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Articles of 2006

Lost and Found Pound-for-Pound



It's been a while since the last pound-for-pound list – last summer to be exact – so it's probably about time to update.

And, since last weekend was pretty much devoid of elite action, here goes.

1. Floyd Mayweather: No big surprise here. Since the last time, Mayweather has jumped from #2 to #1, based on his destruction of Arturo Gatti, and former top guy Bernard Hopkins dropping a pair of decisions to Jermain Taylor. Sure, Mayweather's level of competition has left something to be desired lately. He needs to be fighting Antonio Margarito or Ricky Hatton, not Sharmba Mitchell and Zab Judah. But, in fairness, it's not his fault that Judah didn't train for Carlos Baldomir – making the April 8 Pretty Boy vs. Super matchup considerably less interesting and important. But it is his fault that he hasn't fought a live body since out-pointing Jose Luis Castillo in December 2002. If Mayweather doesn't fight Margarito or Hatton by the end of the year, #2 Winky Wright may supplant him at the top. But, for now, Mayweather – easily the most gifted boxer in the sport today – assumes #1.

2. Winky Wright: Unlike Mayweather, Wright seems to have the right kind of attitude – a “go-get-'em” mindset that has a lot of the boxing world in his corner. In successive fights, Winky knocked off Shane Mosley twice, and Puerto Rican great Felix Trinidad. Now, after some time off, he's tackling the younger. bigger middleweight king Jermain Taylor. It seems Wright knows he's getting up there in years, and is attempting to make the most of his time in the sun. Good for him. If Winky beats Taylor – and that is a definite possibility – and Mayweather continues to entertain fighters who are obviously overmatched, Winky will overtake “Pretty Boy.”

3. Marco Antonio Barrera: It's been something of a quiet few months for Mexico's “Baby-Faced Assassin”, who isn't such a baby anymore at 32 years old. He jacked up the hopeless Mzonke Fana in April, then shut out Robbie Peden in September. Not exactly a memorable 2005, but he's in tough this March when he hops up to lightweight and challenges IBF champ Jesus Chavez. Barrera, like arch-enemy Erik Morales, started out several weight classes below 135 pounds, and could be packing on too much weight for “El Matador.” Morales found out the hard way when he lost a lifeless decision to Zahir Raheem at lightweight in September. But, luckily for Barrera, Chavez is a natural junior lightweight/featherweight, which could make the weight class-jump a moot point. Then, if he wins, Barrera can concentrate on a rematch with Manny Pacquiao.

4. Manny Pacquiao: The Philippines' “Pac-Man” looked awesome in his January 21 destruction of Mexican icon Morales, becoming the first fighter to legitimately drop “El Terrible” (twice), and knock him out. That victory catapulted Pacquaio from #9 to #4 since the last list – a jump of five big spots. Some of that was attrition, yes, as Hopkins, Morales and Diego Corrales all lost. But most of it was the recognition of Pacquiao's incredible power and brilliance (he leapfrogged over England's Ricky Hatton). So why isn't he ahead of Barrera, whom he destroyed in 2003? Part of it is that six spots would have been too much based on one victory. Another part is that Barrera has looked pretty darn good since the whipping that Pacquiao issued, and may not have been 100 percent on that night. And still another part is that Pacquiao did indeed lose to Morales the first time they fought in March 2005, and drew with Juan Manuel Marquez in 2004. But, if he puts Morales away for good, as expected, in their rubber match in September, he'll get his second chance at Barrera sometime in 2007.

5. Ricky Hatton: The man who is rejuvenating pugilism in England has had one fight since his knockout of Kostya Tszyu last June – an 8th-round stoppage of spoiler Carlos Maussa. Both fights showcased Hatton's best points: his incredible physical strength, his granite chin, his stellar conditioning, and his tremendous determination. Those attributes will make him a tough assignment for anybody – and that includes Mayweather. In fact, Mayweather vs. Hatton may be the single most attractive fight in boxing today, as it pits “Pretty Boy's” amazing physical gifts and speed against the “Hitman's” power and will to win. Next up, though, might be Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto, which is also a marvelous style matchup. Whatever the case, Hatton will have a chance to showcase himself against the best of the world in 2006.

6. Jose Luis Castillo: Ok, so Castillo stunk out the place in a Feb. 4 decision over no-hoper Rolando Reyes. But that fight meant nothing. Castillo was originally to have fought nemesis Diego Corrales for the third time in nine months, and his inspiration may have dried up the minute Corrales pulled out of the fight. The good news for Castillo fans is that there was nothing in the Reyes fight to suggest that “El Temible” has somehow faded since his October knockout of Corrales in the rematch. The bad news is that Castillo again had a tough time making weight, this time 138 pounds. For a Corrales rubber match, Castillo would have to drop to 135 pounds one last time. There is some question as to whether he can do it. And, if he can, there's a question as to whether he can be effective anymore at lightweight. We'll see. For now, Castillo is scheduled to meet Corrales in June.

7. Juan Manuel Marquez: It seemed as though this overlooked Mexican would finally be a permanent fixture on the radars of elite fighters with his 12-round draw with Pacquiao in 2004. But that hasn't happened, as Marquez has returned to obscurity with victories over Orlando Salido and Victor Polo. And it doesn't appear Marquez will get anything big anytime soon, as the dance cards of Barrera, Pacquaio and Morales seem filled. So, for now, it's up to Marquez to continue to win and wait for the trio to play out their dramas against one another. Physically, Marquez is as good as ever, if a little more technical than some of his countrymen would hope. His win over Polo was masterful – but since it came on the undercard of the first Corrales-Castillo slugfest, it was hardly noticed. He'll meet the undefeated Chris John on March 4.

8. Rafael Marquez: It's fitting that the Marquez brothers are side-by-side on this list, since both seem to be the best two fighters that no one really cares about. It's especially bizarre in Rafael's case, since he is undeniably one of the hardest punchers in boxing, but a lack of big-name opponents in his boring division make him as anonymous as Juan Manuel. Consider, he was on the undercard last year of a Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. fight – appalling, considering Rafael is one of the best fighters in the world. But no one knows him, so he takes what he can get. Perhaps more disturbing is that he has no fights scheduled.

9. Jermain Taylor: Will somebody please give some respect to Taylor, a guy who knocked off a middleweight champ who had reigned for the previous decade? Twice. But it seems “Bad Intentions” is having to rid himself the reputation of a lucky, boring fighter after the pair of Hopkins victories. And, sure, they were boring. The pair acted as though each other's gloves were laced with cyanide. But give Taylor a break. He was going up against a guy who had a mountain of experience on him and, the first time, he survived a few gut-checks to eke out the decision. And the guy isn't resting on his laurels, as he meets the number two guy on this list, Wright, later this year. That could be boring, too, but if he wins, Taylor should start getting his deserved props.

10. Antonio Tarver: Though he really didn't receive his coming-out party until 2003, Tarver has been around a while, and has shown signs of slowing down. He struggled twice with Glen Johnson, a fine fighter – but one whom he probably should have dethroned with ease (he lost to the “Road Warrior” in the original). And he sleepwalked through the rubber match with Roy Jones Jr. – probably a fight that should have never happened. By the time he steps into the ring with former middleweight king Hopkins later this year, it will have been almost two years since his one-punch knockout of Jones. Tarver seemed destined for great things on that night, but great things haven't materialized. And the “Magic Man” is running out of time.

(By the way, Tarver-Hopkins could be the most boring fight in boxing history.)

11. Antonio Margarito: It's not Margarito's fault that he's being completely avoided by the marquee names of the division. Or maybe it is – as in, he has looked too good for his own good. His April knockout of Kermit Cintron was brilliant, and he cemented himself as one of the toughest hombres in the sport on that night. Next up is an old trial horse in Manuel Gomez, who was knocked out by Shane Mosley nine years ago. Once Margarito does away with Gomez, maybe his luck will change. Mayweather-Judah, Oscar De La Hoya-Ricardo Mayorga, Shane Mosley-Fernando Vargas, and Hatton-Cotto will then play themselves out, and Margarito would be more than happy to get one of the winners.

12. Bernard Hopkins: Well, Hopkins has tumbled from the top spot to the last spot since the last list – which ain't bad for somebody who is 40 years old and coming off a historic middleweight title reign. And it's still not impossible to imagine Hopkins with another belt wrapped around his waist – as tactical and unwatchable as he has become. He will be at a size disadvantage against Tarver, but, if he takes the fight inside, things could get interesting. He'll be an underdog, but the “Executioner” may have one more big effort left in him.

On the brink: Diego Corrales.

Fell out: Erik Morales, Zab Judah.

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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