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Articles of 2004

A Sweet Science Top 10 Wish List for 2005

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The end of the year is always a time when lists are compiled of the best and worst of the year and everything in between.  Rather than live in the past, I'm looking to the future.  Here is my Top 10 Wish List for 2005.

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. gets the credit he deserves — “Pretty Boy” Floyd is simply the best boxer in the sport.  He possesses blinding hand speed, fantastic defensive skills, and a set of stones as big as anyone in boxing.  He has repeatedly stepped into the ring against the best in the division, even when it wasn't necessary.  When Mayweather moved up to lightweight, he very easily could have taken on then IBF champ Paul Spadafora – a fighter who presented very little danger.  Instead, Mayweather took on Jose Luis Castillo, a rough and tumble fighter who would make life as difficult for Mayweather as anyone he has ever faced.  And then he fought him again after some questioned his victory.

2. Floyd Mayweather Sr. goes away – While he may be a good trainer, he doesn't seem to realize that trainers don't sell tickets, especially ones that are difficult to understand.  His diatribe against Jack Mosley before the De La Hoya – Mosley fight was not only classless, but also inaccurate.

3. A heavyweight emerges – All three heavyweight champs look very beatable.  While there is plenty of talent in the lower divisions, it would be nice if a true heavyweight king arrives.  I have a feeling that person isn't on the national scene yet. He's probably 5-0 and working out in some backwater gym somewhere. But maybe, just maybe, we'll get lucky and someone can emerge and shake things up.

4. Mike Tyson either wins the heavyweight title or goes away – Mike Tyson isn't interesting as a used up shell of a fighter.  He's becoming a caricature of himself outside of the ring.  If somehow Tyson was granted another shot and actually won – wow!  That would be just the kind of shake up I'm looking for.  However, assuming that doesn't happen, let's not pay any more attention to him until he proves that he can still compete with someone in the top 20.

5. Bernard Hopkins goes out with a bang – I have immensely enjoyed watching Bernard Hopkins over the years.  All he does is show up in shape and get rid of whoever is standing in front of him.  Whether it's a mega fight with De La Hoya or a snoozer with Hakkar, Hopkins takes his job seriously and works effectively.  He reminds me of Hagler in that way.  He deserves to go out on a high note and I hope he can do it in another mega-fight, perhaps by knocking out Trinidad even earlier this time.

6. I'm proven right about Felix Trinidad – Many greater boxing minds than mine believe Trinidad was and still is an all time great.  I have always believed he was the most overrated boxer of our time.  He has skills, power and especially heart – traits that I admire.  However, his chin is not only suspect, it's downright weak.  The man goes down more than Little Oral Annie.  But because of his tremendous heart he has been able to get up and persevere.  He lost to De La Hoya (no matter what the scorecards say) and got blown out by Hopkins.  He's a very good fighter, but not an all time great.  I hope that Hopkins (or someone else) will prove me right, because it's an argument that is not easy to win.

7. Morales – Barrera IV – Boxing fans always point to the Gatti – Ward trilogy as the greatest three fight set of this generation.  But I think that title belongs to Morales – Barrera.  The first fight was simply the best I'd ever seen.  All three fights were so close, why not do it again and see if one can finally emerge to dominate the other? And if they can't, they'll just have to fight a fifth time.

8. Lennox Lewis stays retired – Lewis was a very good heavyweight champion.  He never disgraced the title (unless you count showing up overweight in his last fight) and was exciting when he wanted to be.  Even if he came back for one fight to school Klitschko, so what?  I like when boxers go out on their own terms and stay retired.  It goes against the stereotype and if anyone has the ability to represent the sport in a positive light, it's Lennox Lewis.

9. Poor officiating gets fixed — Officials are human beings and they're going to get some calls wrong.  But the officiating in boxing is much worse than the major sports. Why Larry O'Connell is still allowed to judge and subsequently ruin fights is a mystery.  And there are plenty of others.  Look at a sport like baseball.  Sure the umps blow a call every now and then, but for the most part they do an outstanding job.  I can deal with a judge who gets a round or two wrong once in a great while, or a ref who misses a foul or knockdown, but not with the frequency that it currently occurs.  I think the only solution would be to rank judges and refs and assign the big fights based on those rankings.

10. A boxers union finally catches on – Boxers need the healthcare and retirement benefits more than any other athletes.  Even if purses don't go up as a result of the union, having just those two benefits would make an enormous difference in many boxers' lives.  It's an expensive proposition, but one of the most worthwhile undertakings I have seen in the sweet science.

JABS

What is Corrie Sanders doing back in the ring?  He trained about as much as I did for the Klitschko fight.  If a man can’t get motivated for a fight for the biggest prize in sports, don’t expect me to ever waste my time or money on him again.

Joe Mesi – don’t get back in there either.  Whether you can get yourself cleared or not, you suffered a brain injury.  That’s some serious shinola.  You made some money, you’ll always be remembered as a hard-hitting contender.  The risk is just too great.

Tarver – Johnson should be interesting.  I can’t decide who I’m pulling for.  Johnson is truly one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.  He so deserves his time in the limelight and the money that comes with it.  But let’s face it – Tarver is more exciting and would probably be better for boxing.  I’m torn.

Until next time, obey my commands and protect yourself at all times.

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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