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Articles of 2004

Hopkins-De La Hoya: It Might Not Be A Mismatch

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It will be a better fight than most probably think it will be. The Super-fight looks about set between undisputed Middleweight Champ Bernard Hopkins and WBO Champ Oscar De La Hoya. Both fighters took care of business this past weekend when Hopkins dominated rival Robert Allen over 12 rounds and De La Hoya squeaked by Felix Sturm. I don't know what it is about De La Hoya, but in the Big Spot he sure leaves questions as to whose hand should be raised at the end.

As far as Hopkins-Allen, everything went pretty much as expected. Hopkins methodically broke down Allen while taking away his will en-route to a one sided unanimous decision. Although I think Hopkins has eroded slightly, it's not enough for anyone who weighs 160 pounds or less to make him a former champ. Bernard is just too complete and solid for any fighter his size or smaller.

Regarding De La Hoya, he wasn't impressive in his Middleweight debut. He looked heavy and slow along with not having any real pop in any of his punches. He also seemed to tire quickly and fade as the fight progressed. Oscar is lucky that he had an opponent in front of him who had nothing but a jab to offer in return. Had Sturm had any kind of finishing punch, De La Hoya would've been in real trouble.

That being said, I don't think Hopkins is going to mutilate De La Hoya as I'm sure some feel after his showing versus Sturm. Yes, I am confident that Hopkins will beat Oscar. However, I don't think it will be a kill. I say this for a few reasons. When Hopkins and De La Hoya meet in September, I expect De La Hoya to be in much better shape, at least he better be. I also think he is a smart fighter and knows that he can't fight Hopkins like he did Sturm.

Something else that will help De La Hoya survive is the style match up. I have no doubt that Oscar will move away from Bernard forcing him to use his legs and cut off the ring. I know Hopkins is a very versatile fighter, in fact he's one of the best when it comes to adapting to whatever tactic his opponent adopts. As versatile as Hopkins is, there are things that he does better than others. I happen to think he's at his best when his opponent goes to him, just as Marvin Hagler was. Fighters that try and push the fight the way Trinidad did are just setting themselves up to get hit hard and countered. The best way to fight Hopkins is to make him lead and bring the fight to you.

I'm sure De La Hoya will watch and study Hopkins' fights versus Trinidad, Joppy, and maybe even his last one against Robert Allen. He'll see how Trinidad enabled Hopkins to fight his best by going after him. The problem Tito faced was that he had no choice but to be the aggressor. Unlike De La Hoya, Trinidad is a fish out of water if he doesn't push his opponent back. No way Oscar goes to Bernard and tries to make it a fight. He's not strong enough to be successful using that tactic. On top of that he's way too smart.

I see De La Hoya fighting Hopkins close to the way William Joppy did. Why go to Hopkins and make it easy for him to pick you apart? Although Joppy took a beating down the stretch, he managed to go the distance and gave himself the best shot to score the upset.

If De La Hoya can some how manage to make Hopkins use a lot of the round to try and track him down, this is good. It will make Hopkins use his legs and limit the exchanges, all which bode well for De La Hoya. De La Hoya's biggest hope is that maybe Hopkins will underestimate him and think it will be easy, although I wouldn't count on it. Another thing De La Hoya may have on his side is the age factor. As I said, Bernard isn't what he was even when he fought Trinidad, but there isn't that much of a drop off. However, at 39 Hopkins can become old during the fight. I wouldn't bet on it, but it can't be totally ruled out.

I see this upcoming fight between Hopkins and De La Hoya as an almost certain victory for Hopkins. It's just that I don't think De La Hoya will be embarrassed or humiliated. I think his style will help him survive late into the fight. And lastly, it must not be forgotten that De La Hoya has a very good chin and is tough with a big heart. It just won't be enough to win. Survive? Maybe.

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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