Did Mesi truly have what it takes to become champ? Maybe/Maybe Not!

28.04.05 - By Octavius Chatman: On 4/18/05, Joe Mesi was informed that he could not continue his boxing career based on the findings and advise of medical experts from the Nevada athletic Medical advisory Board. If Mesi was allowed to continue his boxing career, could he have possibly went on to become the heavyweight champion of the world? This is a question that I'm sure many fans and boxing insiders will debate for years to come. Let's take a look back at his last two fights and opponents..

On 12/6/03, on the undercard of the Vitali Klitschko versus Kirk Johnson fight, Mesi took on the rugged Monte Barrett, both natives of New York, Barrett coming from Queens, NY and Mesi a native of Buffalo, NY squared off in Madison Square Garden, in front of both men home crowd. For the first six rounds of the fight, Mesi was having his way with Barrett. He was landing heavy leather at will, but in the seventh round Barrett caught up to Mesi and floored him with a clean left to the chin. Mesi appeared to be extremely fatigued for the next three rounds, but somehow found a way to hold on until the fight was over in the 10th round. Mesi did enough in the early goings of the fight to pull of a narrow unanimous decision, but many questioned whether Mesi was truly ready for a championship match.

I for one felt like he had stamini issues and have argued this point with many of my collegues. At the time it was his biggest test to date, so I shrugged it off, and was looking forward to his next match.

3/13/04, on the undercard of Wright - Mosley 2, Mesi took on the rugged Vassily Jirov in another ten round heavyweight bout. This was Jirov's first match in the heavyweight division, and the big question going in was how would Mesi hold up against the relentless attack that Jirov was known for in his fights at cruiserweight. For the first eight rounds, it appeared that Mesi was on his way to a ten round sweep, when suddenly late in the ninth round, Jirov dropped Mesi with a right hook to the back of the head. It only got worse for Mesi in the tenth and final round, as Jirov persued him like a hungry shark in bloody waters, and floored him twice before the bell saved Mesi.

Based on those two performances, I feel like Mesi would definitely be in trouble if he were forced to go the twelve rounds once he stepped up the competition. That's two fights in a row where he was lucky to have made it to the final bell. Now he's in a situation where is boxing career is in jeopardy, based on the decision of the Nevada State Athletic Commission next month. Is it really in Joe's best interest to see if he can get Lady Luck to bail him out a third time in his effort to become the heavyweight champion of the world? I think not. Be happy with the fact that you made it as far as you did Joe. Not too many young prospects can say they were undefeated and made millions of fans over the short years that we shared with you Joe. I wish him well.

Article posted on 28.04.2005

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