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Articles of 2004

Syd Vanderpool, Verno Phillips and Jeff Lacy speak about upcoming bouts

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SHOWTIME's spectacular tripleheader on Saturday, October 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.

Prior to Klitschko-Williamson, SHOWTIME will feature a pair of world championship battles. In the evening's second televised bout, International Boxing Federation (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 SHOWTIME 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.

Phillips: I am really looking forward to this fight and proving myself. Ouma beat me the first time, but I only had 10 days' notice for that fight. I plan to shock the world and beat him this time around. A lot has changed since our first fight. I have been around a long time, and this may be my biggest fight ever. I am really looking forward to Oct. 2 and showing the world, and Ouma, what the Verno Phillips of today is all about. I have never had the luxury of having the backing of promoters that a lot of boxers have but here I am, a world champion again, and now that I have the belt again I am going to keep it for a while. Ouma is a good fighter and this is going to be a great fight, just like our last one was, but whether I have to box or slug, I am going to avenge my loss to him and retain my world championship belt. I know that Ouma is confident and thinks he is going to win again, but I am even more confident, am in great shape, and ready to, like I said, shock the world.

Question: Verno, without giving away anything, what is the real key to winning the rematch?

Phillips: The main key is that I know Kassim's style. When I come to Vegas, you will see what my game plan. I am going to teach Ouma. I will show you good boxing. I will give a good show.

Question: Syd, what are your thoughts about finally getting another shot at a world title?

Vanderpool: It has been a long time coming, but like Verno, I kind of feel like I have been cut as the underdog here in this championship fight. So I am looking forward to fighting on SHOWTIME and shocking some people and turning some heads. I am looking forward to it.

Question: Jeff, if triumphant, what would it mean to become the first Olympian from the class of 2000 to capture a world title?

Lacy: I feel that Syd is a decent fighter. I am taking my hat off to him. We are going to get into this ring and we are going to fight. I hope he is coming to fight because I am in tremendous shape. I have been training with one of the world's best southpaws, Winky Wright. As far as me being the first Olympian, it is not a race for me to be the first champion from the 2000 Olympic team. When I turned pro, the goal was to fight for a world title inside of four years. So everything has fallen according to schedule. Everything is on time.

Question: (To both boxers) How important is experience in this bout?

Vanderpool: For me, having been in a world championship fight already, looking back on it, I can tell experience was a factor in my not winning that first attempt at the title. So I think it is a huge benefit having been there and done it. I am going to make it happen this time. So for me it plays to my strengths.

Lacy: For me, I feel that it (experience) is going to play to my advantage because I have fought in the Olympics, I have fought many different types of fighters. One of the things that I have is one of the world's best professionals in the gym that I am working with. I feel like that is going to play to my advantage. It is all about dealing with the pressure and I think I deal with more pressure than he has with me coming into this as a four-year professional.

Question: Syd, is fighting a guy like Bernard Hopkins a good experience gainer?

Vanderpool: Definitely. Going 12 rounds with Hopkins helped me learn a lot of different things that I can now bring to my game. A lot has to do with intensity at the next level. So I look to bring that to the dance on Oct. 2.

Question: Jeff, who is the best southpaw that you have fought in the amateurs or at pros, and what was Winky weighing when you guys were sparring?

Lacy: Winky was at 174-175 when we sparred. As for the best southpaw, I have not really met a true southpaw as a pro. But as an amateur, I fought many. I have been in the Olympics and it was all different types of fighters, European fighters. It is not so much that they were southpaws as to being able to deal with their style and them being slick.

Question: Jeff, is there any one or two southpaws that stand out in particular?

Lacy: No, the only one that really means the most is Winky Wright. He is the best.

Question: Syd, do you think that your movement is going to be a key in this fight?

Vanderpool: There are going to be many keys to this fight for me and, of course, movement is one of them. Jeff has proven that if you stand in front of him, he has got some power. That is one of the things that I am looking to neutralize.

Question: Syd, is there anything else you would care to share with us?

Vanderpool: Oh yeah. Left hand, the right hook, an uppercut, a jab. I am bringing it all.

Lacy: You will need it. I have it; you are going to need it.

Question: Syd, the fight game has been pretty slow lately in Canada. Do you feel a win or even a good performance on Oct. 2 might go a little ways to reviving interest there and, if all goes well, would you like to have at least another fight in Canada before you retire?

Vanderpool: Right now, I am just concentrating on bringing the world title back to Canada.

Question: Syd, do you feel that you have a lot of support from your hometown, particularly, when you are fighting?

Vanderpool: Definitely. There is a charter plane coming down to Vegas with about 120 fans on it and there are a couple of bars there that are going to be showing the fight. They are all supporting me and looking forward to watching me raise my hand and put on the belt.

Question: Jeff and Syd, what are your predictions?

Lacy: The only thing I can say is it is going to be a great fight. Whatever happens, if I see the knockout comes, if it is the first round or the 12th, I am going to go for it. Until then, it is just going to be a great fight. I am coming to win.

Vanderpool: I just have to agree with him. It is going to be an explosive fight. There are going to be some explosions going on in the ring and one man is going to be standing with his hand raised at the end and that is all that matters.

Question: Syd, today is your 32nd birthday, what are you doing to celebrate?

Vanderpool: Well, I am actually in the gym right now. I just finished training. My celebrating is going to start in about a week and a half with a nice big belt and then take it from there.

Question: Jeff, what does it mean fighting at a place with a fight history like Caesars Palace?

Lacy: It is great to be added to that long list of great champions who have fought at Caesars. Being that this fight is outdoors makes it even better. I am excited. On Oct. 2, I am going to show the fans in the stands (and watching on SHOWTIME) that Jeff Lacy is one of the best world champions around now.

Question: Syd, how do you feel about fighting at Caesars?

Vanderpool: It is exciting. I was just watching Hagler and Leonard the other day. When they announced the fight was going to be outdoors, it was like I get to perform on the same stage and shock the world just like Leonard did back then. It is exciting and I look forward to Oct. 2.

Question: Jeff, do you have any closing comments?

Lacy: I am training extremely hard. I train extremely hard. I am coming to win. It is going to either be a dogfight or it is going to be me chasing the cat.

Question: Is this a dream come true for you even though you fought in the Olympics?

Lacy: The dream to come true was making it to the Olympics. This (fighting for a world title) is a goal. This is a goal I set out for myself when turning professional and I am working very hard towards capturing that.

Question: Syd, do you have any closing comments?

Vanderpool: I am just looking forward to the fight and looking forward to showing the fans and the media what Syd Vanderpool is about. As for Jeff Lacy, I hope he brings his A game. I hope he has been training hard and is in as good a shape as he says he is because I really want to go out and fight the best in the world and he is one of them. I am looking to put him on my hit list and scratch him off.

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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