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Articles of 2004

It'll Kostya



Beating undisputed jr. welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu doesn't look that hard. I mean, he's got that awkward looking eastern European amateur style that makes him look so hittable. And his deliberate and patient style can make him vulnerable to movement and to slick boxers. But while you may have some success against him early on, pretty soon you'll start to feel the heat and you will eventually get burnt.

Such was the case this past weekend in Melbourne, Australia when world-class veteran Jesse James Leija challenged Tszyu in front of 35,000 rabid Tszyu fans. Leija put up a spirited fight early on, beating Tszyu to the punch and out-hustling him in exchanges from in close. It seemed for a moment that that plucky vet was on the verge of a huge upset.

But alas, Tszyu's strength and heavy hands would regain control in rounds five and six and pretty soon, Leija, who hails from San Antonio, Texas, was like Daniel Crockett holding off the masses at the Alamo. Leija surrendered to what he said was a punctured eardrum. Most observers had the fight close at the end of six rounds but it was clear as day that Tszyu had begun to physically impose his will on Leija and had started to punish him with his array of straight right hands and left hooks.

Leija had his moments throughout four rounds against 'the Thunder from Down Under'; Zab Judah, had his way for one round against him; but so far, only Vince Phillips has had enough to successfully hold off Tszyu and his imposing presence.

You may have your way with Tszyu here and there, or early on, but good luck doing it for 12 rounds. Like the old Georgetown Hoya's full-court press, Chinese water torture or Edwin Moses' finishing kick, Tszyu will eventually overcome whatever resistance you may have and make you succumb.

It's inevitable.


So what are the chances of this blockbuster happening this year? Well, Tszyu fights exclusively for the Showtime network and Gatti has been an HBO staple for years. But HBO doesn't have an exclusive multi-fight deal with Gatti and it isn't out of the realm of possibility for Gatti to go over to Showtime. But the only problem with that scenario is that Showtime- whose budget has always been significantly smaller than HBO's- is going through budget cuts in it's boxing department. It's highly doubtful that Showtime could come up with the needed money to make that fight.

There are rumors throughout the industry that Showtime would be willing to let Tszyu fight on HBO for a fee since they wouldn't be able to make that fight anyway. But there would still be a question if HBO would be willing to put up the necessary licensing fee to make that fight on their 'Championship Boxing' series. This fight may have to go on pay-per-view, which is always a risk since there would be no guaranteed money for the fighters at that point.

Another problem in making that fight is that both fighters on their respective networks make huge money and don't really need to meet each other to hit the jackpot. Which means that if they were to face off, they would have to be paid significantly – which means in the neighborhood of two million big ones. If not, Gatti and his people are perfectly content to keep fighting on HBO and make a million bucks. For the rematch with Micky Ward, he got around $1.2 million and you can assume he will make right around that same amount in June when his next HBO fight comes up. The same applies to Tszyu on Showtime.

And then there's this quandary, while Tszyu has all the belts, it's Gatti that has the box-office appeal in the United States. Tszyu hasn't come close to being embraced by the American public, while Gatti has been a fan favorite for years. So the question is, what is the more forceful negotiating chip- the titles or the ability to draw?

You can guarantee that both managements would argue their points till they were blue in the face. The jr. welterweight division is loaded from top to bottom but clearly this would be the marquee fight in this weight class. But with the advanced age of both boxers, you get the feeling that if it isn't made by this fall, we may never see Tszyu-Gatti.


Did anyone see Mohammed Abdullaev on Tszyu's undercard this past weekend? Abdullaev blew out former lightweight titlist Phillip Holiday in four punishing rounds to improve to 11-0.

Abdullaev has been overshadowed by the likes of other 140-pound prospects like Ricardo Williams and Miguel Cotto, perhaps because Williams is an American and Cotto is Puerto Rican. Abdullaev is from the faraway land of Uzbekistan; but remember, Abdullaev easily downed both of these guys on his way to a gold medal in the 2000 Olympic Games.

I was there ringside in Sydney and trust me, this guy is a machine, who under the guidance of world-class trainer Kenny Adams is only getting better and better.

Abdullaev, who is promoted by Vlad Wharton (who also has Tszyu), could very well be the heir apparent to Tszyu.


You may not like Floyd Mayweather's personality, you may not be particularly enamored of his style or his antics, but you gotta give him this- he doesn't duck anybody.

'The Pretty Boy', who is the current WBC lightweight titlist, will be facing WBA belt-holder Leo Dorin at the Madison Square Garden on April 19th in a unification title.

Since the beginning of 2001, he has faced the likes of Diego Corrales, Carlos Hernandez, Jesus Chavez and Jose Luis Castillo twice. That's two highly respected champs in Corrales and Castillo, and two solid pro's in Hernandez and Chavez.

And now he's facing Dorin, who is universally regarded as one of the games better lightweights.

You can say a lot of things about Mayweather, but you can't say he doesn't take tough fights.

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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