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Articles of 2004

The Future May Not Be Bleak For Glen Johnson

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The future looks bleak for Glencoffe Johnson.

Saturday in Los Angeles, Johnson – the man who left Roy Jones Jr. staring at a Memphis ceiling three months ago – will face Antonio Tarver – the man who left Roy Jones Jr. staring at a Las Vegas ceiling seven months ago. But most boxing people don’t expect it to be a competitive fight between two Jones slayers as much as a mismatch of immense proportions.

Tarver is considered too big, too fresh, too powerful and just too good for the gutsy Johnson. Consider that 18 of the 20 experts on The Sweet Science.com team picked Tarver to win.

But the experts have been wrong before. Here's a look at five recent upsets that featured a so-called limited challenger upsetting the more talented champion.

Gerrie Coetzee KO 10 Michael Dokes, Sept. 23, 1983: Dokes, as bloated as he often looked, was considered the heir apparent to recognized champion Larry Holmes. A gifted fighter with blazing hand and foot speed, Dokes lacked power – but made up for it with quickness. He had won the WBA heavyweight title nine months prior, stopping Mike Weaver on a controversial TKO. He drew with Weaver in the rematch, but was still expected to overwhelm South Africa’s Coetzee. Known as the “Bionic Man”, Coetzee had his right fist surgically repaired to create perhaps the hardest wallop in the heavyweight division. But he was slow and immobile, and Dokes was expected to box circles around him. Surprise! Coetzee breaks out with a jab, of all things, and dominates the lifeless Dokes with boxing skills. Of course, Dokes’ well-documented drug problems may have contributed to his demise. But Coetzee was a different fighter on this night, fighting through a cut and finally taking Dokes out with a vicious barrage. It would be the best night of Coetzee’s career. He lost the title to Greg Page 13 months later. Dokes made a gutsy last stand in 1989, giving Evander Holyfield hell before falling in the 10th. He was never the same after that.

Iran Barkley KO 3 Thomas Hearns, June 3, 1988: Hearns was fading by this point, having to struggle before knocking out Juan Domingo Roldan for the vacant WBC middleweight title in October 1987. But he was still a formidable force, considered more-than-capable of destroying most middleweights placed before him. Only the superstars of the day were thought capable of defeating him. Barkley was not considered the very best. He was rough and tough and he was sure fun to watch. But he was also easy to hit and cut-prone and susceptible to knockouts and knockdowns. Still, he earned the shot with a surprise knockout of favored Michael Olajide in March 1988. For 2 ½ rounds, the fight went as expected. Hearns punched, and Barkley reeled. “The Hitman” ripped up Barkley’s face, and had him wobbly on more than one occasion. But “The Blade” survived the onslaught, and in the third round, his courage was rewarded. He caught Hearns with a big right hand that stunned him, and another that flattened him. Hearns staggered up before falling through the ropes, and ref Richard Steele correctly stopped the fight and made Barkley an unlikely champion. Hearns continued his remarkable career with a draw (it should’ve been a win) with Leonard in ’89 and an upset of Virgil Hill in 1991. Meanwhile, Barkley made his first defense against Roberto Duran.

Roberto Duran W 12 Iran Barkley, Feb. 24, 1989: The victory over Hearns was a surprise, but Barkley was still considered a big favorite over natural lightweight Duran when they met for Barkley’s newly-won WBC middleweight title in Atlantic City. Duran probably didn’t deserve the chance, but had reeled off a modest win-streak to qualify. His last great effort had come three years prior, a close points loss to Robbie Sims. He was also 38, and at a serious size disadvantage: Barkley stood 6-foot-1, to Duran’s 5-7. It was a physical mismatch, and with Barkley’s power, it didn’t figure to last long. Shockingly, Duran won it by brawling with Barkley in 89’s “Fight of the Year”. Barkley showed marked improvement from the Hearns fight, doing almost everything right: Jabbing, throwing in combination, going to the body. But Duran refused to go away. And, in the 11th, “Manos de Piedra” put Barkley on the canvas. It was the difference in a close split decision victory for one of the top five greatest fighters to ever walk the earth. It was also the last great victory of Duran’s career. He lost a third fight to Sugar Ray Leonard 10 months later. Barkley resurfaced in 1992 with another upset of Hearns, this time by decision.

Michael Bentt KO 1 Tommy Morrison, Oct. 30, 1993: Michael who? That’s what people were thinking when Morrison took on Bentt as a tuneup for an expected 1994 title shot. Bentt came in with modest credentials, while Morrison was coming off the biggest win of his career, a decision over George Foreman in June 1993. Seconds into round one, Morrison’s Oklahoma City homecoming turned nightmarish as Bentt put the top contender down. Morrison got up, but it wasn’t long before he was down again, and in serious trouble. Bentt finally put Morrison out of his misery, and that title shot disappeared. The fight exposed Morrison’s primary weakness: A shaky chin. He would get one more chance at a big name, but was outclassed by Lennox Lewis in 1995. Bentt was never a factor, and stopped by Herbie Hide in ’94.

Oliver McCall KO 2 Lennox Lewis, Sept. 24, 1994: A year before doing away with Morrison, Lewis fell victim to an underdog himself. The undefeated Englishman wore the WBC heavyweight title, and though he struggled with the likes of Frank Bruno and Tony Tucker, he was thought to be the best heavyweight in the world. He took on the unheralded McCall in his native London, probably thinking the Chicago-based “Atomic Bull” would serve as a good warmup to fellow champion Michael Moorer. Those plans were changed with one punch, an overhand right, that clipped Lewis right on the chin in the second round. Lewis crashed to the deck. He got up, but the fight was stopped with a buckle of the knees. It would have been the “Upset of theYear” if not for two months later, when George Foreman shocked Moorer with one punch in the 10th round. McCall lost the title to Bruno in 1995. Lewis beat McCall in a rematch in 1997 and went on to become one of the greatest heavyweights of all time (but not before falling to another underdog, Hasim Rahman, in 2001).

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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