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Articles of 2004

Lewis-Klitschko: One Year Later

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What a difference a year makes. It's been exactly one year since former Heavyweight Champ Lennox Lewis and current WBC Champ Vitali Klitschko treated Boxing fans to a very exciting and entertaining fight. At the time I wrote that, it wasn't what I would consider a great fight, but it was a thrilling and entertaining fight to say the least.

The problem I had with the fight was the caliber of skill that was exhibited. Neither Lewis or Klitschko fought like the two best Heavyweight fist fighters on the Planet. Actually, the quality of fighting looked more like a Tough-man final, or maybe Alonzo Mourning versus Larry Johnson on a good day.

On June 21st 2003, many thought, including myself, that Lewis and Klitschko were the two best and most formidable Heavyweights in the World. Well it's a year later, and, in my opinion, nothing has happened in the Heavyweight division to change that belief. We know what Lewis was capable of at his best. And Klitschko, while he's not the most polished Heavyweight I've seen, his size and toughness probably make him too much for any of the other World's top ranked Heavyweights to deal with.

The Lewis-Klitschko fight was stopped by the ring Doctor between the sixth and seventh rounds due to a severe cut over Vitali Klitschko's left eye. At the time the fight was halted, Klitschko led on all three official scorecards 58-56 or 4-2 in rounds. Hardly enough for either fighter to claim certain victory over the other.

The fight was action packed with both fighters throwing bombs at each other and looking to end it with one punch. When the sixth round ended, Lewis went back to his corner and plopped down on his stool. Lennox was clearly tired as he sat on his stool huffing and puffing. In the other corner, Klitschko was bleeding all over the place, and wasn't in that great of shape either. However, Klitschko didn't appear as spent as Lewis.

During the course of this fight, both fighters landed their Sunday best on the other. For a brief second Lewis was shook once. Klitschko, on the other hand, absorbed some of Lewis' best, and never appeared to be quite as shook as Lewis. Due to the nasty gash over Vitali's eye, the fight couldn't continue. In the immediate aftermath following the fight, fans and media were split on who would've come out on top had the fight continued. The Klitschko faction felt that Lewis wasn't properly prepared for the fight and was running out of gas. The assumption being that Vitali was in better shape and would've held up better in the second half of the fight.

The Lewis faction insisted that Lennox was coming on and really starting to tag Vitali with some of the best punches he had landed on him in the sixth round. On top of that, it was just a matter of time before the cut over his eye totally impeded him and the fight would've been stopped. Something that is hard to deny.

I think anyone who says with certainty that either fighter was definitely on his way to victory is a fool, and hasn't been a very keen observer of the fight game. There have been a plethora of fights throughout Boxing history, especially Heavyweight history where the totally unforeseen happened. All we know for sure is that Lewis was probably in the worst shape of his career, and Klitschko put up one helluva fight and proved he belonged in the ring with him.

In the year that has passed, Lewis retired with the title and respect. No doubt the Lewis legacy will grow in the coming years. The fact that he ranks fourth in Heavyweight title fights won, behind only Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and Larry Holmes will always keep him in the conversation when discussing all time greats.

Since losing to Lewis last year, Klitschko TKO'd Kirk Johnson in a title elimination bout, and stopped Corrie Sanders to win the WBC title, left vacant with the retirement of Lewis. In the three bouts Klitschko has had in the last year, not one of his opponents have bettered him in the ring, including Lewis. At this time Vitali is perceived as being the best Heavyweight in the World. Not to the degree Lewis was this time last year, but he would be a solid favorite over any other Heavyweight in the World. That is unless Lewis decided to come out of retirement, which wouldn't surprise me a bit.

Despite the disappointing ending of the Lewis-Klitschko bout last year, there is a silver lining — Lewis fought the best available opponent in the World before he retired, and he won. Remember, it was a punch thrown by Lewis that opened the cut over Klitschko's eye. The last time I checked, cuts caused by punches are part of Boxing.

The silver lining for Klitschko is that although he didn't win, he didn't lose in the ring either. For those six rounds that Klitschko fought Lewis, he gave every bit as much as he took. He also showed that his chin is solid, and his heart is all there. During the last year, Vitali has shown that he may be just the right man to succeed Lewis as the perceived best Heavyweight in the world. Only time will tell.

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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