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Articles of 2004

Old-man Carl Thompson Stops Unbeaten Haye In 5



David Payne reports from Ringside

Veteran cruiserweight Carl Thompson tore up the script last night, knocking out British boxing pin-up David Haye in the fifth round of a tumultuous, absorbing and often punishing contest at Wembley Arena, London.

The Wembley crowd loved every second of the most eagerly awaited all-British encounter of the year.  Imaginatively billed as ‘Don’t Blink,’  the contest pitted two of boxing’s biggest punchers together for the IBO belt Thompson secured with his characteristic last gasp, fight saving knockout of Sebastian Rothmann in February.

But the fight meant much more than the peripheral belt. This was a battle of generations, of styles, of pride. A crossroads bout, the gnarled old champion, the photogenic young buck. Name the cliché and you could hang it on the fight.

Following a year of postponement, cancellation and the impending departure of terrestrial television coverage, the sport needed this elixir. It needed the movers, the shakers, the casual fan to see boxing at its pulsating, heart on its sleeve best. Wizened hacks, the pros of days gone by were animated, as if renewed by the excitement and anticipation only big fights provide.

And for once, the fight didn’t disappoint.

Starting fast, Haye loaded every shot with power and menace.  Throwing thunderous right crosses, hooks and uppercuts, the full repertoire with perhaps the telling exception of the left jab. Haye looked tremendous and Thompson, notorious for his slow starts, was close to being overwhelmed in the opener.

The young challenger landed one enormous left uppercut that drew a gasp from the crowd and a stagger from Thompson. Haye followed up with a four-punch combination and Thompson lurched back to the ropes. Another right hand snapped Thompson’s head back, referee Terry O’Connell already poised for intervention. Thompson, backside seemingly riveted to the second rope, desperately threw back, seemingly for the referee’s benefit more than his own. As the round drew to a close Haye landed another sickening left-hook—Thompson, looking every minute of his 40 years, staggered back once more. The bell rang and he, along with 3000 watching fans, drew breath.

David Haye continued his assault in the second session. A beautifully timed straight right forced Thompson to the ropes, and Haye unloaded with a barrage of heavy shots. Thompson enjoyed his first fleeting success, landing a jolting jab and cross. Haye absorbed the shots, destroying the pre-fight notion that the first taste of Thompson’s power would be the end for the 10-fight novice.  But as the round progressed Haye was slowing. Less movement, less aggression. Had Thompson survived?

The ascendancy changed hands in the third, Haye clearly ‘spent’ heavily on his first round charge and for a fighter who’d never travelled past the fourth the vacuum in his experience became all too evident. Now throwing just single shots, Haye was standing in front of Thompson, suddenly Thompson’s clumsy footwork wasn’t a factor, he didn’t have to reach for his elusive opponent anymore. The fight was moving into the champion’s territory. In any potential battle of wills there would be only one winner.

Thompson finished the third with a big right. Haye slumped back to his stool. The old man had won a round.

Entering the fourth and it became increasingly clear Haye was in trouble, he still tried to punch with Thompson but he’d conceded authority and his mouth gaped open. Thompson landed a stiff left, prompting Haye to counter and he tried hard to lift himself, pushing himself back on to his toes. But it couldn’t last. Staying in punching range was Thompson’s fight and Thompson, with his years of experience, knew Haye was fading.

Two more huge rights landed, Thompson was already in control and he was only just warming up. Haye was in above his head. The gamble of fighting even a 40 year-old version of Carl Thompson wasn’t paying off. You could only see one way out for the former amateur star. The writers, the old pros exchanged knowing glances, a wink here, pursed lips there. Haye was spent.

Into the fifth and the pattern continued, Thompson landing more frequently as Haye’s legs no longer carried him out of danger. A left hook stiffened Haye and what appeared a partial push forced an off-balance Haye to the canvas. The crowd gasped. Giant Terry O’Connell took up the count. Thompson was on him again, clubbing shots, mauling, pushing the exhausted Haye around. Another looping right forced Haye back, his legs reluctant.

And then the finisher. Thompson found a booming uppercut and the last traces of resistance departed leaving David Haye a prone, defenceless figure on the ropes. Thompson smelt the finish and strode in, just as the white towel of defeat landed on O’Connell’s shoulder.

The fight was over. Haye protested, but it’s hard to when you can’t stand still. It may not have been the result the ‘suits’ wanted, it may not have even be the result, long-term, British boxing needed and it creates as many questions as it answered, but if David Haye has the humility to learn, ultimately it may prove a valuable experience.

It was certainly richly deserved by one of the country’s greatest warriors. He may be 40, he may have poor footwork and he may look on the brink of defeat in every contest, but you can’t keep a good man down and in boxing there are few better, more deserving men than Carl Thompson.

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Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List



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




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




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 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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