with 18 knockouts, but his toughest opponent to date has been 32-7 Brazilian heavyweight George Arias. “Brazilian heavyweight” says just about all you need to know about Arias. Monte Barrett is a strong heavyweight who can switch from orthodox to southpaw and really test his opposition. He came up just shy of knocking out Joe Mesi as the clock beat him before he could beat Mesi. Barrett then challenged undefeated Dominick Guinn and took his ‘O’ . . . Beck’s may be the next to go.

Finally, 33-year-old DaVarryl Williamson versus Oliver McCall has been added to this solid evening of pugilistic entertainment. Williamson got a late start in boxing and at 20-3 with 17 KOs is in a must win situation, and so is his opponent. While Williamson got the short end of a Technical Decision against Wladimir Klitschko in his last bout, he can bang with the best and has a chance to use his jab and power to keep McCall at bay here. McCall, 39, has lost seven times, but has never been stopped. Officially he lost to Lennox Lewis in their rematch by TKO 5, but he had a mental break down, refused to fight back and cried in the ring . . . thankfully that was enough to stop it. McCall also has good power, with 31 KO’s in his 41 wins, and all three of Williamson’s losses have been by knockout. This one looks like either a Williamson decision or McCall KO, you decide.

Don King and HBO have each done their part in bringing and intriguing and exciting night of boxing to the fans. Now it is up to the fighters to deliver.

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List



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




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




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 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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