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Articles of 2006

Librado Andrade’s Ready to Pick Up for Jeff Lacy

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A funny thing happened to the most feared super middleweight in the world, he slipped on a banana peel named Joe Calzaghe in Great Britain last Saturday.

It’s really not fair to call Calzaghe a banana peel or any other derogatory remark, but the elimination of the vaunted Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy leaves the doors open for a lot of other super middleweights in the U.S. like Librado Andrade.

Formerly based in La Habra, California, the 6-2 in height Andrade has been crushing opponents who dare to stand still or punishing them with his persistent combinations with a zeal not found in prizefighters above the lightweight division.

Andrade, 28, now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and is primed to meet Canada’s Otis Grant the WBC number one super middleweight contender. After that, who knows?

One thing is sure, Lacy’s loss to Calzaghe opened Andrade’s eyes.

“It’s good. Whatever happened was good. Even if Jeff Lacy had won it would have been good for the division because their fight made people pay more attention to our division,” said Andrade (22-0, 16 KOs), who is ranked number three by the WBC. “What blows my mind is that Calzaghe just beat Lacy with no contest. Just gave him a clinic.”

Andrade watched earnestly in Big Bear Lake, California where he is preparing for his showdown on April

For years Andrade worked in the La Habra Boxing Club, a former church remotely located alongside railroad tracks that was transformed a decade ago into a sparkling clean facility where a small powerhouse of prizefighters developed. Some of those fighters who have come through La Habra include former WBO light heavyweight title-holder Julio Gonzalez and three-time world champion Sugar Shane Mosley.

Because of a growing reputation for super middleweights and light heavyweights, La Habra has also seen international stars fly to California to spar with the local Orange County guys on occasion.

David Martinez, who formerly trained Andrade and now works with Enrique Ornelas, his younger brother, said a number of world class boxers regularly venture into the La Habra Boxing Club including current WBA super middleweight kingpin Mikkel Kessler and number three WBC super middleweight Danny Green among others.

“Kessler, I think out of the group, was the strongest and showed the most skill,” said Martinez, who administrates the La Habra Boxing Club. “Kessler, what I saw in his sparring with the boys (Andrade and Ornelas) and Julio, showed the most strength.”
He also witnessed Green, the rough and tough Aussie, take a hard hit to his back and continue sparring with the equally tough Gonzalez.

“Green showed when he went back in there, after he had a dislocated disc, he went in there like it was nothing,” Martinez said, only later did the Orange County group discover Green had been injured. “When Julio hit him in the back, he still continued to spar. He wanted to go back the next day. That kid has some heart.”

Green is scheduled to meet Anthony Mundine in a long-sought battle between Aussie standouts on April 19 in Sydney, Australia. It’s one of the biggest fights in that country in years.

Denmark’s Kessler recently defeated former title-holder Eric Lucas a few months back.

“He flew out here to get some sparring then flew right back for a fight,” Martinez said.

Andrade, Kessler, Green and Calzaghe are just a few of the super middleweights roaming the division looking for challenges like hungry big cats.

“I’ve been off for a long time just waiting for something to happen,” said Andrade, who sparred a little with Mosley who was preparing for Fernando Vargas. “Who knows why I couldn’t get a fight.”

Andrade’s last fight took place more than a year ago against Nick Cervera at the UNF Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. He won by knockout.

“We originally we’re supposed to fight last December but they didn’t want to come to fight me here. We went to purse bid and they won. It’s better for me. I can get a chance to make more money,” Andrade said of his scheduled match with Otis Grant in Montreal on April 8th. “Even though I’ve been off a year and a half I feel I really want to fight.”

A still excited Calzaghe said he plans to invade America and display the textbook skills that enabled him to win every round against the bull-neck Lacy.

Many give him props for his performance though some expected a win by the long-time champion from Wales, England.

“I knew Calzaghe was going to fight him that way. He was holding and fighting him in the inside. A champion has to adjust in the middle of the fight. If things aren’t going your way you have to go to plan B,” Andrade said by phone. “It was speed and movement that won it for Calzaghe. He never gave Lacy time to unload his punches. He wants to overpower you. In this fight Jeff Lacy looked real small. Calzaghe was just pushing him back.”

During the last year Lacy dominated press coverage, especially after his three eye-popping knockouts against Scot Pemberton, Robin Reid and Rubin Williams. Now the rest of the talented super middles like Andrade, Chad Dawson (a stablemate of Lacy), Allan Green, Kessler and Green have a chance to show what they can do against the best.

And who is the best?

That would be Calzaghe.

Javier Mora Makes the Big Time
Orange County’s Javier “Monster” Mora scored the jackpot with a technical knockout victory over Kirk Johnson last Friday at the Pechanga Resort and Casino.

Though Johnson was forced to quit because of a dislocated left knee that was caused when Mora’s stepped on the Canadian’s foot, the tide had changed.

Earlier in the fight Johnson established his superior hand-speed and agility, despite the massive 245 pounds he weighed. Using his middleweight-like quickness, Johnson was able to keep his opponent at arms distance. When Mora got too close, a three-punch combination was waiting for him.

Slowly Mora adapted to the speed of the punches coming his way. A right-hand counter in the third opened Johnson’s eyes wide. Especially after he had unloaded several punishing blows to the Mexican heavyweight and found nary a sign of quit in his eyes.

Mora’s jabs in the fourth round turned things to his favor. Then, in the fifth, three left hooks found Johnson’s jaw and wobbled him. The heavyweight title contender lurched out to grab his opponent and lasted the remainder of the round. But Mora, known as the Monster in his neighborhood, saw the change and increased the tempo.

“I knew he was going to slow down,” said Mora, who ate jabs for the first three rounds. “It just takes time.”

When Mora fired a left jab and accidentally stepped on Johnson’s foot, the Canadian immediately fell to the ground and showed no sign of getting up. Mora had scored a technical knockout against a fighter who had only lost to two heavyweight world titleholders.

Can Mora be next?

“The kid fought good,” said James Toney, who will be fighting in his own heavyweight title bout on March 18 in Atlantic City. “He deserved to win. He worked hard for it.”

Toney advises Mora and has him as a sparring partner as well.

“I learned so much from James,” said Mora, 24, who had several hundred fans from nearby Orange County in attendance supporting him. “He’s the man.”

Fights on television
Fri. Telefutura, 9 p.m., Juan Carlos Rubio (33-7-3) vs. Roberto Garcia (19-2).
Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m., Francisco Rosas (17-5-1) vs. Omar Soto (8-0-1).

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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