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Articles of 2004

Danny Williams: Evaluating Him After Tyson

Frank Lotierzo

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It's been just about a month since British heavyweight Danny Williams scored one of boxing’s major upsets of the year when he knocked out Mike Tyson in the fourth round. Since leaving Tyson resting on the bottom rope at the conclusion of the fight, Williams has been rumored to be fighting everybody from Floyd Patterson to Vitali Klitschko. As of this writing it's been reported that Williams is going to fight the WBC's 14th ranked contender, Oleg Maskaev for the WBU Heavyweight title on October 9th.

Over the last month Williams has said that he wants to be known as the legend killer.

“This is where I should've been for a long time. It's only because I didn't do things right and didn't perform that it has taken such a long time.”

I say good for Danny Williams, he's earned the braggin rights for now. I just hope he doesn't become Buster Douglas and forget the dedication and discipline it took to get him where he's at now. And let's not forget, he still doesn't have a piece of the title yet. What if Williams gets taken apart in his next fight? His upset of Tyson will then be dismissed by many as a fluke. They will point to the fact that Tyson is 38 and that he injured his leg in the fight as the real reasons Williams won.

Today, so many analyst and fans base too much off of one fight or one game. That's not taking anything away from Williams, but he still has some more to prove against the world's upper tier heavyweights. As good as he looked and fought against Tyson, it's still only one fight. I remember how great Buster Douglas all of the sudden became after he knocked out Tyson. After Tyson, everyone started talking about his size and reach along with his boxing ability. Yet nobody said anything about those skills before he fought Tyson. Even in the years before he fought Tyson, he was known for having some skill and ability, but nobody thought he was anything special, nobody. And if anyone now says they ever predicted that Buster Douglas would hold a piece of the heavyweight title one day, they're lying.

Buster Douglas was a nice fighter, but he was stopped in three of his four loses before fighting Tyson. In his first title shot versus Tony Tucker, he packed it in after the 10th round. In his seventh pro bout, he was stopped by David Bey, who was making his pro debut. Yet heading into his title defense against Evander Holyfield, many picked him to win. This was purely based off of him beating Tyson and nothing else. I wonder how many would've picked Douglas to beat Holyfield if Douglas fought him right before he fought Tyson? How about nobody!

It turned out that Douglas fought the fight of his life against Tyson, and Tyson no doubt looked past him. Another thing many observers overlooked was one of Douglas' most effective weapons against Tyson, his right uppercut, would be a non factor against Holyfield. Tyson was a sitting duck for Douglas' uppercut because he's short and comes in low. He was right there for it. Obviously Holyfield being taller and more straight up wouldn't be right there for it like Tyson. As fate would have it, Douglas tried landing one of those big right uppercuts on Holyfield in the third round of their fight. Holyfield, knowing it was coming, only had to lean back slightly from the short punch, and then countered with perfect straight right hand on Douglas' chin, sending his head the opposite direction from his legs. Douglas was counted out, giving Holyfield the undisputed title, and highlighting how Buster Douglas hadn't defeated one top fighter before or after Tyson. Be careful evaluating any fighter off of one fight.

The same thing happened in 1978, only to a lesser degree when Leon Spinks took the undisputed heavyweight title from a 36 year old Muhammad Ali. Spinks had only seven pro fights when he fought an old and tired Ali, who was out of shape and unmotivated. Spinks out worked Ali over 15 rounds and won the fight to capture the undisputed title. Again, after the fight some so called experts, not all of them, but a lot of them, were now touting Spinks as the fighter to beat in the division. Purely based off of Spinks beating a shot Ali, forgetting that prior to fighting Ali, Spinks was held to a draw by Scott LeDoux. Instead of realizing that Ali probably would have lost to any other top heavyweight in the world that night, some started to consider that maybe Spinks was really one of the top heavyweights in the world. When in reality it was just that Spinks was the one who was there that night to take advantage of Ali's declining skills and physical condition.

In the rematch six months later, Ali showed up in the best shape he could be in for a man three months shy of 37. This time Ali just moved and tied Spinks up, not allowing him to get anything going offensively. Even to this day, many overlook the fact that Ali actually beat up and hit Spinks harder in their first fight than he did in the rematch. Ali was a more eroded fighter in the rematch, it's just that he was in better shape and kept Spinks from raising any hell. Spinks gave the title back to Ali, losing a 15 round unanimous decision.

Nine months after losing the title back to Ali, Spinks fought South African Heavyweight Gerrie Coetzee. Coetzee stopped Spinks in the first round. In his last fight prior to fighting Spinks, Coetzee was taken the 10 round limit by Ibar Arrington. After stopping Spinks, Coetzee fought John Tate for the vacant WBA title and lost a 15 round decision. Within a one year period, Coetzee was taken the distance by Arrington and Tate, yet he stopped Spinks in one round.

So be careful when evaluating any fighter off of one fight. Personally, I can't wait to see Williams in his next bout, but I'm not quite sure what to expect. There are, though, two things I'm confident of. One is that he will not look as good as he did versus Tyson. And two, he'll look better than he did in last couple fights before he fought Tyson. Maybe I should add a third. That is I will never evaluate any fighter off of one fight, regardless of how bad or good they look.

Remember, nobody would've picked Douglas to beat Holyfield had they fought prior to Douglas knocking out Tyson. Yet, based off of that one showing against Tyson, many considered him the favorite to beat Holyfield. Wonder how many will make the same mistake evaluating Danny Williams?

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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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