Not that long ago, it might have sounded like a joke.
But seriously, folks, Joe Mesi plans to resume his stalled boxing career April 1 in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, just south of San Juan. No opponent has been announced.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Friday officially lifted Mesi's medical suspension. Friday night he flew to Puerto Rico, where he was expected to receive his coveted boxing license today.
Mesi confirmed he was going to Puerto Rico to obtain his license but said he didn't have time to comment.
"I wish him the best of luck," said Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. "My only concern for him is to never get hurt."
The World Boxing Council's former No. 1 contender is 29-0 with 25 knockouts. He hasn't fought since suffering multiple brain bleeds in a March 2004 match with Vassiliy Jirov in Las Vegas. The Nevada State Athletic Commission indefinitely suspended Mesi and didn't intend to let him trade punches again.
Nevada District Court Judge Douglas Herndon, however, ruled Dec. 19 that the suspension couldn't last longer than the life of the license, a ruling that sent tremors through the sport. Boxing licenses generally expire at the end of the year they're issued, and Herndon's verdict could be cited as precedent to unburden dozens of fighters from similar medical restrictions.
Although Herndon's ruling came down nearly two months ago, Mesi's suspension couldn't be lifted until the Nevada State Athletic Commission received the judge's written order. That happened Friday.
"I have three things to say," said Keith Kizer, Nevada chief deputy attorney general. "No. 1, the commission finally received a copy of the judge's written decision [Friday]. No. 2, the commission has notified Fight Fax [the agency that maintains the database for boxing records and suspensions] of his decision. No. 3, heaven help Joe Mesi."
The 32-year-old Town of Tonawanda native has mentioned his plan to face a few tuneup foes before measuring his status in the heavyweight division. A report on the popular boxing Web site FightNews.com mentioned 41-year-old Ron Bellamy as Mesi's possible comeback opponent. Bellamy is 14-3-4 with nine KOs.
Mesi, who had been training in Houston, was in Manhattan the past few days to partake in depositions for his ongoing lawsuit against the New York Athletic Commission.
Mesi and his attorneys for the case, Brown Chiari, contend the state boxing authority violated his privacy by illegally sharing the medical records that showed the brain bleeds. He was deposed Thursday, and a New York official was deposed Friday.