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In Boxing News: Mesi Comeback, De La Hoya-Mayorga, Greg Page Critical

BY Robert Ecksel ON February 24, 2006
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In Boxing News: Joe Mesi's April Fool’s Day Comeback

Heavyweight Joe Mesi returns to action against 41-year-old journeyman Ron Bellamy in Puerto Rico on April 1.

Last week the Puerto Rican Boxing Commission licensed Mesi to fight, after two years of hearings, lawsuits and whatnot, after he passed the commission's medicals. The 32-year-old Mesi suffered two subdural hematomas, aka brain bleeds, in a March 2004 Las Vegas fight with Vassiliy Jirov, which Mesi won by unanimous decision. Baby Joe was as gutsy as usual in that bout. He’ll be as gutsy as usual in Puerto Rico and beyond. “I've got a great euphoric feeling, like a dream come true. There were many days that I thought I was not going to fight ever again. So this is incredible,� Mesi said. “I'll be ready" … Speaking of being ready, Oscar De La Hoya has signed to fight WBC welterweight champion Ricardo Mayorga on May 6 at the MGM Grand. It's Oscar's first outing since he was stopped by his business partner Bernard “The Executioner� Hopkins last September. The Golden Boy hopes to get past Mayorga and then call it a day with a big bout with, maybe even a coronation of, Floyd Mayweather Jr. “Ever since I've been training with Floyd Sr., people are constantly asking me, 'Hey, you ever going to fight Floyd Jr.?' I started thinking about it and I think that's the best fight out there for me to retire." First he needs to outbox Mayorga … There’s a fine feature on Mark “Too Sharp� Johnson, who challenges WBO bantamweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez on the undercard of tonight’s Vargas-Mosley. The 34-year-old native of Washington D.C. is the first African-American to capture the IBF flyweight (115) and junior bantamweight (118) championships. A great champ, and a longtime known quantity to boxing insiders, but being a small man in a big sport has kept significant purses out of reach. "Some people say that I am over the hill. That doesn’t motivate me,� Too Sharp said. “What motivates me is trying to become a 4-time world champ in three different weight classes." Ah, the challenge … Saturday night’s big fight in Great Britain between Danny Williams and Matt Skelton is generating more copy across the pond than on these shores. Little surprise when the fragile psyche of Danny Williams is such a prominent X-factor. "It's been a hard career in many ways with far too many ups and downs," Williams told The Independent. "But now my head is right, I can see exactly where I am going." Last July Williams withdrew from his bout with Skelton with less than 20 hours until the opening bell. And the Brits are ascribing Danny’s early exit from this week’s pre-fight press conference less to religious fervor and more to a good old case of nerves. The lucky winner of tonight’s bout at the ExCel Arena may eventually tangle with WBA heavyweight champ Nicolay Valuev. No wonder Danny Williams is nervous … Former WBA heavyweight champion Greg Page is in critical condition at a Louisville hospital. He sustained brain damage during a fight with Dale Crowe in 2001, was rendered comatose, then had a stroke during post-fight surgery, and has been paralyzed on his left side and confined to a wheelchair ever since. Last week, in a related matter, Crowe was charged with murder in the death of a Cincinnati man. Both fighters are in our prayers.

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