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Articles of 2004

Ricardo Mayorga Courts Trouble While Trinidad Waits

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As you watched the Showtime doubleheader this past weekend from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the ubiquitous Don King was in his customary seat ringside in full view of the audience. But what was even more eye-opening was the presence of one Ricardo Mayorga sitting right next to him, who on October 2nd takes on the comebacking Felix Trinidad at the Madison Square Garden in New York. The Trinidad-Mayorga fight is one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Since we head into September it was no surprise that Mayorga would now make his way into the States to begin his final preparations to face 'Tito.' But it was just a few days before that Mayorga was arrested in his hometown of Managua, Nicaragua on suspicion of rape and then freed on Friday.

Less than 24 hours later he was sitting next to King, watching Cory Spinks out-box Miguel Angel Gonzalez, then Lamon Brewster escape with his WBO title against Kali Meehan.

“I was set up and that's all I'm going to say,” is how Mayorga answered these allegations. There had also been quotes attributed to the hard-swinging and fast-living brawler that he thought his showdown with Trinidad would be postponed. “I never said that,” he countered.” I am going to sleep in the ring and wait for Trinidad. I will knock him out.”

Well, it seems that this recent brush with the law hasn't taken away his trademark swagger or bravado. But perhaps he should indeed shack up in the ring or take up residence in one of the lockerooms of the Garden and wait for October 2nd to arrive. Based on the reports that have been flowing out of Nicaragua the past few months, it seems he should avoid that place at all costs.

It seemed lately you couldn't go more than a week or two without hearing about the exploits of Mayorga, who was either driving his car off the road or fighting the law. Anyone else remember the time—and it wasn't that long ago—that Mayorga's biggest vice was just smoking? It seems so long ago, doesn't it?

Now, Mayorga, like every other man accused of a crime, deserves due process. Perhaps, like he stated, he was set up. Or maybe, whether he's in Managua or Topeka, Kansas, trouble always seems to find this maverick.

But there's an old saying that says, 'You can never go home again.' And perhaps like a Michael Nunn of years past, some fighters, like Mayorga, shouldn't even try. You remember 'Second To' Nunn—in the late '80's, as he reached his prime, he was thought of as one of the heir apparents to the 'Four Horseman' of Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns.

Unfortunately that baton would never be passed. Instead, Nunn, who reached a quick apex, just as quickly declined into an afterthought in the game of boxing. And many around him blamed the influences and the vices of his hometown, Davenport, Iowa. I'm sure it's a fine, little city, with no more civil unrest or crime than any other metropolis in America, but for Michael Nunn it was a trap, filled with leeches, hangers-on and drugs.

Now, Nunn will be spending the next several decades in prison on drug charges.

Then you have the case of one Paul Spadafora, who's the pugilistic pride and joy of Pittsburgh, but can't keep his name out of the headlines when he's in 'the Steel City.' Last year Spadafora was accused of shooting his girlfriend in the chest, and just this past weekend he was cited for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and recklessly endangering another person in a vehicle.

On the bright side, nobody got shot.

There are countless other prizefighters who, after attaining some success, go back to where they once fought to get out of, only to find trouble. To be fair, maybe these guys could find trouble at the Vatican or Disneyland, but it's clear that the chances increase when they are in familiar surroundings.

Mayorga, though, didn't seem too affected by this recent episode.

“I was only detained for three hours and lost only one day of training,” he would say. He was brimming with confidence that he would be exonerated off all charges. But just to be on the safe side, perhaps he should employ the services of one Pamela Mackey, who's bound to get a positive referral from one Kobe Bean Bryant.

As for the always upbeat King, the show must—and will—go on.

“The judge in Nicaragua let him leave that country to fight in America and that's what we plan to do,” he announced.

Hey, only in America. And as for 'that place,' perhaps Mayorga would be wise to stay out of it for awhile.

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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