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Articles of 2006

Vargas-Mosley Fight Predictions

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Live Saturday night from the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and brought to you by Golden Boy Promotions, Main Events and HBO PPV, Fernando Vargas meets Shane Mosley in a junior middleweight bout for no title or discernible reason. Both men, although past their primes, still possess some marquee value, but this is a fight that might have had meaning years ago; now it means what it means. This is how The Sweet Science writers see it.

Recently, HBO replayed some of Mosley and Vargas' earlier fights – Vargas against Bazooka and Mosley against Oscar, and it's amazing how different Vargas and Mosley look now. Vargas used to fight going backward, taking little steps as he whipped lefts and rights at his target. The same goes for Mosley. These guys were great boxer-punchers who were so patient and expert, it's sad to watch them now. Vargas' reflexes are really gone. He looks as hesitant as Michael Grant was after Lennox destroyed him: unsure of himself, mentally and physically worn out. The same goes for Mosley. Both follow their opponents around the ring now, struggling to figure out how to win. Now that they're fighting each other, I expect Mosley to figure out Vargas first. Actually, I think Shane is going to take one look at Vargas and then jump on him when he realizes he has a dead in front of him. Mosley TKO 5.
Mitch Abramson

Over the last two years, Mosley and Vargas have often been punching contradictions. One minute they look good, seemingly on the verge of reclaiming their championship form, and the next they are struggling to beat the David Estradas and Raymond Jovals of the world. Which makes this a tough call. But, it appears as though, physically, Mosley still has the speed and quickness that marked his prime. For “Sugar Shane”, it seems to be a question of confidence – confidence that was ripped away by Vernon Forrest four years ago. Mosley hasn't really taken a beating, except maybe that first Forrest fight. Vargas has, and his decline may be more a result of cumulative physical damage. He has absorbed the best punches from the best punchers of his generation – Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya. After those two wars, it would be difficult for anybody to rebound. Based on that, you've got to give the edge to Mosley. But Vargas will be there every step of the way, which should make this a good scrap between two former stars – one slightly more faded than the other – in the vein of Hearns-Leonard 2. Mosley by split decision.
Matthew Aguilar

Fernando Vargas left a bitter taste in the mouth of spectators. He's been conservative. Sluggish almost describes it. The boos he received from the Allstate Arena crowd in
Chicago after beating Javier Castillejo were overwhelming, which was evident in Vargas press conference afterward. He blamed the performance on struggling to make weight. Well, that is part of the job, albeit it a difficult task. Something tells me Vargas is going to be in shape for Mosley. That may be wishful thinking on my part, but it's a gut feeling that Vargas will earn the decision … Come on, it's a Jesse Cox gut decision, when has that ever been wrong?
Jesse K. Cox

Vargas had to come too far down in weight and it shows. He looks like Popeye's girlfriend, Olive Oyl. He might start strong, but I expect him to fade. Mosley will probably have a nice meal just before weighing in. If he gets past the first few rounds, he wins by decision.
Rick Folstad

HBO will rebroadcast the Mosley-Vargas fight next Sat., March 4, as part of the live Cotto-Branco show. That is their plan to compete with the more important live card on Showtime that same night, headlined by Lacy-Calzaghe. But Showtime will win that fight as well, at least in terms of providing a meaningful and quality show.
Eddie Goldman

Look for the conditioning and hand speed of Shane Mosley to come through in the later rounds – and there will be later rounds! – as he takes a decision from Fernando Vargas.
Randy Gordon

In a strange way this fight might be decided by will, the application of dedicated intent to see a fight plan to conclusion. One can argue that there's a bit of Ali-Frazier III about Vargas-Mosley happening in 2006. Three years ago this fight would have been between two fighters struggling mentally and physically. They are great fighters diminished, each seeking retribution for lost time, in a sense, fighters still capable of the belief that they are elite fighters awaiting a comprehensive return of form. That kind of self-assertion often translates into higher than expected performance levels, especially when both fighters are at the same level, or very close to it. How long can Mosley box with disciplined speed? And can Vargas bring his combination hitting rate up to something like his best? If each brings about 80% of their best, there again, we have parity. The guy who wears down mentally first will find himself under the gun and each of them understands that. They may not talk openly about it, but they do understand that keeping it together mentally will go a long way to securing enough rounds to win over the 12. I find it hard to picture a short fight in this one. Look for it to go 12, with the last 4 rounds telling the tale. If it does end before 12, it will be stopped by the referee in the 9th, 10th or 11th.
Patrick Kehoe

Reports were circulating that Vargas tipped the Holy Toledos! at 200 pounds around the holidays and then a full two weeks before the fight was down to the 154-pound limit. For a guy who always had trouble making weight I don't remember seeing Vargas so light, so early, as a good sign. He may have left his best fight in the gym and if he is a half step behind Shane it will be a long night. Too bad this bout wasn't made 5+ years ago, but it is still an interesting battle at this stage, although for different reasons. Mosley likely will be more comfortable at 154 than Vargas and I think El Feroz is longer in the tooth ring-wise due to his layoffs and injuries. It has been 8 fights and 4 years since we saw Mosley knock anyone out as his “power boxing” was much more productive at the lower weights. Remember though, Sugar Shane, although no longer sweet, has only lost to two fighters (Wright and Forrest twice each) and has fought better opposition. I don't think Vargas can implement the strategy that those two used, not at this point in his career, and Mosley will come on later in the fight to take the late rounds and win.
Joey Knish

Vargas always has trouble with the big guns. Whether or not Mosley could still be construed as a big gun is open to conjecture. Both have a lot to prove. Mosley will prove that he's still a viable entity by beating Vargas in a tough close fight. Mosley by decision.
Bob Mladinich

No major titles are at stake, but careers definitely at stake as Vargas and Mosley face-off in a battle of former champions who've seemingly passed their prime. Vargas seems the bigger question mark with his weight issues and inactiveness over the past couple years, but he'll be fighting to save a once golden career so the desperation should be there.
Mosley can no longer sustain his place in boxing by living off the old glory of beating Oscar years ago. After losing decisively to both Forrest and Wright twice, Mosley's on the verge of slipping out of the sport if he loses to Vargas. So this is a big fight in its own right and it'll be interesting to see who the sharper and more desperate fighter will be. My guess is that Sugar Shane will rise to the occasion and beat Vargas in a decision. He still has speed and can move pretty well so I don't see an older Vargas who has slowed considerably and hasn't fought a quality fighter like Mosley in years catching up to him and doing any major damage. One thing's for sure as long as there's a clear winner…one fighter's career will be damaged considerably.
Benn Schulberg

I know this fight has been anticipated for years, but it is really hard to get excited about two fighters who have not looked impressive since 2001. It is even harder to justify paying $44.95 to watch them duke it out. All hype aside, Fernando Vargas is younger, bigger, stronger, and much more natural at junior middleweight than Shane Mosley. If he can put together a complete fight, Vargas should have no trouble coming away with a decision. Vargas by unanimous decision.
Aaron Tallent

Both these cats are of the age and/or have sustained such wear and tear that I have but one wish for this fight: that no one is harmed irreparably. Must be gettin' too soft for this duty…..That aside, Mosley doesn't have the pop to worry Feroz that much. Fernando should be able to do much of what he wants to Shane, and overpower him as the rounds tick away. Vargas comes away with a unanimous decision, and is again a player in several divisions.
Michael Woods

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

David A. Avila

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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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