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Articles of 2004

Olympic Boxing: Only One Style Effective

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This may be a little late, but as they say, better late than never. After watching the boxing competition at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, I think there is only one style to map out for an Olympic fighter. This is based solely off of the observations that I've made during the bouts I've watched, and I've watched just about all of them. The strategy I'm suggesting is what I see as the only way to neutralize the abysmal computer scoring and the blind, biased, or inept judges who push the computer buttons during the bouts.

Before divulging my fight strategy—believe me it's not Rocket Science—let me state a couple core beliefs I have regarding the fundamentals observed during the Olympic boxing tournament. First, I don't care what anyone says, punches landed to the body and upper torso are usually never scored by the judges. I've heard some dispute this saying they have seen body punches counted. Well, maybe I need my eyes checked, but I doubt it. I've watched just about every fight during these Games, and I can count on one hand how many blows to the body I've seen counted as points. To me, if anyone says they believe clean body punching is awarded points consistently, I question their eyesight or insight—because it just doesn't exist.

Secondly, just as the body punching is overlooked and ignored, so are set-up and finishing punches, like uppercuts and hooks. Again, I'm firm in this observation. Hooks and uppercuts are seldom awarded points by the Olympic judges. In fact, I think it's a waste of energy to instruct any Olympic fighter to throw an uppercut or hook to the body, unless maybe you're a Cuban fighter.

Another glaring deficiency in the scoring during these Games is that combination punches only count as a single point. Maybe the judges have slow fingers or they just don't like clean combination punching. The fact is a fighter can land two or three consecutive punches and usually only earns a single point an overwhelming majority of the time. Remember, in the Olympics, power punches don't count any more than a jab. Hooks and uppercuts are power punches, and take a lot out of a fighter to throw them. Under the current system, hooks and uppercuts have been virtually rendered useless. The other glaring thing I've noticed is that defense and making an opponent miss is not even acknowledged.

As an intent observer of the 2004 Olympic boxing tournament, I've come to the above conclusions. I feel so strongly about them that I would go as far as saying that they are much more than just tendencies. They are the rule in how these Olympic fights are viewed and scored. I've watched too much of it to believe or accept that I've misinterpreted what the system merits.

The style that I believe would be most effective and was the most consistent in the scoring is very basic and vanilla. That is a style that is nothing more than throwing one-twos while getting in and out. It's apparent that the judges like light touches with jabs and crosses. I would advise my fighter to throw one-twos, (jab-cross) getting in and out. Nothing but clean straight punches shot from mid range. I would also instruct him to just use basic defense after letting his punches go. After punching, he should move away to one side or the other with his hands up and his elbows close to his body. If he does this, he's securing himself from being countered cleanly on the way out. As long as when he retreats he doesn't go straight back, he's shrinking the odds of his opponent being able to match his scores.

Since defense, body punching, combinations, and power punches, (hooks & uppercuts) aren't rewarded, I would advise my fighter to stick to boxing basics. Defense takes energy, throwing power punches and combinations saps energy, and punching to the body puts fighters in range to be hit and countered. Why waste a fighter’s energy using those fundamentals and tactics if they are overlooked and not rewarded?

Virtually all the fighters that advanced into the medal rounds used this style—a stand up style, throwing straight jabs and crosses while keeping their chin down and their hands up and elbows in. This is not complicated boxing, it's Boxing 101.

If Olympic boxing is the pinnacle of amateur boxing, then the fighters should fight like amateurs, using nothing more than straight jabs and one-twos, since they are most often rewarded. Just make sure the fighters you bring to this tournament have this rudimentary style down pat.

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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