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Articles of 2006

Bill Gallo … More than he bargained for



Bill Gallo’s only ambition in life was to be a newspaperman. As a youngster growing up in New York, his best memories are when his immigrant father Frank took him to his job as a reporter for the now defunct Castilian newspaper La Prensa.

“I loved the smell of the ink and the atmosphere of the newsroom,” said the now 83-year-old Gallo, who recently celebrated his 65th year with the New York Daily News, where his award-winning cartoons appear five days a week and his sports column appears on Sunday.

“My father died when I was 11, so it was a short-lived relation,” he continued. “But he left an impression on me.”

Gallo began his career as an 18-year-old copy boy in 1941. The only time his career at the Daily News was interrupted was during World War II, when he served in the Marine Corps and saw action in, among other places, Iwo Jima.

One Marine Corps citation praises Corporal Gallo for “his cool, efficient and unceasing devotion to duty…[while] engaged in the hazardous task of locating, deactivating and removing mines, aerial bombs and unexploded ordnance.”

Since returning to the News in 1945, his career has been a whirlwind. Having always had a passion for boxing, he wrote about and became friends with scores of champions and colorful devotees of the sweet science.

Gallo and Dolores, his beloved wife of 56 years, dined on many occasions with Jack Dempsey, Rocky Graziano and Ray Arcel. Among the legions of others he was or is friends with are Muhammad Ali, Paddy Flood, Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney. He has nothing but praise for all of them.

When asked why grown men, many of whom are in their seventies, act like awestruck children when discussing Dempsey, Gallo has the perfect explanation.

“We are a country of heroes, and Dempsey was the perfect hero,” he said. “He was a hobo who began fighting in the back of bars where a hat would be passed around. He overcame so many barriers, both as a fighter and as a man.

“He stayed a hero until the day he died,” Gallo continued. “Walking down the street with him was like walking with the Pied Piper. I once went to a fundraiser for Sugar Ray Robinson with him and Joe Frazier at Sunnyside Gardens. Frazier was the champ at the time. They started two autograph lines, and Jack’s was three times as long as Joe’s.”

Gallo said that few athletes ever captured the public’s imagination the way that Dempsey and Babe Ruth did. It had as much to do with the times, as it did with their larger than life personalities.

“Back then, being heavyweight champion was more prominent than being President of the United States,” he explained. “But Jack was a very intelligent man. He said that losing to Gene Tunney was the best thing that ever happened to him. The long count made him more than he was. He told me, ‘I was a champion, but the long count made me an idol.’”

Gallo says that Graziano also had an abundance of charisma. “He was a rough stone, but he was smart enough to know that he had to change his street ways,” said Gallo. “He knew how profitable it could be to be nice. He used to tell Jake LaMotta, his good friend, that it was nice to be nice, but I don’t know if Jake took the advice. Rocky was a straight shooter, a salt of the earth guy.”

Gallo describes Arcel as one of the most decent men he had ever met in any business. “He was the most honest guy I knew in such a crooked sport,” said Gallo. “Being so honest nearly cost him his life, and he retired from the game. But he was a sucker for a real good fighter. When he got the opportunity to train Roberto Duran, he couldn’t turn it down.”

(Arcel was once nearly killed after being beaten with a pipe for refusing to cooperate with mobsters who had become a ubiquitous presence in the fight game).

Gallo has scores of tales to recount about Flood, who ran the fabled Gramercy Gym on East 14th Street in Manhattan. “When I was on the boxing beat, he would feed me stories,” said Gallo. “A lot of them were either exaggerated or B.S., but they were all entertaining. Because of him I was the first one to write about the picture ‘Rocky’ and I was the first to report (after his death) that John Belushi had trained at the Gramercy. Those were big stories at the time.”

Another big story had to do with his relationship with Ali. Being the patriotic old Marine that he is, Gallo was initially disturbed by Ali’s refusal to be inducted into the armed forces to serve in Vietnam. That all changed when Gallo visited the war-torn country as part of a USO tour in 1969.

“I spoke to hundreds of Marines and soldiers over there, and it radically changed my thinking,” said Gallo. “I could see Ali’s viewpoint and realized what he was doing was not cowardly.  We didn’t belong there. There was a lot of killing for no reason. We would have gained nothing from victory.”

Of the more modern boxing characters, Gallo has immeasurable respect for Holmes and Cooney. Holmes even presented one of his belts to Gallo, who has it hanging prominently on his office wall.

“Holmes was a good workman in the ring, and he had a lot of integrity outside of the ring,” said Gallo. “When he and Cooney fought, you couldn’t help get excited about that fight. For good reasons or bad, if Cooney had won and he didn’t get involved in the stuff (drugs and booze) he could have transcended the sport. He had a Max Baer-type of personality and the public was ready to embrace him.”

The last time that Gallo got excited about the fight game was when Oscar De La Hoya was on his way up. “He really got me going,” said Gallo. “He had all of the elements for greatness, but fell short. I suspect that he started thinking of [protecting] his face.”

Although Gallo seems to be eternally optimistic about most matters, he believes that the current state of boxing is abysmal. He is not so sure if it can salvage itself.

“Boxing is boxing when a good heavyweight heads it,” he explained. “There is not a good heavyweight in sight. In order for boxing to be successful, it has to generate more fans than boxing fans. The last heavyweight that people got excited about was Mike Tyson, and that was 20 years ago.”

Although he has been plying the trade he loves for his entire adult life, Gallo still gets excited about his work. When he shows up at his office each morning, he often has no idea what he is going to draw for the next day’s newspaper. Usually by early afternoon, however, the next day’s drawing is done.

“My mind is on the news all the time,” said Gallo, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, in 2001. “I don’t worry about not being able to come up with an idea. There is so much to say in this world.”

One of his personal favorites shows a man in bed with his wife, with news of a racetrack robbery clearly evident. The wife asks her husband (the robber) how he made out that day. He responds that he finally broke even.

Gallo speaks to Joe Public with his drawings, and it is a job he takes very seriously. On the surface his cartoons might appear lighthearted, but they carry a message and an image that most often lasts a lot longer than the news item itself.

“I try to relate every major news item to a cartoon,” he explained. “They give me this space so I feel obligated to say something, not just draw a picture. I consider myself very fortunate. I don’t know many people in the world who can say that they’ve done exactly what they wanted. I’m doing it, and I wouldn’t change anything for all of Trump’s money. I always felt like the richest guy in the world.”

Besides his wife and his work, Gallo’s two sons and his extended family, which includes four grandchildren, bring him the most joy in life. Son Greg is the executive sports editor of the New York Post, and Bill heads Steeplechase Racing in Maryland.

“They were great boys and they are great men,” he said. “They are more than I ever dreamt they could be. Those two boys are my greatest accomplishment.”

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch



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, 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



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


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

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4


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


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

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1


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



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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