Connect with us

Articles of 2004

Heavyweight Madness



Led by their own heavyweight inside, the University of Connecticut wrapped up it's second NCAA hoops title riding on the broad shoulders of Emeka Okafor. By besting Georgia Tech on Monday night in San Antonio, Texas, the Huskies are the undisputed champs.

But it's much more muddled in the heavyweight division in boxing. When Lennox Lewis decided to hang'em up a few months back, it opened up the floodgates to a cast of characters scrambling around to call themselves a heavyweight 'champion'. While the various titles will be fought and filled after a flurry of heavyweight title fights, we still wont have a true heavyweight champion.

But we will come a bit closer to filling out our heavyweight brackets.

APRIL 10TH- Lamon Brewster vs. Wladimir Klitschko: Now, this here is for the vacant WBO, which somehow always seems to end up in the hands of one of the Klitschko's because of their promoter Peter Kohl, who seems to wield a lot of influence on the Puerto Rican based sanctioning body.

Brewster, by definition of the Muhammad Ali Act, shouldn't even be fighting for any title since it's been more than a year since he's fought. But this being boxing, the show will go on. In fact, it was only a couple of fights ago that Klitschko himself was getting sent to the canvas repeatedly against Corrie Sanders last March in losing this title. He was on the canvas so often against the southpaw South African, you almost thought he was one of the fights sponsors.

Sanders, would eventually vacate the title and is facing Wlad's brother later this month for the WBC crown.

Klitschko is a huge favorite, about 10-to-1, but then, so was Sanders last year. Brewster has heavy hands and Klitschko's chin can now be called suspect. Klitschko, if he were a car would be terrible if he were a automobile going down the wrong way in a one way zone, why? Because he has no reverse gear. If Brewster can back up the big Ukrainian early, I think he's a live, live dog.

APRIL 17TH- Chris Byrd vs. Andrew Golota( IBF) and Fres Oquendo vs. John Ruiz( WBA): The best thing I can say about these two fights being held on the same night on Don King's card in Madison Square Garden is that at least they're taking place on the same night. It would be a shame to spread these fights over several weekends. For boxing fans, it will be like getting both your flu and tetanus shots on the same visit to the doctor.

Poor Chris Byrd, you think that winning a title would have finally given him the leverage to make some of the marquee names in the division have the gumption to fight him. Instead, he's remains as appealing as the IRS does every April 15th. It's bad enough that King hasn't paid Byrd his contracted minimum since winning the title( around $2.5 million) but then he sticks him with freak shows like Golota- who shouldn't come anywhere near a title shot or the Madison Square Garden for that matter- to sell a few seats and squeeze out some more pay-per-view buys.

The media has been highly critical of the undeserving Golota getting a shot at the title, and rightfully so, but what's unfortunate is that Byrd has been ostracized for accepting the fight. This guy can't win for losing. Hey, there's no doubt that Golota deserves a title shot as much as Saddam Hussein deserves a Noble Peace Prize, but the bottom line is, Byrd still has a right to earn a living and put food on the table.

But here's an interesting and altogether realistic scenario, what if Byrd manages to frustrate Golota like so many of his past opponents. I mean, there is a chance, that perhaps, feeling frustrated and angry, that Golota starts to hit Byrd a bit below the border. And then, who knows, anger and chaos mix and some civil unrest occurs and then….
Nah, that could never happen. Not with Andrew Golota and the Madison Square Garden involved.

In the other heavyweight title fight on that bill, a pair of Puerto Ricans duke it out for the WBA title, when John Ruiz faces Fres Oquendo.

Now, how's this for an eye-opening statistic: Ruiz is now a two-time WBA heavyweight champion. Yup, due to the maneuverings and machinations of King, Ruiz, after getting spanked by Roy Jones last year, was able to regain his crown after downing Hasim Rahman last December. Talk all you want about expansion diluting the pitching in major league baseball, tell me that boxing and it's proliferation of titles hasn't watered down this game. Now, that's not to say that every single titlist in the current game is undeserving, to the contrary, but the reality is that it's most pronounced in the heavyweight division because there are not enough solid fighters to go around to keep these belts warms.

Think about it, in any other division, is Ruiz a multiple time champion? I think not.

Stylistically, this is about as bad a match-up as you can make. They say that styles make fights. Well, these styles may set back heavyweight boxing back a hundred years. Both Ruiz and Oquendo are awkward fighters who are prone to being involved in ugly fights. Some guys like Ali and Frazier went together like peanut butter and jelly. Ruiz and Oquendo go together like the cold and flu.

And it's boxing fans who may become ill in watching this one. I don't know who the winner is in this one, but I do know who the losers will be.

The fans that have to sit through it.

APRIL 24- Vitali Klitschko vs. Corrie Sanders: Now, many are calling this bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, 'the' heavyweight championship fight. Which might be true to a certain degree. With a win, either Sanders or Klitschko can make a strong claim to being the worlds number one big man.

But let's get this clear, it does not make them the heir apparent to Lewis just yet. Remember, Lewis retired before he was beat again, so neither man can claim the all-important( well, at least in the heavyweight division) linear crown and neither Sanders or Klitschko have cleaned out the division like Lewis did in the previous decade.

Whoever wins this bout, to gain recognition as the one and only heavyweight champion, must go out and defeat at least some of the names mentioned above. Unless of course both Klitschko's win, then all bets are off, since both brothers have vehemently stated that they will never fight each other. Which is completely understandable. And if Sanders should pull off another upset, he'll become the champion of the Klitschko's, but not the world.

This is an interesting battle, Sanders again is dangerous early with his left-handed power which befuddled Wladimir. But you get the sense that if Klitschko can acclimate himself to that style and take the fight into the later rounds that he will surge to a victory. It's all about getting out of the early rounds, something that his brother couldn't do.
So there you have it, a plethora of heavyweight title fights. Unfortunately, even after all this, we still wont have one true heavyweight champion.

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.”

Continue Reading