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Articles of 2004

Antonio Tarver Believes it's his Time

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ANTONIO TARVER vs. GLEN JOHNSON IS BEING PRESENTED BY JOE DEGUARDIA'S STAR BOXING LIVE ON HBO, DECEMBER 18 AT LOS ANGELES STAPLES CENTER

It’s been a long time coming for Antonio Tarver – a journey through boxing’s backroads, through the tough fights in front of even tougher crowds.  It all led to this – a fight with Glen Johnson on December 18 at Los Angeles STAPLES Center that will determine who is the premier 175-pounder in the world. But even though the world now knows the “Magic Man” as the first fighter to knockout Roy Jones Jr. (which he accomplished in May of 2004), Tarver is far from an overnight success.

“If they only knew the steps I had to take,” said Tarver from his training camp in Vero Beach, Florida.  “It’s my time now, and I had to wait patiently for that opportunity.  So I’m going to bask in it, I’m gonna relish it, and just make sure that my time lasts a lot longer than some people would even think about.  I want to do this for the next 3-4 years, continue to have the sensational bouts, continue to challenge myself as a fighter, and continue to win.  That’s my goal.”

To do that, Tarver (22-2, 18 KOs) will have to beat Glen Johnson (41-9-2, 28 KOs) like he beat all the other imposing challengers placed before him as he came up through the pro ranks.  From Reggie Johnson to Eric Harding, Montell Griffin to Roy Jones Jr., Tarver took on the toughest fights in the light heavyweight division, and was victorious.  It was a rough road, but he navigated it like a champion. “It was tough, but you know what it did?” asks Tarver.  “When I look back, I wouldn’t change a thing because it built character.  It really showed me how bad I wanted to be champion and how bad I wanted to be amongst the elite.  I wasn’t gonna take no for an answer.  I wasn’t gonna succumb to the critics, and I’m thankful for that.  I didn’t give up on God’s promise because I knew this is where he wanted me to be all along.  I wasn’t gonna give up on the promise and I wasn’t gonna give up on myself.  But when the time came, it was those times that I looked back on and I gained the strength that I needed to move
forward and through all my opposition.”

But even though some would place him at the pinnacle of his profession, he still trains like a hungry up and comer, knowing that one slip at this elite level could spell disaster.

“In any fight at this level you’ve got to bring your 'A' game,” said Tarver.  “I’m preparing 110% to be in the best possible shape – mentally, physically, and spiritually, and all on one accord.  I just want to be focused, and I know what’s at stake.  I’m really excited about it.”

And even though Tarver has put in less than two rounds of fight action in 2004, don’t expect any ring rust from the 36-year-old.

“Camp has been going great so far. It’s been kind of surprising to myself and (trainer) Buddy McGirt how fast I snapped back, having the layoff and everything,” said Tarver.  “I haven’t been in the ring since May, and in the times I’ve sparred there’s been no ring rust.  When I work out and when I train, I train a month and a half before even seeing Buddy.  I do a lot of strength and conditioning and it’s very sport specific what I do with my trainers back in Tampa.  And then when I get here it’s time to put the finishing touches on the product.  I come to camp in great shape and then we’re just able to focus on the game plan and focus on the boxing aspect of it.  But my body is already prepared. I’m sharp already and I know that leading into this fight Buddy’s going to have to pull me back because I’m mentally there.  I understand what’s at stake, I understand what happens to me when I win this fight, and we want to bring all that to realization.”

He has a quality opponent in front of him on December 18 though, and Tarver has a lot of respect for the well-traveled “Road Warrior,” Glen Johnson.

“I think he’s a great fighter,” said Tarver.  “He’s a fighter who has never really gotten his just due and he’s always had to go in a guy’s backyard and hope that the judges are playing by the rules.  You’ve got to respect a guy that has had some really tough knocks in boxing and has always seemed to land on his feet.  And when the opportunity came to him to make a point and a stand, he knocked out Roy Jones Jr.  So I’m not taking this fight lightly at all.  The man has fought everybody from Bernard Hopkins on to Roy Jones, so you have to look at his ledger and say that he’s a quality champion.  That’s why this fight makes sense to me.  It proves once again that Antonio Tarver is not backing down from any serious challenge – I’m stepping up.  That’s what today’s champions need to do – step up and fight the best fighters that are out there.  We are both coming off spectacular knockout wins over the great Roy Jones Jr. so it’s time now. We have lightning in a bottle, and it’s time to fight now.  Not after maybe
one of us don’t look as great or maybe have a loss on our record, but now, because it won’t ever get as big as right now.”

It’s that attitude that sets Tarver and Johnson apart from some champions in the fight game today.  It’s a “throwback” to an era when the best fighters fought each other and didn’t look for easy marks to

pad their records.  But even though there are a handful of great fighters in the world today, there are very few “stars.”  Antonio Tarver fits that role to a tee.

“There’s no place I would rather be, because that’s when I’m at my best – when the pressure’s on and when the lights are on,” said Tarver.  “I don’t hide or run away from that – I accept it, and hey, everybody can’t handle it.  That’s just another one of God’s blessings.  He gave me a natural ability and blessed me with a contagious personality. (Laughs)  I just want to shine through and let everybody know that I am special when it comes down to this boxing game.  I haven’t even scratched the surface of my potential and talent.  But hopefully as years go on, people will start to recognize and realize the little subtle things that make me unique.”

Needless to say, Tarver has some strong feelings about his place in boxing today, but more importantly why fans should come to the STAPLES Center on December 18 or tune in to the HBO World Championship Boxing broadcast.  As he sees it, his fight with Glen Johnson is an early holiday present for fight fans.

“They should tune in because styles make fights,” said Tarver.  “When you look at both of our styles, it’s perfect for the fight of the year.  That’s what this fight has the potential to be because I know Johnson’s going to be coming full steam ahead.  He’s gonna feel that he can put the pressure he put on Roy Jones on me, and get the same result.  And with my sophisticated way of boxing, it’s just gonna be a helluva fight.  I’m eager for that.  And I want the fans to tune in because if they don’t, they’re gonna miss what I’m predicting to be the fight of the year, possibly round of the year, and that will possibly determine fighter of the year.  I think this fight has that potential, and if they miss it, they’ll miss the whole year of boxing.”
 
Tickets for Tarver-Johnson, priced at $25, $50, $125, and $250 are available now at STAPLES Center Box Office (open 9am to 6pm Monday through Saturday) and Team LA at Universal City Walk or by calling Ticketmaster at 213-480-3232.  Tickets are also available online at www.ticketmaster.com.  For group sales, please call 1-866-LA-GROUP. Tarver-Johnson, which is presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions, will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 6pm ET / 9pm PT.

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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