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Articles of 2004

Like Douglas, Danny Williams Keeps Getting Better

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As the countdown to the Vitali Klitschko-Danny Williams WBC heavyweight title fight winds down, it seems that Danny Williams becomes a better fighter with each passing day. Slightly over four months have passed since Williams stopped former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson at 2:51 of the fourth round in his last fight. The shocking knockout of Tyson earned Williams a title fight against Vitali Klitschko. Klitschko is considered by many boxing observers to be the most formidable heavyweight in world.

During the past week many stories have surfaced stating just how good a fighter Danny Williams really is, and if he beat Klitschko it wouldn't be a shock to some. It amazes me how much greater fighters all of the sudden become after stopping Mike Tyson. These are the same type of stories that emerged about Buster Douglas after he shocked the boxing world when he knocked out Tyson in February of 1990.

After Douglas stopped Tyson, stories were written about his size and reach and how they complimented his outstanding boxing skills. However, not a single word of those skills was mentioned before the fight. Now, looking back, everybody knew Tyson was out of shape. Which makes me wonder even more why none of those glowing reports about Douglas found their way into the media before his fight with Tyson? I think the reason is quite obvious: they didn't exist. In reality, Buster Douglas was a nice fighter, but wasn't viewed as a fighter who would one day become the undisputed heavyweight champion. Prior to the Tyson fight he didn't beat one upper-tier heavyweight and was stopped in his only title shot by Tony Tucker.

However his perception as a fighter changed dramatically based on only one fight, his knockout of Mike Tyson. By the time October rolled around and he was about to defend his undisputed title against Evander Holyfield, he was the favorite. Imagine Douglas being favored over Holyfield. I would be willing to bet that if Douglas fought Holyfield the night he fought Tyson, he would have been almost as big of an underdog as he was against Tyson. The fact that he beat Tyson led many to wrongly assume that Douglas was a better fighter and could beat Holyfield. When Douglas and Holyfield finally fought, Holyfield knocked Douglas out in the third round with one counter right hand to become the new undisputed heavyweight champion.

Today, in my opinion, too many analysts and fans place way too much stock in one fight or one game. This is not meant to take anything away from Danny Williams, but I think the burden of proof is still on him versus the world's top heavyweights. I need to see more than him beating a rusty 38 year old Mike Tyson – who had only fought 50 seconds in a year and a half – before I'm convinced that he is the next heavyweight champion.

Now we are hearing that Williams' has discovered self belief, and that he's always been a world-class heavyweight fighter. Again, based on one fight. Is the real Danny Williams the fighter who was dropped three times and stopped by Sinan Samil Sam, and lost his British Empire title to Michael Sprott 11 months ago? Or he is the fighter we saw once time in 35 fights, the one who beat Tyson?

I guess the Danny Williams who had to fight Michael Sprott twice just to beat him once and was dropped three times and stopped by Sinan Samil Sam isn't the real Danny Williams. The real Danny Williams is the fighter we saw one time in 35 fights, the one who beat Tyson.

Over the years I have learned two things. One, never use one great fight or game as a barometer to judge any fighter or team, ignoring their body of work up to that point. What they've done excluding that one great fight or game is a more realistic indication of who they are. And two, judging a fighter strictly off of beating Mike Tyson is the biggest mistake in the world.

Buster Douglas never beat one upper-tier heavyweight before or after fighting Mike Tyson. He just happened to have a career night against an overrated Tyson in his prime. Heading into his first fight with Tyson, Evander Holyfield was coming off the two worst fights of his career at the time (his third fight with Riddick Bowe and his last fight against Bobby Czyz) and hadn't scored a knockout since his fight against Bert Cooper in November of 1991. Yet he had Tyson down and won nine out of ten rounds before stopping him in the eleventh in November of 1996.

Seven months later Holyfield beat Tyson again when Mike was disqualified for biting Evander's ears in their rematch. After winning the rematch with Tyson, many were saying Holyfield resurrected his career. However after beating Michael Moorer in their rematch five months after beating Tyson in their second fight, Holyfield never again looked like the great fighter he once was.

In June of 2002 Lennox Lewis finally escaped the shadow of Mike Tyson when he knocked him out in the eighth round of their highly anticipated fight. One year later Lewis defended his title against top ranked Vitali Klitschko. Against Klitschko, Lewis was rocked and almost knocked down. Lewis won the fight when Klitschko couldn't continue after the sixth round due to a severely cut eye. Lewis retired in February of 2004, eight months after fighting Klitschko.

Now we are counting down to Danny Williams’ FFABT, (first fight after beating Tyson). And just as Douglas became a better fighter than he really was, Danny Williams is becoming better than his pre-Tyson career indicates. So much in fact that Tyson's trainer Freddie Roach said Williams has the tools to cut down the giant Klitschko. Roach also said, “What he gained from beating Mike is a lot of confidence, which is what everybody says he lacked before he fought Mike.”

Although I respect the wisdom of Freddie Roach, I think he left out something important. Tyson has never won a fight in which he was down or trailed. What separates Mike Tyson from the greatest of the greats is the fact that he has never shown the capacity to overcome resistance. He has never won a fight once he started losing it.

I think getting Klitschko's heart will be a little tougher than getting Tyson's. Klitschko is always in top shape and does have some ability. I don't think he is the next Lewis or Holmes, but I think he is probably the best heavyweight in the world at this time. Danny Williams may actually turn out to be the best heavyweight in the world in the future, but I need to see more of him before I believe it. And I definitely need more than just him beating Mike Tyson in his last fight to evaluate and deem him the fighter to beat in the heavyweight division.

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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