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Articles of 2004

Next Appearing on a Milk Carton – Antonio Tarver

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Be on the lookout in the dairy section of your local grocery store – the face of Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver may be the next mug you pull off the shelf.

We warned Tarver to be careful what he wished for – and he got it. Now that the man who beat the man is the man, but no one is knocking down his door like they need him and nobody is throwing millions of dollars at him to grace the ring any time soon. Instead, Tarver could steal the title from the Roy Jones Jr. hit – pun intended – rap song and proclaim, “ya’ll must’ve forgot.”

Yes, Tarver did beat Jones Jr. in a shocking and abrupt manner as he landed the perfect punch at the perfect time and the result was, well, perfect. The aftermath of that feat has been void of hoopla and multi-million dollar fight offers. While Tarver talks one of the best games in town, it seems that no one has been listening since he shocked Roy four months ago after bad-mouthing the superstar. A little sweet talk to the same Jones Jr. just may be in order for Tarver if he cares to do more than just spit polish the WBC, IBO, IBA and NBA Light Heavyweight titles he still possesses. (I hadn’t been aware that the NBA had ventured into the business of branding boxing champions, but think Tarver may have already vacated that one in order to lighten his workload.)

Since disposing of Roy Jones Jr. in May with a perfectly placed counter in round two of the rematch to Jones’ 12-round decision victory, Tarver hasn’t even had serious talks regarding a return to the ring. The man he beat will be taking on tough, durable Glengoffe Johnson for the IBF Light Heavyweight title Johnson won by decisioning Clinton Woods.

Jones is taking the best available route to becoming champion again by taking on Johnson for his IBF belt. The IBF title is more highly regarded than three of the four belts Tarver won and with the word “champion” in front of his name Jones becomes the meal ticket at the box office once more. However, Johnson is one tough nut so we won’t get ahead of ourselves before he and Jones meet this weekend on HBO. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Glengoffe Johnson has 40 wins, 9 losses and 2 draws in a 51 fight pro career, but he has only been stopped once in those 9 losses and that was by Bernard Hopkins in 11 rounds for the IBF Middleweight belt back in 1997. The guy is very durable, won’t be fazed and can certainly take a shot.

With Jones seemingly on the verge of righting the wrong of not being champion – because it just doesn’t sound right, darn it – we turn the page to Tarver. Like it or not, and Antonio hates it, many will still view Jones as the division King while Tarver remains a Pawn.

Beyond Tarver-Jones Jr. III the options are limited, as Tarver’s booking agent has sadly discovered. Rather than capitalize on his major victory, the ‘Magic Man’ may find himself turning to Jones once more for some financial assistance. The Light Heavyweight rankings aside from Tarver, Jones and Johnson are a mixed bag of Darius Michalczewski, Tiozzo, Erdei, Thomas Ulrich, Rico Hoye and Montell Griffin. Neither Jones nor Tarver have expressed any interest in traveling overseas where the WBA belt rests with unknown Hungarian Zsolt Erdei or to France where Fabrice Tiozzo can be found coddling his WBA trinket. Michalczewski won’t leave the comfort of fighting in Germany and Ulrich too has a hankering for home cooked sauerkraut and lederhosen.

Assuming the Americans stay in America and the Europeans stay in Europe, as the pattern has been, the choices for both Jones and Tarver are limited to the prospect Hoye and retread Griffin. Glengoffe Johnson is the only one of the boxers listed above who has fought both in the United State and Europe. He has said he’ll fight anyone anywhere and unlike many others his record backs that up.

Tarver and Jones have each disposed of Griffin in the past and now Griffin has gone and nearly spoiled things entirely by exposing Hoye. Last weekend the veteran Griffin took the starry eyed Hoye twelve rounds and despite losing a close, disputed split decision, raised more questions about Hoye than were answered. That bout was the IBF Eliminator preceding the IBF title bout between Jones and Johnson. A Jones-Hoye bout likely won’t excite many, not to the extent a third rumble for the right to ramble with Tarver could.

A fighter’s marketability is directly related to what he has done for us lately and Tarver hasn’t even used his ample vocabulary to give us a glimpse of what he might do next.

Stuck on the outside looking in, it is time for “Magic Man” Tarver to pull a rabbit out of his hat and awe us all once more – before it’s too late. If not for his visage on a milk carton, we all might’ve forgotten.

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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