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Articles of 2004

5 of the Best One Punch Body Shot Knockouts

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The body shot. It's rare when one ends a fight all by itself. Usually, it's the cumulative effect of a fight's worth of body work that wears a fighter down and sets him up for the head punches that more often produce the knockout.

But, every once in a while, a perfect laser to the midsection will suddenly, and dramatically, end the evening for some unfortunate soul.

Oscar De La Hoya was that unfortunate soul Saturday, as he fielded a perfect left hook to the liver from middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins. The punch sent De La Hoya to the mat on his back, his face contorted in pain.

It was obvious the “Golden Boy's” night was over the second he dropped.

It brought to mind classic one-body punch knockouts of the past. Here are the top five of the past quarter century.

5. Gerry Cooney KO 1 Ron Lyle (1980): By this point, Lyle was a shell of the fighter who nearly knocked out George Foreman and who challenged Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title. He was brought in strictly as a name opponent for up-and-coming Cooney, who was undefeated, fast-rising and bursting with punching power. But, as much of a mismatch as this was coming in, it was still mesmerizing to watch the 6-foot-6, 235-pound Cooney bury his fists into Lyle's sides. Many thought Lyle would at least offer his toughness, but after Cooney's overwhelming body attack, the aged contender couldn't even remain in the ring. Cooney's punches knocked Lyle to the ropes, and finally onto press row. You want to know how Cooney scored an undeserved crack at the heavyweight title two years later? The Lyle fight is Exhibit A.

4. Micky Ward W 10 Arturo Gatti (2002): Okay, so this wasn't a knockout. But, if not for Gatti's uncommon courage, he would have surely been retired in the 9th round after absorbing one hellacious left to the liver. It was the home stretch of a fight that had already been a classic, and Ward was making his move. He threw a light left hook over the top, then dug a left underneath and into Gatti's right side with gusto. It landed perfectly, and Gatti froze for an instant before turning away and falling to his knees – the look on his face much like that of De La Hoya Saturday. It appeared as if Gatti was done, but he rose – and even managed to stagger Ward in perhaps the greatest round in boxing history. The frenzied pace continued through the 10th, and Ward got the nod. The two would, of course, fight twice more – producing two more classics.

3. Micky Ward KO 7 Alfonso Sanchez (1997):  “Irish Micky” strikes again. Back then, however, Ward was considered a crude slugger and was brought in to more or less pad the record of the undefeated Sanchez. For six-and-a-half rounds, the fight pretty much went as expected. Sanchez dominated Ward with boxing ability, never allowing the tough brawler to get inside and do damage. It was such a pedestrian outing for Ward that a decision victory for Sanchez seemed almost assured. Then, boom! Ward finally hit the jackpot with a perfectly executed left to the liver, and Sanchez went from north to south like he'd been shot. Sanchez didn't even attempt to beat the count, and never regained his pre-Ward form. Ward went on to become one of HBO's more unlikely stars.

2. Arturo Gatti KO 2 Leonard Dorin (2004): After fighters engage in the kind of brawls that made Gatti and Ward boxing icons, their skills often begin to deteriorate. But Gatti somehow managed to get better after the three Ward slugfests. And one of the reasons, apparently, is because he adopted Ward's left to the liver – adding it to his own arsenal. It certainly worked this July 24, when Gatti ended his showdown with the once-beaten Dorin with one mammoth left to the side. Gatti set it up by throwing flurries to Dorin's head, preoccupying the Romanian with quick head punches. But, after one particular flurry, Gatti suddenly went underneath with a hook. He dipped, pivoted, and crashed his glove into Dorin's right side. Like Gatti against Ward, Dorin froze for a moment before falling. The ref could've counted to 1,000.

1. Roy Jones Jr. KO 1 Virgil Hill (1998): The body shot to end all body shots. Fittingly, the unorthodox Jones didn't deliver the punch in orthodox fashion. Most body punches are delivered underneath – thrown in an upward motion with proper leverage and timing. But Jones rarely does anything by the book, and he unleashed this monster punch in a straight, downward fashion – not surprising considering his speed and disdain for fighting inside. The shot was delivered with unreal strength and power, and it connected on a vulnerable patch of Hill's left side as Hill was uncoiling from his own delivered punch. Instant replays showed it landed on a rib, and not shockingly, there was significant rib damage discovered afterward. After absorbing the punch, Hill grimaced, then fell to the canvas. The ref, seeing the pain in Hill's face, stopped the fight without completing the count. And Jones was called the winner via one of the greatest body punches ever thrown.

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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