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Articles of 2004

Championship Eludes Andrew Golota Again

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Ruiz victorious in Madison Square Garden “bar room brawl”

Andrew Golota stood in the nuetral corner, referee Randy Neumann was counting over a stunned and hurt champion John Ruiz, and many of the 12,777 boxing enthusiasts in attendance at Madison Square Garden were deliriously frenzied.  Boxing's grandest and most historic venue was a virtual sea of red and white.

The Warsaw native, Golota, now living and fighting out of Chicago, had said all along this was “my time, my time to be world champion.”  For about 6-7 seconds in round two Saturday night it looked like Golota, with all the disqualifications, biting of opponents and quitting in the ring behind him, had finally acheived in his tumultuous boxing career that defining moment.  Beating John Ruiz and taking his WBA championship belt would have distinguished the “Powerful Pole”; no more jokes, no more chokes, and certainly no more being escorted out of boxing rings getting pelted with debris and beer bottles.

Unfortunately, this was to be the closest Golota would get, his championship dreams were fleeting.

Golota, now 38-5-1(with 31 KO's and 1 no contest), would get credit for a second knockdown with his dragging of Ruiz back down to the canvas in round two, would also benefit from Ruiz being penalized a point in round four (hitting behind the head) and by the end of round six – the halfway point of this foul-plagued fracas – Golota was ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards.

As the elbows, clinches, and fouls continued this main event melee, which was now out of control, would get even more dramatic and bizarre.  During the eighth round referee Randy Neumann, a Ridgewood resident who once held the distinction of being New Jersey's heavyweight champion, ejected Ruiz's volatile and ever-protective trainer Norman “Stoney” Stone for being uncooperative and abusive, after Stone apparently refused to re-tape one of Ruiz's gloves.

“I was very disappointed with the referee,” stated Ruiz.  “I felt like I was fighting two fighters in the ring and I felt like they wanted to take my belt away.”

As this sloppy and bruising hard fought bout continued the crowd began to notice a change.  While the many fights in the Madison Square Garden stands continued, the “fight” in Andrew Golota began to diminish ever so slightly.

Two-time world champion John Ruiz (41-5-1 with 28 KO's) sensing the urgency, began landing the cleaner punches.  Golota's punch output was dropping and the stronger, more athletic fighter was not taking advantage of his abilities.

Ruiz's punches opened up a nasty cut over Golota's right eye early in the tenth round and while “The Quiet Man” Ruiz was beginning to make some noise and fighting to win, the beleaguered Golota was now struggling not to lose.

While the difference in fighting to win and fighting not to lose may be slight, there is a difference; this difference is what has made John Ruiz a world champion while Andrew Golota, the more talented and better boxer, has yet to reach  boxing's pinnacle.

A dominating twelfth and final round secured the unanimous decision victory for John Ruiz.  The judges scores of 114-111, 113-112 and 114-111 means that Ruiz will get his chance to fight one of the other champions (Lamon Brewster, Chris Byrd or Vitali Klitschko) while Golota, a former Polish amateur champion and Olympic medalist ponders his retirement.

Afterwards an obviously dejected Golota said, “I thought I won the fight, I am upside down, I am confused here. Maybe the judges were watching the fights outside the ring, not inside the ring.”

In other heavyweight action on this Don King promoted “Rendezvous with Destiny/Battle for Supremacy fightcard, which was televised on HBO Pay-Per-View, International Boxing Federation Champion Chris Byrd (38-2-1, 20 KO's) showcased his incomparable boxing skills and immense heart as he overcame leviathan Jameel McCline's 56lb. weight and 4 inch height advantage to retain his title with a split-decision victory.

Former champion Hasim Rahman needed only four rounds to dispatch Kali Meehan.  Rahman, looking for a title shot, put himself right back into the championship picture, hurting the Australian Meehan often before the referee halted the contest after the fourth round.

The most difficult time of this otherwise entertaining fight night was watching former four-time champion, and future hall-of-famer, Evander Holyfield (38-8-2, 25 KO's) fallaciously continuing on in his quest to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.  Holyfield was battered by Larry “The Legend” Donald (42-3-2, 24 KO's) over 12 rounds, suffering a unanimous decision loss.  Afterwards, the greatest heavyweight champion during this era stated, “I still believe that I can rise to the occasion and I have never given up on anything.  I will have to pray on it.”

We are praying too champ, please.

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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