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Articles of 2004

James Toney – The Interviews Are Great, But How About Fighting

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I recently caught Heavyweight contender James “Light Out” Toney being interviewed. During the interview Toney was certainly at his brilliant best verbally. During the interview Toney trashed just about every fighter out there, Vitali Klitschko, Chris Byrd, Vassiliy Jirov, Bernard Hopkins and Antonio Tarver just to name a few. In the interview, Toney said, “I'll knock Vitali's ass out,” he referred to Chris Byrd as “bitch Byrd,” said that Lamon Brewster is “straight sh*t from the bowl,” and about Antonio Tarver, ” I'd break that skinny bitch a new assh*le.” Don't get me wrong, I loved the trash talking of Muhammad Ali back in the day. Like Ali, the NBA's Charles Barkley was also a blast to listen too.

The way I see it, there is a differences between Ali and Barkley, not that Barkley was on Ali's level but, Ali and Barkley did there trash talking with a twinkle in their eye. Unlike Toney, who either does it to get attention or is just plain and simple a mean spirited guy. I don't even have a problem if Toney's rants come from a mean spirited and nasty disposition. The problem I have is that Toney hasn't risen to the level yet as a Heavyweight fighter where he sounds anything but foolish kicking sand on some of today's top Heavyweights, despite the lack of outstanding fighters currently ranked at the top of the division. During the 1960's and 1970's, Ali was often quoted as saying, “It ain't braggin if you do it.” Toney hasn't done it yet, at least not in the Heavyweight division.

I know that Toney is the darling of the fans in the Heavyweight division right now, and I more than recognize his ability and skill as a fighter. No doubt Toney is truly an outstanding/great fighter, who has a cast-iron chin and an indomitable will. Those are all indisputable facts, but to me the burden of proof is still on James Toney regarding his place in the Heavyweight division. Yes, I know Toney took Evander Holyfield apart in his last fight, and there is much to be said for any fighter who takes Holyfield apart. But the fact of the matter is the Holyfield that Toney beat was the same relic of a fighter as the Louis that Marciano knocked out and the Ali that Holmes pummeled. The last time Holyfield resembled anything close to a great fighter was in November of 1997 when he stopped Michael Moorer.

After 1997 Holyfield looked bad against Vaughn Bean, ring worn against Lennox Lewis in 1999, and totally shot in his trilogy with John Ruiz. Other than a few rounds in his fight with Hasim Rahman, Holyfield has been an empty package. He looked like Joe Louis against Ezzard Charles when he met Chris Byrd, and like the Ray Leonard who fought Hector Camacho in 1996 when he faced Toney. By the time Toney beat Holyfield, he was seven years removed from being anything close to the Holyfield that history will look back on as an all-time great Heavyweight.

However, Toney continues to trash Vitali Klitschko and Chris Byrd, like his resume even comes close to theirs regarding accomplishments in the Heavyweight division. In the Heavyweight division Toney has exactly one win, over an even more eroded Holyfield than the one Byrd beat 11 months earlier. Compare that to Byrd who holds a win over the perceived best Heavyweight in the World, Vitali Klitschko. I know that Klitschko was leading in his fight versus Byrd and lost because of a shoulder injury. The fact is Byrd was in there with him and hadn't been outclassed or beaten so badly that he couldn't come on and seize the fight if Klitschko broke down, and he did.

Byrd has also defeated the best two-handed puncher in the division in David Tua. I would love to have seen Toney in with the August 2002 version of Tua that Byrd gave a Boxing lesson. Byrd has also fought the two most hyped Heavyweights since Mike Tyson of 1985-86, Ike Ibeabuchi and Wladimir Klitschko. When Byrd fought Ike and Wladimir, they were at their best and many were predicting that they would own the Heavyweight division for years to come. And only Ibeabuchi went through him. I wonder if Toney would've fared any better than Byrd did versus the Ibeabuchi who Byrd faced?

Lately, Vitali Klitschko has been another target of Toney's famed verbal daggers. As of this writing Vitali is viewed in many Boxing circles as the World's top Heavyweight. This is based on his last three fights over the past year. In those fights he fought World Champ Lennox Lewis on more than even terms, he destroyed top contender Kirk Johnson in two rounds, and stopped Corrie Sanders in his last fight to win the vacant WBC title. He has also fought IBF Champ Chris Byrd when he was the most avoided fighter in the division. Although the record says he lost to Byrd, he was ahead in the fight before he injured his shoulder. Compare that to Toney's claim to fame of beating a totally washed up Evander Holyfield. I will, Toney's accomplishments are not even in the same zip code of either Klitschko or Byrd.

In his interview Toney said, “I'll knock Vitali's ass out.” I say based on what, Holyfield? Klitschko stood up to the bombs of Lennox Lewis, and never appeared close to going out. Lewis is a lifetime better puncher than Toney. Toney hit Vassiliy Jirov with a million punches and only dropped him in the last round when he was spent. I doubt Toney could hurt Vitali if he stood in front of Toney with his hands at his side and let Toney unload with his best power shots. Not to mention that Toney's quicker hands and head and shoulder feints would be a non-factor in a fight versus Vitali. Vitali is just too big and strong for Toney to out-box, and that would be Toney's only shot in a potential fight with him. His size and strength would be too much for Toney to overcome. The only question is if Toney would get stopped or make it through to hear the decision announced.

I know how good James Toney is and what he is capable of doing in the ring. However, I need to see more than him picking on a shot former great who hasn't resembled anything close to a great fighter in over seven years. Toney is funny and colorful, no doubt a plus for Boxing. It's just that his rants are becoming hollow and tiresome to me. I need to see him take apart one of the World's top Heavyweight's so I can again be entertained by his antics and rants. Who will ever forget his interview with Showtime hired Bulldog Jim Gray after his fight with Holyfield. Can't wait to see it again if and when Toney fights and possibly beats one of today's so-called Heavyweight elite.

From 1994 to 2003 Toney was all but forgotten. He proved he was still one of the World's premier fighters in the Jirov fight. After that he pushed Holyfield off the cliff, although Evander was already half way down it. With his Achilles now healed, hopefully we'll see Toney signing for a major fight soon.

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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