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MESI BULKS UP LEGAL TEAM
BOXER GETS ATTORNEYS WITH NATIONAL PRESENCE

Joe Mesi isn't about to throw in the towel on his boxing career just yet.

The suspended heavyweight has added to his corner a pair of heavy-hitting attorneys to help him fight again in the United States.

Paul Cambria of Buffalo and Richard Wright of Las Vegas, two nationally renowned lawyers, have joined Mesi's legal team. Their first act was to notify the Nevada State Athletic Commission they would like to delay next Thursday's suspension hearing at least one month. Nevada likely will grant the continuance.

Mesi was scheduled to go before Nevada's five commissioners in Las Vegas, where they would vote to rescind or uphold the medical suspension placed upon him 13 months ago.

Last week, the commission's medical advisory board unanimously recommended Mesi be prevented from returning to the ring because of multiple brain bleeds suffered in his last fight.

"In my opinion the first hearing was not complete," Cambria said. "More information needs to be presented in a more comprehensive fashion.

"He needs to put his best foot forward, and what attracted me to this matter is that hasn't occurred yet. I don't think you should have your dreams extinguished without putting your best foot forward first."

Cambria has replaced Mesi's previous attorney, Stuart Campbell of Tulsa, Okla., as lead counsel.

If Mesi doesn't want to timidly fade from boxing, then it's fitting he has associated himself with Cambria and Wright. Neither is the shy, retiring type.

Cambria is a legendary figure in constitutional and First Amendment law. He has argued several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has represented adult magazine publisher Larry Flynt, sniper James Kopp, rock star Marilyn Manson and rapper DMX.

Wright is considered an elite criminal attorney in Nevada and has handled many boxing clients, including promoter Bob Arum and junior welterweight star Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Cambria, who also has an office in Beverly Hills, Calif., claimed his role would be to ensure Mesi's hearings are conducted in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. He said he believes the onus should be on Nevada to prove Mesi's condition is life-threatening.

"I've done a lot of constitutional litigation, a lot of professional license litigation for doctors and other medical professionals and that type of stuff," Cambria said. "I firmly believe that before someone has his right to earn a living taken away from him -- basically this guy's entire future -- certain procedural requirements are necessary under the Constitution.

"There's no scientifically reliable evidence that he's not fit to fight. The information that I'm familiar with doesn't support any finding to a reasonable degree of certainty he's not fit to fight.

"The burden is being shifted to him to prove he's fit. I think it should be the other way around. When you're taking something away from someone, you should have the burden of carrying the day."

Lancaster law firm Brown Chiari still is handling Mesi's breach-of-privacy suits against Physicians Imaging Center of Western New York and the New York Athletic Commission. Mesi has accused them of improperly releasing his medical records. Those cases are several months away from completion.

Mesi is 29-0 with 25 knockouts and was the World Boxing Council's No. 1 contender before he was dropped from the ratings due to his suspension.

e-mail: tgraham@buffnews.com