16.09.06 - By Jeff Bastasini: Former Heavyweight contender "Baby" Joe Mesi (33-0, 26 KOs) continued on his comeback path with a hard fought 4-round decision over Jason Weiss (3-2, 2 ko's) on Friday night at the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. Looking like a mere shadow of his former self, a slow and lethargic appearing Mesi was pushed to the limit by Weiss, 36, who had little trouble landing his right hand. Although Mesi was the clear winner, coming out ahead in every round on the judge’s scorecards, including mine, he looked terrible throughout the bout, almost like a fighter in his 40s.
Article posted on 17.09.2006
To be honest, Mesi looked marginally better than Weiss, who was only appearing in his 5th professional fight despite being a ripe 36-years-old. Like in his previous bouts, Mesi seemed to pose after throwing combinations, as if he was waiting to have his photo taken or something. This would give the slower punching Weiss time to regroup and land a counter right hand. By the end of the fight, Mesi's right eye was badly swollen, courtesy of Weiss' right hand.
The main problem, however, seemed to be Mesi's leaky defense, as he seemed unable to time Weiss's punches so that he pick them off with his gloves. Again and again, Weiss was able to land clean shots to Mesi’s head, each one bouncing off and causing sweat to fly.
Other than that, Mesi's punches seemed to lack any real power, like he was slapping with his punches despite throwing them with a closed fist and using proper form. Normally, the last thing that goes in an aging fighter is his power, something that has been often said about aging fighter. However, in this case, I think Mesi's power has been the first thing to go, with his speed coming in a close second.
In fairness to Mesi, this was only his 4th fight after coming back from his 2-year medical suspension for a subdural hematoma. Yet, it's shocking how much Mesi has lost during that time off. Hopefully, he can regain some of his old skills given enough time to get them back, although at the age 32, it's not like he has years to work on them. Following the fight, it was announced that Mesi will no longer be fighting 4-round fights. All I can say to that is, why was he fighting them in the first place? At 33-0, a 10-round fight shouldn't be too much trouble, even for a fighter coming off a 2-year lay, don't you think? Now, thankfully, he can move on to bigger and better opponents. No word was given as to who that might be, but given the kind of performance Mesi put in against Weiss, I wouldn't expect it to be a top to opponent. Most likely, it will be a B-level fighter, someone with little power to worry him. I hope I'm wrong.