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Articles of 2004

A Rank Heavyweight Division

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After a flurry of heavyweight title fights in the month of April we've gotten a little clearer picture of just how this division stacks up.

Lamon Brewster, would start things off by stunning Wladimir Klitschko for the WBO belt. Then a week later in Madison Square Garden, Chris Byrd would barely hold onto his IBF belt by drawing with Andrew Golota. And John Ruiz would do his impersonation of the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, he wasn't pretty but he somehow got the job done in stopping Fres Oquendo in 11 rounds. Then, this past weekend, Vitaly Klitschko, would save his families reputation in avenging his brothers loss to Corrie Sanders in picking up the vacant WBC title.

In the aftermath of all this action, I was going to do a top ten ranking of todays heavyweights. I started analyzing things, weighing the merits of each boxer and really thinking about where they stack up. Ok, but I hit a glitch. In doing a top ten, I couldn't find ten heavyweights worthy of listing.

That's a bit of a problem, it's like having only five bucks when you go up to the register with twenty dollars worth of groceries. So being the resourceful guy that I am, I did what most of corporate America has been doing the past few years- I downsized. Since I could only come up with five heavyweights that are truly worthy of being mentioned, I did a top five. Now, I knew that division was a bit shallow, what I didn't realize until further inspection was that it's about as deep as a kiddie pool.

Outside the top five- which by the way, could change very quickly at any time- you have a cast of 'has beens', 'never weres' and question marks. It truly is a motley crew.

1- Vitaly Klitschko
THE CASE FOR KLITSCHKO: In his last three bouts, Klitschko has performed well against Lennox Lewis, Kirk Johnson and Corrie Sanders. Unlike his brother, Wladimir, Klitschko may not have the offensive skills but he has proven to be a much tougher fighter- who has overcome the stigma of quitting on his stool against Chris Byrd in 2000- and he has a much sturdier chin.

It's clear that Klitschko is a fighter who's confidence is rising and is in his physical prime.

THE CASE AGAINST HIM: Ok, on the surface, Lewis, Johnson and Sanders are a formidable trio. But you know what? Those guys were either old or out of shape, or old guys that came out of shape. How much can we really read into those victories?

And it says here, he still has unfinished business with Byrd. Say what you want, yeah, he may have been winning that whole fight, but he is the one who stopped fighting. You don't get credit for winning the 100 meter dash if you stop sprinting after 92 meters, no matter how far you're ahead.

2- Chris Byrd
THE CASE FOR BYRD: The crafty southpaw out of Flint, Michigan is one of boxing's enigma's. Here's a guy who wins a major heavyweight title and he still can't get fights. But in recent years when he has gotten the opportunity, he has beaten the likes of Evander Holyfield and David Tua.

You might loathe his style, but he's a difficult fight for anybody.

THE CASE AGAINST HIM: Have you seen his last two fights? There are a lot of folks out there who believe he has received two gift decisions against Fres Oquendo and then Andrew Golota. In the eyes of many, he has no business with the IBF belt around his waist.

3- John Ruiz
THE CASE FOR RUIZ: I've become a bit of a convert here, no, I'll never be a huge fan- or for that matter a small one- of his herky-jerky style that infuriates the audience, but I give him this, he finds way to win fights against 'name' heavyweights. After his 19-second blowout loss at the heavy hands of David Tua, he now has wins against Evander Holyfield, Hasim Rahman and Fres Oquendo on his ledger.

At the end of the day, it is results that really matter, right?

4- James Toney

THE CASE FOR TONEY: Ok, so 'Lights Out' has had only one, real, legitimate heavyweight fight, but he was impressive in dispatching Evander Holyfield like no other. No, I'm not saying Holyfield is 'the Real Deal' any longer, but who had dominated him like that? Also, let's not forget this, boxing, is a game of skill and this guy has as much as anybody in the game. He truly fits the description of an 'old school fighter'.

He'll fight anybody, anytime, anyplace.

5- Lamon Brewster
THE CASE FOR BREWSTER: The case for him begins and ends with one fight, his knockout win over Wladimir Klitschko. Coming in as a heavy underdog, he would take his best shots and then KO Klitschko with a series of left hooks. Now, the question is, is he here to stay or is he another one-hit wonder in the vain of Buster Douglas and Hasim Rahman?

THE CASE AGAINST HIM: Can you name me another good win on his record besides Klitschko? You can't because there isn't one. Also, he lost in lopsided fights to both Clifford Etienne and Charles Shufford, who aren't exactly Ali and Frazier. Brewster, needs another big win to solidify his standing as one of the games elite big men.

THE MOTLEY CREW
Ok, so who could've been in my top ten? Well, here were my choices…

– David Tua: Can anyone remember the last time he's fought? Also, even during his active era, wasn't he exposed as a one-dimensional fighter with severe limitations against classy boxers?
– Mike Tyson: Last time he was any good was when George Bush was president. The first one, without the 'Dubya'.
– Hasim Rahman: So far he's trying not to become the 21st century version of Buster Douglas.
– Jameel McCline: Has rebounded well after freezing up like a snowman against Wlad Klitschko. He is now the number one contender to Byrd's IBF belt. Based on recent history, he will give Byrd trouble.
– Joe Mesi: Two questions, one, is he any good? I mean really, is even at the level of Tommy Morrison? And secondly, will he even be permitted to fight again based on recent reports of bleeding on the brain following his bout with Vasilliy Jirov?
– Juan Carlos Gomez: This former cruiserweight titlist has skills but he really hasn't done much in the heavyweight division.
– Evander Holyfied: Now, why would I list him? Simple, because of his name you know he'll get another big fight. And if the circumstances are right, he might even win it. Crazier things have happened.

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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