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Articles of 2004

Joppy a Stepping Stone for Jermain Taylor

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Twenty-six year old Jermain Taylor will put his 21-0 unbeaten streak on the line December 4th as he takes a step up the middleweight ranks to fight the former three-time middleweight kingpin, William Joppy. The 34-year-old veteran Joppy, with a 34-3-1 record, has fought the best middleweights the current division has to offer: Bernard Hopkins, Felix Trinidad and Howard Eastman.

Out of the three middleweights Joppy fought he only beat one of them. That was Howard Eastman, the least talented of the three. Joppy won that fight by a close split decision. Judges Bill Graham and Melvina Lathan scored the fight 115-112 and 114-112 for Joppy,  while Judge Chuck Giampa had the fight even at 113-113.

As for the Bernard Hopkins fight, Joppy only won a single round on two of the judges’ scorecards and two rounds on the third. In the Trinidad fight, Tito scored a fifth round TKO after knocking Joppy down in the first, fourth and fifth rounds of their fight.

Jermain Taylor, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist from Little Rock, said of Joppy, “I respect him, but he’s a steppingstone and that’s what I’m going to use him for.”

Promoter Lou DiBella said if Taylor can beat Joppy he’ll graduate to fight top-tier middleweights like Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Bernard Hopkins.

When Taylor stopped Rogelio Martinez in seven rounds on the undercard of the first Tarver-Jones Jr. fight a year ago, boxing analyst and world-famous trainer Emanuel Steward said, “Taylor looks like he’ll be ready in about three more fights to fight any of the best middleweights out there.”

Last June Taylor stepped in the ring with a much more experienced fighter, Raul Marquez. After the fight Jermain said he had trouble landing his left jab – his signature punch – against the very game southpaw. Even though Ronnie Shields called a stop to the fight after the ninth round due to a cut over Marquez’s eye, Jermain wasn’t satisfied. He told Larry Merchant after the fight that he gave himself an F for his performance.

Taylor was frustrated and felt like he wasn’t able to execute his game plan against the most experienced fighter he’d fought to that point. That leaves the question: How will Taylor do against the more experienced middleweight, William Joppy?

If Taylor thinks his jab wasn’t working against Marquez, he greatly underestimated himself. By Compubox numbers Taylor landed 101 jabs to Marquez’s 11 jabs through the fight’s nine rounds. Jermain landed a total of 206 overall punches compared to Raul Marquez’s 65 total punches.

In Jermain Taylor’s last four fights he landed on average 40 to 45 percent of his total punches thrown, always out-landing his opponent with a higher percent of jabs.

In a complete analysis of Jermain Taylor’s punch stats, everything works off his jab. In fact, in his 12 round title fight for the vacant WBC belt against Freddie Cuevas, he threw a middleweight record of 677 jabs. Of those, he landed 243. During that August 2003 fight with Cuevas, Taylor didn’t lose a single round. All three score cards read 120-108,  with Jermain winning the WBC Americas middleweight title.

“William Joppy has proven as a three-time WBA middleweight champion that he is one of the great middleweights of this era,” said Joppy’s promoter, Don King. He added, flags in hand, “(Joppy) will have another opportunity in the land of opportunity to prove his greatness when he faces Olympic champion and undefeated rising star Jermain Taylor.”

A few days after King made that statement, Taylor’s trainer Pat Burns drew an interesting parallel. Joppy is represented by J.D. Brown, who was with Ray Leonard during Leonard’s Hall of Fame career. Burns trained Hector Camacho as he sent Leonard into retirement when he TKOed Sugar Ray in the fifth round of his last professional fight.

Burns said Taylor would do the same to Joppy.

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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