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Articles of 2006

Stumbling Blocks and Joe Calzaghe

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Betting on boxing is not one of my vices.

Were I more successful at it, I’d quite probably add it to the list of no-nos that I indulge in.

But betting on boxing outcomes, such as the Joe Calzaghe/Jeff Lacy Saturday night scrap, is too often complete guesswork. Most of the time, there are few or no concrete variables to compare and contrast.

But boxing bets are subject to so many intangibles and unknown factors. Like, maybe a fighter, we’ll call him Hoover Oreck, was out the night before the big bout in Vegas, engaging in “stress relief” with a paid escort, who just happens to have a little pixie dust on her person, and Oreck, who swore off the devil’s dandruff after that incident when he was picked up by the authorities after nodding off in his hometown Quiznos, takes a little toot.

And another little snort.

And next thing you know, he finds himself in a hot-tub with Paris and Kate Moss, and the next thing he knows, the sun is rising, and his chances of winning are falling.

But I have no way of knowing about Oreck’s “stress relief” orgy. The next thing I know, I’ve dropped a $100 big ones because Oreck’s foe, we’ll call him Arthur Allan – he goes by the initials AA – is a teetotaler who got the proper amount of Zs the night before the big fight.

And come fight night, Oreck is fighting like a man who hasn’t had an ounce of sleep and just finished a session of quail hunting with the Veep. AA Allan gets the nod after the final bell, and the fight is then dissected by the pundits. They scrutinize the Compubox numbers, and then offer their semi-educated guesses why AA Allan came away the winner. And not being Paris Hilton or Kate Moss, the pundits have no way of knowing that on this night, Oreck had a snow cone’s chance in hell to come out on top.

So this is why I don’t squander my hard-earned cash by betting on boxers. This time, however, I’m going to make an exception. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that Jeff Lacy is going to beat Joe Calzaghe on March 4.

And I’m not going to share my reasoning for picking Lacy in the battle of undefeated super middleweights by delving into technical comparisons between the two fighters.

I won’t attempt to find opponents for each fighter who fight in similar styles, and then extrapolate from there based on how Lacy and Calzaghe handled those foes.

I won’t try to discern a foe from Lacy’s list of 21 victims who most resembles the 33-year-old Welshman, Calzaghe. Nor will I scan the list of 40 men who Calzaghe has bested, and try to find one that most mimics the attributes of Lacy, the 28-year-old Floridian power puncher. Instead, I’m basing my choice on a gut instinct informed by a hunch.

This is the same anti-scientific methodology I used when picking up a few shares of XM and Sirius. My gut tells me, based on feedback I’ve heard from users, that satellite radio is here to stay and that sector can be compared to the infancy of cable.

Here’s my hunch: I think Lacy is going to beat Calzaghe because Calzaghe hasn’t fought anyone in the same ballpark as Lacy with a comparable package of speed/power/hunger. Calzaghe has had the opportunities to sign on the dotted line with fighters of equal merit. An Enquirer’s worth of rumors have been printed about possible Calzaghe foes since 1998. But always, there have been stumbling blocks why the Welshman hasn’t stood toe-to-toe with the best and brightest in and around 160-175 pounds. It was always something.

The first major test foe that never came to fruition was Roy Jones, back in the late spring of 1999. The Italian Stallion himself started the rumor ball rolling when he said, in April 1996, “I have a dream that I can take on and beat Roy Jones Jr.” It didn’t happen. The impediments? The usual suspects. Money. The site. Nobody blamed Calzaghe or his pop Enzo for this one not coming to fruition. RJJ’s distaste for going overseas, where he felt he would get jobbed on a decision, was well documented.

It looked like Calzaghe might be gearing up for a US invasion in January 2000, when he was preparing for a fight with Brit David Starie on the Tyson/Julius Francis-topped card: “Now I want the glory – and the money,” he said.

To Calzaghe, that meant Omar Sheika.

Yikes.

OK, you might argue, Sheika had only one loss on his ledger at the time, against 21 wins. But the lone loss was the Brit pushover Tony Booth (28-44-7). That appearance gave Calzaghe promoter Frank Warren all the appraisal time he needed to decide that Sheika was a worthy opponent for his man Calzaghe. The money came. As for glory, well, Calzaghe did look good dropping Sheika.

After Sheika, Warren and the Calzaghes didn’t make the Jones fight, the ultimate glory gatherer, top priority. Instead, they tabbed Richie Woodhall as Calzaghe’s next foe. That fight did indeed make perfect business sense in the UK. Woody had had a 1½ year run as WBC super middle champion before dropping the strap to Markus Beyer in Oct. 1999. Could Calzaghe have made more money elsewhere? Probably. Could he have draped himself in more glory fighting someone other than Woodhall? Absolutely. But it looked like fight that would prove Calzaghe’s confidence in himself would be in the making after he beat Woodhall on Dec. 16, 2000.

Roy Jones, who weighed 173½ when he beat Eric Harding on Sept. 9, 2000, was making noise about dropping a few pounds and making a run at some super middle belts. That made sense, since he’d cleaned out the best and brightest at the 175 mark. Calzaghe seemed excited at the proposition of proving himself against the best fighter in the world, RJJ. “It's the ultimate fight for me,” Calzaghe told The Associated Press. “Roy Jones is one of the best in the world, pound-for-pound, and that's the sort of opponent you need to prove you're a great fighter.” Calzaghe also hinted that it was getting too hard for him to make 168, so maybe he would gain a few pounds to make it happen with Roy if Roy didn’t want to diet. But Jones didn’t drop down, instead continuing his OCD-level cleaning of the division. He hammered out Derrick Harmon, Julio Gonzalez, Glen Kelly and Clinton Woods, which brought him to Sept. 2002. And  Calzaghe didn’t head for the all-you-can eat chip shops, or whatever they have over there. He instead occupied himself with fights that certainly did make him money, but as for the aforementioned hunt for glory…

Mario Veit, another super middle with a 30-0 record, came next. But his record was padded with stiffs and he had nothing that could likely hurt Calzaghe. In other words, he was a perfect little risk/decent reward opponent chosen by Warren. Coming into this fight, the pundits were making more noise about Joe needing to come to America to make an indelible mark on the sport and maximize his stature and legacy. Barry McGuigan, the former featherweight titlist, weighed in: “To get the right kind of sparring I believe he needs to head to America. I know he is reluctant to leave the close-knit Valleys community. That can be a powerful force, but Joe has come as far as he can in present circumstances. His future is in America. He should take his father Enzo with him. There is no need to split that training arrangement. They would both benefit from exposure to a more intense boxing culture, the kind they can find only in the States.” McGuigan would know. He exploded in the States and cemented his legacy with his 15 round classic Vegas battle with Steve Cruz, named the fight of the year in 1986 by The Ring. Warren knew the yellow brick road aimed to America, and promised JC that they’d have something set by summer 2001. Didn’t happen that way…

Calzaghe smashed Veit (TKO1) on April 28, 2001 and had some momentum going for a run at States and the attendant popularity boost. So who'd Warren and the Calzaghes choose to capitalize on that momentum? Jones, right?

Nope.

Or how ‘bout Daruisz Michaelczewski, the Polish-born light heavy king? Because, remember, Calzaghe had talked about how hard it was to make 168?

Nope.

Why, the braintrust chose none other than Will “Kid Fire” McIntyre. Hacine Cherifi, who at least was a gamer, and James Butler, the notorious Harlem Hammer, were also in the running. But the least threatening and least powerful option was instead chosen.

You starting to detect a theme here, readers? Me too.

At the time, Calzaghe didn’t mitigate the weak choice of opposition. He could have talked about the difficulty of finding an agreeable catch-weight for the bigger-named opposition out and about. Instead, he talked about staking a claim for himself on our pound-for-pound lists. By taking on Will McIntyre, a man who had performed absolutely disgracefully in a fight for a bubblegum machine title against Dana Rosenblatt a year earlier. That’s how you want to prove your mastery in the sport?

Readers, remember that theme we talked about last paragraph? Same thing happened this time around. Warren couldn’t come to terms with Antwun Echols, a vastly superior opponent in credibility and talent, than McIntyre. Kid Fire himself was surprised to get the chance, after his stinkeroo on ESPN2 against Rosenblatt. He didn’t have much better luck this time, Calzaghe doused the Fire in the fourth on Oct. 13, 2001.

But again, there was momentum, and the smart money said that would propel Calzaghe to cross the ocean and make his mark on our bigger stage. After all, Showtime was building him up, and he’d built up four KO wins in a row. For a guy with constant elbow and hand woes, that was some stretch.

David Reid, the Olympian from Philly, was the latest rumored opponent. He’d already been damaged by Trinidad, but was climbing back up the ladder, and was moving up in weight. After he was done away with, Bernard Hopkins was supposedly next on the To Do list. Didn’t happen.

Yes, theme spotters, you are correct. Same crap, different diaper.

But Showtime, it was said, was keen (hey, I’m starting to write like those UK scribes now after poring over all the clips to assemble this overview) to bring Calzaghe to our supersized shores, but not until spring 2002. So another steppingstone fight was set up by warren and Co. They chose Charles Brewer, a former IBF champ who was 5-3 in his last eight fights and had been KOd by Echols the previous year. To be fair, The Hatchet was highly regarded in the division, which was not well stocked with top level merch.

But, was Brewer THE GUY if you were truly about challenging yourself, determining your true spot on the pound-for-pound lists, if you really wanted to shut up the yappers who thought you were full of it when you crowed about being the pound-for-pound best?

What’s your guess, theme spotters? In no way, shape, or form? Me too.

But there was an excuse, sorry, an explanation for the delay in JC’s US debut. It seemed that Showtime’s camera equipment for any boxing showcast were instead being deployed in Salt Lake City for the Olympics. That was the story, anyway.

Points for originality, definitely.

On to Brewer. The bout was set for Feb. 9th, 2002. Unfortunately for the pound-for-pound contender, the flu interfered. Calzaghe postponed the clash until April 20th. There was no fly in the ointment this time, as Calzaghe stayed flu-free, and the Welshman took a UD12 win from Brewer.

Time for Hopkins! Right?

‘Wrongo reindeer,’ as my high school senior year math teacher Mr. Roberts used to say when I paraded my “prowess” algebraic prowess.

Negotiations took place and Warren said at the time that he thought a deal could be reached.

Wrongo reindeer, Frank!

It’s not by accident that English promoter Frank Warren has left his peers behind and risen to the top of that nation’s heap among fight game impresarios.

He’s shrewd, and cunning and charming when he wants and/or needs to be. And since late 1996, he’s used all those qualities while steering Joe Calzaghe’s ship. A capable captain, Warren has been. After all, Calzaghe’s made more than enough to retire on, and provide for him and his extended family. Calzaghe, the best-known Welsh fighter of the last 30 years, earned those funds fighting opposition that can charitably be described as “solid.”

I could go on, but we’re in the 2100 word range and your eyes may be glazing over. But we, you and I, must finish this project. After all, we’re only up to 2002. There’s still Tocker Pudwill to assess and who could forget Mger Mkrtchian, the pride of Armenia, who tussled with Calzaghe in 2004. So, in Part II, we’ll delve into those other immortals that are the Foes of Joe, and hear from the best boxing analysts in the world with their take on Calzaghe, his prospects against Lacy and why it is that he’s never jumped the pond to the States for that one career-defining bout.

(End of Part I)

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

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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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