Boxing


Calling Your Senator “Baby”

Joe MesiBy David J. Kozlowski: “Baby” Joe Mesi once had a promising career in the heavyweight division. Boxing experts even included him among the top fighters in the weight class. By 2004, he was undefeated and immensely popular in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. Then he ran into a blown-up Cruiserweight named Vassily Jirov, who only a year before had lost a very close 12-round decision to James Toney.

Mesi dominated early, but was knocked down once in the ninth round and twice in the tenth, and only sheer power of will carried him to the final bell. Mesi beat Jirov 94–93 on all three cards, but suffered a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain) in the fight. The injury resulted in his suspension from fighting by the Nevada Athletic Commission. That was in March of 2004. He has since had trouble getting licensed by other states, and is still unable to fight professionally in New York.

Despite only being allowed to fight in a handful of states, Mesi began a comeback in 2006, and has run off seven straight victories against lightly-regarded opponents. Now, with a professional record of 36–0, Mesi’s boxing career may be ending again, but he will still be fighting. On April 5, 2008, “Baby” Joe Mesi officially announced his candidacy for the New York State Senate.

New York’s 61st Senate District seat is being vacated by the retiring Mary Lou Rath. Running as a Democrat, Mesi faces at least three Democrat rivals and two Republicans. In the face of such competition, Mesi said, “I think you remember from my Vassily Jirov fight … I will never, ever give up.”

Mesi, 34, has plenty of name recognition, but knows he faces some challenges, including his lack of experience. In answer to this criticism, he noted, “I am not a career politician but I am no stranger to politics, I do know the issues.” He cites his experience running his own promotion company, his Baby Joe Mesi Fight for Organ Donation foundation, and his volunteer experience with various charities. His Web site points out the difference between his experience and that of other New York politicians: “I don't have a record of delivering higher taxes, job losses, and bloated state budgets.”

Job creation is the biggest issue on the Mesi campaign platform. “We have to give people more opportunities in this area,” he said. He also supports lowering taxes, investing in green energy, cutting waste and improving the economy, among other things. He intends to bring an average person’s viewpoint to the state capital in Albany.

Mesi acknowledged that his boxing career would take a back seat while he worked on his campaign full-time. “You may have seen my last fight,” Mesi said. Of course, if he wins, he may encounter more fighting in the New York Senate than he ever has in the gym, and his perfect record will be hard to maintain.


The author can be contacted at dkozlowski@gmail.com. Joe Mesi’s campaign Web site is www.votejoemesi.com, and his boxing Web site is www.babyjoemesi.com.

Article posted on 10.04.2008



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