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Articles of 2004

Mike Tyson: The Good And Bad On June 28th

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When it comes to Mike Tyson and dates, two stand out. One of those dates represents a good and a bad day for Tyson. The other date represents what are probably the two worst days of his life. It was on February 10th, 1990 (it was still the 10th when the fight was broadcast live in the States) when Tyson was knocked out by Buster Douglas in Tokyo, losing his aura of invincibility forever. Two years later, on February 10th, 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping Desiree Washington in an Indiana Hotel room.

However, the date I want to discuss is June 28th. During his 19 year pro career, Mike Tyson has fought three rematches. It just so happens that two of them fell on the same date – June 28th. In one of those fights, he fought well and won a tough fight against a formidable and dangerous opponent. In the other rematch, exactly six years later, he fought a great opponent and the fight ended in what is possibly the most bizarre ending of any title fight ever.

June 28th, 1991 – Tyson-Ruddock II

On March 18th 1991, Tyson fought the hard-hitting, once beaten Razor Ruddock. Tyson exposed Ruddock as basically a one-armed bandit. Ruddock's bread and butter punch was his left hand “smash,” a hybrid left hook-uppercut. Tyson was just too smart and seasoned to be suckered by a fighter with only one weapon. Other than a brief Ruddock flurry at the end of the sixth round, it was Tyson's fight. In the seventh round Tyson stunned Ruddock and knocked him back against the ropes. He immediately jumped on him with a barrage of punches and Richard Steele stopped the fight with Ruddock vehemently protesting. Some believe it was a quick stoppage, but Tyson was controlling the whole fight, except for that brief Ruddock flurry in the sixth round. However, the perception that referee Richard Steele was Don King's referee, and Ruddock’s protests, led to the rematch.

On June 28th 1991,Tyson and Ruddock met for the second time. This fight went the 12 round distance, with Tyson winning a unanimous decision. There were two knockdowns in the fight, both scored by Tyson. He put Ruddock down once in the second and fourth rounds and broke Ruddock’s jaw in the process. Although Tyson won a comfortable decision, it was certainly not an easy fight for him. Ruddock fought very hard and never succumbed to Tyson's overall better skill and speed. In fact, Ruddock caught Tyson with some big “smashes” in the fight and definitely got the better of him in spurts. Although he never dropped Tyson, he did shake him pretty good on more than one occasion.

Against Ruddock, Tyson showed that he suffered no lack of confidence or harbored any self doubt against a top opponent after the Douglas defeat. Tyson appeared to be back. Ruddock was a stern test and even though it wasn't totally one sided, Tyson proved he was the better fighter and was ready to fight Undisputed Heavyweight Champ Evander Holyfield.

Shortly after he beat Ruddock in the rematch, Tyson signed to fight Evander Holyfield on November 8th of 1991. As luck would have it, Tyson hurt his rib training for the fight. In the meantime, he was charged with sexual assault. The rib injury pushed the fight back too close to the upcoming trial, so it was cancelled. Little did we know at the time that we'd end up seeing Holyfield and Tyson fight five years later on November 9th 1996.

June 28th, 1997 – Tyson-Holyfield II

Finally, after a five year delay, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield met with Tyson's WBA & WBC titles on the line. The first Tyson-Holyfield fight was outstanding and voted fight of the year by Ring Magazine. During the fight Holyfield won most of the exchanges and knocked Tyson down in the sixth round, although it was more a case of Tyson being caught while he was off balance. At the end of the tenth round, Holyfield had Tyson hurt and in real trouble. When the tenth ended, the fight basically ended and there was no way Tyson could recover during the minute in between the tenth and eleventh rounds. In the eleventh, Holyfield drilled Tyson with a right hand that buckled him and left him taking a pounding as referee Mitch Halpren moved in and stopped the fight. In the process of winning the Heavyweight title for a third time, Holyfield defeated the fighter of his era he would most often be measured against.

The Tyson-Holyfield rematch was originally scheduled for March of 1997. However, Tyson was cut in training and the fight was postponed. On June 28th, 1997, Tyson and Holyfield met for a second time. Since Tyson never fought Buster Douglas a second time, this would be the biggest fight of his career to date. This would be the only time Mike would face a fighter who beat him in a rematch. Tyson also wouldn't be able to fall back on the excuse he used after the first fight — that he underestimated Holyfield. Holyfield took him apart the first time. Tyson knew what kind of fighter he would be facing in Holyfield this time.

In their first fight, Tyson found out that he can't beat Holyfield in a long knock down, drag out type of fight. He knew he had to put a hurtin’ on Holyfield early to give himself the best chance to win. Holyfield, who didn't run away in the first fight, met Tyson head on again. The first two rounds of this fight were spirited, but clearly belonged to Holyfield. Tyson throughout his entire career has been the most dangerous in the first couple rounds, yet for the second fight in a row Holyfield not only fought back, but was bettering Tyson at the time in a fight when Tyson is at his best.

After two rounds, Holyfield was winning. No doubt Tyson knew that if Holyfield could stand up to his best in rounds one and two, he surely can handle anything Tyson had to offer the deeper the fight went. In the third round Tyson came out as if he knew that if he was going to win the fight, he had to do it soon. In that third round Tyson unloaded his best on Holyfield and again Holyfield didn't go anywhere.

Midway through the third round Tyson and Holyfield were in a clinch, when Tyson bit Holyfield on his ear. Holyfield screamed and complained to referee Mills Lane. After Lane saw the blood dripping from Holyfield's ear, he warned Tyson saying that if you do it again, you're disqualified. After one brief exchange, the fighters were in a clinch again and Tyson bit Holyfield's other ear, when Lane saw Holyfield's other ear bleeding he interrupted the fight. Shortly after halting the fight, he disqualified Tyson, which caused hysteria in the ring and among the crowd.

After the fight Tyson claimed he bit Holyfield because Holyfield kept head-butting him. I don't buy it one bit. I know Holyfield is not the altar boy he tries to pass himself off as, but the head-butting was just an excuse for Tyson to save face and get out of the fight. Funny how not once during or after the first fight between them was it even an issue.

I believe this seed was planted in Tyson's head when George Foreman appeared on ESPN's Up Close a week before Tyson-Holyfield II and said Holyfield is a dirty fighter who uses his head illegally. This gave Tyson the perfect out. He could claim he lost it because Holyfield was fighting dirty. Tyson knew his career could never recover from a second consecutive stoppage loss to his main rival, Evander Holyfield. This action was just a ploy by Tyson to cover the fact that he knew he was on his way to being stopped again by Holyfield, and that thought petrified him. It's remarkable how two of the dirtiest Heavyweight Champions in history, Foreman and Tyson, both cry about other fighters bending the rules.

June 28th, 2004 – Tyson Today

As of today, Mike Tyson is scheduled to fight British Heavyweight, Danny Williams at the end of July. Since losing the rematch to Holyfield in June of 1997, Tyson has fought 8 times, going 5-1 with 2 No-Contests. His defeat was to Heavyweight Champ Lennox Lewis in June of 2002, when he was knocked out in the eighth round.

Really, Mike Tyson has been a non factor in the Heavyweight division since June 28th 1997, seven years ago today. Yet he is still the biggest story and attraction in the sport.

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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