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Articles of 2004

For Marco Antonio Barrera – Too Bad Paulie Isn't PacMan

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While Marco Antonio Barrera seemed to be his old self in breaking down Paulie Ayala this past Saturday, let’s not forget it was Ayala in that ring and not Manny Pacquiao. Before answering whether or not ‘The Baby-Faced Assassin’ is ‘back’ or not, a better question may be whether he was ever gone in the first place. Several scribes and announcers claim “he’s back” after dismantling Ayala – but from where?

The only place Barrera went was to a place called Mannyville, Pactown. Call it what you will, but it was an unpleasant trip, nonetheless, and one I’m not sure Barrera would want to make reservations for again. If he does, he better buy travelers insurance with the maximum coverage allowed. Barrera was on the wrong side of a beating at the hands of Manny Pacquiao, and from what we saw last Saturday a rematch would be much of the same.

Barrera is not back, he was never gone. He just fought a guy who was faster than him, stronger than him, younger than him and who had too much for him. Using Barrera’s performance against Ayala as a measuring stick as to how he would fare in a Pacquiao rematch is to forget the facts.

Paulie Ayala is a southpaw. Manny Pacquiao is a southpaw. Point blank that is where the similarities start and end. While Ayala was a world-class fighter, Pacquiao still is a world-class fighter. What gave Barrera so much trouble was that PacMan is a non-stop, come forward madman with power to spare. He had 30 KO’s in 38 wins and Barrera simply had no answer. In Ayala, ‘The Baby-Faced Assassin’ was up against a stylish lefty who threw lots of punches, but none that could do any damage. Ayala naturally fought at 118 and was one of the best at the weight. He moved to 122 briefly and then to 126 to face Barrera, but it was obvious that the bigger stronger man was Marco, and it showed in the ring.

In terms of power comparisons between Ayala and Pacquiao, there simply are none to be made. To suggest that Ayala wouldn’t have the power in his punches at 126 that he had at 118 would be to forget that he didn’t even have the pop at Bantamweight to begin with. Paulie Ayala registered just 12 KO’s in 35 career wins. We speak of Ayala in terms of what he had achieved in his career because he has since retired from boxing, and probably had made that decision prior to Saturday’s fight. A question of his desire to be there last weekend and really push Barrera may now be a valid one. Regardless, the bigger, younger, stronger, fighter won, as he often does.

A 34-year old Paulie Ayala was not going to be the test that Marco Antonio Barrera may need to decide the fate of his career. Manny Pacquiao is nearly 10 years younger than Ayala and fights a style that is completely different from that of Ayala. He is a buzz-saw who throws punches in bunches and will punish you with right hands if you try to throw left hooks to the body like Barrera did so effectively against Ayala.

Some may contend that Pacquiao has been “figured out” by Juan Manuel Marquez and exposed in that fight as a one trick pony. To those I say this – it is a helluva trick to be that strong and crack that hard at 126 pounds. Secondly, Marquez is the best 126-pound fighter on the planet right now. That includes Barrera, Pacquiao and division-departed Erik Morales.

At 30-years old and with 62 tough fights under his belt, Marco Antonio Barrera is older than his birth certificate suggests. Ring wars have taken their toll and if he were to leave as many openings for Pacquiao as he did against Ayala, it would be a similar ending as their first encounter.Marco Antonio Barrera ‘came back’ to the ring last Saturday, but in terms of the fighter he is, he was never gone to begin with. On November 15th of 2003 Barrera took a wrong turn on his road to 126-pound dominance and ended up in the roughest barrio, one ruled by Philippine Manny Pacquiao. Should Barrera make the same mistake again, we just may be left asking, “where did he go?”

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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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