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Articles of 2004

Oops, I Did it Again

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Part of our jobs as columnists is to not only give facts, but to dispense opinions on certain subjects. Being a columnist is much different than being a beat writer. A beat writer or reporter tells you that fighter A, hit fighter B with a right cross, and so on.

Now, from atop our soapbox, as columnists, we paint a certain picture with how we see things. Not only are we licensed to give opinions, it's expected of us.

But we have to be careful not to go overboard on things. Sometimes, we have to gather more facts, before giving out our opinions and forecasting the future. A few years ago I gushed about a young prospect by the name of Francisco Bojado. I thought like Coca-Cola, he was the real thing. Soon after that, he would lose to Juan Carlos Rubio in stunning fashion. Now, he's rebounded from that loss, avenging his loss to Rubio last November and winning the rest of his fights. But while it looks like he is developing into a solid young prizefighter, he certainly hasn't shown the star power I once forecasted for him.

I felt like one of those guys in the late '90's who threw down his mortgage payments on internet stocks, only to see them plummet. I learned a valuable lesson, no matter how good a prospect might look against carefully matched, handpicked opposition, before sizing up anyone's bust for Canastota, I should be more patient with my forecasts.

But then Dominick Guinn, happened. And it looks like I may have invested in a pyramid scheme all over again.

Now, it's not like Guinn was this heavily hyped prospect, in fact, he was a guy that flew under the radar since he wasn't an Olympian and was nurtured rather slowly by his promoter Main Events. He had been allowed to learn his craft slowly and surely and last year he broke out with big wins over Michael Grant and Duncan Dokiwari.

Ok, so beating Grant in 2003, is like pushing around Great Britain after the Revolutionary War, but the Dokiwari win I thought I stamped him as a legitimate player in the heavyweight division. In that fight he took some good solid punches from a big, strapping heavyweight and was able to turn the tide with his precise and powerful punching, to win an entertaining ten rounder. I thought to myself,' Hey, he showed a good beard, he overcame a noticeable size advantage and he showed that he could go the distance in a tough fight. He's proven himself'

And unlike like recent U.S. heavyweight failures, like Grant, Lance Whitaker and Jameel McCline, Guinn was a boxer first and foremost. He had a deep amateur background and a solid foundation of fundamental skills. Plus, like I mentioned above, he was battle-tested.

So by the time he was slated to face Monte Barrett, I was fully on the bandwagon. And Barrett was the perfect foe, he was coming off a close loss to Joe Mesi and every other time he had stepped up, he had lost to the likes of Wladimir Klitschko and Whitaker. This, was supposed to be the perfect opponent at the perfect time. Just to make sure everything was tilted in Guinn's favor, the fight would take place in his home state of Arkansas.

But I guess Barrett, never got the script.

From the very first round, Barrett would give Guinn fits with his movement and consistent jab. Guinn, had readily admitted that he preferred to face the bigger, more ponderous heavyweights, that are so prevalent today. They made for easier and bigger targets- and you didn't need as much skill to down them. But Barrett, while not exactly Larry Holmes, does have passable skills and he employed enough movement and offense to keep Guinn off-balance and out of kilter the whole night.

Guinn looked flatter than a pancake, but perhaps, it was Barrett that was flattening him. He would clearly establish control of the bout in the fourth round with a left hook that shook Guinn. It was at that juncture in the fight that Guinn seemed to acquiesce to Barrett, his body language and facial expression were eerily similar to that of Shane Mosley a few weeks ago during his losing effort against Winky Wright.

No matter how hard he was exhorted by his training team of Mark Breland and Ronnie Shields, Guinn, seemed only to be there physically, but not mentally. In a time when he needed to show passion, hunger, fire and a sense of desperation, he fought like a guy who was content to just survive and run out the clock.

Barrett, on the other hand is a guy with five mouths to feed and from what I heard, a marriage on the rocks. He would say that he wasn't just hungry, but he was flat out 'starving'. And it showed, he was clearly the one willing to walk through fire to win this fight. He wanted it more and it showed, and despite the best efforts of an Arkansas judge( who somehow had Guinn winning), his victory was so clear that he was awarded a split decision- that was anything but. Because it was unanimous to everyone else that the Brooklynite was the winner.

I guess P.T. Barnum must've been talking about me. Yeah, I can't help it, I'm a sucker for good young prospects. Hey, they are the future and sometimes you get smitten, like a young child who gets a new toy on Christmas. Yeah, in the beginning it's the greatest thing in the world, but soon, it might run out of batteries, or break, or perhaps you just get bored with it. And pretty soon, you realize that Tonka Toy or Lego set you've had for years is what you should've appreciated all along.

I guess that's me right now. But never again, I will absolutely, positively, not go overboard in my effusive praise of youngsters until they do something substantial. I've learned my lesson, I'm drawing the line right here.

But y'know, there's this young kid, undefeated and…..

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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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