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Articles of 2004

Evander Holyfield’s Last Fight

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“It’s my life and I’ll do what I want.” – The Animals

By all accounts, Evander Holyfield’s performance in his last fight against Larry Donald was abysmal.  Donald, a talented underachiever, nearly pitched a shutout against the aged warrior.  After the bout, Ron Stevens, the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, unilaterally decided to end Holyfield’s career.

Stevens suspended the former champ for medical reasons because, “to my practiced mind, Holyfield shouldn't be fighting anymore.”  Stevens is well aware that a medical suspension in one state is honored by the other forty-nine.  So, banning Holyfield from fighting in New York, prohibits him from competing anywhere in the United States.

I don’t doubt Stevens’ motives that he has the former champ’s best interests at heart.  Officials, journalists, myself included, and fans alike have been calling for Holyfield’s retirement for several years now.  However, barring evidence of an injury, the decision should be Holyfield’s to make.  Evander Holyfield has vowed to contest the decision.  I hope he wins, gets the suspension lifted, and then gracefully hangs up the gloves and waits for the call from the Hall of Fame.

But should he win an appeal of his suspension and decide to get in the ring again – well, that’s his right.  As our men and women are overseas attempting to spread American style freedom, too many of our rights are being taken away right here at home.

I don’t want to get into a big political discussion here, but government seems to have a notion that it must protect people from themselves.  It is my belief that people have a right to do what they want, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.  And if a man wants to earn a living as a professional boxer, as long as he is not physically unable to (and by that I mean an injury including one to the brain), he should have that right.

But let’s say you disagree with me.  And there are better minds than mine that do (including TheSweetScience.com’s Matthew Aguilar).  Why is Holyfield singled out?  Because he’s a former champ and is well loved?  He is probably one of the few boxers that has the resources to be cared for, should boxing take its toll on him in the future.  How about the countless others who are used as human punching bags for up and comers and have absolutely nothing to show for it?

Let’s look at Holyfield’s last few fights and compare his record to a few journeyman who are still permitted to box.

In Evander’s last nine fights, he had a 12 round loss to 41-3-2 Larry Donald, a 9th round TKO loss to 66-4-2 James Toney, a 12 round loss to 35-2 Chris Byrd, an 8 round technical decision win over 35-3 Hasim Rahman (in which 2 judges gave all but one round to Holyfield), a loss, a draw, and a win after 36 rounds with John Ruiz, and a loss and a controversial draw after 24 rounds with Lennox Lewis.

The man was only knocked out once in his last nine, despite taking on the top talent in the division.

Now, let’s look at some other heavyweights currently collecting paychecks.

J.C. Hilliard – 4-12 (3).  He’s forty-five years old and has lost his last six in a row, five by TKO.  In his last bout, he was stopped by 1-0-1 Jeff Munson in two rounds.  I was ringside for that fight.  Jeff Munson is a tough brawler whose boxing skills are about on par with Ron Artest’s people skills.

Onebo Maxime – 15-25 (11).  He’s only twenty-nine years old but has lost twenty-two of his last twenty-three, getting stopped eleven times.  In his bout against Clifford Etienne in May, he suffered seven knockdowns.  He went to the canvas several times in his last match against Sultan Ibragimov, before the referee mercifully waved it off in round five.  He fights very good opposition, but gets blown out every time.

Ken Murphy – 22-21-2 (16).  The former Cruiserweight title challenger has won once since 1998, a four round split decision win over 13-150-4 Donnie Pennelton.  Murphy who started out at 21-0-1 has gone down hill ever since.  While he has faced some solid competition, he can’t hang with the Rydell Bookers and Orlin Norrises.

Donnie Pennelton – 13-159-5 (5).  Donnie is forty years old and hasn’t had his hand raised at the end of a boxing match in his last twenty-nine tries.  He’s also been stopped four times this year, thirty times in his career.

Don Tucker – 4-43 (2).  Forty-five years old.  Has been knocked out thirty-two times, including his last five in a row.

Playing around on Boxrec.com for ten minutes will yield an abundant crop of boxers in every division with similar records and circumstances.  Yet to my knowledge, very few, if any, are suspended for medical reasons.

Boxing commissions cannot take away the livelihoods of men and women on a whim.  If suspensions are needed to protect boxers, then an agreed upon criteria must be met in order for a suspension to occur.

Until that happens, here’s one fight I hope Holyfield takes head on – and then walks away from the next one.

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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