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Articles of 2004

Antonio Tarver Talks the Talk

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Antonio Tarver got to Roy Jones first. Glen Johnson got to Roy Jones second. And now the men who beat the man who beat the man who beat the man get to beat each other at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, in a light heavyweight bout broadcast tonight on HBO.

“It’s gonna be a helluva night of boxing, an early Christmas gift to all you diehard boxing fans,” Tarver said, “and we’re determined to finish off this year with a bang. I worked very hard in preparation for this fight and I’m not taking anything lightly. I’m focused, hungry, and I’m ready to go.”

Antonio Tarver is pound-for-pound one of the fight game’s biggest stars. He is also pound-for-pound one of boxing’s best talkers.

“I have a lot of respect for Glen Johnson,” said Tarver. “When you look at his career, the guy has had a lot of bad decisions against him after he obviously won the fight. He had some bumps along the way. He came up short on some really bogus decisions. The political game of boxing has not been good for him, but you have to respect a guy who, no matter how rough it gets, he always seems to land on his feet.”

Tarver also always lands on his feet. He is a boxer. He is a puncher. He is a thinking man’s fighter.

“I know what Johnson is thinking. I see it in him. He is thinking that this is an opportunity of a lifetime. I just need to get past Antonio Tarver. Glen Johnson is looking at me like a piece of juicy steak. I’m very aware of what I have to lose. I’m not taking this fight for granted. I am taking this fight because I have always, always welcomed risk when it comes to boxing, risk in order to prove that I stand alone at the top.”

Tarver made a career out of taking chances. It’s his life’s work.

“Very few fighters today take the risk that I take,” he said. “Just look back on my career. After my first eight, nine or ten fights, I would beg anybody in the top?ten to just face me. When I was the number one contender across the board, the champion refused to fight me. I had to go into his backyard after he captured the world by winning the heavyweight championship. I said, ‘Roy, you might be standing tall today, but we all know that you did not take a step up in competition. Rather, you took a step down. You are avoiding your biggest challenge.’ I prophesized that when I asked him, ‘When am I going to get my chance at history?’ He said ‘what history?’  I said ‘the history I will earn after I knock you out.’”

Knocking out Roy Jones with a single punch was a dream-come-true for Antonio Tarver.

“Now I am telling the world that I am on a mission,” Tarver declared. “My dream does not begin and end with Roy Jones. He just happened to be the man in my way. I was the first to really challenge Roy Jones. I was the first to really challenge his myth, his image, his status. I challenged everything Roy Jones could have brought, because I believed in myself. I always felt that I was the better fighter. I proved that on November 8, regardless of who they say won that fight, and November 8 allowed me to knock Roy Jones out May 15, and whatever happened after that was just a formality.”

Kayoing Jones was the accomplishment of a lifetime, but Tarver is not resting on his laurels.

“I see way past that,” he said. “You are looking at history in the making. I want the world to recognize Antonio Tarver as one of the best, one of the greatest that ever lived. You know why? Because I am fighting the second-best light heavyweight in the world and we are going to get it on to see who is the ultimate champion. When you get two people who in their hearts feel that they are the best, that is trouble. I know it is going to be tough. He is not going to quit and I am not going to quit. When my hand is raised, then they can bring on the next guy, because I will continue to accept the challenges ? the big challenges ? and when it is all said and done you will have to respect me as one of the best whoever did it. I know that there are a lot of stars in Los Angeles, but on December 18, I will be the biggest star shining.”

Ringside will be a star-studded. Tarver’s fists will do the talking in LA.

“I think I’ve perfected the sweet science,” said the champ. “When you look at boxing, it’s to hit and not be hit, and I think my biggest asset is my reflexes, and then again my mind, thinking in the ring. That’s carried me through my amateur days and even in my professional days. I can box. I can punch. I’m a great counterpuncher. I’ve really studied the sport, the sweet science of the game, and I’ve tried to perfect it.”

Tarver was stripped of his titles for making this fight, for doing it his way rather than the man’s.

“It was a tough decision, but when you look at the big picture, I think, when it’s all said and done, first and foremost you have to take care of business, because that’s all you’re going to have when the crowds stop cheering and the lights are out. I feel I have to make this statement, because I think Glen and I right now have lightening in the bottle and I don’t think this fight could have ever been as big as it is now. We’re taking advantage of the moment and I think the winner of this fight comes out better for it. Regardless of who wears those belts, the world will know there’s only one champion out there after December 18.”

Tarver is the champion – no matter what anyone says.

“The way I look at it, you can’t take any of those belts to pay your light bill or feed the kids,” Tarver said. “But there’s the tradition, so they are very important. I’m coming back for my championships. Make no mistake about it. As long as I reign at the light heavyweight division, I’m gonna get my belts back. And I plan on getting all of them back.”

Many hope Tarver will move up in weight to start battling with the big boys.

“It all depends on what opportunities come my way. I’m not dumb by any means. I’m a businessman. They gave Roy Jones $10 million to go fight what some call the least talented heavyweight champ in history in John Ruiz. I’m using that as a measuring stick. I’m a transcender and I’m looking to transcend the game,” Tarver said. “So I’m listening.”

We too are listening, because Tarver talks the talk. We are also watching, because Tarver walks the walk.

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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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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