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Articles of 2006

The E-Mailperson Delivers



I get a phenomenal amount of e-mails, especially when you add up the ones I receive here at TheSweetScience and on my personal e-mail accounts. I read them, respond to them (as time permits), then discard them.

Every so often—and now is that “so often”—I’ll share some of those letters with you, giving you a small sampling of what’s on the minds of readers of TheSweetScience.

So, let’s open the e-mail bag (the first three letters pertain to the column I wrote about Marc Ratner and his predecessor, Chuck Minker):

From Don Ackerman, President, International Boxing Hall of Fame
Great article, Randy. I remember when you brought Chuck to our seminar in the Catskills.
(Author’s Note: Don, it was our pleasure and honor to play host to such a brilliant and wonderful man.)

From Dan W., Chicago, IL
I was really moved by your story on Chuck Minker and Marc Ratner. You weren’t the only one who got watery. I even googled Minker’s name to learn more about him. I see where they’ve named a community center in Las Vegas after him.

From Terry K., Calabasas, CA
That was a moving tribute to both Marc Ratner and Chuck Minker.  I had the pleasure of meeting Minker in 1990 (at the Julio Cesar Chavez-Meldrick Taylor bout) and Ratner in the mid-90’s. You are so right about the professionalism that they both possessed. Boxing was indeed lucky to have them.

From Tommy P., Albuquerque, N.M.
Q: I am an 18-year-old boxing fan. I’ve been devotedly following the sport for the last five years. I enjoyed your article on Marc Ratner’s retirement and the friendship both of you had with Chuck Minker. You mentioned that Minker was a “superb boxing judge.” Can you tell me a few of the more notable fights he judged?
A: Among the higher-profile bouts Minker judged were seven Larry Holmes’ bouts, including ones vs. Muhammad Ali, Tim Witherspoon and Randall “Tex” Cobb; the first Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns fight; the Salvador Sanchez-Wilfredo Gomez bout; and the rematch between Aaron Pryor and Alexis Arguello.

From Tim L., Reno, NV
Q: Any idea who may be in the running to take Marc Ratner’s place as Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission?
A: This one is no contest! Looks like the NSAC has already chosen Deputy Attorney General Keith Kizer as Ratner’s replacement. Kizer, who has been handling much of the commission’s legal issues for the past seven years, is an excellent choice. He knows boxing, loves boxing and knows the workings of NSAC better than anyone. He is a perfect choice to replace Ratner. The only question from this corner is “Will he be able to handle every controversial issue with as much skill, savvy, class and diplomacy as Ratner did?” Only time will tell. I say NSAC could not have chosen a better man. My bet is the commission listened to Ratner on this one, much in the way they listened to Chuck Minker back in 1992, when he pushed Ratner’s name at them.

From Alan S., Newport, R.I.
Q: In your mind, who was the best boxing referee in history?
A: I don’t even have to think about this one. The best there ever was—and still would be if he elected to climb back in the ring—is Larry Hazzard, the head of the New Jersey Boxing Control Board for the last 20 years. Joe Cortez is also up there on my list.

From Joe G., Bayville, N.Y.
Q: A few months back, I heard that the television show “The Contender” was coming back in late April. Then I heard it wasn’t. What’s the story?
A: July 18 looks like the date, ESPN looks like the network to carry it. Stay tuned.

From Jennifer B., Ann Arbor, MI
Q: When and if “The Contender” comes back for season II, what changes would you like to see made?
A: For one, I’d like to see more actual boxing time. I don’t mind seeing the guys with their wives, with their families and with each other, but I really need to see more boxing action, and less of the Batman & Robin POW! ZAP! BAM! stuff. Also, could the producers find a way to leave the babies out of the arena and with a babysitter? That sure makes for “great” television when we see a young child, screaming, crying and trembling in fear as they watch their father get the bejesus kicked out of them.

From Mike W., Binghamton, N.Y.
Q: I know there is no definitive answer to my question, but what do you think is hurting boxing the most?
A: Mike, you weren’t exactly clear on the question, but if you mean “What is boxing’s most glaring ailment?” I would have to say—as I’ve long said—the sanctioning bodies.
Quickly, who would you say is the Welterweight Champion? The Lightweight Champ? The Heavyweight Champ? I’ll bet you staggered on at least one—maybe all—of them. Yes, Mike, my choice of the sports’ biggest ailment has got to be the alphabet soup organizations. 

From Frankie W., London, England
Q: Rumors have abounded for quite awhile that Prince Naseem Hamed was going to launch a comeback. Any news on this?
A: I’ve been hearing the talk for quite awhile, also. I do know, over the past two years, he’s been in and out of the gym.  My guess is, if he were going to come back, he would have done it by now.

From Roger S., Fayetteville, N.C.
Q: Not even one year ago, I read somewhere that George Foreman was making plans to fight again. Do you think he really will?
A: With Foreman, anything is possible. But I’d bet on Foreman coming back before Naseem Hamed does!

From Elijah B., Newark, NJ
Q: Who’s your pick in the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Zab Judah fight? I’m a big Judah fan and I really think he’s gonna’ pull off a major upset.
A: It’s nice to dream!

From Eric F., Tampa, FL
Q: I have a bet with a friend of mine. He says you once picked Wladimir Klitschko for greatness. I say you didn’t. Did you?
A: Eric. How much did you bet? If it was a lot, maybe your friend will let you pay on installments! Yes, once upon a time, I picked Wladimir Klitschko for greatness. But, after his victory over Sam Peter, and now with his fight against Chris Byrd coming up, who knows? Maybe not greatness. How about goodness?

From Andrew M., Honolulu, HI
Q: If you were still commissioner in New York, would you allow Thomas Hearns to fight there?
A: It’s so easy to sit here and play top dog, but I know in my heart I’d turn Hearns down. What would he do? Sue the commission? Hearns, soon-to-turn-50, belongs working a corner, not sitting in one.  He won on a 10th-round TKO in February. I pray he’s fought for the last time, though.

From Michael L., Livingston, N.J.
A: Without question, Lucia Rijker is one of the greatest female boxers of all-time. Why do you think she never became as big a hit as she should have?
Q: I agree that Ms. Rijker was one of the greatest female boxers ever. I take pride that I promoted one of her fights in 1996. However, I believe she was not handled correctly, and thus her promising career suffered. She was supposed to have faced Christy Martin last summer, but a severe injury to Rijker’s Achilles tendon kayoed her from boxing, perhaps for good.

From Gary T., Palm Beach, FL
Q: What do you think of Emanuel Steward as a boxing analyst?
A: I think Emanuel is fantastic. His analysis reminds me a lot of the announcing style of former HBO/CBS commentator Gil Clancy, whose excellence makes him stand out—even today—above the rest.

From Steve G., Glasgow, Scotland
Q: I pick up a lot of televised boxing from the states via ESPN and Showtime. Two of my favorite commentators are Al Bernstein and Teddy Atlas. Do you have a favorite between them?
A: I think both are terrific. Bernstein, of course, has been doing it since about 1980, right from the birth of ESPN. Atlas has been a boxing guy most of his life. I could listen to either one all night long. Ask me to make a choice, I’ll go with Bernstein—he’s a lot easier on the ears!

Hey, this was great, sharing some e-mail with ya.’ We’re gonna’ do this again. Soon!

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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