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Articles of 2004

The Perception Of The Puncher: Unbeatable

Frank Lotierzo



Man can he hit. Nobody is gonna beat him. Those are some of the comments made after a fight in which a big puncher destroys his foe quickly and decisively. Nobody looks as destructive and unbeatable the morning after a fighter who can really hit has scored an impressive and scary knockout the night before.

In Boxing if a fighter is a true knockout artist, he gets props suggesting that he is unbeatable. How many times has a really good Boxer been mentioned as being unbeatable? In the last 50 years we've had Robinson and Ali. I know there have been others, but Boxers never get the praise and adulation that punchers get. And it's a fact that Ali is the only former Heavyweight Champ who is consistently ranked among the greatest of the greats who wasn't known as a knockout artist. Greats such as Holmes and Holyfield are often overlooked because they never had that aura of invincibility.

I guess this is because in most cases when a big puncher ends a fight, it looks so final and destructive. Like Tommy Hearns drilling Pipino Cuevas and Roberto Duran like they were shot. In fact they fell forward because they were out. How about Bob Foster practically decapitating Dick Tiger, Vincente Rondon, and Mike Quarry. Did any fighters look more scary and unbeatable than Hearns and Foster did the morning after scoring those brutal knockouts.

It's funny how punchers usually always have the perception of being unbeatable. Yet sometimes they've suffered either their first defeat, or a defeat in a big fight coming off of one of their most impressive knockout wins. One that comes to mind is Felix Trinidad versus William Joppy. Trinidad literally devastated Joppy over five rounds. In fact it was Tito's first excursion into the 160 pound class and he looked awesome. However, in his next fight he fought a complete fighter in Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins went on to school Trinidad and show that he was a very one dimensional fighter. All of the sudden that devastating punch didn't look so devastating.

In looking back at some fighters who had the reputation of being big punchers who fought a “Catch an Kill” style, many of them were coming off some of their most impressive knockouts before being defeated. Foreman had just killed Ken Norton before he was beaten by Ali in his next fight. It was thought that no one could survive Foreman's punch, let alone beat him. When Mike Tyson was stopped by Buster Douglas, he was coming off of a one round stoppage of Carl “The Truth” Williams. Tyson, like Foreman was also perceived to be unbeatable.

Why is it that punchers are so often viewed as being unbeatable, when it's really the tough skilled Boxers who have more weapons to be considered unbeatable? Usually in most scenarios, the big puncher has one weapon, his punch and physical strength. They're usually not good boxers nor are they very fast. Sometimes they have a stamina problem, and aren't used to facing many fighters who don't back down from them. They also tend to move right into punches, they stand flat-footed, and they are so focused on offense that they often don't see the punches that knock them out.

A fighter like Evander Holyfield never had the “Killer” reputation of a Foreman, Liston, or Tyson. Yet he had more ways to win fights than they did. When most fans think about what it would be like to face one of the devastating hitters mentioned above, they shutter. However, they never consider that fighters like Ali, Holmes, and Holyfield are the tougher fighters to actually get a win against. A boxer with a great chin who is tough mentally is the hardest type fighter/boxer to try and beat. Even though they can't devastate their opponent like the punchers can.

When facing the Boxer, you are presented with more problems. Opposed to the puncher who if you can survive the onslaught, you're half way there. Fighter's like Ali, Holmes, and Holyfield are easier to survive against because they can't blow their opponents out so quickly and easily, yet they are harder to penetrate offensively. This is because they usually have good defenses and are harder to out maneuver and think along with having excellent stamina. On top of that they are usually super tough mentally and physically. Mainly because they had to be. Not many fighters were overcome by fear staring at Ali, Holmes, and Holyfield. Opposed to many who lost their nerve staring at Liston, Foreman, and Tyson. The Boxer is usually always tested, and fighters tend to fight their best when facing them. Punchers on the other hand have won many fights by just showing up with gloves on.

In the lighter weight divisions, Trinidad and Hopkins are a perfect example of how the puncher overshadows the Boxer/Counter-puncher. Going into their fight, the question most asked was how Hopkins would hold up to Trinidad's punch. When really it came down to what could Trinidad do if his punch wasn't able to knock Hopkins out? The perception of Trinidad being such a killer blinded some so much that even to this day some think he never caught Hopkins flush. Which is totally wrong, because he did. It's just that after seeing so many other fighters go down and out from Tito's power, they couldn't believe their eyes when a fighter took them and fought back.

That's another excuse the puncher is afforded if he doesn't score the big KO over the Boxer. Like Foreman never caught Ali with the shots he did Frazier and Norton. Some figure he couldn't have, if he did how did Ali remain upright and not horizontal? Same thing with Tyson against Holyfield. Some try and convince themselves that if only Tyson had really caught Holyfield, he would've stopped him. The fact is, Tyson did nail Holyfield with his best. Holyfield just took it and then came back with his own assault.

Punchers are great to watch and I love watching them. However, Boxing is much more than just hitting power. If it was, there would be a lot of journeymen who would've won World Championships. I don't care who the fighter is, nobody knocks out all of his opponents. When that Killer puncher comes up against that boxer who can fight and has a good chin, the puncher better have something like a Plan-B in his arsenal, or he's getting beat.

No doubt the perception of the knockout artist will always be a little over-hyped and convince some that he can't be beat. But the fact of the matter is, the overall well rounded Boxer with heart and a good chin is closer to being unbeatable than the exciting knockout artist! At the height of their career, Sonny Liston and Mike Tyson were thought by many to be unbeatable. On the other hand at the height of their career, Larry Holmes and Evander Holyfield were always perceived as being beatable. Yet when history looks back at them, it's Holmes and Holyfield who were actually closer to being unbeatable when they were at their best.

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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