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Articles of 2004

Taylor and Joppy Headline DiBella’s Season’s Beatings

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This Saturday from Little Rock, Arkansas, DiBella Entertainment, in association with Don King Productions and HBO’s Boxing After Dark, presents “Season’s Beatings,” featuring Jermain Taylor (21 0 16 KOs), the former United States 2000 Olympic bronze medalist, who puts his WBC Continental Americas middleweight title and unbeaten record on the line against former three-time middleweight champion William Joppy (34 3 1 25 KOs).

Taylor is the up-and-comer, the pug with the future, the man of the moment to beat. Joppy is the underdog, the ex-champ, the old pro on the comeback trail. Each man wants a shot at the undisputed middleweight crown, and as one goes up the rankings, the other goes down the rankings, at which point the fighters collide.

In the buildup to “Season’s Beatings,” Taylor and Joppy spoke with the press and they could not be more different. Jermain Taylor is the strong silent type. William Joppy is the strong talkative type. So Joppy, who is training in Atlantic City, had something to say.

“I live in New Jersey. I left Washington, DC three years ago. I had to get away from DC. It’s a cutthroat town,” Joppy said. “Now I’m in New Jersey where I get a lotta love. Philadelphia, New York, I get a lotta love.”

This is a do-or-die bout for William Joppy. If he wins, he’s in the mix. If he loses, he’s history.

“This is a big fight for myself,” said Joppy. “This is a big fight for Jermain Taylor. This is a crossroad in Jermain Taylor’s career, to see if he can deal with the big boys. I’m at a situation where I need to get back where I wanna be, where I was at before. For me to get back on that path, I have to defeat Jermain Taylor. For him to get on that path, he has to defeat me.”

Joppy’s life messed with his boxing and hurt his career.

“I was going though a lot of personal problems,” admitted Joppy. “I said before I get back in that squared circle, I’m getting everything outside the ring out of my life. That’s why I took this year. I could have fought. I took this year off because I had to get my mind right. And I did that. Now it’s time to get back on top. And I’m gonna start with Jermain Taylor, in his hometown, and it’s going to be an explosion.”

Jermain Taylor finally spoke: “I wanted to say to William Joppy, if he plans on building his career up on me, he picked the wrong fight to do it, because I’m in tiptop shape. This is the hardest fight I ever trained for in my life, and I’m just waiting to go in there and take care of business, just like I always do. As the man said, he’s been going through a lot of things in life. Everybody has to go through something in life. He said he got everything ready now and he’s bringing his A game. And I’m definitely bringing mine. So I feel like I have to win this fight and I have to shine.”

Taylor was asked about middleweight king Bernard Hopkins and if he’d like to fight the champ the next time out.

“I’m gonna be patient. What happens happens,” Taylor replied. “But Bernard is world champion. I wouldn’t be a fighter if I didn’t want to fight him.”

Joppy has not fought since Hopkins beat him. “I could have fought earlier this year,” Joppy said, “but I had to get a lot of personal issues out of the way. It’s been a long time since I’ve been inside that ring with a clear mind. When I fight Jermain Taylor December 4, I will be the last man standing. I’m not going twelve rounds. It’s not going twelve rounds.”

Taylor listened patiently and said “It don’t make a difference what this guy says. Expect me to lead off everything with the jab. I believe a jab sets up the whole fight. It can make a fight easy. Expect an exciting fight. I don’t care whether it’s twelve rounds. I’m gonna fight the whole twelve rounds. Expect me to always be in shape. I’m just an all-around good fighter. I do what it takes to win.”

Joppy returned to the subject of Bernard Hopkins: “Of all my thirty-eight professional fights, Bernard Hopkins is the lightest punching guy I ever fought. Now I know that you all look at Bernard Hopkins as a great fighter. He stopped Tito Trinidad. He stopped Oscar De La Hoya. Bernard’s a good fighter. He caught me at a good time. I have to take my hat off to Bernard Hopkins. But I still think I can beat Bernard Hopkins.”

Not many people think Joppy has what it takes to beat Hopkins, but if he can get by Taylor, a rematch with The Executioner is a possibility.

“I’d love it,” Joppy said. “Bernard beat me fair and square. I’m not making up no excuses. I wasn’t on that night. He was the better man. I could have just boxed the hell out of Bernard and beat him, but I wasn’t right that night. He got off, he beat me, outmaneuvered me, and he moved onto bigger and better things. He won that battle. The war’s not over. He won that battle.”

The fight with Hopkins was so one-sided that Joppy called it quits.

“I was talking about retirement before the Bernard Hopkins fight. It was out of frustration, inactivity, and I tired of sitting on the shelf. The last three years of my career has been in the dormant stage. Things haven’t been going my way. That’s life. People go through that in life,” Joppy said. “You’ve got your springtime. You’ve got your summertime. And you also got your fall time. It’s gonna get cold. There ain’t that much food. That’s how life is. That’s what I’ve been going through.”

Hopkins may have punched the fight right out of Joppy. There may be nothing left for Jermain Taylor.

“They said the same thing about Evander Holyfield when he fought Mike Tyson. They said the same thing about Marlon Starling when he fought Mark Breland. I can’t worry about what people think,” Joppy said. “It’s about me being physically right. My mind is right. I’m in shape right now. It’s a mental game now.”

Say what you will about William Joppy. The man has confidence.

“I also have experience. I have been watching Jermain Taylor’s tapes and I give him respect. He’s a good fighter, good jab, strong, lotta energy, a little young guy coming up. I’m not coming into this fight empty-handed. I’m coming into this fight like a loaded gun,” Joppy said. “I’m not going to let him hit me, but if you box you’re gonna get hit. Just like if you swim you’re gonna get wet.”

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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