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Articles of 2004

Why Chris Byrd Has To Beat Golota Convincingly

Frank Lotierzo

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As this anticipated Championship weekend draws nearer, I'm getting a bad feeling in which I hope I am totally wrong about. It is in regards to the Chris Byrd – Andrew Golota IBF Heavyweight title fight Saturday the 17th. Before I get into that, I must state two things up front as a disclaimer. First of all, I'm not a big Golota fan as I'm sure some have gathered from past articles. I personally don't have time for fighters who have quit in a big spot on multiple occasions while being paid millions, something Golota has made a career out of. The powers that be who Govern us throughout the World can make us do a lot of things, but fighting is not one of them. Nobody has ever forced Andrew Golota to fight!

To draw a comparison, I felt that Vitali Klitschko quit in his fight versus Chris Byrd which led me to question his character. However, he has more than redeemed himself since then. As I said, it only happened once and he has proven that it was not a true indication of his character and heart. On the other hand Golota has had many chances to erase the stench of his misfortunes, but hasn't come close to making amends for them in the least. Every time I see a four round fighter get up time after time for a few hundred dollars, I think of that mutt Golota quitting for millions. On top of that I have always believed his skill, chin, and power were slightly overrated. He couldn't finish an already finished Bowe, Lewis killed him, Tyson took his heart with one right hand, and Grant caused him to fold like a 99 dollar suit in a Hurricane.

Secondly, I respect and appreciate IBF Champ Chris Byrd as much as any fighter in the Heavyweight division. Here's a Fighter who has fought everybody who was supposed to be a somebody, and has won all but twice. His two defeats are only to the upper-tier Heavyweights in the World, and he didn't disgrace himself in either one in the least. And to go along with that he only weighs between 210-214 pounds. Yet he is the holder of a major belt. I guess when you know what you're doing in that Ring, size isn't everything, although it does help. Especially if you can't fight.

What scares me is why did Don King pick Golota? I believe King has become frustrated in managing Byrd because not many fighters are willing to fight him, therefor he can't make huge money promoting his fights. I don't know this to be a fact, it's just a gut feeling. Golota has a huge following and the fact that he is unpredictable makes him a box office draw. On top of that, he is a big 240 pound fighter with some boxing skill. King can promote anybody, but give him Golota with a couple wins and a title and he becomes a huge attraction. I figure that King knows that more money can be made in a potential Golota versus Vitali Klitschko fight than there can be made in a Byrd versus Klitschko bout. You know King must be envisioning Good Drago vs. Bad Drago in the worst way. Of course this is assuming that Vitali beats Corrie Sanders, which I believe he will.

Plus, Byrd has already fought both Klitschko's and is 1-1. I'm not sure there is a lot of interest in a 211 pound fighter fighting either one of them right now. The thought around the Boxing community is that Byrd isn't big enough to beat Vitali, despite holding a win over him. I'm not saying that is right, but it is the overwhelming consensus. Fans are most likely more interested in seeing Vitali in against another big strong and skilled fighter like him. Golota, if he beats Byrd gains instant credibility and becomes a huge fight for either Vitali Klitschko or Corrie Sanders. This is something that I'm sure hasn't escaped Mr. King.

Another thing that concerns me is the Byrd-Oquendo fight aftermath. There are more than a few who feel Oquendo was deprived the decision because of his low appeal at the box office. Compared to Oquendo, Byrd is an Ali like drawing card. I can almost see Byrd bettering Golota but losing a decision based on the next fight. Another words King may be looking down the road trying to imagine the biggest fight. It doesn't take a Boxing Scholar to figure out King can parlay a Golota win into much more money than he can a Byrd win. And lets face it when two of King's fighters face each other, if it comes down to a decision, how many times does the wrong guy get it? From a marketing vantage point, there is a possibility that Byrd may be perceived as the wrong guy? Oh, and in case anyone doesn't know by now, King is the promoter of both Chris Byrd and Andrew Golota.

In Boxing, most times one fight is made in order to set up the next fight. This is nothing new, but in the Boxing game everything is set up for the next fight. I'm afraid that Byrd may not get the benefit of the close calls due to his under whelming physical size and his hit and not be hit style. This is why I believe Chris Byrd has to beat Andrew Golota in the same manner in which he beat David Tua and Evander Holyfield, or there is a very good chance he won't get the decision even if he deserves it. Another words, he has to dominate Golota from start to finish. Something that will not be easy.

I can just hear people talking after the Byrd-Golota fight if Byrd wins but isn't awarded the decision. Well, I thought Oquendo beat him and he got it, this time I thought he beat Golota but didn't get it. This is something I think is a very distinct possibility.

Lastly, Golota's style will be very difficult for Byrd. Golota is a big enough and good enough Boxer that even if Byrd goes to the ropes and tries to make him miss an then counter, Golota may still be able to score with his jab without lunging and reaching. The fact that Byrd is not a one punch knockout artist will also help keep Golota brave. Since he probably won't feel threatened to be knocked out, it's more likely that he won't lose his head. These reasons have me believing that Byrd has to win this fight in a convincing manner. EKING it out won't be good enough I'm afraid. Remember, King wins either way, it's just that he wins a little more if Golota is the IBF Champ instead of Byrd. Hope I'm wrong!

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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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