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Articles of 2006

The Danny Long and the short of it



Early on in Irish mobster John “Red” Shea’s recently published memoir “Rat Bastards: The Life and Times of South Boston’s Most Honorable Irish Mobster,” the paroled associate of infamous crime kingpin Whitey Bulger talks about how much he admired a boyhood neighbor named Danny Long.

Long, who was seven years older than Shea, fought professionally from 1979-84.  A onetime ESPN staple, the slick-boxing Long never embarrassed himself in compiling a 30-8 (14 KOs) against such championship caliber opponents and top contenders as Bobby Czyz, Doug DeWitt, Alex Ramos, Dave “Boy” Green, and Robbie Sims.

Shea, who won many titles as an amateur, had one pro bout. Fighting as a junior lightweight, he stopped Jose Ortiz in two rounds in Boston in March 1986.

From the way Long tells it, and the way South Boston, which is best known as Southie, has been chronicled in two other recent books, it might seem as if everyone from there became either a criminal or a cop.

A few weeks ago another recently paroled gangster named Kevin Weeks, who also had a rich amateur boxing history, appeared on the television show “60 Minutes” to tout his new book “Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger’s Irish Mob.”

Yet another just published book called “The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century” chronicles the lives of Whitey, who has been on the lam since 1995 and is right behind Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, and his brother William, the former president of the Massachusetts State Senate.

The 48-year-old Long, who has been a Boston police officer since 1989, says that, contrary to what those books might suggest, there are an abundance of solid citizens from Southie.

“A lot of guys I boxed with became wiseguys,” he said. “But a lot didn’t. That life never appealed to me. I never had any interest in it.”

Long remembers many of the fellows who would later become infamous around Boston—and beyond—from the gym, but says that his relationship with them never went beyond their shared passion for boxing.

“I was in the gym every day,” said Long. “Boxing was my life. A lot of guys came and went, but I was always there.”

Early in his pro career, Long remembers sparring with a fellow who was a known leg breaker for the mob. The next day he ran into the guy on the street. “Hey, Long,” the guy said. “Look what you did to my arm.”

He then showed Long all of the black and blues he had accumulated grappling with the always savvy Long on the inside.

“I’d go to the gym, put on my equipment and spar with anyone and adjust accordingly,” said Long. “That guy didn’t have a lot of experience, so I grappled with him rather than punched with him.”

Like most South Boston boxers, Long began his career at McDonough’s Gym before “graduating” to Connolly’s Gym, where most of the local pros trained.

Among the fighters he trained alongside were Sean Mannion, who in 1984 challenged Mike McCallum for the vacant WBA junior middleweight title at Madison Square Garden, and with whom Long says he sparred hundreds of rounds, junior welterweight Kevin Dorian, super featherweight Tommy Connors, who in October 1970 scored a 13-second knockout over Lloyd Wilson at the Boston Garden, current Los Angeles trainer extraordinaire Macka Foley, and middleweight Joe DeNucci, who is now the Auditor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Long originally started boxing in the Baby Golden Gloves, but didn’t take the sport seriously until he was in high school. Once he got that second wind, boxing became his life.

His professional career took him all over the world and he remembers each and every fight with vivid detail.

Regarding his fifth round TKO loss to Czyz, which took place at the Playboy Club in McAfee, New Jersey, in February 1981, he said, “That was a tough fight. Bobby could punch and you really felt his power. He hit me with a left hook to the body. I got up and tried to catch my breath, but he swarmed me with punches and [referee] Larry Hazzard stopped the fight.”

He also lost an eight-round decision to Alex Ramos, who was then 8-0, on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in May 1981. The fight took place in San Remo, Italy. “He was sharpshooting me at the end and won a decision,” said Long.

What was probably the highlight of his pro career was also a fight that he lost, a 12-round decision to Robbie Sims, the half-brother of Marvin Hagler in Sims’ hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, in May 1984. It was Long’s last fight.

“A couple of busloads of fans came from Southie,” said Long. “I probably had more fans there than Robbie did, and it was his hometown. Marvin Hagler and Donald Curry were doing the announcing.

“I thought I should have gotten that decision. I really wanted a rematch but it never came to be.”

At the age of 26 Long packed it in, a decision that he has never regretted. “I look back fondly at my career,” he said. “I traveled all over the United States and to countries like England, France, and Canada. I didn’t have the biggest punch but I was evasive and able to frustrate opponents by hitting them and not getting hit in return.”

While boxing, and even after his career was over, Long held a variety of jobs. He was a correctional officer at Walpole State Prison, as well as a truck driver, banquet waiter,  airplane loader, and construction worker.

Joining the police department has proven to be one of the best decisions of his life. For his entire career, he has worked in East Boston. Known to locals as Eastie, it was once as Italian as Southie is Irish, but is now heavily populated by first generation immigrants from South America.

“At one time it was like an Italian mirror image of Southie,” said Long. “Not anymore.”

He started his police career as a patrol officer, but is now a full time youth services officer. Long spends his days visiting schools and teaching youngsters lessons on gang resistance.

“They are well-rounded lessons on how society works,” said Long, who when explaining the curriculum sounds more like an enthusiastic academic than an ex-pug who happens to be a cop.

“Among the things I teach them is how to set goals and achieve them, conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity, rules and laws, and all about crime victims and their rights as citizens. I get to talk in 45 minute increments. I hope that I reach them.”

Long said that even the best parents have trouble holding their kids’ attention for three minutes, much less 45. Because he loves children so much, and believes so strongly in helping them build a solid foundation for themselves, he considers it a privilege to be doing what he does for a living.

“My own kids, if I spoke for three minutes they’d be rolling their eyes,” he joked.

In addition to the classroom training, Long has been able to teach some kids the rudiments of boxing, and has also taken many on skiing and whitewater rafting trips to show them that there is life beyond the inner city that they call home.

“That’s what they remember the most,” he says. “I might be working on a detail and a car will stop and a passenger will say, ‘Hey, Officer Dan.’ Most likely, what they remember is the rafting trip or the ski trip.”

Long is still somewhat involved in boxing through his youngest son, 17-year-old Ryan, a Boston College High School student who just competed in the National Junior Olympics in Brownsville, Texas.

Ryan will also lace them up in a fundraiser hosted by Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti that is scheduled for March 24 in Boston.

“He boxes well and he takes it seriously, so I don’t worry about him,” said Long. “My other son also boxed, but gave it up after joining the [Boston] Fire Department.”

In addition to Patrick, his firefighter son, Long and his wife Mary, to whom he has been married for 25 years, have two daughters. Jane, 25, is a schoolteacher, and 19-year-old Kaitlyn is a college student.

On March 17, Long was working uniformed security for a show at the Roxy, a fabled East Boston venue where local hero Micky Ward unsuccessfully challenged Vince Phillips for the IBF junior welterweight title in August 1997.

Ironically, Phillips was also headlining this ESPN2 show against Jose Feliciano. 

Because Long is on the board of directors of Ring Four of the Veteran Boxers Association, he is still recognized by everyone in the fight fraternity.

While he was just another cop in uniform to the casual fans, he couldn’t help but think back to his younger days when the Roxy was still known as the Bradford Hotel Ballroom.

It was the site of one his two 1983 fights against East Boston rival Mark Mainero.

Because that bout was on the same weekend as an annual Eastie vs. Southie football game, there was a lot more than usual on the line. Not only did Long win a decision, he also garnered a lifetime of happy memories.

“There was a lot more pressure on me than usual,” he said nostalgically. “To be back there, almost 25 years later, my mind couldn’t help but wander. It’s such a long time, but the time went so quick.

“The Roxy has always been such a great venue,” he added. “It’s a small and confined area with a balcony. There’s not a bad seat in the house and the fights are always good. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Who knows, someday my son might fighter there. Wouldn’t that be something?”

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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