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Articles of 2004

Braddock-Baer: Boxing’s Great Fistic Upset

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On June 13th, 1935, James J. Braddock beat Max Baer in a 15 round decision for the heavyweight championship of the world. Reaction to the outcome of the fight by the media and in most boxing circles was described as, “The greatest fistic upset since the defeat of John L. Sullivan by Jim Corbett.”

Smaller in stature and less experienced as a heavyweight, Braddock went into the fight as a 10 to 1 underdog. Braddock fought as a light heavyweight for the majority of his professional career with average success. Then, without any indication things could go wrong, his career and his whole life took a turn for the worse. He fought Hall-of-Fame fighter Tommy Lounghran on July 18, 1929 for the light heavyweight championship, but lost in 15 rounds. Having lost that title fight, then with the stock market crash of 1929, Jim struggled for the next five years trying to support his young family. During that time Braddock lost a decision to Hall-of Fame champ Maxie Rosenbloom, along with losses to top men Leo Lomski, Yale Okun, Babe Hunt, Ernie Schaaf, Al Gainer, Tony Shucco, and a knockout loss to Lou Scozza.

After that run of bad luck Jim turned to the public relief system, occasionally finding work on the docks at the ship yards in his hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey. Finally Braddock’s luck began to change. In 1934 it started with a 3rd round stoppage of John “Corn” Griffin on the undercard of the Baer-Carnera fight. In his very next fight five months later, he won a 10 round decision over Hall-of-Fame light heavyweight John Henry Lewis and Braddock was back on his feet. With those two wins, Jim was in position for a title shot against heavyweight champion, Max Baer.

Jim Braddock was born James Walter Braddock on June 7, 1905 in New York City. He had an outstanding amateur career as a middleweight and turned pro in 1926. Braddock’s only downside was his fragile hands. He was tough, could take a punch, and continued to fight with fragile hands, until he was eventually banned in several boxing jurisdictions due to the state of his damaged hands.

Max Baer was born Maximillian Adalbert Baer on February 11, 1909 in Omaha, Nebraska. Baer was known to posses the most devastating right hand in heavyweight boxing history. Turning pro in 1929, he won 22 of his first 24 fights, nine by first round knockouts. Baer was in superb condition and considered dangerous in the ring.

In 1930 Max Baer was charged with manslaughter when, after knocking out a fighter by the name of Frankie Campbell, that fighter later died as a result of the knockout. Baer was later cleared of the charges, but was suspended from boxing in his home state of California for one year. Baer quite boxing altogether for several months because of the negative impact the incident had on his life. When Baer did start to fight again he lost four of his first six fights, in part because of his reluctance to finish off fighters once he had them beat. Then in 1932 Baer fought Ernie Schaaf, who he beat in 10 rounds. Schaaf later fought Primo Carnera, though not long after the fight Schaaf died. The death was attributed to the beating he took in the Baer fight.

Max Baer’s fighting skills were deteriorating, until some other heavyweights intervened. Hall-of-Fame boxer Tommy Loughran talked to Baer about the mistakes he was making in the ring, looping and telegraphing his punches. Jack Dempsey also took a personal interest in Baer, helping him with his technical shortcomings, especially the way he was throwing his punches. It wasn’t long before Max Baer was back to his old self, which in the long run wasn’t necessarily such a good thing. He had his confidence, style, and power back, but he also had a bad habit of being overconfident.

In 1933 Max Baer fought the best fight of his career, knocking out Max Schmeling in 10 rounds. A year later Baer fought Primo Carnera at the Madison Square Garden Bowl in front of a crowd of 50,000 fans. Baer knocked Carnera down 11 times in 11 rounds to win the heavyweight championship.

At the time there was a shortage of heavyweights for Baer to fight. Finally James Braddock got his chance for what was to be the fight of his life, a chance to fight the overconfident Max Baer for the heavyweight title.

 Max Baer started the fight with a cocky attitude, clowning with Braddock. Baer fought with a half-hearted joking effort to the astonishment of a packed house at the Madison Square Garden Bowl. Braddock couldn’t have been more serious as he went on to win a 15 round decision over Max Baer for the heavyweight championship of the world. After the fight, James J. Braddock was dubbed, “The Cinderella Man” because of his seemingly fairytale like rise from a poor local fighter to the heavyweight champion of the world.

Braddock fought several exhibition fights until losing the heavyweight title two years later to “The Brown Bomber,” Joe Louis. Braddock was inducted into the International Hall of Fame in 2001.

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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