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Articles of 2004

Lewis Decides To Go Out On Top At The Perfect Time

Frank Lotierzo

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A few month's past I wrote why I thought Lewis-Klitschko II would happen. With the decision of Lewis to announce his retirement, apparently I was wrong. Good for him and bad for me. At this time I would like to thank Heavyweight Champ Lennox Lewis for announcing his retirement. Yes, I did say heavyweight champion. That is because as of his retiring he is the best heavyweight in the world, regardless of what belt he holds. Lewis is without a doubt the King of the heavies, and that includes both Klitschko's, Byrd, Sanders, Tyson, Rahman, Ruiz, Mesi, Guinn and any other contender you want to name.

I'm glad to finally see a heavyweight champ go out on top. It has only happened three times in heavyweight history with Jeffries, Tunney, and Marciano. Only Jeffries came back, and he lost to Jack Johnson six years after retiring undefeated. I hope Lewis doesn't make the same mistake. Who cares what writers write or what fans say? Let them call him a coward for not fighting Vitali Klitschko again, it means nothing. Any knowledgeable person knows that's not the case. And on top of that, Lewis already beat Klitschko in his last fight. So in reality he beat the next best heavyweight out there. I don't care that Klitschko was leading when the fight was stopped. He lost due to a severe cut inflicted on him from a punch thrown by Lewis.

Lewis and Vitali Klitschko fought, Lewis won, end of story. And if you are really an objective fan, you know Klitschko caught Lewis when he was in terrible shape, and still couldn't beat him. Vitali had Lewis on a night he was huffing and puffing, he was sloppy, over weight, and not focused, yet still couldn't get the win. Bottom line is Lewis beat Klitschko when he was at the end of his career, and Klitschko was at his best. Yes, I wouldn't mind seeing a rematch between Lewis and Vitali, however I don't need to see it to find out who the better fighter is, I already know, Lewis.

Hopefully Lewis can be a trend setter and make it fashionable to go out on top. In boxing this never happens in any weight division. Maybe this is why fighters don't receive the dignity and respect later in life that other athletes get. Boxing is the cruelest sport. When a fighter is at the end of his career, he usually gets humiliated in his last performances. It's not like a quarterback throwing interceptions, or a pitcher whose fast ball continuously gets jacked out of the park at the end of his career. Remember, you don't play boxing.

I think it's better that Lewis goes out under his own terms while he can. I don't want to see him get shellacked like Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes and Evander Holyfield. Ironically, Louis, Ali, and Holmes are the only heavyweight champs to win more championship fights than Lennox Lewis. I say lets celebrate Lewis. He was the champ for the better part of the past 10 years. He never met a fighter he couldn't defeat. He was a very versatile fighter and never embarrassed or disgraced boxing. Plus, he has plenty of money and should live like a reigning champ the rest of his life. Good for him!

There are only two negatives that can be said about Lewis, and they're not his fault. One is he is the only heavyweight champion to lose his title twice via one punch knockout while he was at or close to his prime. This will always cause some to question his chin. Two is that some will never give him credit for his defeats over the two other fighters of his generation that he is measured against, Holyfield and Tyson.

I thought Lewis beat Holyfield in both of their fights. However, I thought the rematch was very close. That being said, I rank Holyfield above Lewis in the all-time pantheon of heavyweight greats. I think at their best, Holyfield beats Lewis most likely by a decision. The Holyfield who Lewis beat was only capable of fighting in spurts. Not a good strategy to win a decision. Plus, Holyfield had a harder career and had tougher fights due to his willingness to go to war. And Holyfield is older than Lewis and fought every single fighter of their era who was supposed to be a somebody.

In regards to Tyson, I give Lewis total credit for his win over Tyson. In my opinion, Lewis at his best beats the best Tyson. Lewis is just to tall and long for Tyson, and has the power to take Tyson's heart. Lewis also never had any fear of Tyson. Lewis has to be ranked higher. He beat and fought fighters that Tyson never faced, and beat him head-to-head when they fought, and they are the same age. Oh, and Lewis never paid Tyson step aside money. Remember, Tyson paid Lewis 4-5 million $ so he could fight Bruce Seldon for another ABC title instead of defending the title he currently held. That is pure fact and cannot be rebuked. I believe Tyson always had trepidation about fighting Lewis. I can't say it like it's a fact, but I just always got that feeling from Tyson. Bottom line, Lewis ranks above Tyson and was the better fighter.

Lennox Lewis has had an extraordinary career. He scored some devastating KO's, and was even at the wrong end of a couple of them. He never avoided any fighter and always sought to fight the best. I suppose in retirement he'll gain respect and be more appreciated like Larry Holmes and Evander Holyfield are, (As far as I'm concerned, Holyfield is retired and I know where his career was at its peak). Lewis, like many other past champs wasn't given his due as a fighter like Louis, Liston, Ali, Foreman, and Tyson, just to name a few while he was champ. Those mentioned were given their accolades while they were champ and were even thought to be unbeatable at some point during their title tenure.

Where does Lewis rank among heavyweight histories greatest champions. No doubt over the next few months many fans and writers will weigh in on this. I'm sure in the next week or so I'll take a stab at it. However, I can say without question, Lewis' career accomplishments rank among the top six or seven heavyweight career's of all-time. Personally, when I rank fighters on a head-to-head basis, I go pre and post Joe Louis, for many reasons.
That being said, the overall career achievement's of Lennox Lewis place him among the top six or seven heavyweight champions in history. It's the head-to-head confrontations where I don't place him quite as high. But that's a story for another time.

This is a time to pay homage to the great career of Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis. I for one hope that he never comes back. He is aware that he is getting up in age and may be vulnerable if he ever fights again. Why should he risk losing to lesser fighters at the end of his career like so many other past greats have.

Lastly, Lewis is going out at the perfect time. He is recognized as the world's best heavyweight. In his last fight he beat the only heavyweight who was even thought to have a chance to beat him in Vitali Klitschko. Klitschko has demonstrated much class in his deportment since hearing of Lewis' retirement plans. I can't answer for anyone else, but as far as I'm concerned, Lewis is leaving at the perfect time, while he's on top. And I think he is too smart to ever come back

Writers Note

For those who want to admonish Lewis for his decision. Ask yourself this, isn't it better that he go out on his terms opposed to going out like Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, or Evander Holyfield. I know their circumstances were different, but I can't help thinking Lewis is making the right move. I wish Louis would've never came back after beating Walcott in their rematch. I wish Ali would've retired after Shavers, or the second Spinks fight at the latest. Holyfield could've gone out many different times after a big win but didn't. Lewis goes out off of a big win, this will only help add to his legacy as the years go by. I wish more fighters and athletes cared about their legacy instead of milking out every last dollar. Lewis leaves with all his faculties and plenty of money. Good job Champ, and thanks for the memories!

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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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