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Articles of 2004

Give Danny Williams His Props

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Major props must go out to British Heavyweight, Danny Williams. Until his stunning upset over former Heavyweight champ Mike Tyson this past July 30th, Williams had only enjoyed some domestic success in the UK. Williams was the fighter chosen by Team Tyson as the opponent against whom Tyson would kick off his 17 month return to the ring.

Heading into his fight with Danny Williams, Tyson, 38, was at a crossroads in his career. He hadn't held a piece of the Heavyweight title since losing it to Evander Holyfield in November of 1996. Since losing the title to Holyfield, Tyson fought 9 times, going 5-2, with 2 No Contest rulings.

It doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that if Tyson was ever going to become a force in the Heavyweight division again, at age 38 time was running out. The goal of Team Tyson was to find the right opponent for him to launch his comeback against. It was widely assumed and accepted that Tyson wasn't going to fight a top contender in his first fight back. The goal was to find an opponent who had a good record and some name recognition, but who would basically fall down at the sight of Tyson.

Enter 31-3 (26) Danny Williams. Williams appeared to be exactly what the Tyson camp was looking for. He was a former British and Commonwealth Champ, who weighed 260 pounds and had some boxing ability, but he had a reputation for succumbing to pressure. Williams had a long history of getting nervous before fights, sometimes crying and throwing up. Twice when he was scheduled to fight club fighters in England, he was so distraught he didn't even show up.

He was described by one member of the British press as being “a nice fighter who comes undone by the pressure of a big fight.” Tyson's trainer, Freddie Roach, after watching tape of some of Williams' fights, said, “he's unimpressed with the Londoner.” He followed that up saying, “Williams does not seem like he is the bravest guy in the World. British boxers do have a stand-up style so we are going out to attack him and put pressure on him right away.” Roach went on to say that if Tyson couldn't beat Williams, he should consider not fighting any longer.

Roach conveyed that Tyson had rededicated himself to fighting again, and was in the best condition he had been in since they had worked together. Personally, I didn't have a doubt in my mind before the fight that Team Tyson had the exact fighter they wanted, and had made the right choice in picking Williams. Since the fight, many fans and members of the media are now questioning their decision.

The problem with the Monday morning Quarterbacking is nobody said a word suggesting that Williams may have been too risky or tough for Tyson — until after the fight. It was assumed by all that Tyson would beat Williams in spectacular fashion, for no other reason than it was his first fight back after a long layoff. No way Tyson's management would take a fight with an opponent who could possibly win and shatter their plans. Tyson advisor/manager Shelly Finkel is too smart to mess up like that. Although many questioned what Tyson had left as a fighter, nobody dreamed Williams was good enough to upset him.

What Tyson and his handlers didn't for see was Williams showing up unafraid and not intimidated in the least. Williams had told everyone in the week leading up to the fight that there was no pressure on him, and he had nothing to lose. He continued saying that he knew he was chosen by the Tyson camp because they thought he would be knocked out quickly.

Williams also stressed that Tyson was not the same fighter who beat Michael Spinks 16 years ago. He said that from watching Tyson's first fight with Evander Holyfield, he noticed that Tyson doesn't like to get hit. Williams said Tyson stopped fighting when Holyfield threw punches back at him. He was definitely saying all the right things, but many, including myself, questioned his mental toughness to follow through on it once Tyson came at him trying to take his head off.

In the first round of the fight, Williams took some massive punches from Tyson, punches that would have knocked out a lot of other heavyweights. Williams was stunned and hurt. However, he sucked it up and fought back and actually wobbled Tyson at the end of the round. In the second and third rounds, Williams answered Tyson back with his own flurries and started to take the play away. By the fourth round he saw Tyson was running out steam. In the fourth round Williams went after a beaten and dejected Tyson, unloading a barrage of punches on him until he couldn't take any more and went down, ending the fight.

Williams took on another opponent during the fight with Tyson, referee Dennis Alfred. Alfred did just about everything he could to help Tyson, except hold Williams while Tyson hit him. He deducted two points from Williams for fouls that were totally unjustified. One was for hitting on the break with a punch that barely grazed Tyson, and the other was for a shot on the waistband. On top of that, Alfred allowed Tyson nearly 20 seconds to recover from the fourth round knockdown before stopping the fight!

Many are saying Williams beat a washed up Tyson, and there is some truth to that. But Tyson's performance this past weekend may be his best in years. For the first couple rounds he seemed faster and more dangerous. More so then we have seen him in some time. He was even putting together combinations with the bad intentions that he was known for in his prime, but Williams refused to go down.

Danny Williams must get major props for doing exactly what he said he would. He ignored all those who doubted him and questioned his heart. On fight night Williams showed up with no fear of Tyson and ready to fight. He knew he was facing a Tyson who was desperate and in shape in a must win fight. Williams believed in himself and fought like he never had before, when no one other than those closest to him thought he could do it.

In knocking Tyson out, Williams rose to the occasion against a stacked deck. Remember, Mike Tyson is still a great two handed puncher, and he caught Williams with his best and Williams took it. Williams beat Tyson because he was the tougher and better fighter on the night. Williams refused to be denied and there was nothing Tyson could do about it. Give him his Props!

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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