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Articles of 2004

In Case You Missed It: Bojado KO's Leija

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This past Saturday night on HBO boxing we were treated to Francisco Bojado putting on yet another exciting display of what the future looks like at 140-pounds. Using a recipe of raw talent, speed and power, 'Panchito' put it all together once more and served up a dandy.

In case you missed it, the 21 year old fighting out of Los Angeles, California showcased his ability to change-up his punches, put combinations together and demonstrated the savvy of knowing just when to go for the kill. Speed was on display as the young light welterweight simply was too fast and too strong for his older, formidable foe, Jesse James Leija.

The fist round was your typical feeling out process that occurs when two boxers who respect one another meet. In the second, Leija was downed twice – only once officially – but it was enough to see the outcome of the fight was cast. With a lightning fast left hook that caught Leija flush on the jaw, the first official knockdown of the fight was scored. At that point we knew that Bojado was just too good and that the man who had warred twice with Azumah Nelson, Leija, had finally seen better days.

On this night youth was served. Using his jab to set up punishing one-two's that rocked Leija back on his heels, Bojado worked up and down, head and body, and the punishment was somehow pleasing to the palate. Double hooks to the ribs and footwork that would make Mikhail Barishnikov jealous left Leija second-guessing all night, and he simply had no answers for Bojado.

By the fifth round on Saturday, Bojado's lightning fast hands and thunderous power had become too much for the 38 year old Jesse James. His face was cut and bloodied, his will to fight on now extracted from his heart, mercifully trainer Ronnie Shields stepped up onto the ring apron signaling they were throwing in the towel. It was a fitting end for a warrior who wouldn't give in even when he knew he was in over his head, or just years too late. Leija can go into the night knowing he gave his all, and did so for 16 years as a professional.

Back in 2002, 'Panchito' was all the talk in boxing as the man voted by his high school buddies as 'Most Likely to Take Over the Mantle as Boxing's Human Highlight Reel' from Arturo Gatti. He was a guy who was more dangerous if he was cut or hurt, had power and speed to spare, and wouldn't hesitate to give whatever it took to win a fight. Then came trips to Costa Rica and Mexico coupled with too many hours spent with his girlfriend and not with his first love, the sport of boxing. His loss to Juan Carlos Rubio was a lesson learned and an out of shape Bojado accepted responsibility for his actions like a man. He was growing into the best boxer he could be and this was part of the process.

Rather than fire trainer Alfonzo Marquez or change the management and guidance of Joe Hernandez, Francisco took the loss in stride. He knew he had the right people in place, they had been with him since day one, and it was his job to execute on the night against Rubio. It was he who had betrayed his team by not putting himself in a position to win. So back to the gym with the dedication to training he had in the past, yet without the assumption that boxing owed him anything or that anyone was going to do anything less than test his will and character each night, Bojado was back. Now, the win over Leija was his graduation.

In case you missed it . . . well, we did too.

Francisco Bojado did not do what it took to win the fight this past Saturday on an occasion where he was supposed to share the spotlight with Arturo Gatti. Gatti delivered by knocking out previously undefeated Leonard Dorin in two rounds. He did his job while Bojado was out-worked over 10 rounds by an older, slower fighter who never had the power or skills Bojado possesses.

The sad truth is that after the loss to Rubio, Francisco Bojado swept the blame onto his management, changed his team, and has never been the same. Nor as good.

While new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. likes his fighters to look 'pretty' in the ring, you sometimes have to accept that what you have, is exactly what you have. Bojado is a power-punching entertainer first, a younger Gatti if you wish, who can bleed and get inspired by it. What he was on Saturday was a student of the sweet science who flashed one-twos and admired his work.

In the second round of their bout, Jesse James Leija was ripe for the picking, but Bojado left the win on the branch and it spoiled. He missed it and so did we.

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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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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