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Articles of 2004

Kassim Ouma Talks About Upcoming Bout

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SHOWTIME’s spectacular tripleheader on Saturday, Oct. 2, will be the first boxing event to take place in the new outdoor Amphitheatre at Caesars Palace. The telecast will begin at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

In the main event, former WBO heavyweight champion and current WBO No. 6 contender Wladimir Klitschko (42-3, 39 KOs), will make his SHOWTIME debut when he takes on former North American Boxing Federation (NABF) heavyweight champion DaVarryl Williamson (20-2, 17 KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight battle.

Prior to Klitschko-Williamson, SHOWTIME will feature a pair of world championship battles. In the second televised bout, IBF Junior Middleweight Champion Verno Phillips (38-9-1, 20 KOs) will make his initial title defense in a rematch against IBF No. 1 contender Kassim Ouma (19-1-1, 13 KOs). Opening the tripleheader will be IBF No. 1 contender Syd Vanderpool (35-2, 23 KOs) taking on IBF No. 4 contender Jeff Lacy (16-0, 13 KOs) for the vacant IBF super middleweight belt.

Question: Kassim, you were supposed to fight Verno Philips for the then-vacant title in June (2004) in a rematch of a terrific fight you won two-and-one-half years earlier. What happened before that last fight? Why did you have to pull out, and what has happened since?

Ouma: The night of the fight I was ready to fight. But I pulled a muscle three days before and that kept me from fighting. I had to go get an x-ray. I do not know how I pulled the muscle. I just know I was ready to fight the night of and I am ready now.

Question: So how are you doing going into this fight?

Ouma: I am really training hard.

Question: You are training in Florida; how close were you to the hurricanes?

Ouma: I left when the hurricanes got close, but once I realized it was going to be OK I came right back.

Question: What is your strategy for Verno Phillips, and what do you see when you guys meet?

Ouma: Well, it is going to be a fight. We are going to rumble and you guys are going to enjoy it. Not only you guys, but the whole world is going to enjoy it because Kassim Ouma has been waiting to be a champion for a long time and the only person that is in his way right now is Verno Phillips. I was supposed to fight with him when he was No. 1. Now, he is a champion, so it is going to be a good fight.

Question: Kassim, is there bad blood between you and Phillips? Do you dislike him, or is this fight just business?

Ouma: I do not dislike Phillips. I like him. He is a great guy. After I beat him, he went and hid so he has a lot to prove now. But me fighting Phillips is just like representing my country because he beat one of my countrymen for the world championship. So I have that against him and owe him one.

Question: What did you think of the fight when he won the title against the kid that replaced you and took the fight on very short notice?

Ouma: Well, I do not think that was right because this was supposed to be my chance. I felt so bad watching because I was ready. I was surprised a little that the guy who replaced me went so many rounds with Phillips. I am just waiting for this upcoming fight on Oct. 2.

Question: What would a win over Phillips do to your career?

Ouma: A win over Phillips would be really great and give me the change to take over the division.

Question: Have you been sparring with anybody to prepare for his “come right at you” style?

Ouma: I have been boxing with guys that are kind of his style, but I have not watched Phillips at all. I have not watched anything. So I am just going to go like I am going for an Olympics fight: go in there and fight a guy that you have never seen before.

Question: You fought two tough eliminators in order to get yourself in position to fight for the title, and then when you got hurt, Verno, who had fought one eliminator, basically got a lesser fight and is now champion. Do you feel slighted that you are now going into this fight as a challenger as opposed to both of you fighting for a vacant title?

Ouma: I do not feel cheated. Now, I am going for the championship. I have to look straight ahead because when you fight a champion, you have to fight him really hard.

Question: Do you expect Verno to do anything different or to fight differently?

Ouma: I think he is going to come out very strong because knowing he is the champion, he has to defend his title. But so do I. When you fight a champion, you have to fight them really hard. I am fighting him hard.

Question: Can you tell me about how you started boxing back in Uganda?

Ouma: I wanted to get on a plane to get into places like I have. I wanted to go in places like England, America. So I started boxing just for my life.

Question: How old were you when you first started boxing and training as an amateur?

Ouma: I started boxing in 1993.

Question: If you win the world title against Phillips, are you going to take it back to Uganda to see family and friends?

Ouma: Yes, I would like to if they will let me back in the country. Right now, I am not really allowed to go back there, but I would like to take it back home.

Question: You were involved in a tragic shooting back in December 2002. When you were recuperating from that, did it make you even more appreciative of the gifts you have as a boxer? How were you able to turn that horrible thing into a positive?

Ouma: That made me much stronger and it made me know that God was watching. It means that I am doing the right thing. If I were a bad guy, I would have died.

Question: Do you think this fight is going to go the distance?

Ouma: Whatever happens will happen, but I do not think it is going to go the distance. You do not get paid for overtime, so I will try to take him out as quick as I can.

Question: Do you think he is going to try to box and move or do you think he will be willing to exchange?

Ouma: I think he is going to box me, but whatever he brings, I am ready. I am going to rumble him. I am coming to rumble and fight like the last fight when I beat him. Actually, I am going to fight him more because he is a champion now.

Question: Is there actually any difference between fighting for a vacant title and challenging a champion for a world title?

Ouma: Yes, they are different. I am not fighting for victory. I am going for a championship. I am beating someone and taking what he has.

Question: What does it mean for a guy with your background to win a world title?

Right now, I am trying to figure out. I do not remember when the last time Uganda had a champion. So it will mean a lot. I am going to steal the show on Oct. 2. I am stealing it from Klitschko and whoever else is on the show on SHOWTIME.

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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