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Articles of 2004

Glen Johnson a Positive for Boxing

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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 on December 18 beginning at  6pm ET / 9pm PT.

As far as boxing goes, there are far more negative stories than positive ones.  But Glen Johnson’s rise to the elite level of the light heavyweight division in 2004 is a story that can make any fight fan smile, and one that he carries with him as he prepares for another big challenge, a December 18 superfight with Antonio Tarver at Los Angeles STAPLES Center which aims to determine who is the true king at 175 pounds.

Johnson was a fighter who was always left on the outside looking in, always looking for the right opportunity to get a fair shake in a tough business.  But when Johnson got the call to fight Roy Jones Jr. in September, he made the most of his opportunity, knocking out the future hall of famer in nine stirring rounds.

“The Road Warrior” wasn’t as shocked as some in the fight game were by this outcome.

“Believe it or not I wasn’t as surprised as a lot of people thought I would be,” said Johnson of the Jones fight.  “I always believed in my skills, and I always thought I could beat Roy Jones.  Even at my low points I believed my style would always beat Roy Jones.  I used to say it around my neighborhood, around guys who were supposed to be my friends, and they would laugh at me. They would make fun of me and say ‘you better not get in the ring with Roy Jones; he will kill you.  I said, ‘okay, if that day ever comes, you will see.  And the day did come and I did prove my point.”

No one’s laughing at Johnson (41-9-2, 28 KOs) anymore. In fact, many see the 35-year-old as an inspiration.

“A lot of the guys who know me here in Miami tell me that I’m an inspiration,” said Johnson.  “One of the guys called me ‘Kid Hope’. For that I’m thankful, and if I can make a difference in one person’s life in a positive way, I would like that to be my legacy.”

It’s a typical response from one of the true good guys in the fight game, someone who lives up to the moniker “Gentleman Glen”.  But even though things are going great for Johnson now, he’s had to deal with more bumps in the road than any other top fighter in the game today, having been the victim of a number of questionable decisions on his road to the championship.  For him, the low point came after a controversial loss to Julio Gonzalez in 2003.

“After beating him convincingly they still found a way to rob me and give it to him,” said Johnson of the loss to Gonzalez.  “On the plane coming back, I was feeling real low, and in fact I retired on the plane.  My manager (Henry Foster) said, man, what are you talking about? You just beat this guy.  The judges don’t know what they’re looking at.  They’re just ripping you off for the promoters.  You have the talent and you’re one of the best light heavyweights out there.  Keep doing what you’re doing and eventually you’ll break through.  Those were thoughts that I already had in my head and to hear somebody repeat them confirmed them.  So I retired on the plane and I un-retired on the plane.”

Johnson can laugh about it now, especially since he won his first world title in January with a decision over Clinton Woods, and followed that up with the win over Jones. Needless to say, 2004 has been a memorable year for Johnson.

“2004 has been a wonderful year for me, definitely the highlight in my career,” said Johnson.  “And again, last year I had the same vision I have now.  I always believed in my skills and I always thought that my skills were good enough to make it.  I fought against the top guys in my weight class and none of them beat me up.  They were always close fights, the ones that I lost, and the other ones were just pure robberies.  So I always knew that my skills were enough to bring me to the top; my worries were always the judges and the influences that promoters have over these judges.  That was really my main concern.”

Johnson’s main concern now is Antonio Tarver (22-2, 18 KOs), who he will face in a highly anticipated matchup on December 18 at STAPLES Center.  Does Tarver’s southpaw style make Johnson change his outlook at all? “Since I’m fighting a southpaw it’s definitely a different camp from the last one,” said Johnson from his training camp in Miami.  “All around though, it’s the same focus.  I have a couple of game plans in mind that we’re working on right now, but the main thing is learning to adapt inside the ring if something unexpected should happen.”

“I don’t have any problem with southpaws,” continues Johnson, who has battled southpaws Eric Harding and Daniel Judah in recent years.  “I deal with southpaws the same way I would a right-handed guy – he’s a man with two hands.  It’s just a matter of adapting to where the big punch is coming from.  When you’re fighting a right hand guy the big punch is coming from the right hand; when you’re fighting a southpaw, the big punch is coming off the left hand, and then you look out for the right hook.  So, it’s a small adjustment, but they’re basically the same thing.”

What Johnson has had to adjust to outside the ring is the flood of media attention that his come his way in the last two months.  It was definitely a life changing experience.

“Life has changed a lot, it’s like night and day,” said Johnson.  “Roy Jones carries a lot of fans, and when he’s fighting, a lot of people who don’t normally watch fights come out and watch him.  The fact that everyone who wasn’t in the arena that night was in front of their TV, they got to see my skills that night and what I brought to the table, and I gained some fans that night.  For that I’m appreciative, and I’m embracing the new popularity that I have.”

Even back home in his native Jamaica, the fans have embraced their new hero.

“It was a big deal,” said Johnson of the reaction in Jamaica to his win over Jones.  “I got a lot of phone calls from dignitaries in Jamaica and media people.  Everybody embraced me and they want me to come down to Jamaica, but because of my tight schedule with this fight coming up, I haven’t had a chance to go there yet.  As soon as my schedule loosens up I will be going down there to celebrate with the people of Jamaica.” Needless to say, a positive result on December 18 would be the perfect way for Glen Johnson to lead into Christmas and a holiday vacation back in Jamaica.

“I’m glad that people are finally starting to recognize my hard work and my dedication to the sport.  They’re starting to recognize my skills, and I’m thankful,” said Johnson.  “I proved that I belong here, and I’m looking forward to the next fight to do the same thing.  A win over Antonio Tarver and an HBO contract; that would be a great Christmas gift for me,” he laughs.

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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