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Articles of 2004

The Comings and Goings in Boxing




It seems that folks in the game of boxing can't decide whether they're coming or going. From fighters on down, everyone is having a tough time deciding if they want to stick around the red light district of sports. Case in point, Jose Sulaiman, the dictator of the WBC, who a few weeks ago was telling everyone that it was time for him to step down and let someone else lead the organization. But alas, at the WBC convention in Thailand, he said because of the overwhelming support that he received from his constituents that he decided to stay on as the head honcho.

In essence, he basically elected himself to another lifetime term. It seems that Graciano Rocchigiani didn't KO Sulaiman after all.

Expect another 'retirement' announcement from Sulaiman in a few years, only to be followed by the obligatory reconsideration of his position. The only thing missing here were 'hanging chads.'

Then you have the curious case of featherweight standout Manny Pacquiao and his estranged promoter Murad Muhammad. Now, if you've followed their saga at all the last few years you know there's always been an issue over the accounting of money that 'the Pac Man' is supposed to receive.

Seemingly after every fight, Pacquiao is suspicious of his promoter and threatens to leave him. Then after a short period of time, like clockwork, Pacquiao will come back and pledge his allegiance to the promoter and state that they are one big happy family.

It was just a few weeks ago that Pacquiao had begun training again in Los Angeles under the direction of Freddie Roach, when he suddenly went back to the Phillipines in a huff. You guessed it, he was unhappy about his situation with Muhammad—who’s never been accused of being the most scrupulous of promoters.

In the past Pacquiao has been like a battered wife, who after years of abuse, will move out for a short while only to return to the same situation in due time.

What happens this time? Does Pacquiao go back to Muhammad again or has he called a Gloria Allred to bail him out for good?

How's this for coming and going, when Felix Trinidad faced Ricardo Mayorga in his return to the ring, it was Trinidad who was coming back from his two-and-a-half year retirement and Mayorga who had been the active prizefighter.

After an exciting eight rounds of action that saw Trinidad make a triumphant return, he regained his position among the game's elite. As for Mayorga? Well, almost immediately after the bout he would announce his own retirement and then be placed under house arrest for an alleged sexual assault that took place in his homeland of Nicaragua last month.

Trinidad had indeed come back, Mayorga, could be going away for awhile.

Speaking of guys coming out of retirement, Ike Quartey who was a highly respected weltwerweight champion in the late 90's has recently announced his intentions to come back to the ring.

'the Bazooka' at one time was considered one of the best fighters in the world, but as the 90's wound down, his appearances in the ring became far less frequent. His last bout was a thorough 12-round loss to a precocious Fernando Vargas in 2000.

It was said that Quartey, who had various business interests in his native Ghana, was simply doing too well to ever come back to boxing. But as we've seen in the past, the allure of boxing sometimes has nothing to do with the financial gains the sport can bring.

Which brings us to Don King, who in the wake of Trinidad's glorious return to the ring, is now threatening a full blown war against HBO, the cable giant that controls most of the purse strings in the industry, and with whom he has had an acrimonious relationship with in the past.

King was incensed at what he perceived to be a double standard between he and Bob Arum. He felt that his rival had gotten much more of a marketing and promotional push for his pay-per-view show featuring Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins, than he did for Trinidad-Mayorga. Then there was the broadcast himself, which King felt did not follow the tenor that he wanted.

Usually King likes to dominate every aspect of his shows, from getting interviewed during the telecast to promoting his up coming shows. None of that happened on this night and King was nonplussed. He would accuse HBO of racism and he even threatened to take his fighters—including Trinidad—to another outlet.

There is talk of King starting his own boxing network and putting his fights on his own channel. HBO hasn't had much to say about the situation. They have seen these types of outbursts in the past. But what if King actually goes through on his threat?

But, then again, what if both sides kiss and make-up?

Right now, they don't know if they're coming or going.

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List




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





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





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 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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