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Articles of 2004

Boxing in Brighton Beach

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Sal Musumeci's Final Forum and matchmaker Sampson Lewkowicz brought boxing to Brooklyn’s Russian émigré community in Brighton Beach Saturday night. The seven bout card played to a houseful of Slavs at the Atlantic Oceana. They were eating blintzes and drinking vodka, but they were there for the fights.

The first bout of the night featured Nimrod Koren (9-1-1), aka The Jewish Kid, hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel, against Terry “2 Sweet” Johnson (5-9 1 KO), fighting out of Dayton, Ohio, in a six round welterweight contest. Johnson landed first, but he was slow. Koren, however, was even slower. He wouldn’t let his hands go, so Johnson landed a combination and trapped Koren on the ropes. The first round went to Johnson 10-9. The second round was a repeat of the first – while it lasted. Johnson continued to beat Koren to the punch, whose loping, slo-mo punches missed the mark. Johnson caught Koren with a big left hook that had him reeling. The referee Pat Sullivan stepped in and stopped it at 1:19 of the second. Terry “2 Sweet” Johnson got a TKO win against The Jewish Kid from Tel Aviv.

Bout two was a competitive four-rounder between light heavyweights. Brooklyn’s own Jason Quick (4-0-1 3 KOs), fighting out of the red corner, got it on with William Santiago (2-1-1 1 KO) from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, fighting out of the blue. Both men landed at the opening bell in a devil-may-care free-for-all. Santiago did damage first. Then it was Quick’s turn to hurt Santiago. Quick won the first round10-9, based more on style than on substance. He got off first in the second, but Santiago countered. Quick landed a right to Santiago’s face and his left eye began to swell. Another 10-9 round for Quick. Santiago controlled the action in round three. His left found a home on the mug of Quick. Santiago 10-9. Both men went for the kill in the fourth and final round and Santiago had Quick on Queer Street, but the Brooklyn Brawler made it to the end of the round and the end of the fight. All three judges scored it 38-38.

Fight three was a scheduled eight round shootout between welterweights. From Haifa, Israel, Merhav “The Sergeant” Mohar (12-1 5 KOs), wearing camouflage trunks, met Mike Dobbs (9-12 7 KOs), wearing black trimmed with red and fighting out of his hometown of Oklahoma City. Dobbs landed first with a nice straight jab, but a Mohar combination sent Dobbs into the ropes. He recovered and the men resumed boxing. The Israeli found the range and knocked the Oklahoman down, once, twice, three times in rapid succession. The 3-knockdown rule was in effect. The Sergeant from Haifa scored a technical knockout at 2:31 of the first round over the cowboy from Oklahoma.

The fourth fight was a four round clash between New York heavyweights, featuring Derric Rossy (2-0 2 KOs), wearing red trunks with white trim and hailing from Medford, versus Ruben Bracero (2-2 1 KO), wearing red trunks and visiting Brooklyn from the Bronx. Bracero was flabby, punched wide, but was in Brighton Beach looking for a fight. Rossy was in shape, punched clean, and was happy to oblige. A barrage of punches in the first round put Bracero down. He beat the count and was saved by the bell. A 10-8 round for Rossy. Bracero was holding and hitting in round two. Rossy landed everything but the kitchen sink, which Bracero absorbed like a sponge, but to his credit he fired back. Rossy caught Bracero at the end of the round and almost put him down again. A 10-9 round for Rossy. Round three was all Rossy. His lefts and rights punched the fight right out of Bracero. Rossy won the round 10-9. Rossy owned the fourth and final round. Rossy has talent, but he is a work in progress, very raw and rough around the edges. The judges scored it 40-35, 40-35 and 40-34 for Rossy.

The evening’s fifth fight was for the WBC Fecarbox Heavyweight Title. Timor Ibragimov (16-0-1 10 KOs) from Uzbekistan, battled William Douglas (10-3 8 KOs) from Columbus, Ohio, in a twelve round slugfest. Billy Douglas is the younger brother of former heavyweight champion James “Buster” Douglas, so Billy’s got a fine bloodline. He is, however, not in shape, which is a pity, because the man has potential. Ibragimov dominated Douglas in the first five rounds. Billy was in the fight, but just barely. He turned things around in round six. Douglas landed a big right which rocked Ibragimov. To the surprise of everyone, a fight broke out at the Atlantic Oceana. Douglas won the round 10-9. The Ohioan won the seventh and eighth, stalking the Uzbek, who seemed either hurt or very tired, landing combinations to the face and body when he caught him. Ibragimov turned things around when he stunned Douglas with a big right in the ninth. The tenth could have gone either way, with Douglas having the edge. Ibragimov won the eleventh and twelfth rounds and it went to the scorecards. The judges scored it 117-111, 117-111 and 119-108 for Ibragimov.

The next bout spotlighted John Duddy (7-0 7 KOs), the kayo artist from County Derry, Ireland, wearing green trimmed with gold, versus Glenn Dunnings (3-1 2 KOs), wearing white trunks and boxing out of Cleveland, in a middleweight six-rounder. Dunnings out-slicked Duddy to win the first round 10-9. Dunnings’ speed and skills were too much for John Duddy. But that was about to change. Duddy went swinging for the fences in round two and sometimes his shots hit home. A 10-9 round for Duddy. Dunning boxed and Duddy rumbled in round three. Duddy landed body shots to try to slow his man down. Then Duddy landed hooks to try to knock him down. With Dunnings bleeding from the nose, Duddy won the third 10-9. Duddy went for broke in round four. He was less a pugilist in the squared circle than an animal in the wild. The ref deducted a point from the Irishman for hitting behind the head. A 9-9 round. John Duddy let it all hang out in the fifth. He swung and missed. He swung and landed. Dunnings hit the deck. The ref waved it off at 1:29 of the fifth round. The Derry Destroyer won by technical knockout.

The final fight of the night was for the WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Title. Sultan Ibragimov (14-0 12 KOs) from Machachala, Russia met James “Hurricane” Walton (19-6-2 10 KOs) from Cleveland, Ohio in a scheduled twelve round fight. Ibragimov was wearing white trunks trimmed with red and fighting out of the red corner. Walton, in the blue corner, had gold trunks trimmed with black. Ibragimov, the southpaw, is built like a tank, but he has no right jab, leads with his straight left, and uses his hook to finish combinations. Ibragimov plowed through and won the first round 10-9. Round two was a mess, made even messier by an intentional Ibragimov low blow which sent Walton crashing through the ropes. The referee deducted two points for the infraction, giving Walton a 9-8 round. The Russian won the next four rounds without much resistance. Walton was bleeding from his nose. He had a cut above his left eye. He was limping. He kept getting tangled in the ropes. At the end of the sixth, the ref waved it off. An Ibragimov win via TKO over the Hurricane from Cleveland.

The crowd in the Atlantic Oceana exploded with cheers – because the Russian won, and because it was, after all, a night at the fights.

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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