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Articles of 2004

Boxer John Ruiz a Quietman ready to make noise



New York, NY – Talking with a small group from the boxing media yesterday at Carmine's Restaurant in Manhattan, WBA Heavyweight Champion John Ruiz stated that he was ready to take on the division's best fighters.

“I'm not one of the biggest heavyweights, I'm not really muscular and I don't fight pretty. So I guess I don't get much respect,” stated the humble and gracious two-time world champion, who added, “I know I've come up short a couple of times, but I'm training hard and I fight with heart!”

Ruiz (39-5-1 with 27 KO's) takes on Fres Oquendo (24-2, 15 KO's) which has been dubbed the “All-Latino Heavyweight Championship” as part of Don King's April 17th — The New Era Begins — fightcard, which will be held at boxing's greatest venue, Madison Square Garden. This bout marks the first time in boxing history that two Puerto Rican fighters have fought for the world heavyweight championship.

As Don King would say, “Only in America, and only by Don King.”
Although he regained his WBA title this past December with a unanimous 12 round decision victory over former world champion Hasim Rahman, Ruiz realizes that he will forever be remembered for his March 1, 2003 loss to then Light Heavyweight Champion Roy Jones Jr.

“It bothered me that I wasn't ready for Jones. Three days before the fight I was in another world. My personal life, my divorce, I'm always apologizing for not being ready and for letting down my friends and fans.” Ruiz also stated, “but I learned from it, from my mistakes. With Tua (a devastating 1st round knockout loss to David Tua, March 15,1996) I learned to be ready right from the very beginning of each fight.”

Now smiling, the likeable Massachusetts native added, “with Jones I learned I need to always be physically and mentally ready, and now I am.” Never too far from “my guy Johnny”, Ruiz's manager, trainer, friend, father-like figure and boxing good guy, Norman “Stoney” Stone vehemently asked, “What's Johnny got to do to get respect? Three fights with Holyfield, he beats Kirk Johnson, Rahman-with the best right hand in boxing couldn't touch him. That doesn't get respect?” Stoney then added, “Johnny doesn't fight in bars, doesn't cause trouble or get arrested. It's too bad, but that's why he doesn't get his respect.”

When Ruiz was asked about future opponents, Stoney, the perfect manager, answered, “We'd like to fight Tyson, if Mike is even going to fight. If not, we'll fight Joe Mesi in Buffalo!”

Stoney was now on a roll, “Wait till you see Johnny in this fight, he's ready. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks-well, you can if you put an electric collar around his neck, and I'm the electric collar!”

When questioned about Fres Oquendo, Stoney quickly exclaimed “Let me say this, when someone comes into your house you don't clinch with him, you don't hold him. You kick his ass – that's what Johnny is going to do. We're going to kick his (Oquendo's) ass, and I guarantee it!”

Personally, I've always respected John Ruiz and appreciate the fact that while not the biggest, strongest or most skillful of today's heavyweights, he is the most resilient and also one of the classiest. He is willing to take on anybody and always comes to fight. When you are in a fight with John Ruiz, the current and two-time World Heavyweight Champion, you know you are in fight – and you also know that Norman Stone is in his corner.

“The Next Era Begins” fightcard, which will be televised on HBO pay-per-view, will also include IBF Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd (37-2, 20 KO's) taking on Andrew Golota (38-4, 31 KO's) in an intriguing championship bout.

Welterweight World Champion Jose “El Gallo” Rivera (37-3-1 with 24 KO's) puts his WBA title belt on the line against the notorious Ricardo Mayorga (25-4-1, 23 KO's). While “El Matador” Mayorga relies heavily on bullying and intimidation he may find it very difficult to affect Rivera, who traveled to Berlin last September to capture the world title against Germany's own Michael Trabant.

And undefeated WBC Cruserweight Champion, Wayne “Big Truck” Braithwaite (20-0 with 17 KO's), will face Louis Azille (18-2-2, 15 KO's) in a title fight.

Tickets are available at the Madison Square Garden box office and all TicketMaster locations or by calling TicketMaster at (212) 307-7171, 9201) 507-8900, (631) 888-9000 or (914) 454-3380.

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List



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




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




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 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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