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Articles of 2004

The Final Curtain: Tyson, Holyfield and Jones Jr.

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The awards shows have started and the sprouts are on the boil, so the year-end must be almost upon us. Often a time of sadness and quiet reflection, it struck me as an appropriate time to bid farewell to a trio of illustrious fighters we're unlikely to see fighting, meaningfully at least, ever again.

Mike Tyson
“The lonely one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters.” (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1844-1900)

It is true to say that we haven't seen the infamous black garb for the last time just yet, but as a heavyweight of any significance his flame was extinguished for good this year. The blinkered Tyson fans still exist, not as publicly or in the same numbers as they once did, but they're out there still believing that even without Christopher Lloyd and a DeLorean Tyson could still roll back the years. Believing he could muster two rounds of the 'old' Tyson to dethrone Vitali Klitschko, if he could just go back to Kevin Rooney or get his weight down or move his head or train harder they say. Ignoring the 15 years of decline and neglect and the series of pummelings the 38 year old has endured since the halcyon days of the 80’s.

Only the delusional are prepared to believe, to buy the excuses. And not too many will be buying Tyson PPV in 2005 either.

However, to remember Iron Mike as the sad, forlorn curiosity he's now become would be to do the man a great disservice. It would be churlish to forget his illumination of an entire decade, the fact he brought a whole new audience to boxing, secured the heavyweight crown at just 21 and was arguably the most entertaining heavyweight to ever lace the gloves.

Thank you and goodnight Mike.

Evander Holyfield
”Some have been thought brave, because they were afraid to run away.” (Thomas Fuller 1608-1661)

Arguably the most maligned heavyweight of recent times, but only because the sport and the fans love him so much, the Real Deal really has stayed on too long and only the man himself believes the downward spiral he's been fighting for the past decade can be overcome.

Ugly points defeats to heavyweight belt-holders are one thing, stoppage defeats to super-middleweights and a shutout points loss to a 37 year old fringe contender both testify to the chasm that exists between now and Evander Holyfield's long lost prime. Of course, Holyfield's story should have ended with his defeat and knockdown to the game, but limited Ruiz three years ago. Honourable though Holyfield motives are – he fights for glory, not for money, having accumulated in the region of $200 million in his career – it doesn't make his quest any less ludicrous.

But like archrival Mike Tyson, boxing historians will fail Holyfield if he's remembered for recent results and not for his dominance at cruiserweight, his rise to the heavyweight summit and his willingness to tackle heavyweights against whom he was nearly always physically out-gunned. His trilogy with Bowe stands comparison with any modern day series and his exposure of the Tyson myth when supposedly finished is testimony to his technique, strength, work ethic and willpower.

It appears a suspension for his own protection is the only way to keep the 42 year old from continuing on his quest for a fifth world title and thankfully somebody has now given it a try. Inevitably, Holyfield has challenged it.

Thanks for the memories Evander.

Roy Jones Jr.
“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.” (Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss 1904-1991)

Will we ever see the jewel of the nineties back in a ring? His ego and history dictate that we will, but as a stellar attraction he's as done as done gets. But lest we forget just 18 months ago he was being mentioned as the greatest fighter ever to grace a ring. In the UK, respected Boxing News editor, Claude Abrams, for one, proclaimed that he was following the historic victory over John Ruiz.

The cynics heckled from the sidelines, waiting and watching patiently for either Father Time or a big puncher to finally catch up. Sadly they both did and on the same night, and Glen Johnson, a fighter Jones would have toyed with in his prime, repeated the trick just to be sure the message got home. Sadly for Roy the inescapable truth was his unorthodox style, built on the quicksand of reflex and youth, would eventually leave him up to his neck in the sticky stuff if he stayed too long. And so it came to pass.

It’s sad that the final memory of Jones will be of him prone on the canvas, a crushing reminder that nobody can escape the clutches of Father Time indefinitely. But to remember the consensus future hall of famer in this way would be cruel; a man who barely lost a round for a decade, who turned back the challenge of contenders as capable as James Toney, Mike McCallum, Bernard Hopkins and Virgil Hill and did it all with dazzling panache.

Cheers for the artistry Roy, and farewell.

As you reach for the 2005 wall planners and indigestion tablets this Christmas, remember this trio of ring greats for whom 2004 represented the final curtain and for the joy they brought.

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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