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Articles of 2004

Jermain Taylor steamrolls William Joppy

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Reporting from Ringside

When a young fighter faces the toughest test of his career, the night is supposed to serve as a measuring stick and a learning experience. After 12 rounds, Jermain Taylor learned that he measures up with the best middleweights in the world.

Using his overwhelming size advantage and a right uppercut that could not miss, undefeated middleweight Jermain Taylor (22-0, 16KO) cruised past three time middleweight titlist William Joppy en route to a unanimous decision. The bout was the main event of an HBO Boxing After Dark, aired live (except for the West Coast) from the Barton Coliseum in Taylor’s hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Taylor gave the crowd of more than 6,300 plenty to cheer about throughout the evening, as he cleaned out the kitchen over the course of the twelve round bout. To Joppy’s credit, he took everything that Jermain had and managed to come back for more as the fight went on. But that was about all the former champ could do, as blocking punches and hurting Jermain just did not seem in the cards. Not tonight, and perhaps not ever again.

“Tonight just wasn’t my night,” said Joppy (34-4-1, 25KO) at the post-fight press conference. “I’m 34 years old, and I’ve only been fighting about once a year since the Eastman fight. When you get up there in age, and you can’t fight as often as you like… it just wasn’t my night.”

Such was obvious from the opening bell. Joppy looked to establish the pace and the range by working his jab early, but a straight right from Taylor quickly – and permanently – turned the tide. From there, Taylor was able to walk Joppy down and land as he pleased throughout the round, and pretty much the entire fight. The beat down was punctuated by a right uppercut toward round's end that caused Joppy’s head to snap back. The crowd jumped to his feet, and Taylor was all over Joppy, as he attacked until the end of the round.

Taylor picked up exactly where he left off, rocking Joppy with a right hand early in the second frame. Chants of “J-T” filled the Barton Coliseum, and also ran through Taylor’s blood, as he confessed afterward.

“Man, people act like they can tune the crowd out and what not,” Taylor let on at the post-fight press conference, “but I hear EVERYTHING. I hear my people calling my name, giving me the “Woo Pig Sooey” (“Call of the Hogs”) chant… man, it’s what makes me love fighting here at my home so much.”

Taylor came out for the third looking to establish a body attack. Early and often, Jermain went downstairs, and was able to parlay it into combinations upstairs, most of which ended with a right uppercut. Jermain also exuded excellent defense in the round as well, as he was able to time Joppy nearly every time William started to throw. All a frustrated Joppy could do was eat punches for his efforts.

The judges failed to give Joppy a single round, but most in press row were kind enough to score the fourth his way, as William picked up his activity level for the first time in the fight. He seemed to have the round in the bag until a right uppercut rocked him late in the round, which prompted Taylor to flurry late and go in for the kill. The last second flurry was apparently enough to steal the round.

Jermain started the fifth round as if he wanted to end the fight, and it almost happened big time. A left hook midway through the round sent Joppy crashing to the canvas for what would be the fight’s only knockdown. Joppy beat referee Bill Clancy’s count, but could not escape the ensuing fusillade of punches from the hometown hero. Once again, Joppy managed to end the round on his feet, but once again also took a major beating for his efforts.

Determined to prove that he wasn’t as hurt as the knockdown suggested, Joppy jumped off of his stool about fifteen seconds before the start of round six. It was about the only time in the fight that he beat Jermain at anything, as he didn’t do much in the next three minutes. Nor did Jermain, who pretty much took the round off, but still managed to be busy enough to take the round.

Taylor would pick it up again in the seventh, and once again seemed on the verge of ending matters early. The crowd once again rained down with chants of “J-T”, but Taylor was unable to deliver the one final shot to put away the durable Joppy. More of the same transpired in the eighth, as the fight was now developing into a somewhat monotonous wipeout.

Things got interesting in the ninth, but for all of the wrong reasons. Joppy spent much of the first half of the round posing and dancing, but rarely punching. Taylor was able to close the gap about midway through. The gap became close enough to where Joppy could grab a hold of him, as he attempted to lift Jermain up and throw him out of the ring. As referee Bill Clancy separated the two, Taylor broke free and took about four shots at a defenseless Joppy. After about a minute of confusion and both fighters in neutral corners, Clancy brought the two to center ring. He could have justifiably taken a point or more from each fighter, but instead let them both off with a warning.

Taylor wasn’t about to let Joppy off as easy. He proceeded to fight more aggressively in the second half of the ninth and throughout the tenth than he had at any other point in the fight. Again, it was the uppercut that dominated both frames. Taylor hadn’t been known in the past to be so effective with the punch, but mastered it after studying previous Joppy fights.

“I watched his fight with Howard Eastman quite a bit,” Taylor informed the media after the fight. “I noticed that Howard was able to land the upperct quite a bit. The tape don’t lie – if he’s open for it there, he’ll be open for it in this fight. He was, and I took advantage.”

The crowd picked up the “Woo Pig Sooey” chant in the championship rounds, but it was Joppy who fought as if they were cheering for him. For the first time since the fourth round, Joppy outworked – or at least attempted to outwork – his opponent eight years his junior. As with the fourth, he managed to win the round in press row, but not on the official cards. He did, however, lose sympathy points as he twice grabbed his crotch as if to say.. Well, whatever he wanted to say. The first time was during the round, aimed toward the Taylor. He did it again at rounds end, jumping on his stool and “signaling” to the crowd.

Perhaps it was his way of signaling the end, as he did absolutely nothing in the twelfth and final round. Taylor stalked, but seemed content with letting the fight go the distance, which it did.

The decision was a formality, as Taylor easily won a unanimous decision and everyone knew it. What was somewhat of a surprise was that all three judges had Taylor pitching a shutout, 120-107. TheSweetScience.com scored the bout 118-109 for Taylor, who wants to get back into the ring as soon as possible. Who against is anybody’s guess, including DiBella.

“We might be looking for him to get back in March or April. We want to let everyone know that his time is now, and he’s ready for the best. No opponent has been mentioned yet, but I can say that we’re not looking to move backward.”

Perhaps not, but there’s not a lot in the other direction. Undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins is facing either Howard Eastman or Kingsley Ikeke in February 2005. Eastman apparently has promotional issues that may not be sorted out by the time the fight goes to purse bids, and Ikeke would be the next available contender. How he could fight Hopkins is another matter, as Kingsley has four fights remaining with the very banner that Hopkins was just named President of just two weeks ago (Golden Boy Promotions).

But that’s all for the courts to figure out. Whatever is next for Taylor, he’s more than willing to take it on. If he hadn’t proved it in the past, he certainly did so tonight, not only surviving what was supposed to be the toughest test of his career, but steamrolling right through his opponent. With Bad Intentions from bell to bell.

The bout and the entire card was promoted by Lou DiBella’s DiBella Entertainment, in association with Don King Productions.

Undercard results: Undefeated junior welterweight Paul Malignaggi improved to 19-0 (5KO) with a seventh round technical decision over Italy’s Sandro Casamonica (34-5, 21KO). The bout was a rough, somewhat dirty affair, as Casamonica seemed more interested in roughing up “The Magic Man” than he did in wanting to defeat him. Old injuries came back to haunt Malignaggi, as he managed to re-injure both hands. After the bout Lou DiBella congratulated him, and then immediately declared him “on the shelf” until his hands are 100%… Local heavyweight Terry Smith (22-1-1, 15KO) survived a second round knockdown and a ton of right hands to eke out a six round unanimous decision over tough-as-nails Demetrice King (6-5,4KO). Scores were 58-55 (2x) and 57-56… 2004 Olympian Andre Berto made his pro debut a memorable one, scoring a brutal third round knockout over gutty but overmatched William Robinson (2-2, 2KO). Robinson was decked four times before the bout was mercifully halted at the 2:15 mark. Afterward, Berto was more relieved to get the fight over with than he was impressed with the win. “It’s a big relief. I was a bit worried about how things would turn out, as I wanted to give the fans a real treat. Now it’s over with, and I can concentrate on knocking cats out in 2005”… Undefeated lightweight Koba Gogoladze survived a first round knockdown and a much tougher than expected challenge from Roque Cassiani to earn a ten round split decision. Scores were 94-93 Cassiani, and 94-93 and 97-90 Gogoladze. Cassiani lost a point in the fifth round and Gogoladze a point in the tenth round on what seemed to be a clean knockdown. Referee Tim Adams failed to note what were the grounds for the deductions, nor did he care to explain afterward. DiBella was not thrilled with the turn of events, or the ref in general. “This referee is fucking horrible” was how he summarized his performance, shortly before personally breaking up a fight in the stands immediately after scores were read for this bout… Danny Santiago opened up the show with a first round knockout of James Brock. A left-right did the trick, as Brock went down, took a knee, and never threatened to beat the ten count administered by referee Bill Clancy. Time of the stoppage was 1:28 into the opening frame.

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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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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