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Articles of 2005

Klitschko is Peter’s Worst Nightmare



ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Advertised as a ‘heavyweight eliminator,’ Saturday night’s fight at Boardwalk Hall may have lived up to its billing: With any luck it may have eliminated both heavyweights.

What does it say about Samuel Peter that he knocked his opponent down three times, was never down in his fight, but lost on the cards of all three ringside judges, as well as those of every reporter at ringside?

What does it say about Wladimir Klitschko that he got knocked down by a boxer as clumsy and amateurish as Peter appeared to be on this night?

And what does it say about the heavyweight division that either of these guys will shortly find himself fighting for a title?

Klitschko won going away (114-111 on the cards of all three judges, and ours as well), and conquered at least a few of his own demons as well. When the Ukrainian giant hit the deck twice in the fifth round, he looked to be on the verge of reenacting his swoon against Lamon Brewster, but Klitschko survived that battering, as well as a subsequent trip to the canvas in the tenth round, and resumed his aggressor’s role down the stretch.

“Hopefully I’ve convinced some of my critics that I have the stamina to go 12 rounds,” said the victor afterward.

The crowd of 10,137 turning out for the “Boardwalk Brawls” came expecting to see somebody get blown away, but the explosive display of power never materialized. It was clear from the time the boxers entered the arena that this was going to be a home game for Klitschko. Blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags were visible throughout the old barn, and his supporters alternated between enthusiastically chanting Klitschko’s name when he was in control of the fight (which was most of the time) and holding their collective breath each time he got knocked down.

Klitschko spent much of the evening utilizing his height advantage to land long-range jabs, punctuated by the occasional, and usually ineffectual, right hand. Peter is listed as 6’2”, but it rapidly became clear that given the differential in size the only way he was going to land a jab at all was to take two quick running steps to get inside Klitschko’s reach to throw it. The first few times Peter assayed this maneuver, Klitschko appeared to be so startled that he recoiled in surprise, but in short order he realized that it would be  far more effective to simply reach out and embrace Peter on the way in, smother the punch, and wait for referee Randy Neumann to come along and untangle them. Thus did much of the rest of the bout proceed.

Klitschko had dominated most of the early going, but early in the fifth Peter bull-rushed him to land a quick trio of punches, the middle of which was a clubbing right hand that caught Wladimir on the top of the head, and as Ukrainians throughout the hall gasped in unison, their man was down.

He was clearly hurt, and though Peter piled it on in an effort to capitalize on the damage, he wasn’t quite able to finish the job. He did put Klitschko down with another right hand, but Wladimir was able to effect his best John Ruiz impression and held on for dear life until he was rescued by the bell.

The cobwebs cleared, and the rest of the fight was notably one-sided apart from the tenth, when Peter landed another right hand to the top (the back, Wladimir would claim) of Klitschko’s head to send him straight down again.

Dr. Klitschko survived that one, and escaped unscathed as Peter chased him around the ring. It was to be Samuel’s last gasp. Over the last two rounds, his face increasingly puffy, he threw mostly wild left and right hands, hoping to get lucky, but couldn’t find the jackpot.

What does it say about the heavyweight division that either of these guys will shortly find himself fighting for a title?

CompuBox punchstats revealed that despite absorbing a hat trick’s worth of knockdowns, Klitschko landed a hundred more punches than his Nigerian opponent over the twelve rounds, mostly thanks to a whopping 129-26 margin in jabs connected.

Peter certainly looked the worse of the two when it was over, and offered no complaint about the decision.

“I took Klitschko’s best punches and I knocked Klitschko down three times, but he fought his best and he beat me,” said Peter, now 24-1. “If we fought on my best night I could beat him, but he beat me tonight.”

Despite the anticlimactic main event, both the live audience and HBO subscribers got their money’s worth, thanks to Miguel Cotto and Ricardo Torres, who engaged in a spirited war in which they battered one another until one man was left standing – in this case Cotto – who scored a 7th-round knockout to retain his WBO junior welterweight  title.

Torres, an unbeaten Colombian who had edged into the co-feature only after original opponent Gianluca Branco was injured in training, came to the bout an unknown quantity but left with the admiration of the crowd.

Cotto drew first blood when he caught Torres with a counter-left in the first round to knock him down, but Torres not only survived the trip to the canvas, he hurt Cotto with a counter-left of his own and finished the round strongly.

In the second round it was Torres’ turn. As the two battled toe-to- toe shortly after the opening bell, the challenger hurt Cotto with a left hook, and then knocked him down with a left hand. Cotto hung on to survive the round, and was even battling back over the final thirty seconds.

After a third stanza remarkable mainly for a marginally low blow by Cotto (which drew a lecture from referee David Fields and bought Torres some rest), Cotto hurt Torres with a hard right to the body followed by a left. Torres wobbled a bit before going down in a delayed reaction.

Torres hurt Cotto again in the fifth with an uppercut and looked to have the champion on Queer Street. Cotto survived a round so one-sided that one judge, Julie Lederman, scored it 10-8 for Torres.

The see-saw battle turned for good near the end of the sixth when Cotto felled Torres with a straight right, and it was clear that he had yet to recover when the seventh commenced. Cotto caught him with a left hook and then jumped in to land a barrage of punches that sent Torres to the floor for what would be the final time. He had fought gallantly, but had nothing left, and was a forlorn figure, hunched over on all fours, as he took Fields’ 10-count to absorb his first defeat in 29 pro fights.

“I never expected it to be so tough, to go back and forth like that,” said Cotto. “I’m glad people saw I could take a punch and fight back.”

Cotto (now 24-0) confirmed that he was in trouble on at least a couple of occasions, “but I kept telling myself I had to win, no matter how.”

In the principal undercard bouts, New Jersey welterweight Kendall Gill (20-1) faltered down the stretch but still easily outpointed Ukrainian Vladimir Khodokovski (12-8-2), while Vero Beach (Fla.) heavyweight Michael Marrone (11-0) got to celebrate his 20th birthday early when referee Tony Perez disqualified opponent Adam Smith (4-8-1) in the fourth round for “excessive holding.”

A second-round TKO victory scored by Henry Akinwande ensured that 243-pound Nigerian heavyweights would go 1-1 on the night. Akinwande (47-2-1), just three weeks shy of his 40th birthday, made short work of Tipton Walker (13-12-1) of Benton Harbor, Mich.

In other prelims, unbeaten Arkansas heavyweight JD Chapman (trained by former champion Michael Moorer) stopped Robert Kooser (7-4) to record his 16th win in as many fights, and German middleweight Alexander Sipos (16-0-2) knocked down Steve Walker (16-13) of Hannibal, Mo. four times on the way to a third-round TKO.

Articles of 2005

In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More



A Shot of Boxing on the Last Day of the Year

The Guardian reports that talks have already taken place between Nicolay Valuev‘s co-promoters – Don King and Wilfried Sauerland – and Danny Williams‘ promoter Frank Warren for Nicolay Valuev to face Danny Williams. I’d suggest Danny Williams needs to worry about Matt Skelton (who Williams is reportedly scheduled to fight in February) before he entertains notions of facing the Beast From The East.

The Mirror in the UK looks forward to a big year in boxing for 2006. The Mirror considers what the future might bring for Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, among others.

The Parksville Qualicum News has an interesting column on the travails of former Canadian Super Middleweight title holder Mark Woolnough. Woolnough’s career turned controversial – as widely reported in the Canadian press – at the beginning of this year when Woolnough and four other men were charged with manslaughter and assault after a fight outside a Parksville nightclub. The case returns to court next month. It’s an interesting read, as Woolnough is still looking to the future with hope.

Our own Marc Lichtenfeld provides plenty of food for thought with his Top Ten Wish List for boxing in the New Year. There’s plenty of good stuff here, but what really jumped out for me is Lichtenfeld’s opinion that a win over Zab Judah could have Floyd Mayweather knocking on the door of all-time great status. Seems to me this might be jumping the gun a little. Or is Marc right? Will it soon be time to call Floyd Mayweather Jr. an all-time great?

(More Boxing News Links at

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Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights




Hot bantamweight prospect Raul “The Cobra” Martinez heads back to Chicago next Friday night as he is featured in the co-main event of SHOBOX “THE NEW GENERATION,” an action packed evening of professional boxing presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions,’ HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, Kathy Duva’s Main Events Inc., along with Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

The two-time national amateur champion sporting a perfect 12-0 record with 9 knockouts, six of which have come in the first round,  will take on Colombian Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma, 13-1 (8 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout.

Speaking after a training session at his home gym in Georgetown, Texas, Martinez said, “I’m truly looking forward to returning to Chicago. The fans were terrific in September, they were very supportive from the start of the fight,” an internationally televised first round knockout of Miguel Martinez on September 16th at the Aragon Ballroom.

Regarding his upcoming fight with Ledesma, “The Cobra” said, “I haven’t seen him fight, although I understand he’s fought at higher weights and will be naturally bigger than me. I’ve had great training for this fight and feel very confident. I really haven’t left the gym in months, just taking off Sunday’s and even then I get my running in. My thinking is that fights are won in the gym and complete preparation is the key.”

When asked about his being mentioned by Dan Rafael, ESPN’s boxing writer as one of the top prospect’s in the boxing world the 23-year-old San Antonio native said, ‘It’s a great compliment, but I still have much work to do. I want to be a champion for Main Events like Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. But like Fernando said while he was in town, ‘be patient, work hard and your time will come.’”

Finishing the conversation, Martinez said, “I’m looking forward to starting out this year with a bang. I might have a couple less fights than the seven I had in 2005, but I’m looking to stepping up the competition, move up to ten-rounders and climb in the rankings.”

Headlining the evening is a ten-round welterweight showdown between boxing’s hottest prospect, unbeaten Joel Julio of Monteria, Columbia, and Ugandan native Roberto “The Doctor” Kamya. Julio, turning 21 years old the day before the fight, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts, twelve of which have come in the first two rounds. Kamya, now fighting out of West Palm Beach, Florida is 15-5 with four knockouts.

Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale in advance by calling 312-226-5800. Cicero Stadium is located at 1909 S. Laramie, at the corner of 19th and Laramie, just ten minutes south of the Eisenhower Expressway and ten minutes north of the Stevenson Expressway. Doors for this evening will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

The full bout lineup for the evening is:

Joel Julio vs. Roberto Kamya, ten rounds, welterweights

Raul Martinez vs. Andres Ledesma, eight rounds, bantamweights

Miguel Hernandez vs. Butch Hajicek, eight rounds, middleweights

David Pareja vs. Derek Andrews, eight rounds, light heavyweights

Mike Gonzales vs. Tony Kinney, four rounds, lightweights

Omar Reyes vs. Luis Navarro, five rounds, featherweights

Reynaldo Reyes vs. Ricardo Swift, four rounds, middleweights

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Articles of 2005

Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06



Here’s the early call on many top matches scheduled for the first half of 2006: Happy New Year!

As the new calendar dawns, there are already a considerable amount of premium bouts on the horizon. Things don’t look to be bogged down by undetermined championships next year. In many cases the scheduled face-offs involve the best fighters in the division, or at least close enough for general bragging rights. If anybody else with proper qualifications signs up to force the issue, all the better.

It can be argued that some pairings could have taken place within a more optimal timeframe, or that some headliners carry distracting baggage, but there are certainly enough heavy hitters on deck. That nobody can deny.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers the proverbial glass half empty or half full; there’s still the same amount of juice in the vessel. It’s nice to know that even with a high number of cancellations, there will still be plenty of important contenders on tap.

With elite fighters in weight divisions from top to bottom on the agenda, it’s an equivalent to what fans in more mainstream sports expect in a consistent championship format.

Baseball fans can almost always count on a World Series. Some hoops fanatics say too much attention to playoffs distracts unmotivated NBA teams during their regular season. In college, they project Sweet Sixteens. Football fans know there’s always a Super Bowl ahead to raise advertising dollars and test the USA’s halftime morals.

So too, there is method in boxing’s current madness.

The midnight crystal ball hasn’t even been unveiled in Times Square and there are already a number of potential thrillers scheduled. Most feature contrasting personalities that almost guarantee going along for the ride will be worthwhile. Any subsequent drops will probably be cheered.

Don King jumps right out of the auld lang gate with a January 7th Showtime card featuring Zab Judah against Carlos Baldomir and Jean-Marc Mormeck in a cruiserweight unification against O’Neil Bell.

It will be the upset of the year, bar none, if Baldomir can tip the applecart before Judah gets to his scheduled super-showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Meanwhile, Mormeck is emerging and should keep on rolling against Bell, who can expose him if he’s not for real.

The proverbial Big Bang starts with a January 21st rematch of one of the finest fights of ‘05, when Erik Morales goes against Manny Pacquaio for the second time on HBO pay per view. The fact that Morales was upset by Zahir Raheem after beating Pacquaio was no real loss in box-office luster. Artful Raheem will get a spot on the undercard and hope his patience is rewarded.

Everyone figures Morales and Pacquaio will pick up where they left off. Like the first time, the rematch is a pick’em contest. Management distractions and glove restrictions cited as Pacquaio’s previous problems won’t matter this time. The two are very evenly matched and their styles will make for another whapathon. It could come down to corners, where Freddie Roach gets the edge since Morales will have a new trainer for the first time since replacing his father after the Raheem lesson.

February features four of the game’s most enduring attractions, in a pair of crucial matchups.

First up, Showtime presents the Jose Luis Castillo – Diego Corrales tiebreaker from El Paso on Feb 4th. This is another pick ‘em pair, barring any sideshow. In boxing that disclaimer may be a stretch, since the sideshow is part of the act and the charm.

As far as action inside the strands goes, every round these guys have fought has been great. There’s no reason to think that pattern won’t continue. Regarding the result, Castillo keeps the pressure on as he did in the second fight, but he’ll walk into trouble from a more reserved Corrales. We still don’t know which coin to flip.

February also holds a better late than never affair between two perennial favorites as Shane Mosley collides with Fernando Vargas on the 25th.  This fight could lead to a winning ticket in the Golden Boy sweepstakes for a fall bonanza against Oscar De La Hoya.

Vargas has been in tougher recently, based on comparable strength of opposition stats, but he’s seen little action. What weight they enter the ring at may have a lot to do with the result. If Vargas has to struggle at the scale, Mosley might have the battle in the bag after round nine.

It’s hard to imagine Mosley getting stopped early, but Vargas doesn’t have to hurt him, he just has to knock him down three times. With natural size, he may be able to do just that, but Mosley would have to box uncharacteristically flat.

Unless Mosley decides to heed the crowd, the most likely scenario is that Shane plays it safe, picks a few shots, and stays away enough to capture a comfortable, dull decision. An unbowed Vargas maintains his fan base but not his bettors.

March both comes in and goes out as a lion.

On March 4th Joe Calzaghe welcomes Jeff Lacy to Manchester UK for what may be the biggest blowout of the headlining bunch. Calzaghe gets the chance to prove his considerable home-based reputation once and for all, but if Lacy creams him as we expect, that glossy record will be severely tarnished.

All Calzaghe has to do is make a respectable stand, but that’s no small task against the rising Lacy. A motivated Calzaghe, songs of England ringing in his ears, could pull a big surprise if he can exploit Lacy’s relatively limited technical development, but that’s a longshot indeed.

It looks like Lacy can get by on power alone. He could soon emerge as a pound-for-pound leader. Old Joe’s hometown advantage will last about two left hooks.

March 11th has the Ides of history to beware for at least one old lion, with farewell (we’ll see) fireworks featuring Roy Jones Jr. against Bernard Hopkins. Less than two years ago they were considered untouchable all time greats. Now between them they’ve lost five in a row.

This goodbye fight is contracted at light heavyweight, for what seems like an oldies night. Hopkins is the senior at age 41 to Jones’s 37, but Roy seems more the grandpa figure, last seen hanging on against Antonio Tarver. Youth, as it were here, will prevail.

This bout was signed quickly as each principal, usually sticklers for favorable contract clauses, agreed to parity in a demonstration of businessman first and fighter second. They may both expect easy marks. How much the boys have left by the time they get down to business remains to be seen. The history books will show this as a climactic career bout between Hall of Famers.

At 175 pounds, Hopkins may be in for rude awakening. Jones may have been more thoroughly outfought recently, but he was rumbling with bigger, tougher men than Jermain Taylor or Howard Eastman. Respectable as he is, Taylor still falls short of the level of Tarver, at least for now. The difference is still fifteen pounds less pop.

It will be quite a feat if Hopkins can stay in the fight, even at Jones’s advanced age. Our stars point to Jones winning in overwhelming fashion.

On March 18th, James Toney meets Hasim Rahman in another pairing of seasoned war-horses.

Toney and Rahman already had their introductions, when they brawled in Mexico during a WBC gathering to bestow Rahman’s new belt. Between formalities, Toney got married, which could bring up the old questions about carnal training.

Let’s hope when they meet in the ring, they restore some of the fire missing from the heavyweights in ‘05.  Toney might have an edge in recent form, but Rahman shows fine tuning he previously lacked. The winner might get newly “crowned’ Nicolai Valuev, an easy payday outside Germany.

Rahman could be the heavyweight that finally makes Toney look like a blown up middleweight. But anything less than a top effort will probably lead to embarrassing night for the Rock and give Toney solid claim to being the true heavyweight champ.

This might not be the most artful fight of the new season, but it could well be the most grueling, and the closest. He who’s faced the better big boys gets the nod. Advantage Rahman.

March 25 features Marco Antonio Barrera, probably the strongest overall claimant to 130 pound honors. The likely opponent is said to be always tough Jesus Chavez.

Chavez seemed rejuvenated when he met Leavander Johnson, but Johnson’s tragic death may have taken some of the steam out of thoughtful Chavez, said to have received Johnson’s family blessing to continue in Leavander’s name. That could mean a lot of inspiration. Either way, if he does meet Chavez, who hung tough with one arm against Erik Morales, Barrera won’t get any slack. The Fates say Chavez, whose wife recently served in Iraq, is a live, live underdog.

Another clash to be King of the Hill finds Floyd Mayweather Jr, arguably the game’s finest practitioner, bumping heads with Zab Judah, one of very few boxers who rivals Mayweather in speed, skills, and brashness.

Their hoedown, scheduled for April 8th, is one of the top pound-for-pound pairings in recent years. Judah will need a career best performance to have a chance of victory. That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but currently Mayweather is in a different galaxy in terms of punching power. Slow-motion replays may be the only way to follow the flying fists once these two whirlwinds unload.

Mayweather should be around a 4-1 favorite. Judah is good enough to make taking the odds an attractive proposition, since that’s probably as good of odds as one is likely to see on Floyd for a while. Mayweather will stop Judah in his tracks.

The first half of next year is set to conclude with the star power of Oscar De La Hoya, probably against noteworthy foil Ricardo Mayorga on May 6. There could be some snags before a contract is finalized, but if it comes off count on Mayorga for promotional sound bite nastiness. One of the questions is whether or not he’ll be able to get under Oscar’s skin, and it might actually be entertaining to see the classy, model perfect De La Hoya show he’s human and freak out against the Nicaraguan maniac.

Mayorga may have burnt his best bridges already. De La Hoya has not only the boxing skill to negate Mayorga’s offense, but enough power to end it early. If Mayorga rushes in and causes a cut, De La Hoya might get ruffled enough to duck into defense and Mayorga could get a decision that goes to the cards after six rounds or so. It will be wild for as long as it lasts.

Pro boxing, like many sports, had its share of problems during 2005, but there were also many positives. Most notably, as usual, was superior and inspiring action inside the strands. Unless there’s a mass freeze-up at the top, early 2006 figures to see decisive interaction among many well-known fighters.

If even fifty per cent of the aforementioned pairings come to fruition, it’s a strong likelihood the upcoming year has at least one very positive half. Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brian Viloria, and Shannon Briggs, to name a few, are also on deck. No matter how you chose to look at or measure mass qualities, there’s still just as much good to be seen.

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