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Articles of 2004

Loyalty is Rare in Boxing Today



Loyalty is defined as being faithful, especially to a cause or ideal.

On December 18th, two of the best Light Heavyweights will be battling at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, one of which will be anointed as Top Gun of that Division. The combatants are Antonio Tarver, (22-2-0-18ko’s) of Tampa, Florida against Glen Johnson, (41-9-2-28ko’s) another Floridian, based in Miami.

Tarver has had four Title fights, both regional as well as World for a total of nine (9) Championship belts, (WBC-3, WBA-1, IBF-1, IBO-2, NABF-1, USBA-1).

Johnson has engaged in eleven (11) Title fights for a total of eleven (11) Championship belts (IBF-5, IBF I/C-1, USBA-1, WBU-1, WBO I/C-1, WBC C/A –2.

This would sound as if both fighters were staunch organization men, but here’s where we reflect back on the word – LOYALTY – faithful especially to a cause or ideal. Along came an offer from the premier TV Network for the large dollars, all that was required was for both Champion’s to give up the Titles they had recently succeeded in attaining, the dream of any aspiring boxer and say a curt “Adios “ to the sanctioning organizations that gave them the opportunity to attain fame and fortune.

Keep in mind that when the network cuts a deal with the fighters they steadfastly maintain that they are not in the promotion business, and therefore should not have to be licensed. Well friend, if you walk like a duck and talk like a duck, in my way of thinking, you are a promoter.

Both Tarver and Johnson have worked long and hard to reach their status as champions and are regarded as good guys by most people in the business, but it remains that by letting the dollar rule their actions they have collectively hurt many people. Both have skirted their mandatory defenses, leaving those in line for their opportunity high and dry. As for the sanctioning organizations, they are sure to survive and will get new champion’s hopefully looking for tenure.

After Tarver lost his bout with Roy Jones in what some thought a controversial decision, the WBC based on the competitiveness of the fight granted an immediate rematch. Tarver then did the unthinkable by knocking Roy Jones out in the second round. Paul Briggs of Australia, the then mandatory challenger to Tarver, had to go to purse bids to secure his title opportunity. The bid was held at the WBC convention in Phuket, Thailand with a winning bid posted by Don King Productions. Needless to say with the Tarver/Briggs bout being cancelled not only Briggs, but King as well as Jose Sulaiman, were among the betrayed.  The same applies to IBF President, Marian Muhammad who must now deal with a vacant title.

There are many avenues to be visited should a National Boxing Commission come to fruition, among which are not only protecting boxers from unscrupulous managers and promoters, but also holding fighters to the same standards of conduct in their obligations to those managers/promoters. The positions taken by the television networks must also receive oversight so as to ferret out their true status in the boxing industry.

They denounce at every given opportunity the position of all of the recognized sanctioning organizations, yet extol the virtues of the “Ring Belt”, which represents an outdated boxing publication battling for survival in this electronic age .In addition it was “Ring” that was involved in one of the most notable corruption cases in the history of boxing. Undisputed Middleweight Champion, Bernard Hopkins once said when asked about the value of having a championship belt, “If they don’t think this belt has any value, how much do you think they would pay me, if I didn’t have it”.

Fighters of the past, however, knew the meaning of loyalty. It was a two-way street. Marciano, Robinson, Basilio, Graziano, LaMotta stayed the course with their management teams. They did the fighting, while management handled the business affairs. Today we see some who would not be rated as “club fighters” in years past, getting TV exposure. These are some of the same people claiming that their Promoter’s are not doing right by them.

It is nice to see that today’s boxer’s have greater opportunities to better themselves financially than had been the case in years past. However, the huge purses paid by HBO and SHOWTIME may be the reason that loyalty no longer prevails.


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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