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Articles of 2004

Danny Williams: Self Help Contender

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Danny Williams, Mike Tyson sweepstakes victor and career underachiever, has been trying all week to look the part of the next big some-body, reformed heavyweight on a mission, destiny’s child or just a guy who’s learned life’s essential lesson in the nick of time.

Apparently, Danny Williams has unlocked the monster within, has proven to himself he deserves the fortuitous happenstance his boxing career has become, after his demolition of the sacred ruins of the Temple of Iron Mike, July 30, Louisville Kentucky. At least that’s the standard refrain for public – journalistic – consumption from old Danny Boy. It seems the “Brixton Block” for too long wallowed in his own intemperate anxieties. “I used too much energy waiting for the fights,” he now confesses to assert, “in the fight game you have to be ready for any eventuality.”

Such as getting mightily out of ones own way?

How the past recedes into comical perspective, once you’ve leveled a giant, especially thee bad boy legend of his generation. Of course, knocking out Tyson in the fourth, after withstanding an early shelling, represents a kind of short hand description ripe for invention. Williams KO4 Tyson. An aged Tyson, a mentally fractured Tyson, none of that really matters in the bottom line ethic of prize fighting: survive to sell yourself again. So, Williams did blast out Tyson, proving in some measure that having 27 knockouts in 32 professional wins can suggest merit, can make instantly marketable those of flawed talents and inconstant virtue. Just make sure you are coming off a decent win, that’s mostly what promoters want to sell. Fighters being product, product of perishable value of the commodified moment.

And to be sure, there’s a touch of opportunism to Danny Williams, as he gets ready to face off against WBC heavyweight champion Vitally Klitschko on Saturday night, on an HBO pay per view event, no less. For many who follow the fight game, there’s something of ‘the con’ about this match up. Understanding that, when it comes to the sports entertainment industry, nothing diminishes one’s undistinguished past like the felling of a legend. Suddenly, all that was unrealized potential buffs up as the sharp, leading edge of righteous redress.

I am NOT my losses, the mass calculus of my poignant failures. I am IN FACT what I never quite proved – to myself – to the world to be, that which I should always have been: a winner. By design and fortune, I am now myself, fully realized via the talent and discipline of my surest conviction.

One remembers or may upon referral know, Williams was a distant second best not only to the regard others had for his potential self as a boxer. He who is now one defining win away from the da facto heavyweight thrown, the guy brimming with resolve was second best off dismal performances against the living comic strip Julius Francis and the big bad wolf Sinan Samil Sam. Even the less than seminal figure of Michael Sprott, the bald brooding one whom Williams had stopped in February, 2002, took a points win off of Williams, in January of 2004!

No wonder Williams and his team are fielding questions about his desire reborn, defining and defending his restitution as a contender, spelling out terms of self-confidence. With Williams it’s never been about the talent; it was all about the head, those critical six inches between the ears. Interesting parallel to his opponent, Dr. Klitschko, who himself had to field questions about his heart and desire after his shoulder injury retirement bailout against Chris Byrd. Admittedly, the head is not the heart.

The signals are mixed heading into this fight, this pay per view encounter of opposites. Odds makers are not convinced as to Williams’ viability. Klitschko may be distracted by the political melodramatics in Kiev, but he’s still the best heavyweight of the moment, supposedly. The man trains for his fights. He’s dedicated to remaining champion. Williams doesn’t want to comment on whether or not his foe is distracted. He knows enough about maximizing outcomes to keep his mind’s eye on a perfect version of Vitaly Klitschko. You line up the 1998 version of Mike Tyson to knockdown the husk of him in 2004. Same goes for 6'7″ Ukrainian robots with boxing gloves.

Doesn’t matter if HBO are selling myths or dreams or improbabilities as first rate fare. Lists of predictions are only moderately informed, hypothetical guesses. Beating Klitschko has nothing to do with amateur pedigrees or most distinguished wins in a career. At least that’s what Williams has learned about how he takes apart expectation.

“Hard punching him everywhere,” is the apt Williams phrase that comes out as if tipping his fight plan. No less a confidant than Lennox Lewis has suggested hitting the Klitschko body or ripping open that surgically repaired left eye brow. Then Williams invokes Doris Day to explain the Danny Williams it will take to win. Himself, coming into the ring relaxed and ready for what ever. And “what will be, will be.”

First you have to believe yourself. Then your actions might make believers of those of casual disregard.

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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