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Articles of 2004

Mike Tyson – A Sense Of Urgency

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In a few short weeks former Heavyweight Champ Mike Tyson will step into the ring for only the second time since being stopped by Lennox Lewis back in June of 2002. Since his title fight with Lewis, Tyson (50-4) has fought only once. In that fight he stopped Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds on February 23rd 2003.

On July 30th, Tyson fights British Heavyweight, Danny Williams (31-3) at Freedom Hall in Louisville Kentucky. Freedom Hall is best known as the Venue where Louisville native, Muhammad Ali made his pro-debut 44 years ago, on October 29th, 1960, as Cassius Clay. Ali will be in attendance on July 30th.

Last month Mike Tyson filed for bankruptcy reorganization in New York. The plan has Tyson scheduled to fight at least seven times over the next three years so he can get out of debt. Tyson is currently living in a two bedroom house in Phoenix Arizona. He has two cars and no hangers-on sucking the life out of him. It's almost unfathomable that the biggest star in Boxing since Muhammad Ali, Tyson has made over 300 million dollars in purses, has to fight until he's at least 41 just so he doesn't retire, like Joe Louis over 50 years ago did, in debt.

Since the fight with Danny Williams has been announced, Tyson has granted many interviews to Boxing journalists, something that has been rare for him since about 1987. In those interviews Tyson has come off as if he really does have his head on straight and knows exactly what it will take to straighten his life out and possibly end his career on an up note. Regardless of your feelings towards him, Tyson carried Boxing in the mid-eighties and is still its biggest star. Despite not beating a top Heavyweight since 1991, his name still creates more interest and hype than De La Hoya, Jones, or the Klitschkos.

Over the years I've been one of Tyson's biggest critics. However, I have always tried to judge Tyson strictly as a fighter. It's the fact that I don't rank Tyson as high in the all-time Heavyweight pantheon as some think he should be, that has led some to believe I don't like him. This couldn't be more wrong. As a fighter I definitely recognized Tyson's physical skills and talent. If skill alone determined greatness, Tyson would rank along side the greatest of the greats. However, skill is only a part of what makes a fighter/athlete great.

That being said, he doesn't make my all-time top ten Heavyweight ranking, although I realize a case can be made for him. I'm not from the school of thought that believes his birth right places him among the greatest of the greats as some fanatics do, but was he a great Heavyweight fighter in his prime, absolutely.

In the early eighties I came to know the late Jimmy Jacobs, who was one of the few people Tyson trusted. This came about through me buying fight tapes from Jacobs out of his New York office between 1982-86. I knew of Mike Tyson long before the Boxing public was introduced to him. I've said this before about Tyson, but due to his current situation, I think it merits repeating: when Mike Tyson is in the right frame of mind, you can't meet a more down to earth, nice guy. The real Tyson who is not being tugged at is very easy to root for and someone you want to see do well.

It's pathetic that Tyson, who was the youngest Heavyweight Champion in history, has to continue to fight into his forties to get out of debt and possibly solidify his legacy. Although Mike only has himself to blame. Tyson was a fighter who early in his career many felt by his mid-thirties would be sitting back living like a King with one of Heavyweight histories greatest legacies solidly in place. However, that is not the case today for the 38 year old Tyson.

Today Mike Tyson is in the midst of trying to take back control of his life and finances, along with hopefully resurrecting his once brilliant Boxing career. The really sad part about this is Tyson had to fall so far down the totem pole before he finally put the brakes on. It seems now Tyson knows and realizes what many Boxing observers have thought all along, that it might not be over just yet. For the last three or four years, and maybe even going back as far as his rematch with Evander Holyfield in June of 1997, it seemed Tyson was just going through the motions as far as fighting. Although he always talked a great game regarding his dedication and desire, most thought his words were hollow and that he lacked the urgency and fire it required for him to become a force in the division again.

Call me a fool, but from what I've seen and heard from Tyson over the last month, I believe we'll see the best of what he has left as a fighter. No doubt he knows that the sand is just about through the hour glass. Tyson, being a student of the sweet science, knows that short walk-in swarmers like himself usually don't realize much success after age 32. Believe me, he knows this is his last chance to do it right.

I have no doubt that Tyson looks back at past greats Rocky Marciano and Joe Frazier and realizes that they were out of Boxing long before they were 38. Marciano retired at age 32 after a tough fight with Archie Moore. The Rock saw the signs of how hard it was to continue to stay dedicated, and on top of that his body was starting to breakdown, something Tyson is also experiencing. “Smokin” Joe was never a factor or anything close to the great fighter he once was after age 31. When Frazier fought Muhammad Ali in “The Thrilla In Manila”, he was four months shy of his 32nd birthday. Whatever greatness Joe had left prior to Manila, he left in the ring of the Aranetta County Coliseum forever.

Luckily for Tyson, he has retained more of his skills than either Marciano or Frazier could've ever dreamed of in their mid to late thirties. This is mostly because he has not had a career littered with grueling fights and he has had some big gaps and periods of inactivity in between many of his bouts. Another thing that Tyson will benefit from is the fact that because he is such a draw, he can pick the right opponents along the way without being rushed. He won't have to fight a big name until he is sure he's ready because of money. As long as he stays active, the money will be there.

Since I believe that Tyson is as serious as anyone could hope for him to be about Boxing, I have to admit I'm excited about the excitement he can bring to a very pedestrian Heavyweight division. With the current status of the Heavyweight division, I don't care what anyone says or thinks, it's bad. The return of a serious Mike Tyson gives it an infusion that it sorely needs.

If Tyson stays active and fights on a regular basis, and his body doesn't break down, you'd have to be a fool to discount him and his chances of recapturing some of the old glory, if only for a fleeting moment. Tyson came into Boxing being cheered as a good guy. It's very possible he can leave as a good guy. Only Mike Tyson can determine how he leaves boxing. Again, maybe I'm being duped, but I believe Tyson will now be fighting with a sense of urgency, something he's been lacking for quite some time.

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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