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Articles of 2004

Mike Tyson's Marijuana Use May Have Been A Factor



Mike Tyson wasn't high on Kentucky bluegrass Friday night. He hadn't smoked any Panama Red either.

At least that's what trainer Freddie Roach believes.

Most others familiar with Tyson's act probably are a little more skeptical. Cheech and Chong are withholding comment.

Tyson frequently broached the subject of his prolific marijuana usage during interviews in the days leading up to his crushing knockout defeat to Danny Williams in Louisville.

I'm not blaming Tyson's loss on blunts as much as blunt trauma courtesy of his unheralded foe. No, his career was all but snuffed out for multiple reasons that might not have had anything to do with dope.

His manager, Shelly Finkel, announced Saturday that Not-so Iron Mike sustained a complex tear of a left knee ligament, an injury that prevented him from utilizing his full punching repertoire.

Roach also claimed exhaustion played a factor. The trainer cited two weight differentials — the 35 pounds Tyson lost from the start of training and the 32 pounds that separated the combatants — in the steady demise from rapid-firing, head-moving favorite to slow-footed, disinterested loser.

But it's easy for those who know Tyson to picture marijuana playing a role in his training for the Williams fight. Maybe the munchies prevented him from dropping below 233 pounds, the third-heaviest weight of his career.

“Mike told me that he had quit marijuana,” Roach said, “and I told him “That's the best news I've ever heard.' I thought that's what was keeping him from the world championship. He spoke about it before and he made it public. He gave it up on his own, and he's been clean for almost a year now. He has not smoked marijuana.

“I thought that was a great big move for him. I thought that was part of his growing up, a sign of his maturity. To make a decision. He was addicted to it, actually, because he thought he needed it. Anything can be addictive if you use it like that.”

Roach's perception of Tyson's gallant reform, however, doesn't quite jibe with other indicators.

Tyson smelled stronger than Spicoli's van when he showed up for the postfight news conference of Vitali Klitschko's victory over Kirk Johnson less than eight months ago. Others who were around Tyson said he was still smoking like a fiend in recent weeks.

There was no fear Tyson would need to submit to a drug test for Friday night's bout. Illegal narcotics and steroids conveniently aren't banned substances according to the Kentucky Athletic Commission.

Tyson joked that dope affected his performance two years ago when Lennox Lewis systematically broke him down. Speculation abounded that Tyson was on antidepressant medication before the lucrative bout so he aberrant behavior wouldn't spoil it.

“I don't know what the hell happened,” Tyson told reporters. “I may have smoked too much weed, but I wasn't taking any drugs or anything.”

Another time he was asked about the Lewis fight, Tyson replied: “Man, I don't know what I was on. Maybe I just smoked too much weed. There's no doubt I've been a monster.”

Tyson's victory over Andrew Golota in October 2000 was nullified because he tested positive for marijuana. Roach revealed dope likely was a factor in Tyson's erratic conduct heading into his quick knockout victory over Clifford Etienne 17 months ago, his last bout prior to Friday night.

“For the Etienne fight I couldn't get much out of him,” Roach said. “That was probably one of the reasons why. For this fight that didn't happen. You could see a huge, huge improvement.

“I just patted him on the back. I was proud of him for doing that because he did it on his own. He didn't ask for any help, and he knew he needed to do that for his career. He made that sacrifice.”

Williams (no relation to pot-smoking former running back Ricky Williams) entered the fight less worthy of being on a big-time fight poster than the cover of Abbey Road; he was a British pedestrian, an opponent Tyson was supposed to walk over with ease.

Tyson nearly knocked out Williams in the first round, wobbling the Brit with a left hook to the chin followed by an uppercut. Williams hung on and, demonstrating a total disdain for Tyson's formerly fearsome facade, started to land punches himself.

All three judges had Tyson winning by a shutout on the scorecards. Inept referee Dennis Alfred helped the cause by twice deducting a point from Williams without so much as a warning in the third round, inducing a 10-7 score from two judges.

In the end, none if it was enough to withstand a brutal sequence in which Williams landed 19 unanswered punches. He threw many more that didn't connect.

Tyson slumped into the ropes. Blood streamed from around his right eye. Alfred again tried to help by giving the fallen ex-champion a few extra seconds to get off the canvas.

Tyson's big night and, more significantly, his career still went up in smoke.

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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