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Articles of 2004

Wright – Mosley: Repeat or Revenge?

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This Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Winky Wright and Shane Mosley get it on again for the undisputed jr. middleweight championship of the world. It's been about eight months since they first met, but so much has changed since then. But nothing may change at all in end.

When Wright and Mosley first hooked-up, 'Sugar' Shane was basking in the glow of his second win over Oscar De La Hoya and was considered one of the world’s best fighters. Wright was an unknown commodity that was avoided by the game's bigger names because of what many perceived to be his negative and difficult style. Mosley came in with the WBC and WBA belts and all the accolades. He also came into the bout listed as a 3-1 favorite.

But it was Wright who would leave the ring that night as the winner, as he decisively out-pointed Mosley by scores of 117-111 on two judges’ scorecards and 116-112 on the other. But even those margins don't tell the whole story of just how one-sided this fight really was.

While Mosley boasts a bench-press of over 300 pounds, it was Wright who proved to be the stronger, bigger, more natural 154-pounder. From the very onset it was clear that Wright would have his way physically with Mosley, who began his professional career as a lightweight and has worked his way up gradually. Wright, in the eyes of many, was thought of as the proverbial stinker, but upon closer inspection he's really a technically sound guy that is willing to hang in the pocket and actually fight a little bit.

The thing is, his defense is so tight, he rarely gets hit cleanly. And with his own lack of true power, it's added up to a bevy of rather methodical, unexciting, 12 round decisions. But where the pundits made a mistake in judging Wright is this: while he isn't exciting, he's very sound and very good.

Which he proved against Mosley.

From the opening bell Wright pressed forward and easily took the best that Mosley had to offer. Mosley flashed his hand-speed often, but his punches lacked any real snap or velocity and Wright easily walked through his barrages. And while Wright was the more economical boxer, his punches were the ones having the most effect. His attacks – while not flashy – were accurate and sharp.

Not only did Wright out-box Mosley, he also out-fought him.

So now they go at it again on Saturday night, and this time around Mosley will not have his father Jack in his corner. Unlike most father-son relationships in this sport, this one was actually very fruitful. They had won titles in three weight classes and had two wins over Oscar De La Hoya to his credit.

But like crash-test dummies, they hit the wall – hard.

Since Mosley's knockout win over Adrian Stone in the summer of 2001, he had amassed a mark of 1-3 with a no contest to his credit. During that slide he had lost twice to Vernon Forrest, butted heads with Raul Marquez early in their bout, beat De La Hoya in a rather controversial decision and then dropped his bout against Wright.

So into the breach steps the respected Joe Goossen, who seems to be pretty good at these reclamations projects. Having righted the ship of one Diego Corrales, who under his watch has gained revenge on Joel Casamayor and knocked out Acelino Freitas.

Can Goossen have the same success with Mosley? It remains to be seen, but his rematch with Wright looks an awful lot like the same situation he was in against Vernon Forrest. Forrest handily defeated Mosley in their first match-up and Mosley eschewed a tune-up fight and went directly into a rematch with Forrest, dropping another decision.

Many in the industry were surprised that Mosley exercised the rematch clause with Wright. According to some, Wright was a fight they shouldn't have taken the first time, much less facing him twice in back-to-back fights.

And like Forrest, Wright is the more natural fighter at the weight class they are boxing and in many respects the more fundamentally sound fighter, who may lack Mosley's Q-factor, but who is every bit the boxer he is – and perhaps more.

Mosley is what he is, and it was clear in the first fight that what he isn't a real, bona-fide jr. middleweight. The odds are the history will repeat itself, once again.

And unless he can totally reinvent himself to the level Madonna has throughout her career, the more things change, the more things will stay the same.

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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