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Articles of 2004

If Sven Ottke Fell In the Boxing Forest, Would He Make a Sound?

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If Sven Ottke fell in the forest, the age-old debate as to whether or not he makes a sound will now be left forever to debate. The undefeated Ottke retired from boxing immediately after his win over Armand Krajnc this past weekend.

The dictionary defines “sound” as “a tone or noise that is heard.” Therefore, if no one state-side has ever seen Sven Ottke, he couldn't possibly make a sound if he fell in the forest. Someone has to be present to hear the noise, at least as far as the folks who write the dictionary are concerned. Over an eight-year span, no one outside of Germany even knew what a Sven Ottke was.

This past Saturday Sven Ottke ended his perfect boxing career at 34-0 with a whopping 6 “did I really see what I think I saw” knockouts. At 37 years of age he retires the Super Middleweight champion, having spent his entire career fighting on his home turf in Germany. Okay, he did make one trip all the way over to Austria in his seventh professional bout, but he surely must have thought he was still in Germany to take the fight. His managers must have pulled one over on him for Ottke not to realize that he wasn't in Kansas, umm, err, Germany, anymore. Home cooking tasted so good to Ottke he never wanted to leave, and he didn't.

A few decisions on his resume are tainted with some local flavor and that just gave him more motive to keep doing what he was doing. The recipe of local fights, local promoters and local judging had worked for his team. They say that if you keep doing what you are doing you are going keep getting what you have been getting. According to those who might hear a noise if Ottke ever did fall – they saw him after all – close wins over Robin Reid, Mads Larsen, Byron Mitchell and Charles Brewer were more likely close losses. Still, Ottke kept doing what he was doing and kept getting was he had been getting. Wins.

As the book closes on the career of Sven “the Phantom” Ottke it is a shame we never got a chance to know him. Wait, how's that for irony, “The Phantom” was his nickname! Back to my dictionary, it says here that a “phantom” is “something apparently seen, heard, or sensed, but having no physical identity; a ghost or an apparition.” Really, I couldn't make up stuff this good. Opponents of the slick moving feather-fisted German could likely attest to this moniker being a fitting one. You couldn't be sure that he hit you, his punches were so light, but you sure had a hard time finding him in the ring to land a meaningful shot against him.

With the absence of Ottke in the Super Middleweight rankings and Welsh WBO trinket-holder Joe Calzaghe moving up to Light Heavyweight, a committee will rule the division. It will remain mostly a European committee of fighters largely unknown to those residing in the United States. Denmark's Mads Larsen and Danilo Haussler of Germany will now contest the IBF title Ottke polished each night for 6 years between 1998 to 2004.

Fellow German Markus Beyer is the official WBC Super Middleweight champion with Australia's (hey, how did they let an Aussie in there?!?) Danny Green carrying that title on an interim basis. Once-defeated Anthony Mundine, also from the Land Down Under, guards the WBA title and has seemingly lost out on his opportunity to revenge the shocking KO loss he suffered to Ottke. It wasn't shocking that Mundine lost, only that Ottke was able to knock somebody out.

Canadian Eric Lucas surrendered his belt to Beyer in 2003, and lost his subsequent shot at the interim title by TKO to the hard-hitting Green. Too bad, Lucas was as close as there was to an American in the mix. Canada isn't that far off after all, but then again Lucas is French-Canadian so that wouldn't count anyway.

Ottke did it for so many years, never falling, nor making nary a sound. Having never known that he was even there, it seems ironic to suggest that the division just might miss its champion.

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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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