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Articles of 2006

Judah-Baldomir/Mormeck-Bell Fight Predictions

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Thanks to Don King and his crew, boxing year 2006 starts with a big bang instead of a whimper. Saturday night on Showtime, broadcast live from the MSG Theater in NYC, undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah defends his titles against Carlos “Tata” Baldomir, and WBC/WBA cruiser champ Jean-Marc Mormeck fights a highly-anticipated unification bout against IBF cruiser champ O'Neil Bell. There ought to be plenty of action in both fights while they last, and the winners definitely move on to bigger and better things. This is how The Sweet Science writers see things transpiring.

Don't know much about Baldomir, except that he rarely gets knocked out and isn't afraid to fight in other people's backyards. The excitable Judah will most likely try and give his fans a quick knockout, which might be a problem if he runs into a counter, which he has been known to do when he tries for these quick KO's. Since I heard that Baldomir isn't much of a puncher, I'll bet Judah gets rid of him in under two rounds even if he absorbs a couple of shots in the process … I was shocked when Mormeck destroyed Wayne Braithwaite, one of my favorite fighters, last year in a performance that reminded me of the old Tyson. Mormeck has scary power and he if he lands on Bell, who was once stopped early in his career, it could be over in a heartbeat. Mormeck TKO 5.
Mitch Abramson

Whenever I hear the name “Judah” I think of Goober Pyle on “Andy Griffith.” Judah, Judah, Judah … If you don't get it, then check out some more B&W television. Never saw Aunt Bea or Mrs. Cleaver put up for anybody named “Mormeck.” Judah in a cakewalk.
Tim Graham

There are welterweights who will always figure to give Judah trouble (see Spinks, Pineda, Chop-Chop, and don't even mention Floyd), but Carlos Baldomir does not appear to be one of them. If he doesn't lose focus over the impending Mayweather fight (or get caught up in showboating for his ever-expanding posse), Judah should win a comfortable decision. If Zab stops his Argentine foe, he'll be the first guy to do it. Baldomir has been around to hear the final bell in all 57 of his professional fights … Mormeck impressed us in his fight against Wayne Braithwaite, and by any measure we can devise, Braithwaite was a more formidable foe than O'Neill Bell figures to be. Many witnesses don't think Bell beat Dale Brown, and he looked to be on the way to losing to Sebastian Rothman before he took him out with one punch. Bell might not even be the second-best cruiserweight on Don King's card Saturday night (See Cunningham, Steve). We like Le Grenouille Sauvage by a mid-round stoppage.
George Kimball

Unless Judah looks past Baldomir to a potential fight with Mayweather I see Judah being too fast and too strong for the limited Baldomir. Judah is blessed with so much natural talent the question is only how he beats a fighter with 9 losses and 6 draws on his record (Carlos Baldomir). Baldomir doesn't have much power and throws wide shots which leave his solid chin exposed. Defensively his chin has saved him in the past, but it won't be enough as Judah overwhelms him to help sell the superfight against Floyd. With a good chin but questionable defense it says here that Judah gets a stoppage win on cuts or an unanswered barrage that forces a referee’s stoppage … Mormeck vs. Bell is an awesome fight on paper and it should be an excellent one in the ring. Neither fighter knows how to take a backward step and to call either a defensive wiz would be a stretch. Bell has been stopped and dropped in the past but has demonstrated great courage and heart in winning tough fights. Mormeck is a tough cookie who seems to thrive as fights wear on and his opponents get weaker. It will be bombs away as the two end up trading; boxing fans win, but I think Bell losses.
Joey Knish

Judah is extremely dangerous to anyone in the first couple of rounds. We all know that. And he's going to try to make “short work” of Baldomir so he can be as boastful as possible when hyping his mega-match with Mayweather. But if Baldomir can survive the early onslaught, and time the fastest hands in Brooklyn, I wouldn't be shocked if he gives the champion a hard night, going the distance. I've never seen Baldomir fight, but he hasn't lost in seven years, fighting mostly in other guys' backyards (Denmark, England, Germany, Mexico). He won't be intimidated by his surroundings Saturday. While I can't really talk styles, I suspect Baldomir is as good or better than Omar Weis, DeMarcus Corley or Rafael Pineda, all three of whom went the distance with Judah in '02, '03, and '04, respectively. In spite of his great victory over Cory Spinks, I'm not sold (yet) on this supposedly “mature” and “focused” Zab. Judah by majority decision … Mormeck's relentless pressure, strength, and sound fundamentals will quickly exploit Bell's technical shortcomings. “Le Tank” (Michael Katz's invention, not mine) will trap him in the corners and do serious damage. Bell will last into the middle rounds do to his grit and formidable punching power. TKO 7 Mormeck. Welcome to the heavyweights Jean-Marc! Have you met Lamon?
Zachary Levin

You obviously have to go with Judah. I'd pick Judah with one hand tied behind his back, which may very well be the case. Zab hurt his hand while training last week (something few people know about). Because of that I'll say this one goes the distance. Judah by unanimous decision … Mormeck-Bell could be a barnburner. However, I think Mormeck's tenacity will be too much for Bell to handle. While Bell possesses one punch knockout power, the accumulation of blows early on will slow him down and perhaps make him hesitant to pull the trigger. Mormeck by unanimous decision.
Marc Lichtenfeld

Zab Judah is not going to look past Carlos Baldomir. Judah fights up or down to the quality of his opposition, but he's out to make a statement to Mr. Mayweather. A blow out of Baldomir may or may not have any affect on Mayweather's non-so fragile psyche but it doesn't hurt to plant the seed. Judah will be in tip-top shape and show exactly why he's to be feared. Baldomir is game but by the 4th or 5th round, the speedy combinations of Judah will take their toll on his face, forcing the referee to step in and stop the slaughter. Baldomir is tough and will be there to win, however he lacks the firepower to keep off a determined Zab Judah. Judah TKO round 6 … In Jean-Marc Mormeck's last five fights, he's defeated Dale Brown, Alexander Gurov, Virgil Hill (twice), and most recently, undefeated prospect, Wayne Braithwaite. O'Neil “Give 'em Hell” Bell has defeated Kelvin “Concrete” Davis, Derrick Harmon, Dale Brown, Ezra Sellers and Sebastian Rothman. Not exactly Murderer's Row for either fighter but both have faced decent opposition. Mormeck, a native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated in the last nine and a half years. Bell, of Jamaica, has his own winning streak of eight years. Odds makers have installed Bell as a 3½ to 1 underdog and make no mistake; he's a very live dog, and definitely has the capability to pull off the upset. Bell via SD12/
Scott Mallon

Very little is known about Baldomir, but a look at his record indicates that he is strong and sturdy. His lack of punching power will probably hurt him against Judah. Although Baldomir will probably survive a few heavy volleys, he will likely get stopped about midway through the bout. Judah TKO 6 Baldomir … Jean-Marc Mormeck is extremely strong and focused and seems much more mentally relaxed in the ring than Bell, who fights a lot more dangerously than he has to. This is a tough call, but I expect Mormeck to survive a few Bell onslaughts and stop him late in the fight. Mormeck TKO 9 Bell.
Bob Mladinich

Mormeck, the man who's done well to imitate Evander Holyfield's expansively chiseled physique, showed significant skill and power in stopping Braithwaithe. Now he gets Bell, who was losing handily against the lightly touted Sebastian Rothman until he landed that big punch in the eleventh round to the end the fight. Bell didn't impress me and shouldn't last against a more talented fighter in Mormeck. Look for an early knockout in this one … As for Zab Judah, he'll likely have a harder workout in the dressing room before the fight. His opponent, Carlos Baldomir, is the WBC's number one ranked mandatory challenger for Judah even though he has nine losses and is unranked by RIng magazine. He gets this title shot because he's a Don King fighter, not because he deserves it. I'll be generous and give him two rounds. Judah needs a better warm-up before for his mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., but he'll have to settle for an average sparring partner. Good ol' Don King.
Benn Schulberg

Judah-Baldomir: Well traveled challenger finds the end of the road with this reality check. Baldomir may stick around for a while, but Judah should have him reeling within a few rounds. If Judah doesn't win big he's either playing possum or somebody on his team better rethink the Mayweather affair … Mormeck-Bell: Bell will hope to smother Mormeck's assault until Bell can land a big shot, but Mormeck will apply enough pressure to earn a decision. If Bell tries to force the matter or thinks he can hurt Mormeck it could turn in to a two way thriller where Bell has a puncher's chance. More likely, Mormeck grinds him down in a slow paced waltz.
Phil Woolever

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch

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Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

Heavyweight contenders Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and James Lights Out? Toney get it on a second time this Saturday from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. (Showtime).

The hard-slugging Peter, unlike Toney, is one of those strong, silent types notorious for letting their fists to the talking one the opening bell sounds, but the Nigeria Nightmare is as confident as ever and determined to turn Lights Out’s lights out for good.

I have got dynamites in my two hands,? said Peter, according the Lagos, Nigeria Vanguard, and I will crush James Toney once and for all. The Toney camp made the mistake of their lives by protesting and seeking a rematch. I am ready to teach him a bitter lesson.?

Sam Peter walked away with the W for Peter/Toney I at the Staples Center in LA last September, but it was by disputed split decision a verdict so disputed, there was even a dispute about the dispute which forced the WBC’s hand into mandating Saturday’s rematch.

Samuel Peter is the biggest thing to hit African boxing since Ghanaian superstar Azumah Nelson rocked the feather and junior welterweight divisions. The President of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, Prince Olaide Adeboye, admitted, according to allAfrica.com, We are rooting for Samuel Peter, of course. He is one boy we believe in to bring back the country’s lost glory in professional boxing. I am personally making arrangement to be at the ringside to see him fight Toney again. I was at the first fight in Los Angeles in September.

Peter has the brutal punch, and to me he was the clear winner of the first fight. But the WBC Board of Governors, of which I am a member, voted 21-10 for a rematch. There was nothing those of us Africans on the board could do in the circumstances. But I believe Peter will confirm he is better than Toney and will then go ahead to meet the champion and claim the belt for Nigeria and Africa.?

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia

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There are claims that boxing is dying. Hogwash. The heavyweight division isn’t the only division in boxing and 2007 promises to be a banner year in boxing; especially for boxers hailing from Asia.

While Asia isn’t Vegas or Atlantic City, it is a region packed of diamonds in the rough; undiscovered gems and potential superstars who wait for their moment in the sun.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

1) Manny Pacquiao – There’s no way to dispute Pacquiao is the best fighter in Asia, if not all of boxing. He’s exciting, he wins with Je Ne Sais Quois and is definitely “the man” in boxing.

2) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Although his competition leaves much to be desired, his longevity and skills are undeniable. He is currently Thailand’s only world champion and is undefeated in ten years. Need I say more?

3) Chris John – A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, however controversial, shows he belongs at the top of the heap. He easily outpointed Renan Acosta to close out 2006 and should have no trouble defending against Jose Rojas in February. A fight with Pacquiao would not be a good move on his part but a rematch with Marquez would not hurt – especially if he defeats the Mexican again.

4) Hozumi Hasegawa – Hidden away in Japan, Hasegawa is a sharp punching southpaw who put former champion Veeraphol Sahaprom to sleep. He recently bested Genaro Garcia and his herky-jerky style will give fits to any one who steps in the ring with him.

5) Masomori Tokuyama – Tokuyama has never shied away from a good fight and although he only fought once in 2006 (UD12 Jose Navarro), he ledger shows wins over Katsushige Kawashima (twice), Gerry Penalosa (twice) and In Jin Chi (twice). A fight with Hozumi Hasegawa is a distinct possibility in 2007.

6) Nobuo Nashiro – With only seven fights under his belt he took on WBA champion Martin Castillo – and defeated him. Although he’s only fought a total of nine fights, nearly all have been against quality opposition. A victory in a rematch with Castillo would cement his claim as the king of the 115-pound division.

7) Yukata Niida – This light-hitting minimumweight defended his title twice in 2006, winning a technical decision against unbeaten Eriberto Gejon (Tech Win 10) and the other on points over Ronald Barrera (W 12). Scheduled to meet Katsunari Takayama early next year – the best has yet to come for this WBA belt holder.

8) In Jin Chi – Won back the title he lost to Takashi Koshimoto in January from Rudolfo Lopez. While there’s little uncertainty to his skills, at thirty-three, 2007 may provide some insight as to just how much he has left.

9) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai –Sor Nonthachai is an exciting, top-shelf fighter with an iron chin. Has no trouble making mincemeat of mid-level opposition and deserves a title shot in 2007. Time is running out.

10) Rey Bautista – He’s young, relatively inexperienced in big-time boxing, but will continue to shine in 2007. One of the better prospects in boxing, he should snag a title in 2007.

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #1
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9

Featherweight

Chris John (Indonesia) #1
In Jin Chi (Korea) #3
Takashi Koshimoto (Japan) #5
Hioyuki Enoki (Japan) #7

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4

Bantamweight

Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan) #2
Veeraphol Sahaprom (Japan) #3
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand) #6
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Thailand) #10

Jr. Bantamweight

Nobuo Nashiro (Japan) #1
Katsushige Kawashima (Japan) #7
Pramuansak Phosuwan (Thailand) #10

Flyweight

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Thailand) #1
Takefumi Sakata (Japan) #7
Daisuke Naito (Japan) #10

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1

Minimumweight

Yukata Naiida (Japan) #2
Eagle Kyowa (Japan/Thai) #4
Katsunari Takayama (Japan) #5
Rodel Mayol (Philippines) #7

Boxing in Thailand

There’s no shortage of boxers in Thailand. With a huge pool of Muay Thai fighters to draw from and several talented amateur boxing prospects turning pro after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thailand seems destined to remain a boxing powerhouse in Asia.

The country is known for having tough, determined and disciplined fighters who give their all whenever the step in to the ring. However, consistently losing while fighting abroad and padding their records with no-hopers has done nothing to enhance their reputation.

Whether because of a lack of marketability, a lack of funds or their unwillingness to travel abroad, the vast majority of boxers from Thailand remain a mystery to fans in the west. If anything though, the boxing scene involving Thai fighters will be active. In fact, it’s one of the most active in the world; since 2000, the number of fights has nearly doubled in the country.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal
4) Wandee Singwancha
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan
9) Terdsak Jandaeng
10) Oleydong Sithamerchai

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight) – Definitely the top dog in Thailand

2) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (Super Lightweight) – He’s a seasoned fighter who has proven himself in the big-time. He’s one Thai who can fight outside of Asia. He has an abundance of skills and one-punch power. His overall ability and ease in dispatching anyone other than championship caliber get him the runners-up spot.

3) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Super Bantamweight) – After losing to Vladimir Sidorenko he’s bounced back. He’s young, he can punch, but the former interim champion needs to prove himself against a name fighter.

4) Somsak Sithchatchawal (Super Bantamweight) – Was his win over Monshipour a fluke or was Celestino Caballero just that good? Did Sithchatchawal catch Monshipour at the right time and can he rebound from the devastating loss? The jury is still out.

5) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (Super Lightweight) – Get this guy a fight. He’s better than Jose Armando Santa Cruz and would have beat up Inada had the fight taken place. He’ll fight anyone but his biggest obstacle is staying motivated fighting tomato cans in Thailand. Like many Thais, he needs a fight against a name opponent.
6) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

7) Pramuansak Phosuwan (Super Flyweight) – A genuine tough guy. Always calm and focused no matter how heated the battle. But at thirty-eight, he’ll be in trouble should he fight one of the division’s elite.
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Bantamweight) – Will be lucky to get another crack at the title. Although he has a puncher’s chance of winning a belt, that’s about all he has left at this point. A third shot at Hasegawa is unlikely.

9) Oleydong Sithamerchai (Minimumweight) – He’s fought better than the usual opponents faced by Thais at his level and he moves up one spot with the departure of Terdsak Jandaeng. He lacks the punch and is in the wrong division to become a superstar. He’ll need to defeat a name opponent to convince me.

10) Saenghiran Lookbanyai / Napapol Kittisakchokchai (Super Bantamweight) – These two square-off in early March, supposedly to see who deserves a shot at Israel Vasquez. Kittisakchokchai has the edge in experience but some feel Lookbanyai has the edge in heart and is the favorite.

Neither has defeated a top twenty fighter and yet are ranked number one and two respectively in the WBC’s world.

In Kittisakchokchoi’s lone shot at the big-time, he was TKO’d in 10 by Oscar Larios. His dreadful performance against Larios and lack of quality opposition leads me to believe Saenghiran might have more of a shot at beating him than some suspect. Regardless, neither of them lasts longer than six rounds with Israel Vasquez.

Honorable Mention: Wethya Sakmuangklang, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: #1 Flyweight
Pramuansak Phosuwan: #10 Jr. Bantamweight
Veeraphol Sahaprom: #3 Bantamweight
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin: #6 Bantamweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym: #10 Bantamweight
Somsak Sithchatchawal: #3 Jr. Featherweight
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9 Lightweight

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak

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LAS VEGAS—UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell’s fists proved too much for Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz who was stopped in the third round before a sold out crowd at the MGM Garden Arena on Saturday.

The punching machine Liddell (20-3, 13 KOs) repeated his victory in UFC 66 over the much-improved grappler Ortiz who has improved his punching and blocking. Ortiz was trying to avenge his loss of April 2004.

Despite all the new weapons displayed by Ortiz it wasn’t enough as Liddell pummeled the former champion and retained his title with a technical knockout at 3:59 of the third round. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.

“This was the most satisfying victory of my career,” said Liddell, 36, of Santa Barbara. “Tito came back real tough.”

Ortiz (15-5, 8 KOs), a former wrestler, worked on his boxing technique knowing he would need it against the former boxer Liddell. But Liddell’s experience allowed him to find the right moment to pounce on Ortiz.

“I had him hurt, I just kept throwing punches,” said Liddell who also knocked down Ortiz in the first round with a left hook.

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

“Chuck is the best fighter Pound for Pound in the (mixed martial arts) world,” said Ortiz, 31, who suffered a gash on the side of his left eye from a punch. “I’m disgusted by myself. I let my fans down.”

Other bouts

Underdog Keith Jardine (12-3-1) knocked out Forrest Griffin (13-4) at 4:41 of the first round in their light heavyweight showdown. A right uppercut followed by a left hook wobbled Griffin who was sent to the floor by a barrage of punches. On the ground Jardine landed right after right until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight for a technical knockout.

“I couldn’t believe he was hurt,” said Jardine about Griffin who is known for his resiliency. “I was so nervous coming into this fight, but now I know I belong here.”

Canada’s Jason McDonald (18-7) choked out Chris Leben (15-3) in a middleweight bout that was up for grabs. Though Leben seemed to control the fight with stunning left hands, once the fight went to the ground McDonald managed a chokehold at 4:03 of the second round. Referee Steve Mazagatti saw Leben was unconscious and stopped the fight.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (12-5) caught Brazil’s Mario Cruz (2-2) with a sneak right hand while both were tangled on the ground. Then the Belarusian pummeled Cruz until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:15 of the first round.

Third season winner of the Ultimate Fighter television reality season Michael Bisping (12-0) of Great Britain won by technical knockout over Eric Shafer (9-2-2) at 4:29 of the first round. A knee knocked Shafer groggy then Bisping knocked him to the ground and pounded him. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bludgeoning.

Thiago Alves (16-4) caught Peru’s Tony De Souza (15-5) with a knee as he attempted to dive for his legs in a welterweight contest. After that it was pretty much over as Alves pummeled De Souza at 1:10 of the second round forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout.

Gabriel Gonzago (7-1) proved too strong for Carmelo Marrero (6-1) in a heavyweight bout. At 3:22 of the first round Gonzago of Massachusetts manipulated his way into arm bar forcing Pennsylvania’s Marrero to tap out.

Japan’s Yushin Okami (19-3) pounded Georgia’s Rory Singer (11-6) into submission at 4:03 of the third round of a middleweight bout. Okami seemed the more-rounded fighter with effective kicks to the head and more accurate punching.

Christian Wellisch (8-2) jumped to a quick start with an accurate left hook that rattled Australia’s Anthony Perosh (5-3) in a heavyweight bout. During the first round it seemed the Sacramento fighter might end the fight but the Aussie hung tough. Wellisch won by unanimous decision.

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