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Articles of 2004

Mike Tyson: A Matter Of Head And Body

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Recently I wrote that I believe former Heavyweight Champ Mike Tyson will give it his all in what is certainly his last chance to right his career. The Tyson return begins on July 30th when he fights British Heavyweight Danny Williams. Obviously, we all know that Williams is not a world-beater. However, I will give Tyson a pass on this fight. He hasn't really fought in over two years and shouldn't be expected to take on one of the world's Heavyweight elite, at least not in his first fight. At age 38, Tyson must be methodical in this comeback.

This is a crucial time for Tyson — he certainly can't afford any slip up. An unforeseen loss at this time would be catastrophic for him. Although I'm in the minority, I've always felt that even when he was in his prime, Tyson could lose on any given night to almost anybody. Buster Douglas proved this 14 years ago. Some say Tyson wasn't right, or Douglas was great that night and could've beaten some other past former greats as he did Tyson. That is a theory that I definitely don't endorse. Had Douglas been fighting Holyfield, Lewis, or Bowe instead of Tyson in Tokyo that night, he would've been beaten soundly. Tyson's mental frailty has always been his weakness. If his confidence is shaken during the fight, especially early, he is vulnerable to being defeated by any decent Heavyweight.

Mike Tyson is an attacking, swarming, pressure fighter. Like Rocky Marciano and Joe Frazier before him, he is short for a Heavyweight. Although he is listed at 5'11″, he is really 5'10″. I've stood next to him many times, and he is 5'10″ tops. In fact, if you've seen Tyson standing next to Joe Frazier, who is a legitimate 5″11″, Frazier looks more like former New York Knicks great Walt Frazier next to him. Short fighters with short reaches have to get inside to be effective. They must be busy pushing the fight to get inside. But there is a price to pay for coming in against a taller fighter with a longer reach. That price is being vulnerable to getting tagged on the way in.

The swarmer must use constant head and upper body movement, while getting under his opponent and working his body. To do this for any sustained period, the swarmer must be in supreme shape. Regardless of who he is, Marciano, Frazier, or Tyson, the swarmer must work twice as hard as his usually taller and longer opponent to make his lack of height and reach work for him. It can't be emphasized enough how much Tyson will have to be in top shape during this tour of the Heavyweight division. If he tires, he becomes stationary and upright, putting himself in range for his opponents incoming punches. Even though he has a sturdy chin, when Tyson starts to get hit with regularity, his confidence and focus start to wane.

Tyson must also focus on his weight. When he first won the title he weighed between 216-219 lbs. However, that was when he was 20 years old. In his last fight versus Clifford Etienne back in February of 2003, he was around 225 lbs. No doubt the 216-219 lb. range is probably unrealistic, but no way should he be over 225 lbs. I'd say 222-224 lbs. is probably what he should shoot for. With Tyson's weight down, he'll maintain his hand speed.

Tyson will also have to try and be busy letting his hands go, something else that requires a fighter to be in peak shape. Throughout his career Tyson's main asset has been his accuracy and speed. Most feel that Tyson is a one punch knockout artist, but he really isn't. Granted, he's a great two handed puncher, but there have been better one punch knockout artists throughout Heavyweight history.

The thing that made Tyson unique from other punchers was that his hands were extremely fast. It's more that his opponents didn't see his punches coming along with the fact that he was very accurate. For Tyson to have a chance in this pedestrian Heavyweight division, his mental state and conditioning will be paramount. That's certainly no secret, but they must be the focus of his preparation in training. Somebody in Tyson's brain-trust better instill in him that he must have his weight down, he can't just look for one punch and he can't fight lazy. He also must not panic if things don't go his way early. I have no doubt that some of Tyson's opponents are going to try and catch him with something big early in the fight, in hopes to possibly shake his confidence.

The way I see it, Tyson does have a shot to be a factor again in the division. Nothing is more important than him getting his mind and body in sync. If Tyson can get in good enough shape to bring the head movement back and fight for three minutes every round, he'll give himself the best chance to succeed.

Finally, someone better prepare Tyson mentally and emotionally. The upper-tier Heavyweights no longer fear Tyson. They now go into the ring believing they can beat him, which is a must when facing Tyson. That's why he better be ready to battle through adversity when he is confronted with it this time around. Believe me, Tyson's will and character will be more than tested in this final leg of his career. Nothing can prepare him better mentally than knowing when he enters the ring that he's in the best possible shape he could be in.

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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