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Articles of 2004

Hatton v Harris: The frustration factor



Frustration is something that grips all of us from time to time, whether it’s the raise you don’t get or simply being stuck in traffic. Frustration can reach out and grab you anywhere.

And when boxing fans discuss Ricky Hatton’s next opponent, frustration is almost the name of the game.

Less than two weeks since the welcome news that a mouth-watering clash with WBA champion Vivian Harris was signed, problems are already emerging that threaten the fight.

Proving, the moment you think you’ve got this frustration thing licked, it catches you with a cruel counter.

It began last week as sceptical scribes picked through the detail and semantics that emerged in a high-profile interview with Frank Warren about Hatton, and specifically his next fight. In reality, just how ‘sealed’ was this fight?

The biggest problem wasn’t the reported media spat between Hatton and Warren, but the difficulty Warren had marrying up dates between his British and American TV partners. Showtime wanted, or expected the 9th of October. Sky and the MEN arena could only accommodate the 2nd.

So what gives? Well, without one of those broadcasters involvement suddenly the purse pot is considerably smaller, and when you factor in Harris is receiving a career high purse (according to Frank Warren at least) potential problems are clear. Surely, the fight HAS to come to fruition; another late replacement just wouldn’t be tolerated, would it?

Harris’ promoters, Main Events, yesterday announced that Warren was trying to reduce the purse pot by 25%, a move unlikely to be received well by either Harris or Hatton. As recently as last week Frank Warren stated the fight was locked in and was confident the problem of coverage and dates would be resolved.

This latest development appears to undermine that confidence. Donald Tremblay, part of Vivian Harris’ promotional team, reported Warren was already trying to negotiate the purse bids down. Suggesting Warren’s previous optimism was proving misplaced.

Would the fighters really proceed on lower purses? Harris turned down $300,000 to rematch Otkay Urkal in Germany and as the champion is unlikely to be in any mood to reduce his purse. Hatton meanwhile, has gone public recently with his career frustrations and specifically the fact he didn’t even know what his purses would be for the Vilches and Pederson encounters.

Is he likely to take a pay-cut for his toughest fight to date? Of course, the cynics will say; ‘he’s made plenty of money fighting nobodies, he owes the fans this fight!’ But does he really owe fans anything? He’s the one taking the punches and the risks, not the fans after all.

Frank Warren’s Sports Network stable were happy to confirm Showtime’s inability to show the fight on the date proposed was forcing their hand, leaving Harris with a pay-cut of $200k.

..when terms were agreed with Main Events, Showtime were going to be involved. Now that Showtime have a problem with the date, not Sky, Harris will have to take $200k less.

Whether this reflects the 25% Harris’ promoters were referring to appears hard to believe. Was Harris really on $800k for the fight?

Kathy Duva, Harris’ manager, was happy to try and elaborate.

We agreed the deal in principle at one figure, now they (Sports Network) want to work at a lower figure. That’s just not going to happen.

But surely the contract was based on the involvement of both broadcasters to make the numbers agreed viable?

We don’t really care what the excuse is and we never actually got down to the contractual detail. Vivian was already taking less than half the money despite travelling to Hatton’s backyard and being the champion in the fight!

So at this stage the fight is looking in serious jeopardy, or are you still negotiating?

Our attorney Patrick English continues to exchange faxes with them and obviously we still want to progress but presently I would say the fight is less than 50-50.

Presumably, you’ve begun to prepare contingencies for Vivian and I’d expect you have some sort of time limit on the ‘negotiations’?

Well, obviously we’ve had to begin to look at alternatives for Vivian but we haven’t put a deadline on the discussions with them, I know Patrick is still in talks and I would need to speak to him before I could reveal those kind of details.

It looks possible the fight could end up going to purse bids, meaning the involvement of another promoter like Don King for example, who could bring the fight to America?

Suits us, after all any purse bid on the fight would mean Vivian getting 70% as the champion.

Frank Warren would doubtless still be competitive in any purse bid; he’s unlikely to give up controlling Hatton’s next fight that easily?

I’m sure he’s not, but we’d put together a very strong bid too, but purse bids could very well suit us.

Whatever the outcome it seems hard to contemplate anything less than a marquee opponent for Hatton will cause dissent amongst even his die-hard fans.

And as the television interviews with Frank Warren highlighted last week, he’ll feel just as frustrated as the next man because Ricky Hatton, and the whole of British Boxing, in fact, needs this fight.

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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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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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