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Articles of 2004

Riddick Bowe Has No Business In A Boxing Ring

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Recalling the night Riddick Bowe dismantled Evander Holyfield, Nov. 13, 1992, is an extraordinary memory when you consider “Big Daddy's” rapid fall from grace.

But it happened all right. The proof is on hundreds of videotapes and DVDs, that magic night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Bowe, the undefeated challenger from Brooklyn, N.Y., with the easy smile, was playful to the point of confusion leading up to the fight. He treated Holyfield more like his old high school buddy than a guy he hoped to flatten. But once the fight started, it was obvious that the 6-foot-5, 235-pound challenger was hellbent on taking Holyfield's undisputed heavyweight championship.

He entered the ring to Phil Collins' “In The Air Tonight,” an eery tune that announced the arrival of Bowe's moment of truth. There he was, decked out in a white robe with red trim – Larry Holmes colors – walking to the ring with a single purpose.

He wanted to become his era's Larry Holmes.

Early on, though – when Holyfield burst out of his corner intent on quieting those critics who were criticizing his three-fight championship reign – you wondered if Bowe had the resolve to hang with the champion. The “Real Deal” came out with guns blazing -disregarding the fact that his 6-2, 213-pound frame was undersized for a shootout.
Holyfield didn't care. He wanted Bowe's hide.

But Bowe was serious about answering questions about his character. Four years earlier, archrival Lennox Lewis had knocked out Bowe in the Seoul Olympics, and word spread that Bowe didn't have any heart.

It hurt, and Bowe took it out on the undefeated Holyfield.

Slowly, Bowe's big right hands began to wear Holyfield down. His jab was sterling and his body shots were stunning for a man so big. Guys who stand 6-5 aren't supposed to go to the body like that. On this night, Riddick Bowe was Joe Frazier.

By Round 10, Holyfield was ripe, and Bowe pounced. A right to the body followed by a right uppercut stiffened Holyfield before he sagged sideways to the ropes. Bowe unloaded, primed to take the heavyweight championship right there.

Holyfield refused to go down, and by round's end, had managed an assault of his own. The pair of warriors tapped each other respectfully as the bell rang, and the show of mutual admiration signified that Bowe had already won one fight.

He had shed that “heartless” tag.

When Round 11 began, a refueled Bowe attacked some more, finally putting Holyfield down. From there, it was Bowe advancing, and Holyfield retreating. The unanimous decision after 12 brutal rounds was a formality.

Bowe had won the heavyweight title, and his future appeared limitless.

But a funny thing happened on the way to greatness: Bowe, this guy who showed so much discipline against Holyfield, lacked any semblance of it when it came to the dinner table. He blew out trialhorse Jesse Ferguson on May 22, 1993, and appeared invincible doing it.

But then he got distracted and began to eat.

It didn't help that then-manager Rock Newman decided to parade him in Somalia and to meet Pope John Paul II in an Ali-like world tour. It made Bowe a lot of friends, but did nothing to capitalize on his momentum.

Even legendary trainer Eddie Futch admitted that Bowe's fall from greatness was a direct result of this senseless tour and the distractions that came with it.

By the time he met Holyfield in a rematch almost a year to the day after the original, Bowe was on his way to becoming a bloated has-been. He fought well enough that night to lose a close decision, but it was a disappointing Bowe in light of his performance a year earlier.

Bowe looked like himself one more time, knocking out Jose Luis Gonzalez in seven rounds on June 17, 1995, though that may have been more a result of Gonzalez's ineptitude than a reborn Bowe. By July 11, 1996, when he beat Andrew Golota via controversial DQ, Bowe was done.

The Golota rematch on Dec. 14, 1996, was almost too painful to watch. Bowe was a ghost of his former self in the ring, and outside the ring, he was displaying concerning speech patterns.

He never fought again, and went to jail – which wasn't such a bad thing if it meant keeping him out of the ring.

Now he's out of jail, and talking comeback – just as they all do. And, of course, some back-alley promoter will take advantage, looking to squeeze the last nickel out of a once-great athlete.

This promoter just may be squeezing the life out of him as well.

Riddick Bowe has no business in a boxing ring, period. And, if you want an example of the potential results, look no further than Meldrick Taylor. Well-spoken and charming in his youth, Taylor is pretty much incomprehensible these days.

And you can blame greed – whether it's a promoter, a manager or a friend looking to make the quick buck.

But boxing fans won't remember the struggling Bowe – regardless of what happens in the future. No, his legacy will always be that magic fall night at the Thomas & Mack Center. The night he dismantled an all-time great, and provided boxing fans with an extraordinary memory.

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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