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Articles of 2006

I Ain't Mailing Anymore



It happened one Saturday back in October, a few hours before the Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo rematch on pay-per-view. It was already a rough time for me, as the site where I had been editor,, had basically gone into hibernation and let all the writers and editors go just a week earlier, and I had some health problems that were sidelining me. So I was home a lot, online a lot, and regrouping a lot. When you combine boxing, the media, and the Internet, you get these types of unstable situations, also a lot.

In the midst of juggling all these problems and planning a course of action to resolve them, suddenly I couldn't get on any website. I couldn't send or receive e-mail, either. I rebooted my computer, which was working fine, but still couldn't make contact with the rest of the world. Then I picked up my home phone to call Verizon, my DSL provider and also the outfit which pretends they are no longer a phone company since they sell so many other services.

The line was dead. There was no dial tone, period. I checked and rechecked all the gaggle of wiring connected to the phone jack, since the first thing to do in such situations is to check your connections, as any good telecom maven will delight in telling you. I even took a phone and connected it directly to the jack itself, with no other wires or devices in-between.

Still nothing, just silence.

Fortunately I do not use Verizon for my cell phone service (time to give the vastly underrated T-Mobile a plug here), so I called what is hilariously known as Verizon customer service to find out what was up, or, more precisely, out. First they wanted to send a tech out in several days. After more calls, more waiting, and more stalling, I learned that there was a major phone cable, serving about 1500 lines, out in my neighborhood. And they wouldn't even start to fix it until Monday.

Because of the overall series of problems explained above, it was not a good time for me to fork over whatever pile of cash was being asked to watch the pay-per-view. I had no idea when my phone service and, more importantly, Internet connection would return. And as it turned out, both would be down for about eight days.

Besides everything else I was attempting to accomplish without a home Internet connection, I now was faced with hunting down the results and a report on the Corrales-Castillo rematch through the conventional mainstream media. I felt as if I were stuck in a perpetual slow-motion machine.

I flipped around the TV sports networks, squinting to read the news crawl scrolling across the bottom of the screen. There were endless reports on the games people play, but about boxing I still found nothing. I turned to ESPNews, a network which seems expressly designed for those who either don’t know how to use the Internet or don’t have a computer.

Finally a blurb came on the screen reporting that Castillo had won the fight with a fourth-round knockout of Corrales. I was not really surprised by this reversal of fortunes from their first classic battle after hearing of Castillo’s failure to make weight for what was supposed to be a lightweight title affair. Most suspect that he had long since given up that quest of regaining a belt in hope of winning the fight without being burdened by cutting weight. In any case, Castillo had clearly won.

I hung around ESPNews a while longer, hoping for something more about what was a rematch of a fight virtually unanimously heralded as the 2005 fight of the year. Since I am a sometimes fan of both pro football and baseball, it wasn’t the most excruciating thing I’ve had to do, but the longer I watched, the more I felt my brain cells numbing.

It was too late for me to start calling around for a description of the fight via my one working phone service. Boxing is the only sport which runs its most important events when most people are either sleeping, shtupping, or prowling about in hopes of finding a partner for the latter before having to do the former. As the phone line lay dead, my only hope was to join this herd and wait until the freedom of daybreak, when the late editions of the newspapers would be trucked to the newsstands.

Sometime that Sunday, a day which usually seems never long enough, I bought The New York Times and New York Daily News. The Times, that supposed newspaper of record, had nothing at all on this fight, at least in the sports section which was being sold as part of its late edition. The News, fortunately for the world or at least New York, did have a report from Las Vegas by Tim Smith, which I devoured. And yet I still felt hungry. I usually have almost instant access online to numerous such reports from as many sources as I care to read. Now the only thing available to me when I needed a meal was a snack.

One of the many consequences of boxing’s marginalization is its almost total disappearance from the sports pages. The New York Daily News, always aimed at the working men, the wise guys, and the everyday people who know how to get things done, has kept up its regular boxing coverage. True, you can more easily find football predictions of car salesmen, odds and spreads for illegal gambling, and even “results” from the phony pro “wrestling” in its pages. But somewhere, usually, there is still a taste of the sweet science.

During the week, as I learned that at least several similar outages were affecting Verizon phone service in many neighborhoods in Manhattan, I was able to get out to a working computer connected to the Internet. But it’s not as easy as some would think just to call someone up and ask if you could sit and work for who knows how many hours on their home computer.

The next time, fellow fight fanatics, you want to follow what is really up in boxing, try doing so without access to the Internet. Even if you have direct access to many insiders, or are one yourself, try finding out fast and thoroughly the ins and outs of a story without online information. It is, without exaggeration, painful.

The fact is that the bulk of boxing journalism, both in quantity and, yes, quality, has moved online and away from the dying world of the print media. We’re here, without peer, so get used to it.

Which, ladies and germs of the jury, brings me to my next point. As a dues-paying member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, I recently received via a service even more obsolete than newspapers – the mail – a letter about the group’s annual writing contest, known as the Barneys. I had won a third place in one of these a couple of years ago, and was considering entering again this year.

The letter, however – the contents of which was not sent by e-mail to any of the many addresses I use – specified that the entries had to be sent by mail, that is, printed out, put in an envelope licked shut with a stamp affixed, and taken and then dropped in a mailbox somewhere.

Boxing may be an old school sport, but there is no excuse why what is supposed to be the organization of its professional writers remains a slave to this old school, inefficient, time-consuming, costly, antiquated, and even medieval mechanical technology. What’s more, many of us primarily work online. That has been the main venue for me for a decade now. I have nothing against magazines, as I still write columns for two of them and have a graduate diploma from NYU in magazine publishing. They, and even newspapers, have their place. But they are an inferior form of media, and have been eclipsed for many a year by online coverage of boxing.

If some judges or panel cannot use e-mail or cannot click on a link to read an article, how can they be expected to judge properly and intelligently the quality of what is written for this medium which is so mysterious to them? Any writer knows that their content is affected by and even designed for the medium for which it is prepared. I learned that back in the sixth grade, but that is another story.

If someone cannot use the journalistic and communication tools which have been standard for over a decade, how can they be qualified to issue judgments about the quality of the journalism of those who can? This is especially odious in boxing since the print and electronic media ignore it more and more while the online sites take up the slack.

There is also another even more egregiously bad assumption at work here. That is that what appears in print is inherently superior to what appears online or electronically. It is the prejudice of a doomed caste system which denigrates the online world, which those who fear cannot understand.

It is another version of the same anti-Internet propaganda you see today in competing forms of media about online services like the social networking site Some alleged sexual predator was caught who used this site, and now you hear this site’s name in all these negative headlines. Principals and bosses are rallying to ban those under their control from using this site, even at home. As I write this, the total number of accounts there is listed at 59,228,048. So is it news or surprising that a few among this 59 million are up to no good? Should we demand that since some schoolteachers, members of the clergy, and cops are predators or corrupt that we condemn them all and shield the women and children from them? But spreading such fear, ignorance, and panic is apparently fine with these journalistic experts when it comes to the Internet.

So I am just fed up with all this anti-Internet prejudice. Yes, I won an award for an online article, and last year several writers from this site won awards as well. But the rules of this contest and the way online journalists are treated can only be described as separate and unequal. And the last time, besides this writing contest, I had to submit an article to anyone in a form other than e-mail was 1996. That was for a magazine, which by the time of my next submission later that year started taking them by e-mail.

I am not asking anyone else to do what I am doing, but I have decided not to participate in this contest this year. This is despite the fact that I went through my 2005 articles and found a few which I felt were good candidates for this contest, and the deadline is still a few days away.

I’m just not riding in the back of the bus anymore.

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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