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Articles of 2004

Roy Jones – Glen Johnson: Why?

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As a long time critic of Roy Jones, I finally started to accept that maybe I was missing it on him and he really is an all time great. Not until his one-sided decision over WBA Heavyweight Champ John Ruiz, and his hard fought victory over Antonio Tarver, did I totally give him his props as a great fighter. Just when I thought I had a handle on him, he gets knocked out by one punch and follows that up with a fight that doesn't make sense. This week it will be formally announced that Jones 49-2 (38) will fight IBF Light Heavyweight Champ Glencoffee Johnson 40-9-2 (27). The bout is scheduled for September 25th in Memphis, Tennessee.

This marks Jones’ first fight since being knocked out by undisputed Light Heavyweight Champ, Antonio Tarver by one punch this past May 15th in their rematch. Johnson, who is 2-2-2 in his last 6 fights, won the vacant title with a unanimous decision over Clinton Woods on February 6th, 2004. This will be Johnson's first defense of the title. Johnson, a pro for almost 12 years is a workmanlike fighter who has faced some of the best fighters in the division. However, in his fights versus the best, he's come up short more times than not. Too bad Roy Jones has to come along and cherry pick the first world title belt Johnson has ever held.

Roy Jones is a fighter whose physical skill has never been questioned. A mere novice only has to see him once to conclude that he's a special fighter. The only question regarding Jones was how he'd handle adversity in the ring if ever confronted with it. I, for one, thought he answered that question in his first fight with Antonio Tarver. This was after questioning his character and toughness for the majority of his career.

In his first fight with Antonio Tarver, Jones was dehydrated and weak from making the 175 pound weight limit. Prior to fighting Tarver, Jones fought WBA Heavyweight Champ John Ruiz, winning a 12 round unanimous decision to capture the title. In preparing for Tarver, Jones had a hard time getting back down to 175 after weighing almost 200 for Ruiz. This took a lot out of him and hindered his performance in his first bout with Tarver. In the first Jones-Tarver bout, I had it even at 5 rounds apiece going into the 11th and 12th rounds. On my card, the fight was up for grabs and would come down to who wanted it more.

In those last two rounds Jones was spent and looked ready for the taking. However, Jones dug down deep and willed himself through the last two rounds and out hustled and out worked Tarver in winning a close decision. To me, Jones showed in those rounds that he had the heart that some, including myself, had questioned. It wasn't that he controlled Tarver or beat him up, it was more that he sensed the fight might be slipping away and pushed himself like he never had before, demonstrating the kind of heart and desire we expect in a great fighter. That being said, many felt that it was more a case of Tarver not closing the show and letting it slip away, more than Jones winning it. Although I can definitely see that as a possibility, I think Jones wanted it more and refused to let Tarver better him.

In the rematch six months later, Tarver starched Jones with one punch in the second round, taking his titles, along with some of the glow off his legacy. What I can't fathom is how Jones, after all he has accomplished in boxing, isn't obsessed with fighting him again? Doesn't he realize that the rematch with Tarver may actually be what defines his career? Tarver is the only fighter that when the fight was over, the first one, Jones victory was questioned. In the rematch, it was assumed by most observers that a better prepared Jones would erase the left over stench from the first fight and handle Tarver, winning in a fashion that left no questions. Instead he was knocked out by the only clean punch Tarver landed in the fight.

Since Tarver's stunning knockout of Jones, everybody has yelled for a third fight, except Jones. Tarver has been mentioned as a possible opponent for James Toney, Mike Tyson, Vassiliy Jirov, and even Bernard Hopkins. Yet not a peep from Jones? That's not the mindset that many past greats adopted after suffering a humiliating defeat to one of their most bitter rivals. Could it be that Jones cares more about money and titles than the legacy he'll leave behind? The behavior and attitude exhibited by Roy Jones is starkly different than that of other past greats who suffered a significant defeat in their career.

Sugar Ray Robinson was consumed with fighting Randy Turpin again after he lost his title to him. In fact, Robinson rallied from behind to stop Turpin in their rematch. Joe Louis won the title shortly after being stopped by former champ, Max Schmeling in their first fight. Yet Louis said he never felt like the champ until he fought Schmeling and beat him in their rematch. Sugar Ray Leonard lost his undefeated record and WBC Welterweight title to Roberto Duran in their first fight. However, he was on the phone everyday with his lawyer/advisor Mike Trainer telling him to get him Duran again, which he did five months later. Muhammad Ali lost his undefeated record and was clearly beaten by Joe Frazier in their first fight, yet he was obsessed with fighting him again to prove he was the better fighter.

Evander Holyfield lost his undefeated record and title to Riddick Bowe in their first fight, but was hell bent on fighting him again. In the rematch a year later, Holyfield regained the title. Recently, Floyd Mayweather Jr. won a controversial decision over Jose Luis Castillo. Yet he had no qualms about giving him a rematch, in which he won convincingly, erasing all questions as to who was the better fighter. Incidentally, none of the above were knocked out by one punch by their opponent in defeat.

And Roy Jones? His goal seems to be just compiling alphabet titles. One would think that after having such a brilliant career, he'd more than want to prove that the only legitimate defeat of his career was a fluke. Whether he wants to accept it or not, the legacy of Roy Jones will be defined by what happens in the rubber match with Antonio Tarver, if it ever happens. If Roy Jones retired now, he would be more remembered for his knockout loss to Antonio Tarver than anything else. So I ask: why is he fighting Glen Johnson?

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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