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Articles of 2004

This or That? A Boxing Dilemma



If you want to watch both of the pay-per-view cards being offered this weekend, you'll need to pony up about 85 of your hard earned bones. On Friday night, Mike Tyson makes his latest comeback against hand-picked Brit, Danny Williams in Louisville, Kentucky. That'll cost you $44.95.

Then the next night in Las Vegas, at the MGM Grand, a jr. lightweight unification bout takes place when Erik Morales takes on Carlos Hernandez. Cost: $39.95.

Now, I know some of you boxing junkies are so sick that you'll get both cards. God bless you fortunate – and a bit deranged – souls. Not only are you true fanatics of the sport, but even more importantly, you have some disposable income.

But the reality is most of you won't be getting both – if any – of the shows that take place on back-to-back nights at the tail end of July.

So the question is: if you could only choose one show, which would it be?

OK, let's break this down:


In Louisville, Tyson makes his return after a 17-month hiatus against Danny Williams. Williams is a heavyweight with a decent record at 31-3, but one of those losses came at the hands of Julius Francis. Yes, the same Francis who when he faced Tyson actually sold advertising on the soles of his shoes. Advertising that was displayed within a few quick rounds.

This fight is really for the Tyson die-hards who still believe that their man has something left. And for the general sports fan who doesn't really know any better. For them, Tyson represents their knowledge of the sport. Of course, you'll have those who actually enjoy the circus aspect that Tyson brings to the table. It'll be like poking their heads into the tent to see the three legged women or the man with no lips.

But it really shouldn't be much of a fight. Think about it. If Williams was really a threat, would he have even been given consideration for this assignment? Of course not. Williams has been imported from England to be cannon fodder.

On the other hand, Morales-Hernandez is a high-stakes dogfight between two of the game's elite 130-pounders. Morales has now won titles at 122, 126 and with his most recent win over Jesus Chavez earlier this year, captured the WBC Jr. Lightweight crown. 'El Terrible' is universally respected as one of the game's best pound-for-pound.

Hernandez is a tough, rugged, hard-nosed brawler, who solidified his claim to the IBF belt by downing Stevie Forbes in October. Two of his three losses came against accomplished fighters like Genaro Hernandez and Floyd Mayweather, where he fought gamely.

This fight could be a slug-fest. Both men have a habit of getting into action packed fights and nothing should change here. Morales, while the superior fighter, is now coming up to Hernandez's natural weight. 'Famoso' may not have the sharp, technical acumen of Hernandez, but he is the stronger fighter.

Either way, it has the makings of a memorable scrap.

EDGE: Morales-Hernandez


OK, here's the thing. Most of the time when it comes to pay-per-view shows, the undercard is inconsequential. Have you noticed that more in more in recent years the undercards have been downsized and downgraded like an internet stock? That's because promoters have found that most of the fans who purchase the big, marquee events, could really care less about who or what comes on before the main event.

But I figured for these shows, it is important to mention them. After all, those of you buying these shows are boxing aficionados. You guys are the type that will care to watch the whole show.

In Louisville, underneath Tyson-Williams, is a jr. flyweight bout between Nelson Dieppa and Ulisis Solis. Both guys are ranked in the top ten by Ring Magazine, but seriously, is this fight meaningful at all? Laila Ali, is also on the undercard and she's fighting another one of her over-matched and underwhelming opponents. Also, Randy Griffin, a pretty decent middleweight prospect faces Julio Garcia, who's been KO'd in his last two meaningful fights.

In Las Vegas, before Morales and Hernandez butt heads, we have a very interesting bantamweight bout between Rafael Marquez and Heriberto Ruiz. Marquez, the brother of featherweight standout Juan Manuel, has a pair of victories over Tim Austin and Mark Johnson under his belt. The consensus is that he is the game's best 118-pounder and some have him listed in their pound-for-pound listings. Ruiz comes in with a record of 31-2-2, and is on a strong run that has been punctuated with wins over Clarence Vinson and Ricardo Vargas.

This is a toss-up in my book. Marquez is the superior puncher, but he has been chinny in the past and Ruiz – unlike most Marquez foes – is not a guy who will be so small in stature compared to Marquez that he makes him look like a featherweight.

Also on that card, WBO straweight king, Ivan Calderon defends his title against the respected Roberto Leyva, who is former titlist and has consistently battled the division's best the past few years. Calderon isn't particularly exciting, but if you love the art and the craft of boxing, he's your guy.

These two title bouts have a chance to be very interesting. I think a title could change hands here before Morales and Hernandez unify.

EDGE: Morales- Hernandez


Well, this one's a no-brainer in my book (of course, some of you will say everything's a no-brainer with me, but that's besides the point). Not only is Morales-Hernandez a superior fight, but it also has a far superior undercard – and it's cheaper to boot.

EDGE:  Morales-Hernandez

Well, there you have it, the scorecards are in, and it's unanimous. If you're going to get only one card this weekend, it's gotta be Morales-Hernandez.

Articles of 2004

Heavyweight Joe Mesi Bringing Lawsuit




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




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 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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Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List



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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