Joe Mesi

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Joe Mesi
Joe Mesi

(1973-11-27) November 27, 1973 (age 50)
Tonawanda, New York, United States
Other namesBaby Joe
Boxing record
Total fights36
Wins by KO29
No contests0

"Baby" Joe Mesi (born November 27, 1973) is an American retired boxer and Democratic Party politician from Tonawanda, New York. During his career, he defeated former world champion Vassily Jirov as well as former title challengers Bert Cooper, Monte Barrett, DaVarryl Williamson, and Jorge Luis González.

Early life[edit]

Joe grew up in Tonawanda, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. He attended Sweet Home High School in Amherst, New York. He did not start his boxing career until he was about 19 years of age.

Boxing career[edit]

He was a New York State Golden Gloves champion, and as an amateur boxer he defeated future two-time Heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman. Mesi made it all the way to the finals in the 1996 Olympic Trials, but lost to eventual US heavyweight representative Lawrence Clay-Bey. In Buffalo, for a brief period, Joe was once considered by some to be the city's "third professional franchise", with the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills being the other two. Joe is still often seen at Bills and Sabres games and also supports many local charities.


In 2002, Mesi started a non-profit to raise awareness about organ donation and transplantation upon finding out his cousin was in need of a kidney transplant, and to help others in the Upstate New York area who needed such surgeries. His cousin, Ganelle Shanor, died in an accident before she was able to receive the operation.[1] In January 2004, Mesi donated $7,500 to the Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester, New York as a way of giving back to the Rochester community and to promote an upcoming fight at the Blue Cross Arena, with kidney transplant recipient Dillon Gonzalez and his family in attendance. The foundation was funded in part by admission fees to victory parties.[2]

Injury and suspension[edit]

Mesi's promising boxing career was set back greatly when an MRI indicated he had suffered at least one, perhaps two subdural hematomas [3]

The injuries came from a 2004 bout with former cruiserweight champion Vassiliy Jirov. In round 9,[4][5] Mesi was knocked down from a right hook and in the tenth round he was knocked down two more times. Mesi managed to finish the fight on his feet and the bout was scored 94-93 for Mesi by all three judges.

In June 2005, Mesi, along with his attorneys and three doctors supporting his reinstatement, went before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to argue Mesi's hematomas had healed, and, he was, "in no more danger than any other boxer." Mesi's appeal was denied by a 5-0 vote. In response to Dr. Julian E. Bailes, chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, opinion that: "Football players and other athletes who had even more severe head injuries than Mesi were allowed to continue their careers without further harmful effects." Dr. Tony Alamo, one of the board's commissioners, replied, "You play football, you don't play boxing."[6]

The suspension effectively blacklisted him from boxing anywhere in the United States under the premise of the full faith and credit clause. He launched several ineffective lawsuits against parties they claimed had leaked news of his health, while also appealing to Nevada representatives that he should be allowed to box. The suspension was officially lifted when Mesi's Nevada boxing license expired at the end of 2005. However, he was unable to renew the license due to the concerns of Nevada boxing officials. In 2006, Mesi was again licensed by boxing commissions in Puerto Rico, Louisiana, Arkansas and Michigan, with a handful of other states to follow suit in 2007. Over that time, Mesi won all of his handful of fights, though effectively retired from boxing in 2007.

Joe Mesi had one of the longest active undefeated professional boxing records in the world for a heavyweight. Ranked #1 heavyweight contender by the WBC prior to his two-year layoff, Mesi was #16 in the December 2007 rankings.[7] In 2018, Mesi was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame[8] and the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame.[9]

Politics and life after boxing[edit]

On February 14, 2008, Mesi publicly expressed his interest to run for the New York State Senate. He attempted to fill the 61st District seat vacated by Mary Lou Rath.[10] He won the Democratic primary for the seat on September 9, 2008.[11] Mesi lost the general election to Republican Michael Ranzenhofer.[12]

Most recently, Joe has taken a position with the Democratic Senate Majority heading up a local Buffalo liaison office. Mesi's name was circulated as a potential Democratic candidate to replace the retiring Jim Hayes in the New York State Assembly. The assembly seat was won by Raymond Walter.

Professionally, Mesi is a medical supply salesman with Abbott Medical. Mesi and his wife, Michele, have three children.[13]

Professional boxing record [14][edit]

36 fights 36 wins 0 losses
By knockout 29 0
By decision 7 0
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Win 36–0 United States Shannon Miller TKO 1 (10) 12/10/2007 United States Twin River Event Center, Lincoln, Rhode Island Won vacant WBC USNBC Heavyweight title.
Win 35–0 United States Ron Johnson KO 1 (10) 14/04/2007 United States The Hughes Center, Russellville, Arkansas
Win 34–0 United States George Linberger TKO 1 (10) 22/02/2007 United States Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, Chester, West Virginia
Win 33–0 United States Jason Weiss UD 4 15/09/2006 United States Little River Casino, Manistee, Michigan
Win 32–0 United States Dennis Matthews TKO 2 (4) 12/08/2006 United States Pope County Fairgrounds, Russellville, Arkansas
Win 31–0 Canada Stephane Tessier UD 6 23/06/2006 Canada Uniprix Stadium, Montreal, Canada
Win 30–0 United States Ron Bellamy UD 8 01/04/2006 Puerto Rico Coliseo Mario 'Quijote' Morales, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Win 29–0 Kazakhstan Vassiliy Jirov UD 10 13/03/2004 United States Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
Win 28–0 United States Monte Barrett MD 10 06/12/2003 United States Madison Square Garden, New York
Win 27–0 United States DaVarryl Williamson KO 1 (10) 27/09/2003 United States HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York
Win 26–0 United States Robert Davis TKO 1 (12) 24/06/2003 United States HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York Won vacant NABF heavyweight title.
Win 25–0 United States Jason Curry KO 2 (10) 28/03/2003 United States Creek Nation Gaming Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Win 24–0 Nigeria David Izon KO 9 (10) 18/10/2002 United States HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York
Win 23–0 United States Talmadge Griffis TKO 5 (10) 07/06/2002 United States Rawhide Arena, Scottsdale, Arizona
Win 22–0 United States Keith McKnight TKO 6 (10) 05/04/2002 United States Alumni Arena, Buffalo, New York
Win 21–0 United States Derrick Banks TKO 1 (10) 02/11/2001 United States Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Win 20–0 United States Bert Cooper TKO 7 (10) 27/07/2001 United States Civic Center, Niagara Falls, New York
Win 19–0 Cuba Jorge Luis Gonzalez TKO 4 (10) 27/04/2001 United States Civic Center, Niagara Falls, New York
Win 18–0 United States Joey Guy TKO 3 (10) 11/11/2000 Canada Skylon Tower, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Win 17–0 United States Matthew Green KO 2 (6) 23/06/2000 United States Grand Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi
Win 16–0 United States John Rainwater TKO 3 (?) 25/02/2000 United States Rhodes-on-the Pawtuxet, Cranston, Rhode Island
Win 15–0 United States Gary Winmon TKO 1 (10) 17/12/1999 United States Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh
Win 14–0 United States Anthony Green TKO 8 (10) 17/09/1999 United States Burt Flickinger Center, Buffalo, New York Won USA New York State Heavyweight title.
Win 13–0 Jamaica Rowyan Wallace KO 2 (6) 04/06/1999 United States Blue Horizon, Philadelphia
Win 12–0 United States Brian Sargent KO 1 (6) 24/04/1999 United States Arts Museum, Portland, Oregon
Win 11–0 United States Dwayne Hall TKO 1 (4) 19/02/1999 United States Turning Stone Casino, Verona, New York
Win 10–0 United States Rodney McSwain TKO 3 (6) 03/12/1998 United States Sheraton Hotel, Houston
Win 9–0 United States Jihad Abdulaziz UD 4 09/10/1998 United States Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York
Win 8–0 Mexico Martin Lopez KO 3 (6) 27/08/1998 United States Arena Theatre, Houston
Win 7–0 United States Kevin Rosier TKO 2 (4) 26/07/1998 United States Turning Stone Casino, Verona, New York
Win 6–0 United States Art Bayliss KO 1 (4) 25/06/1998 United States Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Win 5–0 United States Mike McGrady TKO 2 (4) 02/04/1998 United States Erie County College, Buffalo, New York
Win 4–0 United States Darryl Spratt KO 1 (4) 20/02/1998 United States Argosy Festival Atrium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Win 3–0 United States Calvin Smith UD 4 04/12/1997 United States Pepsi Arena, Albany, New York
Win 2–0 United States Jim Brackney KO 2 (4) 25/11/1997 United States El Paso County Coliseum, El Paso, Texas
Win 1–0 United States Dwane Cason Allen KO 1 (4) 01/11/1997 United States Apollo Theater, New York


  • 1993 – Empire State Games Gold Medalist
  • 1993 – New York State Golden Gloves Champion – Super Heavyweight Division
  • 1995 – New York State Golden Gloves Champion – Super Heavyweight Division
  • 1996 – New York State Golden Gloves Champion – Super Heavyweight Division
  • 1996 – United States Olympic Alternate – Super Heavyweight Division
  • 1999 – New York State Heavyweight Champion
  • 2003 – North American Boxing Federation Heavyweight Champion
  • 2007 – World Boxing Council USNBC Heavyweight Champion
  • 2011 – Buffalo Boxing Hall of Fame
  • 2018 – New York State Boxing Hall of Fame
  • 2018 – Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame

See also[edit]

  • article, 'Joe Mesi Return A Complex Proposition [15]
  • Above article highlights a subsequent change in the rules applying to professional boxers in the State of Nevada which would allow Mesi to apply to fight in Nevada again (previously not so)


  1. ^ "Baby Joe Mesi's Fight for Organ Donations Foundation - Mesi brings attention to the need for organ donations". Archived from the original on 2016-02-06. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  2. ^ "Boxer 'Baby' Joe Mesi Visits Golisano Children's Hospital".
  3. ^ "Boxer Joe Mesi embroiled in the fight of his life". Houston Chronicle. August 7, 2005.
  4. ^ "Catching up with Vassiliy Jirov". Archived from the original on 2012-03-25. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  5. ^ "Vassily Jirov". World News.
  6. ^ "Suspension Upheld But Boxer Is Fighting It". The New York Times. 15 July 2019.
  7. ^ "WBC Heavyweight Ratings". World Boxing Council. October 13, 2007. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007.
  8. ^ "Profile of Baby Joe Mesi". Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. 6 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Meet the New York State Boxing HOF Inductees". 15 Rounds. 6 April 2020.
  10. ^ Robert J. McCarthy (February 14, 2008). "Heavyweight contender Joe Mesi considers run for state Senate". The Buffalo News.
  11. ^ "Boxer Joe Mesi One Step Closer To Senate Seat". CBC Sports. 15 July 2019.
  12. ^ Phil Fairbanks (November 5, 2008). "State Senate: Ranzenhofer, Stachowski, Volker win". The Buffalo News.
  13. ^ "Days of Glory and Baby Joe Mesi Long Gone for the Falls". Niagara Falls Reporter. 29 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Joe Mesi - Boxer". Archived from the original on 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
  15. ^ "Joe Mesi's Return a Complex Proposition".

External links[edit]

Preceded by NABF Heavyweight champion
June 24, 2003 – October 30, 2003
Succeeded by
Preceded by
WBC USNBC Heavyweight Champion
October 12, 2007–present