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Articles of 2005

Pongsaklek-Arce Bout on the Horizon

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Big news in the flyweight division out of Bangkok, Thailand. Negotiations are now underway for a WBC flyweight championship showdown between longtime champion Pongsaklek Wongjamkam and “interim champion” Jorge Arce. According to WBC representative and Bangkok Post journalist Edward Thangarajah, WBCPresident Jose Sulaiman has given the two fighters until October 30th to negotiate the specifics of the fight. If an agreement can’t be reached the contest will go to a purse bid.

Both Wongjamkam and Arce were victorious in recent bouts and the former light flyweight champion Arce has been extremely vocal, calling out numerous fighters in the junior flyweight and flyweight divisions, including Wongjamkam. The fight had been scheduled to take place in July on the under card of the Christy Martin-Lucia Rijker confrontation, but the bout failed to come off and the entire card was later cancelled.

Promoter Virat Vachchiraratanawongse and the Pongsaklek camp would like the bout to be held in Thailand if financially feasible. Insiders from the Pongsaklek camp have stated Arce was offered $100,000 to come to Thailand after the July fight was cancelled and declined the offer.

While the matchup is eagerly anticipated and long-awaited by fans and the boxing community alike, the addition of the “interim title” has made the already confusing world title situations even more confusing. Below are two more examples of the WBC’s infinite wisdom, logic and (fill in the blank).

The WBC recently stated at their annual convention in La Linea de la Concepcion, Spain:

”Flyweight: World champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam of Thailand must next fight #1 ranked official challenger Rosendo Alvarez of Nicaragua”

Why would they publicly state “Pongsaklek Wongjamkam of Thailand must next face #1 challenger Rosendo Alvarez” while also stating an agreement must be made with Jorge Arce who is the mandatory challenger? How many mandatory challengers can one division have? Granted, the Wongjamkam-Arce fight looks to be an explosive encounter, but that’s irrelevant. What about the #1 ranked, official challenger Rosendo Alvarez and his promised opportunity? Perhaps this demonstrates good reason why NOT to have an interim title.

Also stated at the WBC’s annual convention:

”The winner of the fight between world champion Diego Corrales of the United States and No. 1 ranked Jose Luis Castillo of Mexico was approved for a voluntary defense in December, then must fight No. 2 ranked Sirimongkol Singwancha of Thailand.”

A day after the convention ended Jose Luis Castillo knocked out Diego Corrales. He may or may not have won his fight with Diego Corrales on the scales, but if you read a little deeper into the WBC’s recent declaration, it seems Corrales is in danger of being stripped if he chooses not to defend against Castillo.

October 13, 2005 – Düsseldorf, Germany – From WBC President Jose Sulaiman:

Rule WC-13 (b), which relates to non-compliance with the championship weight limit, clearly states that a champion wins by default and retains his title when the challenger does not make the statutory weight of the division during the official weigh-in ceremony, or within a two hour period thereafter.

Therefore, in accordance with the WBC Rules and Regulations, Diego Corrales retained his WBC Lightweight Championship of the World on October 8, 2005, when Jose Luis Castillo could not make the prescribed weight of 135 pounds (61.235 kg.).

However, due to the circumstances of the victory by Jose Luis Castillo in the ring, I am taking a vote with the Board of Governors of the institution, to order a rematch with no intervening defenses, with the following conditions:

1. That Jose Luis Castillo obtains a medical approval that he can make the lightweight division without harmful physical sacrifices.

2. That Diego Corrales takes the required medical resting period and medical examinations as prescribed by the Medical Board of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, where the bout was held.

3. That both boxers accept to be subjected to the WBC mandatory extra official weigh-ins to be held 30 and seven days prior to the official weigh-in 24 to 30 hours before their bout, with no more than 10 percent and five percent, respectively, of excess weight over the limits of the lightweight division.

“I am taking a vote with the Board of Governors of the institution, to order a rematch with no intervening defenses.”

”Both boxers must accept this ruling, if so voted in favor by the WBC Board of Governors, for the WBC to continue extending its official recognition to the WBC championship.

Jose Luis Castillo doesn’t make weight for a championship fight which is crime enough and there’s really no excuse for it. If he can’t make weight he shouldn’t take the fight. It’s not only unfair to the public and the opposing fighter; it can also have lethal consequences.

Then his camp cheats and gets caught red-footed. After stating in the WBC convention that the winner of the bout is approved for a voluntary December defense, you now state you are “taking a vote to order a rematch. Both boxers must accept Ruling WC-13 (b), if so voted in favor by the WBC Board of Governors, for the WBC to continue extending its official recognition to the WBC championship.

”Corrales may want to fight Castillo in a rematch and both fighters may very well meet your guidelines but that’s immaterial. It seems pretty clear if Corrales decides not to fight Castillo, the WBC will no longer extend its official recognition to the championship.

Instead of rewarding Castillo with a second chance at the title, shouldn’t you consider giving Corrales his voluntary defense? He did after all retain the title.

If he didn’t technically defend his title, why make a rematch mandatory? Castillo is the one ultimately responsible for not making weight, not Corrales. Regardless of what Diego Corrales wants or decides to do he should still be allowed to keep his title if he decides not to fight Castillo. Why not make the #2 challenger Sirimongkol Singwancha the mandatory? That would at least be understandable. Boxing is, after all, for the fans and the fighters, not for the benefit of the WBC or any of the other countless boxing organizations.

INDONESIAN bantamweight Antonius Rahayan has been released from the Christian University Hospital in Jakarta after having brain surgery to remove a blood clot. Rahayan was knocked out September 22nd in round six by a fighter known as “Saiman.”

ROY Doliguez of the Philippines will be fighting twice in one week in upcoming bouts. He’ll first meet Robert Allanic in the Philippines on October 29 and then travel to Thailand to meet highly rated former world champion Veerapol Seehaprom (Nakornluang). Should Seehaprom win he moves towards a possible bout with the winner of Hozumi Hasegawa and Diego Morales.

Quick Results

October 10, 2005 – Channel 7 Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand

Panomroonglek Kratingdaenggym UD10 Chris Dujali

October 13, 2005 – Bangkok, Thailand

Pornsawan Porpramook UD12 Carlo Besares (PABA Minimumweight Title)

October 13, 2005 – Indosiar Studio, Jakarta, Indonesia

Tia Koswara SD12 Immanuel Bay (Indonesian Light Welterweight Title)

October 14, 2005 – El Poliforo, Ciudad, Juarez, CHH, Mexico

Miguel Roman KO4 Reman Salim (WBC Youth Bantamweight Title)

October 17, 2005 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Sasha Bakhtin UD10 Masayoshi Tachiki (Japanese Bantamweight Title)

October 18, 2005 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Peter Mitrevski Jr. TD10 Yoshinori Nishizawa (Vacant OPBF Super Middleweight Title)

Upcoming Bouts

October 20, 2005 – Bangkok, Thailand

Crazy Kim vs. Somchai Chimrum (Vacant Asian Boxing Council [WBC] Light Middleweight Title)

October 24, 2005 – Thailand

Pakphum Chengphonak vs. Dondon Sultan (PABA Welterweight Title)

October 26, 2005 – Bangkok, Thailand

Carina Moreno vs. Nongmai Sor Siriporn (WBC Women’s Mini Flyweight Title)

October 28, 2005 – Sakaew, Thailand

Oleydong Sithsamerchai vs. Jerry Duaso (WBC Youth Minimumweight Title/Asian Boxing Council [WBC] Minimumweight Title)

October 29, 2005 – Tucson, Arizona, USA

Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (WBO Bantamweight Title)

Fernando Montiel vs. Pramuansak Phosawan (WBO Junior Bantamweight Title)

Hugo Cazares vs. Kaichon Sor Vorapin (WBO Junior Flyweight Title)

Daniel Ponce de Leon vs. Sod Looknongyangtoy (WBO Junior Featherweight Title)

October 29, 2005 – San Andres Civic & Sports Center, Manila, Philippines

Dexter Delada vs. Fernando Montilla (Philippine Lightweight Title)

Eric Barcelona vs. Celso Danggod (Philippine Super Flyweight Title)

October 29, 2005 Sports and Cultural Complex, Mandaue City, Philippines

Michael Domingo vs. Rolly Lunas (RP bantamweight championship)

Z. Gorres vs. Wisanu Pornobnom (OPBF Super Flyweight Eliminator)

October 30, 2005 – City Sogo Gym, Takasago, Japan

Masaki Kawabata vs. Pramote Sor Vorapin

Akinori Kanai vs. Hiroto Takeshita

Keiji Eguchi vs. Changsak Twinsgym

October 30, 2005 – Clover Plaza, Kashuga, Japan

Seishu Lida vs. Koji Otsuka

October 31, 2005 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Toshikazu Waga vs. Weerasak Chuwatana

Articles of 2005

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

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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 TheSweetScience.com)

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Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights

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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

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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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