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Articles of 2006

Meet Lamon Brewster

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I hate to start off an article with negative overtones, but we have to do some digging before we get to the positive. We’ve all seen those fights before… an extremely talented fighter, fighting way below his capacity… almost refusing to throw punches, yet everything is on the line. It is a study in frustration. Does he realize that his inaction is causing him to lose a fight that is winnable? Forget about the purse, he will get that anyway, but he is directly affecting his future income. This is a fight were he doesn’t have to take unnecessary punches; unnecessary heckling from the crowd and boxing pundits. What does he think when in the ring? What is actually going through his mind? Why does he hold his hands back when another man simply doles out punishment? Is it intimidation? A lack of confidence? An excuse for losing without even trying? At least make an effort, go down swinging and the crowd will appreciate your effort. TRY! You want to smash your head against the wall in frustration. It just doesn’t make sense. Yet the same thing persists… no concerted effort on behalf of the talent. Why are you in the ring to fight, yet your actions so placid?

Meet Lamon Brewster

I speak with Lamon Brewster and the first thing that comes to my mind is the term contradiction… His easy demeanor and stay-the-course personality will cause you to pause and reconsider yourself and your motivations… In speaking with him, you’d be hard-pressed to find any one athlete as cool and pleasant as he. And is there anything more influential and refreshing than THAT in a world of hyperbole, a world were the “empty wagon makes the most noise” and the most money?

I found myself making the same associations that all writers made when they first meet a fighter – to the point of sickening myself – and I’m not really a writer.  In between sentences I catch myself thinking things like: “Wow, he doesn’t seem like a boxer… this dude is cool, thoughtful, so down to earth… how does he get in the ring and fight?” Then I smack myself back to reality by remembering that I used to trade “glove taps” and you don’t necessarily need to have the mouth of a sewer or the intent of the crusaders in order to succeed in boxing. What actually made me think that just because the man is a boxer he is automatically going to be curt and obnoxious? After all, through my experiences (and I bet yours), it’s the guys in the button-down suits that have given me more grief in my life than any athlete. I could end this story here by saying Lamon is the kind of person that you would be proud to call your friend… not your usual choice of words when you hear a description of a fighter, but he is genuine and fights with his heart and that, in the end, that is the true measure of a champ. (Thought you’d laugh at that one. Let me try that again)… I have always found that the way a fighter fights is generally a reflection of their true personality/character, and that being the case, when the heat is on, Lamon might just be the one. Yeah, Lamon’s chance is coming once again and now he is in the position of proving just how deep some still waters run… and the undercurrent’s a bitch!

So let’s go a little deeper than subcutaneous on the man, the fighter Lamon Brewster, a boxer I think has the physical ability to become the dominant heavyweight. That’s 50% of it…

I ask around the boxing scene and the most frequently used word to describe Lamon is relaxed. And when I say relaxed, I am purposely choosing a different adjective over the ones given me. “Walk a mile in a man’s shoes,” I (don’t) always (but try to) say. Most won’t forget his two performances against Clifford Etienne and Charles Shufford, two fights he was not expected to lose but did… and just when you thought he threw away those soggy blankets… Kali Meehan…Oy, yoy, yoy.

So what do I do? Out of the box I asked Lamon to compare himself to the greatest heavyweights of all time. Some of you may scoff, thinking: how can I ask such a question of a man who hasn’t the longevity nor the tests of someone considered a great fighter to compare himself to the very pillars and foundations of fisticuffs? Well, friends, I asked this question for several reasons. But every fighter, some may admit it, some not, see themselves fighting their division’s greatest fighters of all time and they deep down know how they would’ve done against them. In retrospect, I guess I wanted to see where Lamon’s head was at…  But truth be told, I didn’t know that this question would be a great way of finding out. Oh yeah, the mental aspect, that’s the other 50%.

Jack Dempsey – “My first trainer, Honey Bill Brown, used to bareknuckle box and knew the Manassa Mauler… I would have to get to Dempsey’s body and wear him down. I would also have to go toe-to-toe with him every round… I think Dempsey would beat me.”

Rocky Marciano – “He would beat me. I mean, the man would hit you anywhere and could hurt you.” I suggest that maybe he doesn’t give his ability enough credit, Marciano was a small heavyweight and not noted for his defensive prowess, but Lamon deftly counters, “Wars are won on the will. Look at the Ali vs. Frazier fights, those fights were won on the will of the individual. You could be beating the best fighter in the world until you lose your will. Marciano had tremendous will and that is what allowed him to beat some great fighters and you can never sell the man short.” That’s truth… and I should know better. Often we only measure things like reach and height and see them as advantages, where in fact they can also be detriments. You have a weapon, whether physical or mental, only if you know how to use it, can you benefit.

Joe Louis – “He woulda knocked me out before the first bell rang,” Brewster said with a laugh. What about the fact that guys like Two-Ton Tony Galento dropped Louis and Billy Conn had him in all sorts of trouble? I can’t get him to budge. Personally, I firmly believe that on any given night any one fighter can beat the other, no matter the odds. I remember back to Peter McNeely and Mike Tyson. The bell rang, Tyson was on McNeely, and it was over… a microcosm of controlled violence, but within that furious flash, McNeeley skinned Iron Mike’s chin with a right hand. Had it hit solid, what would’ve happened? Maybe nothing… but I highly doubt it. In boxing, every single fighter has a chance to change their fistic destiny when the bell rings. No matter how short the fight. Why couldn’t Lamon, landing the hook he put on Klitschko or Golota, done the same with Louis? “I couldn’t of beat that man.”

Muhammad Ali – “The greatest of all time. Never would’ve hit him.” But wait a minute, Richard Dunn hit him.

Joe Frazier – “Uh, uh. Every time I exhale, that man would be on my chest inhaling my carbon dioxide.” (I say to myself, “But Oscar Bonavena…”)

Larry Holmes – “Second greatest fighter of all time… No way. For a number of reasons we’ve already discussed about other fighters. Especially his will as well as ability.” Lucien Rodriguez, anybody?

Alright then, Gerrie Coetze? Just joking!

I begin to think that Lamon’s issues in the ring, and why he hasn’t set the fight world on fire is because he may not have true belief in his abilities. Maybe that… or maybe he just wasn’t certain what it is he wants to do. I want him to say we all have the ability to go as far as our minds will allow us and on any given day he can beat any of the greats. But that wasn’t the case. He himself will tell you that he recently made peace with himself… NOW he knows what he is good at. “I’ll never be a Bill Gates-type business man, that isn’t my calling,” he said to me, but now he is ready to take the reigns at what he excels. More people wish they knew their true calling. So what did asking that question about the greats tell me about Lamon? The man respects those that were there before him. And they have nothing to do with his perception of his own ability.

My next question… If you were going to fight Lamon Brewster, how would you prepare? What would you have to do to win? The same meek man that said he would lose to every aforementioned fighter, before I could finish uttering my question, adds to the complexity by saying: “Be prepared to die.” He refuses to go back to an existence where he has to go to church and beg for food. He is not going back to were he was. Leaving his destiny up to someone else. Not his, and certainly not the destiny of his three children, Lamon Jr., Kierra and Shaniah. But what happens when the bell rings? Those thoughts often go to the wayside, believe it or not.

Well, what is it that makes Lamon’s performances so… Relaxed? How can he go into one fight with smoke (Meehan) and then into the next with fire (Golota)? Boxing not being a team sport, you can definitely have your ups and downs and there is no masking them… especially given the fact that biorhythms play a major part of the fight. Lamon wasn’t raised like many fighters who were physically and socially abused throughout their formative years. His parents loved and provided for him… even though in no stretch of the imagination were they middle-class, they didn’t fall below the poverty line either. So using anger as petrol isn’t an option.

In boxing there is so much mental effort involved that at times you come across personalities that may remind you of someone you like and don’t necessarily want to hit… or conversely, an opponent may embody personality traits of someone that used to intimidate you, and you freeze. A certain individual may just have your number because he fights a certain style you always had a hard time with and instead of addressing that shortcoming, you fold, or go into your shell… there are so many reasons why a fighter may lose other than a fighter being genuinely more gifted than the other…

Or am I projecting?

Past the point of humility, I am not convinced Lamon is aware of the talent that he has and therefore you wonder how his true ability is going to come out if he doesn’t have high expectations of himself. These are just some of the things that make a fighter’s performance… Relaxed.

Delving deeper into a fighter’s mind game… another significant reason a fighter’s performance can be so drastically different is not only because they are fighting a different style of fighter or even a better fighter than they have fought before, it is  because they really don’t want to do it… they don’t particularly like going into the ring and bringing pain into other men’s lives… nor do they particularly want to get hit either, but happenstance being what it is they end up boxing and doing very well at it.

Lamon didn’t choose boxing, he was brought to boxing… make of that what you will.

Brewster’s last four fights go like this… He destroys Klitschko in 5, but it wasn’t looking too good in the 4th before the bomb was unleashed. He got a split decision over Kali Meehan, and as I noted he destroyed Andrew Golota in 1. His last fight was againstLuan Krasniqi in Germany and he was reported to be behind on the scorecards in that fight until he scored the TKO late. Talk about imbalanced performances. There is certainly a pattern there that maybe only Sigmund Freud is qualified to diagnose. A distinct and definite Jekyll and Hyde issue is going on here and I don’t remember which one was the bad and which the good, but I would hazard a guess to say that when fighting Lamon, just let sleeping dogs lie. You may be able to “sleepwalk” him to a loss, but once you hurt him, or he feels in some way threatened, uh-oh… Like a pit-bull, you won’t hear it bark, but you sure will feel its bite.

Here are the positives of Lamon… He has a new trainer, former world champion, Buddy McGirt, and this alone can make all the difference in Lamon’s ability to fight up to his potential. Just given the fact that you have a former and HIGHLY respected world champion, who is now a HIGHLY respected trainer, is empowering. Forget the fact that Buddy actually knows what he is talking about and has faced pretty much every situation Lamon has and will come across in the ring to some degree… Mentally I believe Buddy can relate to Lamon the way no other trainer can… Buddy was also a thinking man’s fighter.

That left hook! I haven’t seen an axe swung like that since Schwarzenegger played Conan. I mean, he swings it like the scythe of death, and should it hit, no man will be left standing.
 
His resiliency. The ability to withstand punishment is pretty impressive… almost to a detriment. I don’t know if it is a high pain threshold or nature provided him with an anesthetized nervous system, but this is a man that doesn’t figure to go out sitting on his stool, or flat on his back.

His experience. He has been on the rollercoaster ride of “almost” and it sure helps when you get off the ride without having suffered extreme whiplash… and get back on it again with new eyes.

Having a second chance at life through the same eyes, having spoken with Lamon, I feel he is better prepared for what is coming his way this time and knows what he has to do in order to succeed in the ring.

Lamon can fight, and to tell you the truth, physically I would put him in the ring with any of the greatest heavyweights of all time, and physically none of them would have an advantage (well, just Ali)… When you are in the ring, thought leaves too much room for indecision. Indecision causes hesitation… Hesitation gives the appearance of being too relaxed.

His own personal drama is being lived out on the public screen. He has the tools to “make it.” We’ve seen all the fighters, fights and their wild outcomes… fighters get stopped on cuts, being knocked out the ring, quitting, losing split decisions, losing decisions even Stevie Wonder can see they won, getting hit by their opponent’s mother’s shoe in the head… there is so much physical drama in the fight game, but it’s the fighter’s psychological drama that keeps me intrigued… how he overcomes himself is what will keep me coming back. Lamon Brewster is in the process of getting out of his own way and accepting his ability… I for one am in his corner, and from what I have seen I feel he’s the one to watch in the heavyweight division. Now, if he can turn off his analytical mind and rely on his instinct, my good people, I think then Lamon will fulfill his potential. “Don’t think/use instinct.” Yeah, that’s the question life is asking of Lamon. But can you teach a thinker not to think?

A CLOSING THOUGHT… Reach is irrelevant in boxing… RANGE… now there is an attribute they can put up on the screen that will determine the outcome of a fight, because reach, has NEVER decided the outcome of a fight since the inception of boxing and never will.

IN ANSWER TO… TSS reader Chuck, who asked, amongst other things, why couldn’t Holmes and Hopkins leave when they were on top? In short, for me boxing is a microcosm of life… and just because you hit your prime, and you know it’s all downhill from there, you don’t quit living… you continue your search for one more high; to relive a good moment. It is human instinct and after all is said and done, that is what rules. And no, a fighter’s performances when they are no longer at their prime shouldn't affect their standing in the Hall of Fame. The ability they had is the ability they had. Can’t take that away.

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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