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Articles of 2004

The Round Mound Hasim Rahman Won't Rebound

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With little fanfare, and less follow-up, Hasim “Rock” Rahman managed to outpoint Al “Ice” Cole this past Thursday on Rahman's home turf in Baltimore. That was about all that was “little” about Rahman that night. Once again Hasim made the Toledo's scream “holy toledo!” as he got on the scales weighing 255 pounds. He was a 'big' disappointment.

Entering the bout with Cole, Rahman had gone four fights without a win – 3 losses to go with a draw – and one would have expected the former heavyweight champion to be more prepared for the slippery veteran “Ice” Cole. As it stands now, the words “heavyweight champion” and “Hasim Rahman” fit worse than his ample waist into the trunks he wore for the Holyfield fight.

Somewhere after fighting Holyfield Hasim must have given up. The next time we saw Rahman in the ring he was 35 pounds heavier than he was against the “Real Deal,” and he hasn't pushed away a plate at the table since. Sure, he was a one-hit wonder, rocking champion Lennox Lewis in Carnival City, but his skills rightly gave the impression that he could stay near the top of the charts for a while. Not so.

Now Rahman changes trainers with more frequency than J Lo changes husbands, and he finds himself at the wrong end of the rankings and fading fast. In the fight with Cole he abandoned his power jab, which arguably is one of the best in the division when he uses it. When he did throw the jab against Cole he rocked him across the ring like a bully picking on a weakling at recess.

Instead of pummeling Cole with the jab, he wouldn't or, because of the weight, couldn't throw it more than an average of 11 times per round. Typically Rahman would punish opponents with the jab as he did in his first and second fights with David Tua and against Oleg Maskaev. Perhaps the fact that Hasim lost all three of those fights referenced above is why he doesn't use it like he could, like he should.

For seven rounds against Maskaev he was able to control the fight with the power jab, but in the eighth he got caught by a right hand and ended up through the ropes, over the announcers table and eventually came to rest on the arena floor. The trouble with doing the right thing in boxing is that you have to do it for every round – a shaky chin is an unforgiving liability that never improves no matter how many trainers you bring in.

In the first fight against David Tua, Rahman dominated the shorter one-shot wonder at a time when Tua actually let his hands go and threw punches. Despite nine rounds of Rahman rocking Tua, he was clocked as Tua landed the debilitating left hook after the bell sounded to end the ninth. Coming out on wobbly wheels Rahman was quickly disposed of in the tenth, having never regained his wits. He did everything right in that fight, but lost.

The 2003 rematch with Tua saw some of the same as Rahman worked the jab as an offensive weapon and forced Tua to keep his hands in his pockets unable to land a meaningful punch. When scoring was read 116-112 for Rahman it seemed that justice had been served. Unfortunately for the Baltimore native there was another 116-112 card – but this time for Tua – and a third card stuck at 114-114. He fought the good fight and came up empty.

So Rahman sits, waits, eats and probably changes another trainer before the year-end after being disappointed in not knocking out the durable veteran Cole. The trainer is the easiest person to blame, but Rahman need only to look down at his waist and see if he can still see his toes in order to find blame.

Post-fight he was asked about his weight being high and replied that he “could've, would've and should've” come in lighter. He didn't and it didn't seem to bother him. Barring another 'Hail Mary' finding it's mark in a big fight we have likely seen the last of what Rahman's talent promised but failed to deliver. At 31 years of age, and fading fast, it is time to close the book on how good a fighter he “could've, would've and should've” been.

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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