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Articles of 2006

Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Sometimes it only takes one

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LOS ANGELES – Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn’t need no stinking title when he faces former welterweight champion Zab Judah.

The globally recognized best fighter in the world enters the ring on Saturday April 8th carrying his opponent Judah like the Harlem Globetrotters carried the Washington Generals into the arena. He’s fodder for the show.

“It takes two fighters to make a great show, but sometimes it only takes one,” Mayweather (35-0, 24 KOs) said.

So it makes sense that Brooklyn’s Judah (34-3, 25 KOs) refused to participate in promoting the welterweight showdown for the IBF title that shouldn’t be his in the first place. Especially after losing by unanimous decision in his hometown New York.

“Zab is training,” said Yoel Judah, father and trainer to Zab who did not participate in any interviews to promote the contest.

Mayweather enters the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas as the sole marquee event in the welterweight showdown. The fight will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.

“Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best fighter in boxing today,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum.

Lost in the shuffle is Judah, who blames his last loss to Carlos Baldomir because of time spent speaking to reporters. It’s the same road Roy Jones Jr. took that ended in his downfall.

Judah should heed Jones’s mistakes.

Conversely, the fighter known as “Pretty Boy Floyd” is always thinking and willing to tell the world what’s coming next.

On the verge of convincing the boxing public that he has the ability to compete as a full-fledged welterweight, Mayweather has positioned himself as an opponent for the Golden Boy of boxing.

“It would be an honor to fight Oscar De La Hoya. He’s a Hall of Fame fighter,” Mayweather says with the expertise of a Cold War diplomat: “That’s my ultimate goal.”

Though Mayweather faces Judah, a speedy 147-pounder with the power to score a knockout against almost anyone in the welterweight division, that’s nothing special to the Mayweather.

“He’s already made three mistakes in his career,” says Mayweather citing Judah’s losses as mistakes. “How many mistakes have I made?”

The son of De La Hoya’s trainer Floyd Senior relayed how he met Judah in a sparring session during the New York fighter’s preparation for a match with then champion Cory Spinks.

“After four rounds his daddy got him out of there,” Mayweather said while at Camacho’s Mexican restaurant in Universal Studios. “I spanked him.”

When he saw a look of question on some journalists, he added more to the story.

“You all know me, would I make this up?” Mayweather asked. “When Paul Spadafora got the better of me in sparring a few years back, did I deny it? I’m telling you the truth.”

The flamboyant Mayweather says that to be the best it’s not about speed, power or heart, though all of those ingredients help.

“It’s about intelligence,” Mayweather says. “I’m the smartest guy in boxing today, that’s why I’m undefeated.”

Anger builds in father Judah’s voice when he hears what Mayweather has to say about his son Zab.

“Floyd Mayweather has a big mouth,” Judah says. “We’re going to find out on April 8th, how much he can talk.”

Mayweather hears the words that Judah’s father spews and shrugs his shoulders.

“Like I said, I don’t have nothing against no fighter, do I despise Zab Judah? No. Are we enemies? Yes,” Mayweather said

Who will Mayweather fight next?

“Right now the only thing I’m focused on is Oscar,” Mayweather said and immediately stopped cold after the Freudian slip. “The only thing I’m focused on is Zab Judah. After I dust him off, talk to me and I’ll tell you who’s next.”

And will winning the IBF title satisfy his goals?

“Being the best is more important to me than winning a title.”

A List of Welterweights Mayweather Should Fight

When Zab Judah lost by unanimous decision to Argentina’s Carlos Baldomir, it should have cost him all of the titles he possessed including the WBC, WBA and IBF welterweight world titles. Instead, Baldomir claimed the WBC but did not pay the sanctioning fees to grab the other two. Usually, if the champion loses the title it goes to the victor or it becomes vacant. But the IBF let Judah retain the title and now Mayweather is poised to claim it. Here are some welterweights who should be fighting for the IBF instead of Judah:

1. Mark Suarez (25-2, 13 KOs) of Riverside, Ca. – Don’t let the lack of knockout victories fool you. Suarez packs one of the best punches in the division and in his last two fights stopped former undefeated fighters within six rounds. He ranks number one in the IBF and should be fighting Mayweather on Saturday. He’ll wait his turn.

2. Antonio Margarito (33-4, 24 KOs) of Tijuana, Mex. – He holds the WBO title and has blitzed his last two opponents. Sure, the guys he beat weren’t considered the best, but no one seems willing to step up against the nonstop punching machine. He’s been begging to fight Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather and Carlos Baldomir. The silence has been deafening.

3. Shane Mosley (42-4, 36 KOs) Pomona, Ca. – Sugar Shane is set to fight Fernando Vargas in a junior middleweight contest, but he’s really a welterweight. After the rematch with Vargas in July, Mosley wants to return to welterweight and get a shot at Mayweather, if his compadre Oscar De La Hoya doesn’t take him first.

4. Carlos Baldomir (42-9-6, 12 KOs) Santa Fe, Argentina – The rugged Argentine withstood the brash Zab Judah’s best punches then proceeded to run him down. His win over the Brooklyn fighter was one of the greatest upsets in five years. He has the WBC title and deserves a shot at one final big payday. He’s fighting Arturo Gatti in July.

5. Paul Williams  (28-0, 20 KOs) Atlanta, Ga. – Known as the “Punisher,” Williams at 6-2 in height, can box, punch and can reach you from across the room as his trainer George Peterson likes to say. He’s trouble for anyone in the division and is vastly overlooked. Williams fights next week against Sergio Rios in Lemoore.

6. Joel Julio (27-0, 24 KOs) Monteria, Colombia – He’s yet to be tested but that will come this June 24 when he faces Carlos Quintero in a battle of undefeated welterweights. He can bang but can he take it? So far, he’s faced questionable talent but left no question he was better.

7. Carlos Quintana (22-0, 18 KOs) Moca, Puerto Rico – The hard-hitting Puerto Rican meets Julio in a contest that should prove who’s the real deal. Somebody’s 0 has got to go. Quintana has some good wins in his ledger including a knockout over Nurhan Suleyman, a skilled boxer.

8. Luis Collazo (26-1, 12 KOs) Brooklyn, New York – He holds the WBA title and is set to meet a big test against junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton of Great Britain. If he passes that test, and that’s a big if, he deserves a match against Mayweather.

9. David Estrada (18-2, 9 KOs) Chicago, Ill. – Since losing to Shane Mosley a year ago Estrada hasn’t stepped in the ring. But he proved that night he belonged with the elite in going the distance with Sugar Shane. He’s a hardnosed fighter who is trained by boxing genius Angelo Dundee. He’s scheduled to meet Kermit Cintron in a couple of weeks.

10. Cory Spinks (34-3, 11 KOs) St. Louis, Mo. – Since losing the welterweight championship to Zab Judah a year ago he hasn’t been back in the ring. Never a big puncher, he’s one of the better boxers in the game today. He can give a lot of fighter’s fits.

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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