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Articles of 2004

Boxing Reform Scuttled by Don King

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Professional boxing looks like it's on the verge of being regulated by the federal government, but despite a deal being cut by opposing Senators John McCain and Harry Reid, promoter Don King has ladled out plenty of money to make sure that President Bush never signs the historic bill.

King also cut a deal with Republicans to raise money for the party and even recorded a campaign commercial, that's done under the guise of a boxing match with King doing the blow-by-blow, lambasting Bush's Democratic opponent John Kerry.

McCain, the Vietnam war hero and ex POW who was hideously tortured and did 5 1/2 years in captivity, has championed boxing reform for nearly a decade, though it has done nothing for him politically.

“King and (Bob) Arum don't want boxing reform, but we're going to win because there are going to be more scandals,” McCain says.

McCain, a maverick Republican, chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, and his boxing reform bill passed last year by unanimous vote. But before it could be voted upon by the full Senate, the bill was bottled up by Reid for a year, after King and Arum had given Reid a total of $50,000 in campaign contributions.

McCain's bill, which would've greatly cleaned up the game, called for the establishment of a United States Boxing Administration, under the auspices of the Department of Labor. It would've licensed pro fighters, managers, promoters and the scandal-marred sanctioning outfits, which have been a cancer on the sport and have helped destroy boxing’s credibility. Under McCain's USBA, if a violation had occurred, someone's license could've been pulled.

King, however, was desperate that it didn't happen. Though Blacks made up just 9% of Bush's Republican vote in 2000, and Bush has refused to meet with the NAACP for four long years, King lauded Republicans for their “inclusion” and recently hosted a Republican National Committee fundraiser at his Deerfield, Florida mansion where twenty-five couples paid $25,000 a piece, and generated $625,000 for the bulging Republican coffers. But according to public records, King's own campaign contributions prove that the only thing he's trying to really buy is influence.

On January 13, 2004, King gave $25,000 to the “Republican National Committee,” yet on December 22, 2003 he ponied up $5,000 to the “Nevada Senate Campaign,” which is just a euphemism for Reid, a Democrat. King gave another $5,000 on December 22 to the “Democratic Senate Campaign,” but that was cancelled out by the $5,000 he gave on August 12, 2003 for the “National Republican Senate Campaign.”

King has constantly been accused of cheating his fighters, but on December 30, 2003 King gave two separate checks of $2,000 a piece to a gent named Jewitt Bradley. Yet, on August 12, 2003, this fervent backer of George Bush gave Carol Mosely Braun's hapless Democratic presidential campaign $2,000. On June 16, 2002 King gave George W. Bush, the President of the United States, another $2,000, which is the individual maximum allowed by the confusing campaign finance laws. Though Missouri Democrat Dick Gephardt was also after Bush's job, King gave him money as well.

King even gave $2,000 to then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi. Lott was another conservative Republican, and he'd been lambasted for his ties to the White Citizens Council, a watered down version of the Ku Klux Klan. But as Senate Majority Leader, Lott could kill a bill that King didn't like.

The flag-waving King gets away with parroting the cliché about Bush's “steady leadership,” but if King has sold his soul, then his “record” is fair game for public scrutiny.

While King blasts Kerry, who has a privileged background and Yale education, the facts show that while King was in the illegal numbers business in Cleveland with organized crime figure Moe Dalitz, Kerry was wounded three times in Vietnam and was awarded three purple hearts. He also won the Bronze Star and Silver Star for bravery when he served in the Navy.

Kerry's commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. George Elliot, lauded the Massachusetts junior Senator, and claims, “He effectively suppressed enemy fire and is unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action.”

King has 'killed in action' too. On April 20, 1966 he kicked a junkie named Sammy Garrett to death on the mean streets of Cleveland. Garrett's last words were reportedly, “Please Donald, “I'll pay you the money.”

King outweighed Garrett by 100 pounds. King had a pistol, while Garrett had tuberculosis and one kidney.

In December 1954, King shot Hillary Brown to death after Brown and two henchman tried to stick up one of King's illegal gambling joints on East 23rd Street. It was ruled “justifiable homicide.”

King went to prison for beating Garrett to death, but was facing life. Suddenly, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer screamed, “Judge Cuts Hood's Murder Penalty” and King got off with just three years and eleven months.

King went right back into the rackets, claims longtime boxing figure Don Elbaum, before he took over boxing. Yet while Kerry organized the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, testified in front of Congress, eventually prosecuted criminals as a District Attorney and became a United States Senator, in the early 1990s King took the Fifth Amendment against possible self-incrimination before a Senate Subcommittee investigating boxing. He refused to clarify what his relationship was with Mafia Godfathers Paul Castellano and John Gotti.

A Mob snitch, Michael Franzese, testified that he was present when King told Castellano, who then ran New York City, they'd “Never lose money on any deal they had together.”

In 1981, Richie Giachetti, who'd trained Larry Holmes and others in King's boxing stable, went to Mike Marley of the New York Post because he feared being murdered by King.

“I'm fearful of my life,” Giachetti said, in Marley's shocking story. “I think they would try to make it look like a mugging. A bombing, an outright killing, would be too obvious. The Mob guys have come to see me. My family is very scared and my two kids are upset. I make sure I don't go out alone.”

Marley, however, later went to work as King's publicity man.

While President Bush and Vic President Dick Cheney speak often of “law and order,” money is the mother's milk of politics and Republican National Committee spokeswoman, Tara Wall calls King “a patriot.”

King tried to pay off McCain in 2000, offering him $1 million towards his cash-starved Presidential campaign, but McCain laughed at him and Bush won the Republican nomination. Officially, King has come out against federal control of boxing because it “hurts the entrepreneurial spirit of the sport.” But if you believe King's former fighters like Tim Witherspoon, Saul Mamby and Tom “Boom Boom” Johnson, they were forced to take on Don's step-son, Carl King as their “manager.” Under the law this is racketeering. Despite the “Ali Act,” which mandates that a “firewall” exist between promoter and manager, Carl King still “manages” fighters who only fight for Don King.

Don King and Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie recently began an “Economic Empowerment Tour” in Detroit.

“We're going to talk about how we can make that change, to educate and uplift and enlighten our people,” King said piously.

If you don't believe him, just ask Terry Norris and Mike Tyson. King recently settled out of court with Norris for $2.5 million, after Norris found out he was fighting under sweetheart contracts. King held the deed to his manager's ranch. King agreed to pay off Tyson $14 million, after Tyson proved that his “managers,” John Horne and Rory Holloway, were also on King's payroll and he was fighting for short money.

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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