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Articles of 2004

Ajamu wins, Holt survives in North Jersey Boxing Series

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Knockout Promotions packs the house at the Newark Robert Treat Hotel

The dreary and dismal downpouring of rain didn't stop the boxing fans from cramming into Newark's Robert Treat Hotel Thursday night for round two of Knockout Promotions “North Jersey Boxing Series.”

Walid and Hani Darwish, relatively new to the promotional end of the boxing business, saw their one-time full fightcard whittled down to a measly four bouts.  While the fight cancellations and pullouts were through no fault of their own (Pittsburgh's Jay Holland had a bad reaction following a required blood test and local fighter Eric Graham cited last minute personal reasons for being unable to fight), the Darwish brothers dodged a public relations bullet as the first three fights were true crowd pleasers and had the capacity crowd reeling from all the excitement.  Even a lackluster main event couldn't deter from their exuberance.

Opening the show – in a battle on young Newark welterweights – Alex Perez began his professional career in dramatic fashion, winning via first round knockout.  Perez was battling undefeated Farrakhan Cuttino (now 2-1, with 2 KO's) before sending Cuttino to his knees midway through the round.  A picture-perfect left hook sent a hurt Cuttino to the canvas for good.

As this Knockout Promotions event was being televised (tape delayed) by CSI Sports, next up was the night's co-feature.  Highly touted Paterson native Kendall Holt was given all he could handle by rugged Juan Carlos Escobar and managed to come away with a hard fought and well earned six round unanimous decision victory.  Building up an early lead with an impressive display of power punching and boxing skills, Holt – obviously the more proficient and better skilled fighter – got caught early in round four by Escobar.  Facing danger for the first time in this bout Holt resorted to several fouls (low blows), first getting a warning, then a one-point deduction from referee David Fields.  Escobar fought the only way he knows how – by coming foward and never taking a step back.  A true Mexican fighter, Escobar fell to 12-8-2 (6 KO's), yet left the ring as a true winner.  Holt, now 16-1, looks ahead to a future nationally televised feature bout on the Showtime network's ShowBox series against former Olympian, the undefeated David Diaz (25-0).

Another highly entertaining bout followed as Yamin Mohammed, fighting out of Ohio, knocked out Terrance Thomas (now 2-3) at the bell, ending round three.  The gutsy Mohammed, knocked down in round one, stood toe-to-toe with Thomas – who wasn't as hurt as he was totally exhausted – before finally nailing Thomas, dropping him twice en route to his thrilling knockout win which improved the tough lightweight's record to 3-5-1 (3 KO's).

In the main event Camden's Prince Badi Ajamu took the vacant World Boxing Council's Continental Americas Light-heavyweight title belt in a listless twelve round match against veteran Greg Wright.  Wright (21-12-2), fighting out of Detroit's Kronk gym, was satisfied with spending most of his time on the ropes absorbing Ajamu's punches.  Never a threat, Wright didn't even win one round in the eyes of two of the three judges (120-108, 120-108 and 118-110) and appeared to exert more energy talking during the bout than actually fighting.  Badi, to his credit, took control of the contest literally from the opening bell and thoroughly outworked Wright.  The deserved champion, now 22-2-1 with 12 knnockouts, wants to move up in the ranks and has expressed his desire to take on the Johnsons and Tarvers of the light-heavyweight division.

The large crowd on this rain-soaked night proved that there is a market for boxing in North Jersey.  The Darwish brothers and their Knockout Promotions have steadily improved with each event they have put on and have stated their commitment to put on quality, “big-time” quality, boxing shows. 

Knockout Promotions next outing in their “North Jersey Boxing Series” is scheduled for Thursday January 14th, 2005.  For more information call Knockout Promotions at (973) 273-9898 or e-mail knockoutz@aol.com

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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