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Articles of 2004

Damaged Goods – But Which One Is It?

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By October two fighters are going to be pretty sure about where they stand in the sport of boxing. One will likely hang the boxing gloves up for good while the other will be thrown back into the pile of fighters about whom we ask, “who invited him anyway?”

The fight in question is the Tito Trinidad comeback bout, as he takes on free swinging Ricardo Mayorga. For Mayorga, it will be his second consecutive bout moving up in weight as he has gone from 147 to 154 to 160 in less than a year. Trinidad will be marking his comeback to the ring after a retirement that will have lasted over two years. Questions abound as to what each man is thinking in making this fight – it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense for Trinidad, though for Mayorga it does make cents.

Ricardo Mayorga has gone from escaping Nicaragua for the higher standard of living of the sweaty gyms of San Jose, Costa Rica, to being Don King's meal ticket to the Welterweight crown, to having a big money shot at a potentially shot Felix 'Tito' Trinidad. But does he have a shot?

Judging by his performance in last fight against late-sub Erik Mitchell, one might suggest he does not. Looking back at his consecutive wins over Vernon Forrest and his blow out of Andrew 'Six Heads, No Chin' Lewis, it says here that he does. Mayorga fought Mitchell in his last bout at 155, having shown up at the weigh-in for his bout with Jose Antonio Rivera 6.5 pounds over the Welterweight limit.

Truth is Ricardo Mayorga had no intention of fighting Rivera, as it seems he never wanted anything to do with him having previously ducked him behind the guise of an injury. While 'El Matador' got past Mitchell, it wasn't an overly impressive display. The question of whether Mayorga carries more power at 147 than 155 is a valid one. So how much power he will carry at 160 makes one skeptical.

Going hand-in-hand with Mayorga's wild power shots – he has 23 wins by the short route in 27 fights – is the equation:

Mayorga's KO power + Trinidad's chin + two years of ring rust = ?

The last time we remember seeing Tito in the ring he was being defeated, beaten, and punished at the hands (literally) of 'The Executioner' Bernard Hopkins. I said that's last time we remember.

Officially his last fight was a fourth round TKO of Frenchman Hassine Cherifi in May of 2002, but it certainly wasn't memorable. How Trinidad will come back from such a long time out of the ring in a real fight against a puncher is what makes this one interesting. You see, Felix's whiskers have failed him in the past but he has gotten up off the canvas to go onto win, aside from the previously mentioned execution.

Among the fighters who have dropped Trinidad are the names: de las Mercedes Cortes, Yory Boy, Oba and Luesching – in addition a few you may recognize such as David Reid and Fernando Vargas – but fighters like de las Mercedes Cortes and Luesching are the 'who's who' of 'who are they?'. While Reid and Vargas are or were well-known fighters, both have no chin and were eventually knocked out. Come October Mayorga has a chance to dent the Boricua's Mona Lisa . . . and then what happens? Mayorga has proven that he can take a shot, to the point of sticking out his chin and asking for it.

If Trinidad wins without taking much abuse he may stay around for a few more battles, including a rematch with De La Hoya and then possibly Hopkins again, should he be a glutton for punishment. In losing, Mayorga likely would take his money and drop back down to 154 and see what King can arrange for him. Questions would no doubt emerge as to whether Mayorga was any good to begin with.

In hindsight, beating Lewis was not that big a deal as Antonio Margarito starched Lewis inside two rounds, and 'Six Heads' hasn't been seen since. Some feel that Mayorga lost to Forrest in the rematch after catching him by surprise in the first bout. If Mayorga does beat Tito then it will likely be the last we see of Trinidad, while Ricardo will probably trash talk his way into an appearance on “The Price Is Right” and a “Showcase Showdown” for the right to lose to either De La Hoya or Hopkins and an even bigger payoff.

A knockout by either fighter and the loser gets stamped 'damaged goods.' Oddsmakers suggest that it will be 'El Matador' who will have “expired” tattooed on his forehead after October 2nd.

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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