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Articles of 2006

Roach, Goossen: Toney Can Come Back, If…



If James Toney had won, we would still be making jokes about eating hot dogs for breakfast.

If he’d beaten Hasim Rahman on Saturday night in Atlantic City, we would be cracking wise about Toney’s love affair with stogies and lobby Cigar Aficionado to put him on the cover.

But Toney lost. No, that’s not a typo. I know what the judges said. They deemed the fight a draw. But really, Toney lost.

He lost some luster in the eyes of his hardcore band of fanatics who treasure his old-school technical wizardry. Many of them, and I include myself as a junior member in that crew, told any and all who would listen that Toney had forgotten more about fighting than Rahman had ever learned, and Saturday night would prove me right.

Saturday night, though, was just all right for fighting.

On the bright side, Rahman stepped up with admirable sack in the big game. He was busy as a bee on meth, for a heavyweight, anyway, and for that, he must be tepidly applauded. But Toney…oh, the lost opportunity.

Toney lost by coming into the ring in less than stellar condition. By weighing 237 pounds, by not listening to his esteemed trainer and pushing away from the table quicker, Toney lost some endurance and stamina that would have enabled him to throw more punches. He wanted to be bulky to minimize Rahman’s size advantage, he told Freddie Roach, but why try to minimize the other guy’s asset when in doing so, you lessen your own greatest traits, torso movement and hand-speed?

That said, I still think Toney should have been announced as the winner on Saturday night. I scored him a two-point winner. Hold your fire, Rock-stockholders, hear me out…

When I think back on that fight, and try to recall all the clean blows that landed, punches that conclusively hit their mark and scored, my mind fixates on Toney’s punches. Rahman landed a few more, or so the punch-counters tell us, but do you truly remember more than a handful that landed absolutely cleanly?

Rahman did indeed throw more punches than Toney. But since when do we reward effort over effectiveness in America? Maybe in school, but in the real world, we find out, it’s all about results.

It’s almost like the judges were too cognizant of Rahman’s propensity to disappear for long stretches, and were overjoyed when The Rock kept on moving his hands.

So he moved his hands…big whup. Toney slipped and rolled as he typically does, and the vast majority of Rahman’s punches were partial connects or total misses.

Toney also got punished for his lack of power, and that shouldn’t be allowed. His punches were crisper and landed in a more telling fashion. But because he has middleweight power, the judges discounted his punches’ worth. Judges Kacmarek, Uratani and Stewart proved themselves to be KO hounds, like so many fans, and that’s too bad. Wait, Stewart, Mr. 117-111, proved himself to be something else entirely, or so Freddie Roach would tell you.

“That one judge should be abolished form boxing completely,” said Toney’s trainer from his Wild Card gym in El Lay. “The New Jersey Commission should look at the fight and his card.”

“I still think James landed the cleaner punches,” he said. “Punches on the back, on the arms, they don’t win. They aren’t scoring blows. I think James won.”

Judging incompetence aside, Roach and Goossen know full well that a properly conditioned Toney would have emerged from Atlantic City with a brand new belt to add to his collection, and an added passel of admirers.

Roach, who doesn’t talk down to Toney, or try to browbeat him into towing the line, worked his usual low-key brand of motivation during training camp.

“I love James at 220, 222-ish,” Roach continued. “Weight is always an issue with James. The lower weight is where his speed and conditioning are best. He felt he needed the extra weight for strength.”

Looking on the brighter side, Roach does now have more to work with when he chides Toney to come to camp fitter and more trim: “It’s now the first time I can put my foot down with James, and say that weight does matter.”

Roach saw the effects of the extra poundage. “It was the first time I’ve seen him fade,” he said. “He got tired in the fifth and then he got his second wind. But usually he goes all night long.”

The obvious drain on the fighter’s energy, the trainer said, will aid his future efforts: “When you lose for a reason, it makes my job easier.”

Another issue that Roach will address is Toney’s fondness for a good cigar. The Havana habit will be attended to, he said: “That’s another problem we talked to him about. That six weeks in training camp, there’s no smoking. It can’t be good for you.”

I broached the subject with promoter Dan Goossen, who feels as Roach does. “Do I wish James was conditioned better? Yes,” Goossen admitted. “But the cigar smoking…it has to stop. He is a connoisseur. But I haven’t told him yet, we’ll get together in the next few days.”

Goossen stayed below the fray on Saturday night at the post-fight press conference. But he watched a replay on Sunday night, and came away with a renewed belief that his man got the wrong end of the decision. “On the replay I looked at Rahman’s offensiveness effectiveness,” Goossen said. “He had a low connection rate. Very few of his punches landed to the chin, nose and mouth. Some landed on the top of the head. They were not effective blows.”

Goossen looks back and wishes he pushed harder for Toney to treat his conditioning more seriously. “My job is simple,” he said. “It’s to be honest with him. I should’ve done more before this fight. On the standpoint of conditioning, I’m very bullish on that.”

Roach thinks Toney will accept the input and fight on, with solid results: “He’s 37 and he’s got a couple of fights left,” the trainer said. “If he loses weight and gets rid of the cigars, it will make a big difference.”

Lou DiBella had the flu so he wasn’t ringside to see Dmitriy Salita in dire straits on the AC undercard. The Ukrainian was down twice in the first round against Mexican Ramon Montano but escaped with a draw after eight rounds. “I talked to friends I respect who had Montano (9-2-2) by two points and a ton of others said Salita won five of the last seven rounds,” DiBella said. “It was a close decision.”

Was Salita, now with a 24-0-1 record, exposed? “In that kind of fight, against a guy not viewed as a top contender, it obviously has to slow his progress,” the promoter said. “He has to improve his defense and the number of right hands he’s taking. But he has balls the size of basketballs. We’re not going to rush him.”

***DiBella dines with Jermain Taylor, Pat Burns, Ozell Nelson and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Tuesday. On Wednesday, there’ll be a Memphis press conference to kick off the hype for Taylor/Winky Wright (June 17).

***You saw Dino Duva was pissed that the HBO crew didn’t single out Sam Peter on Saturday night? Dino said that Peter has offered four times to fight Calvin Brock. Johnny Bos, Brock’s advisor, begs to differ. Bos says that Brock and Peter became friendly a few years back, and vowed to each other that they wouldn’t fight, unless a world title were on the line. “Dino may have talked to Brock’s promoter’s Main Events, though,” Bos allowed.

***Bos think Brock will get a crack at the Yeti Valuev in September, which would be bad for Jawny Ruiz, who wants a rematch.

***Peter takes on towering Julius Long on April 28. An FYI, from Bos: “Cal says that Long is the hardest puncher he’s ever been in with.” Long gave Brock sparring before his last fight.

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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