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Articles of 2004

Taylor vs. Joppy: A Boxing Tradition

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Tonight in his home town, Little Rock native and 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jermain Taylor  21-0 (16) will take on former three time middleweight champ William Joppy 34-3-1 (25). Taylor is being promoted and groomed as the marquee fighter in the middleweight division once the Hopkins era of dominance is over.  Joppy is viewed as a stepping stone for Taylor on his way to middleweight greatness. In fact, Taylor openly said just that at the press conference announcing the fight.

Joppy hasn't fought since losing a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision to undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City last December. Against Hopkins, Joppy was competitive for maybe the first two or three rounds. Starting from about the fourth round on, he was in full retreat and survival mode as it was all Hopkins. Due to the beating that Hopkins inflicted on Joppy, most fans thought they'd never see him fight again.

The Taylor-Joppy bout is a continuation of what is actually a tradition more so than a trend in the sport of boxing. The tradition just about always follows the same script, and usually ends the same. In one corner you have the fighter who is on the way up, sometimes a former Olympic medalist, who has the money and the establishment behind him. In the other corner is the eroded ex-champ who still has a name, but fighting with diminished skills.

And for the last couple weeks both Taylor and Joppy have been saying what is routinely said by the fighter in their roll. Taylor has said that this is his time and nothing can stop him. Joppy blames his poor showing against Hopkins on the many personal problems he had leading up to the fight, and quickly points out that he finished on his feet versus Hopkins, unlike De La Hoya and Trinidad who were stopped.

In this fight all the attention will be on Taylor. Joppy will only be a factor after the fight if he wins. Taylor will have everything in his favor during the fight. He'll be the benefactor of every close round in the scoring. If either fighter happens to get cut during the fight, you better believe Taylor will have to be cut a lot worse than would Joppy in order for the fight to be stopped, especially if it's close or Joppy is winning.

Make no mistake about it, Taylor will be the beneficiary of every close call. But he also has all the pressure on him as well. Joppy only has to win the fight, decision or knockout doesn't matter. Taylor, at least in the eyes of the fans and media, is expected to win and look good doing it. Everything Taylor does in the fight will be under a microscope. He will be judged on his potential. Most viewers will be looking to see if he has the potential to one day be the next Hagler or Hopkns?

In reality, Taylor is in a no win situation, but he can only lose if he doesn't win the fight. Regardless of how he looks, he can't beat the ghost of Hagler or Hopkins, whom some will be measuring him against. If he knocks Joppy out in a round or two, it will be said that Joppy was shot and was softened up for him by Hopkins last year. On the other hand, if struggles to win a close decision, many will ask—how good can he be if he couldn't stop a washed up 34 year old former champ with eroded skills?

Taylor's management team are completely in tune with how boxing and the media work. And you better believe they'll play it the same way if he stops Joppy, quickly pointing out that Hopkins couldn't. The goal for Taylor against Joppy is to win, while gaining some needed experience against a name opponent or former champion in front of a national audience.

This fight serves many purposes for both fighters. For Taylor, it's a way to gauge his progression on the way to what many believe will be a world title. In Joppy's case, his career is on the line. Taylor needs a big name to pad his record and show that he can be a fighter who can compete and possibly win a world title down the road. Joppy can resurrect his career with a win over the younger and undefeated Taylor.

Taylor and Joppy know the score going into this fight. And they should because it is a boxing tradition which brings them together tonight. And would anyone reading this really be surprised if in 2013, Taylor is fighting an Olympian from the 2012 Games?

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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