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Articles of 2006

Look Who’s Here on His Own Time



LAS VEGAS (March 2, 2006) – “Tick, tock, tick, tock.”

The sad echoes of a hopefully passed time came to mind as Jeff Lacy, in Manchester, England, said he has kept “all my clocks on Florida time” so that, when he meets Joe Calzaghe at 2 o'clock Sunday morning, local time, his body will think it's 10 P.M. in Tampa Bay.

I am aware of no part of Manchester resembling Tampa Bay, but then, as he said at 7 something o'clock in the morning, Sin City time, “this is a business trip, there's no time for sightseeing.”

“Tick, tock, tick, tock.” You had to be there, 25 years ago, or maybe it was better that you weren't, when Dennis Rappaport brought to Gerry Cooney's corner the mock alarm clock that was supposed to symbolize the end of Larry Holmes's reign. It was perhaps the most despicable fight since Jack Johnson-James Jeffries in terms of racist drivel.

The “alarm clock” was not part of the revulsion many of us felt. It remains just an innocent bystander to the Great White Hope crap that surrounded what should have been simply a dramatic and intriguing matchup of slugger vs. boxer, young vs. experienced, the kind of thing we have this Saturday – United States time – with the Showtime telecast of Lacy-Calzaghe.

And until I thought of Rappaport's alarm clock – and the gunshots at Caesars Palace, both sides being called in on the carpet and told to check their weapons, Ronald Reagan's minions putting in a telephone line to Cooney's dressing room in case he won the heavyweight title (denied by the White House, but reported to me by Nevada officials and in any case, there was no Presidential call to Holmes afterwards), the racism used by Don King and Rappaport to hype a fight that needed no hype.

And here we are, 25 years later, a fight between two undefeated super-middleweight champions from different countries, and there has been absolutely no mention, at least as far as I can discern, of the fact that it is another case of black vs. white in the ring. I am almost afraid to say, “Boys and girls, take a bow.” We've come a long way, babies.

Slugger vs. boxer/puncher, young vs. experienced, Yank vs. Brit, but “tick, tock, tick, tock,” there is no alarming racist bent to what is a much anticipated battle. It's another reason to love this fight.

And remaining on Florida time, which sounds like a good idea (okay, remaining on his local time didn't help Kostya Tszyu against Ricky Hatton in Manchester, but Lacy is not 35 years old), seems like another reason to love Dan Birmingham, the “hot” young trainer of Lacy.

“Tick, tock, tick, tock.” Lacy said Calzaghe's “days are numbered.” He said the Welshman, from just down the tracks, is the one who is fighting at 2 o'clock in the morning, though Calzaghe has also changed his bio-clock and, like the American, is doing roadwork after midnight, which of course is about all there is to do in Manchester.

“There's a lot of down time,” said Lacy, “but you don't want to be in my world right now.”

He has kept to his hotel room to “focus” on the fight that should tell us whether the 2000 Olympian is truly a special talent, as I happen to believe. You have to have much talent, and courage, to go over to Calzaghe's backyard and face a guy who at 33 does not figure to be much over the hill and who, in his prime just a couple of minutes ago – “tick, tock, tick, tock’ – happened to be a pretty good fighter. It is still difficult to erase the memory of Lacy struggling with the rather ordinary Omar Sheika, but under Birmingham, his defense especially has improved in recent outings.

Gary Shaw, Lacy's promoter, encapsulated why Lacy's offense may make him special: “You don't get a chance to rest for a second. You throw a lot of punches, he's there. You move, he's there. And he's a lot faster than everybody sees.”

He's also got the hunger. He said his favorite thing about boxing was hearing, “and STILL undefeated.” I think the announcer will be referring to Lacy in the wee small hours. “Tick, tock, tick, tock” – the left hook should go off about round nine.

PENTHOUSE: Yes, I can take it with me. Gary Shaw wants to go in a Super Penthouse because not only did he phone me with Lacy in tow, but he paid for the international call. Gary, you know I can't be bought, but you get in a regular penthouse – points off for waking me at 7 in the morning … Good luck to the good guys over at maxboxing, Gary Randall, Tom Gerbasi, Doug Fischer and Steve Kim. Yeah, you're all in here, too … And there's always a special place for Sugar Shane Mosley and Fernando Vargas, who can still put on a show. But, listen, while each is probably, as Larry Merchant says, in the top five of the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions, let's not go overboard. When they were both farther past it than Mosley and Vargas, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns put on an even better show in their second meeting. Their first encounter, of course, was one of the best fights – especially skill-wise – in history.

OUTHOUSE: The Nevada doctors. Why did it take so long to stop the fight after Vargas's left eye had completely disappeared? The corner should have jumped at the chance earlier, too, allowing Vargas the dignity of being ahead on the official scorecards (damn the judges, they got it wrong again – it was close, but Mosley was leading from the start) … Johnny Bos, my New York guru, called to say that the ringside docs too quickly put the oxygen mask over Zuri Lawrence, after the journeyman was felled by a perfect Calvin Brock left hook. Bos said Lawrence was bleeding from the mouth, his mouthpiece was still in, and could have choked on the mask. Bos said Emanuel Steward, on the HBO pay-per-view telecast (which apparently did wonderful numbers), kept knocking Brock because he was a tap dancer (buck and wing variety, not a comment on punching power). “Did he ever hear of a guy named Sugar Ray Robinson?” said the Bos Man. The original Sugar was indeed a fine tap dancer, though to make a living, he had to return to boxing … Sad to see Marc (Too Sharp) Johnson take his payday and then a knee. He was one of the best flyweights in history … Another Bos observation: “That was the best Vargas I've seen in four years.” Thus …

LOSER DOESN'T GO HOME: Mosley should get another big payday. He called out Floyd Mayweather Jr., the projected winner of the April 8 match with Zab Judah, but Mayweather seems to be more interested in Mosley's senior partner, Oscar De La Hoya. Maybe Bob Arum can put Antonio Margarito in with Mosley on that July 29 date he reserved here – I'll bet he won't get Mayweather in there, and frankly, I think Margarito-Mosley is a much more competitive fight than Mayweather-Margarito. In fact, I give Mosley a big shot … Vargas, once he looks human and only if his competitive juices haven't dried, can make another big payday. His Main Events matchmaker, Carl Moretti, says “I love him at 160.” He said a rematch with Winky Wright could be huge, especially since, in Moretti's humble opinion, Wright will beat Jermain Taylor on June 17, “or whenever you put a motivational fight in front of Winky.” Trouble is, Taylor has a rematch clause in his contract with Wright … No, I couldn't think of another time when wives got into it the way Jin Mosley and Marta Lopez (soon to be Vargas) did at the post-fight press conference at Mandalay Bay … Bernard Hopkins, bragging that he's thinking like a promoter as if he hasn't all along, immediately called for a spousal fight … Sounds better than his match with Antonio Tarver.

DIS AND THAT: Quick, name the only Ukrainian who falls more often than Wladimir Klitschko: Yes, Sasha Cohen … Am completely disappointed in my old hometown tabloids. I fully expected either, or both, the New York Post or Daily News to have a big picture with the lovely Sasha on the ice beneath the headline, “FLOPPY SECONDS” … Is there anything dumber than that commercial which begins with some guy whose nose is crinklier than a Mike Lupica column sitting on a stool and saying, “I'm thinking of a number between 450 and 850, do you know what it is?” Number of pounds lost by Cedric Kushner? … Thanks to VCR's and other gimmicks I don't understand, but which my daughter thankfully does, will be able to see a bunch of fights this weekend, the highlight of which is of course Lacy-Calzaghe. But should get in the gunk that HBO is using to act as the live bait for its taped delay of Mosley-Vargas, Miguel Cotto vs. Gianluca Branco … Wish the best of luck to Juan Manuel Marquez, who has to go into the Borneo jungle to challenge Chris John for a featherweight belt to replace the one that the IBFelons stole from him … That's all on Saturday. Tomorrow night, there are four televised shows. But there's also a new episode of “Monk” … I'll make time – “tick, tock, tick, tock” – for ShoBox title fight between unbeaten IBF flyweight holder Vic Darchinyan of Armenia and Australia and another of Freddie Roach's Filipinos, Diosdad Gabi. Darchinyan, asked if he was looking ahead, said matter-of-factly, “Like I say, every fight is a title fight.” Unfortunately, that holds true for too much of the game … Let me say I feel privileged to be among some of my favorite writers: Fast Eddie Schuyler, George Kimball, Ken Jones and at the same site where the great Pat Putnam worked at the end … All The Sweet Science is missing from my pantheon are A.J. Liebling, Barney Nagler, Bob Waters, Red Smith and, still alive, Dave Anderson and Vic Ziegel.

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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