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Articles of 2004

British Welterweight Title Clash: To be or not to be?

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Confusion surrounds the highly anticipated British Welterweight title clash between world-class contender James Hare and young champion David Barnes. It appears the fight has been postponed and will no longer feature on the Ricky Hatton v Mike Stewart undercard on October 1st, but Sports Network deny the fight was ever signed for that date.

All may not be lost, however. According to Hare the fight has proven too hot for the undercard (was it ever on it?) and will be rescheduled as a main event in November, but whatever the semantics, what matters is British fight fans get a chance to see Hare and Barnes square off.

And with leading contenders Harry Dhami and Jimmy Vincent facing off in an eliminator later this autumn too, the domestic welterweight division is heating up, particularly with Neil Sinclair back in the mix.


Speaking last Friday
, James Hare was typically affable and generous with his time:

DP: Is the Barnes fight off then James?

JH: Well, hard to say, nothing is actually official yet but the posters have been up and the fight isn't on them so that’s a bit of a giveaway.

DP: So as we stand the fight’s on?

JH: Officially, yes but I've been up training in Scotland and returned to a phone call on Monday saying the fight was postponed.

DP: Clearly then the fight isn't happening on October 1st?

JH: Looks that way, I've no doubt in my mind that Barnes wants the fight, he's young and has it all to play for, there is no reason for him not to want the fight. I think to be fair it has come down to the fact Sports Network (Barnes' promoters) feel the fight stands up as a bill topper.

DP: It’s a shame the fight’s not on the undercard though, it would have been good to have had a strong undercard for a Hatton fight?

JH: Yep, that’s right and I still have friends, about a hundred of them, going over there (Manchester) for the Hatton fight.

DP: But the fight isn't dead?

JH: No, I'm hearing that November 12th is the proposed new date, perhaps up here, somewhere like Halifax. And I'm fine with that and feel more optimistic that the fight will happen now than I was before.

DP: Great fight, it has boxing fans talking?

JH: Totally, and whilst I respect Barnes, Chris (Aston) and I are quietly confident.

Speaking Monday 20th James added:

DP: There seems some confusion over whether the fight was ever signed to appear on the Hatton undercard, Sports Network claim it never was, but that a venue and date is to be announced shortly?

JH: As far as we're concerned, I was preparing for the 1st October but since the phone call last week I have lightened up the training, taken a week off and will return to it next week in preparation for the November date. At the end of the day, I have nothing but respect for Barnes and whilst putting a show together across promotional companies is always difficult – often people don’t know what’s happening – what matters is my preparation is good and that I'm ready for November 12th. And if any problems arise then, we'll address them as they come up.

DP: So you'll be well prepared for the fight?

JH: Definitely, I've been training up in Scotland, sparring with some good kids up there, like Kevin McIntyre, and to be honest the change may be a blessing, I'm already in good shape, fitness wise – so the extra time will allow me to build on that and I think Sports Network are right, this is a stand-up bill topping fight.

DP: Agreed, it’s just a shame the public that spend a lot of money supporting Ricky aren't getting this as a tremendous undercard fight, a genuine 50-50 contest. And it seems Michael Gomez is no longer on the bill either, he didn't feature on the Sports Network undercard announcement on frankwarren.tv today.

JH: Well, I don't know about Gomez, maybe they'll save that up and make another card up with me and Barnes as the support to that, Gomez shifts a lot of tickets after all.

DP: I suppose if they got a decent name opponent that the Manchester public recognise for Gomez, it could be a genuine double-header?

JH: Yes, why not, sounds like a good card to me!

DP: Thanks for talking again James and shedding some light on the situation.

JH: No problem, take care.

So a disappointment for fans hoping for to see the pair face off as a prelude to the Hatton v Stewart ‘slug-fest,’ but encouragingly the fight WILL happen and when it does, thankfully it’s unlikely to short-change them for action.

My thanks to Chris Aston for helping arrange this interview

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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