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Articles of 2004

Dr. Klitschko Set to Operate

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This Saturday Dr. Vitali Klitschko gets set to make the first defense of the WBC heavyweight title he won earlier this year in punishing Corrie Sanders over eight rounds. Now it is Mike Tyson conqueror, Danny Williams who steps into the Doctor’s Office, and it may be a short visit.

Aside from a hard fought battle with Champion Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko has dominated every heavyweight he has faced since turning professional and Williams doesn’t seem to merit more than a puncher’s chance.

The Klitschko career started with a bang as the heavy-handed native of Kyrgyzstan knocked out each one of his first 27 opponents, and only three of those made it past the third round. That bang went bust in 2000 when a shoulder injury forced Klitschko to quit at the end of the ninth round against Chris Byrd. Calls rang out and many – myself included – berated Klitschko for quitting in a fight he merely needed to remain upright in order to win. Other fighters have overcome injuries and fought through them. Why not Vitali? Regardless, only the man in the ring knows how badly he is hurt and if he is better off today for having opted to surrender his belt then he made the right choice.

Against Lewis all those who questioned Klitschko’s will to win were silenced as he put up a great fight against King Lennox and only a grotesque cut in a dangerous location stopped him after six exciting rounds. Other than the misstep against Byrd and being cut up by Lewis, Vitali has been unstoppable. Can Danny Williams stop him?

Danny Williams was handpicked to lose to the one-time baddest man on the planet, Mike Tyson. The Tyson that Williams faced in July of this year was shadow of the man who destroyed the heavyweight division many moons ago. Beating an older, slower Tyson was not the grand achievement some may think, and let’s not forget that Williams was in a heap of trouble early in that fight. Only leaning on Tyson helped keep his legs from betraying him in the first round but, to his credit, he recovered and stopped “Iron Mike” in the fourth round.

Williams was selected to face Tyson because of whom Danny and his team now refer to as “the old Danny Williams.” That Danny Williams is the one who lost a decision to the average Michael Sprott. It’s the same Williams who lost to British journeyman Julius Francis over 12 rounds and was TKO’d in 6 rounds by plodding Sinan Samil Sam after being knocked down three times. As his team will lead us to believe, “that” Danny Williams is not “this” Danny Williams.

“This” Danny Williams knocked out Mike Tyson. And that’s all he’s done so far to distinguish himself from the Williams of old.

Prior to beating Tyson the knock on Williams was nothing physical, but rather mental. He had been known to freeze when the opportunity was greatest and had never been able to put all of his physical tools together in one box. The bigger the fight, the less was to be expected of Williams.

Gifted with fast hands and power in each mitt, Williams will be looking to knock out a man who has never been down. He will give up 6 inches in height and, if history is any indication, will likely carry 15-20 extra pounds around the ring over his opponent. Not exactly the attributes required to win a boxing match, but which might work in a brawl.

It is a kill or be killed mentality that “this” Williams and his team are trying to convince us they have as they prep for the biggest fight of their career. In their corner is an underachieving boxer with a history of fighting a losing battle with mental demons as he faces off against the best active heavyweight of the day.

With Vitali Klitschko anything is possible. He won’t fade late (or early) like his brother, works methodically behind a heavy jab and can throw punches in bunches when the time comes. He may come out fast and furious and put Williams’ shaky starts to the test, or may break him down piece by piece. For Williams the options are not so varied, he seemingly has none. To brawl with a fighter who has knocked his opponent out 33 of 34 victories and has never been down doesn’t look to be the way to victory. However, being the heavier and far shorter man isn’t the recipe in order to bob-and-weave his way inside of Klitschko.

Vitali has been on the world stage before and shone under the bright lights. There is no chance that he will take Danny Williams lightly on Saturday, unlike Mike Tyson, and let’s not forget that Tyson reportedly injured his knee in that bout.

Under a steady dose of heavy jabs and thundering right hands Britain’s dream of being home to the heavyweight champion of the world will crumble.

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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