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Articles of 2004

The Return Of Mike Tyson Starts After Williams

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On Friday night former Heavyweight Champ Mike Tyson fights for only the second time in the last 25 months. As with all fights involving Tyson, there is much talk and anticipation.

Tyson's opponent is British Heavyweight, Danny Williams (31-3). Williams' name cannot be found in anybody's top ten ranking. The fact that Williams is unranked means absolutely nothing regarding this fight. Boxing fans haven't seen much of Tyson in the ring lately and are hungry to see him again and find out if he has anything left as a world class fighter. The upcoming fight with Williams is viewed by many boxing observers as the beginning of what is most likely Tyson's final comeback attempt. At least that much can be taken seriously. That being said, I believe the real test for Tyson begins Saturday July 31st, the day after the fight. I'll explain why shortly.

The build up for this fight will really start to gain momentum as the week winds down. I'll bet ESPN and their fair weather boxing coverage will be all over the fight. ESPN the television network is all about headlines and ratings, and Mike Tyson provides both. I'm sure ESPN is aware that this might be Tyson's last run up to a possible title shot, so you can bet ESPN will be littered with Tyson coverage in order to cash in.

When the bell rings for round one Friday night, all viewing eyes will be focused squarely on Tyson. Those watching will scrutinize his every move, making mental notes on what he does and doesn't do during the fight. They'll be looking to see if he is exhibiting head and upper body movement, as a way to gauge his defense. No doubt his hand speed will be something to watch, along with his punch output. Those watching will be looking to see if he is throwing multiple punch combinations, or is he loading up looking to end the fight with one big shot — in essence, fighting lazy. His stamina will also be something of concern. If Tyson has to fight more than a few rounds, will he start to fade and get sloppy?

In most Tyson fights, his mental stability is usually an issue if he is forced to fight into the later rounds. If he is hit hard or met with serious resistance by Williams, how will he react? How about if Williams realizes some success offensively, will Tyson get frustrated and resort to arm bending, hitting on the break and after the bell? Those are just some of the things many will be looking out for. One thing that shouldn't be an issue is Tyson's power. I'm sure it is still formidable. You can be sure if Tyson were to lose, it won't be because his power deserted him.

I'm here to tell you not to strain your eyes too hard getting caught up in scrutinizing any one of those things too closely. In this fight they won't tell us much, if anything, about Tyson the fighter. The important thing in this fight is for Tyson to go out and get the win in a convincing fashion. Look, it's not news to anyone that Williams is not in Tyson's league as a fighter, that's why he was chosen. Whatever Tyson does right in this fight, as long as it lasts, won't tell us anything. Against Williams his technique and execution, despite being rusty, shouldn't be an issue. Most likely it will be the rust and inactivity that will hinder him the most, opposed to what Williams does.

On the other hand, if Tyson is sloppy and fights anxiously, Williams probably isn't good enough to make him pay. In other words, Tyson shouldn't be overly praised if he looks great and executes his attack perfectly. The same holds true for the reverse. If Tyson is wild and misses a lot of punches and gets hit more than he should as a result, he shouldn't be dismissed either. This is just a fight for him to get back in the ring and start to shake off the jitters and rust. The ideal scenario for Tyson would be for him to get a few rounds in and score an impressive knockout. Again, that's the ideal scenario if you're Tyson.

That being said, I believe the true test for Mike Tyson starts on Saturday July 31st, the day after the fight. I say that because Tyson has been in this situation many times before. He'll feel spectacular after the fight and will be getting praised immediately afterwards. History shows that when he has been in this predicament before, it's here where his plan and focus come undone. Most of the time he usually responds in one of the following ways.

He either fights a slew of journeymen, which do not help prepare him for the upper-tier fighters he must eventually face down the road. Another scenario is he'll take a big fight too soon for the payday, which results in him not looking good or losing. The pattern most common is one where he doesn't remain active, resulting in him always having to start over. That is definitely something that cannot unfold this time or his comeback will be short lived.

Yes, after Mike Tyson beats Danny Williams is when he'll truly be tested. For this final return of Tyson the fighter to go anywhere, he must do the following. He must get right back in the gym and have a fight scheduled, just as he did on the way up. He must keep his weight under control and not blow up in between fights. And he must fight better opposition as he moves along so he doesn't get stale and regress. It does him no good fighting five fighters the caliber of Williams and then challenging Vitali Klitschko.

No, he can't do it the old way this time, or the result will be the same. This is his final chance. He cannot cut corners and cheat himself any longer. Basically, Tyson has to pretend that it's 1985-86 and he has to eat, drink, and sleep boxing. Anything short of that won't do.

 The real comeback for Tyson starts after the Williams fight. I know he can sacrifice and discipline himself for one fight. Now he must stay focused for at least a couple of years, something he hasn't been able to do since the late 1980's. It's how he responds on the days he feels like sleeping in instead of running. It's how he forces himself to train and spar on the days his body hurts, or he just doesn't feel like it. Lastly, he must change and be willing to fight the best fighters available once he gets the rust off. It's something Tyson hasn't always been willing to do.

Although the calendar says Tyson's long march back starts with the fight versus Danny Williams, it really doesn't. Tyson's march back to a possible title shot starts after Williams. What he does starting the day after the fight will go a long way in determining if he even has a chance to succeed.

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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