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Articles of 2006

Mayweather-Judah Fight Predictions

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In some people’s minds this is a fight that never should have been made, a bout that was by all rights Baldomir’s. But Carlos Baldomir isn’t marquee material except in Argentina, although that may change when he fights Arturo Gatti. All of which leaves us with the disappointing whiz kid from Brooklyn, Zab Judah, coming off a potentially psyche-wrecking loss in his hometown, defending ‘his’ welterweight belt against the best fighter pound-for-pound alive today, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Saturday night. Zab’s got his fans who’ll put their money where their mouths are and insist he’s the Second Coming, even the First, but he’s got a high mountain to climb if he hopes to beat Pretty Boy Floyd. This is how The Sweet Science writers see Mayweather-Judah.

As much as I would like to see Zab win, if for no other reason than because he is from New York, I have trouble seeing Floyd losing. He's simply too quick, too smart and too game to let Zab beat him. The only scenario that I could Zab winning is one in which Floyd steps to Zab like he did against Sharmba in search of a quick knockout and Zab, who can crack, catching him. But I don't see that happening. I don't see Floyd giving Zab any kind of openings. Floyd not only wants to beat Zab, he wants to embarrass him, and he'll be razor-sharp, in top shape, while Zab, who everyone says always steps up in big fights, except when he fought Kostya, is a wildcard. He has behaved erratically in the run-up for this fight, not participating in the promotion and who knows where his head is at. So all things considered, I like Floyd by late stoppage, maybe by the tenth round.
Mitch Abramson

Judah may have lost his last fight, but “Super” was obviously unmotivated and undertrained. Otherwise, he would have never lost to a limited fighter such as Carlos Baldomir. This time, he knows his career may be on the line. And, judging by his pre-fight silence, he's treating it that way. So look for an inspired performance from Judah.
Will it be enough to upset Mayweather? Maybe. Judah is bigger, and he is easily the most versatile fighter “Pretty Boy” Floyd has fought in some time – perhaps in Mayweather's entire career. He has fast hands and fast feet and good boxing instincts. But what he doesn't have is a chin, and that will cost him. Judah will outbox Mayweather at times, and out-slug him, too. But then Mayweather will pop a tiring Judah in the 10th, drop him, and finish him off with a flurry of punches. Good effort by Zab. But not enough to beat a Floyd. Mayweather, possibly behind on points, by 10th-round TKO.
Matthew Aguilar

Character, or lack of it, will decide the outcome of Mayweather-Judah. Talk of a 100% Zab Judah, which means, I suppose, a focused and well-trained Zab Judah, may sell the fight, but the very fact that we need to hear that talk tells us that Judah is often less than 100%. And that tells the story. Judah may have speed and power, but he is lacking those other important qualities of a fighter: consistency, reliability, character. These deficiencies showed themselves in the hometown hero’s upset loss to Carlos Baldomir at the Garden. The loss, no matter what the talk, is bound to play on Judah’s confidence as he enters the ring in Floyd Mayweather’s hometown. Mayweather is a superb boxer, and he is reliable inside the ring. He will keep his undefeated record intact Saturday night with a late round stoppage of Judah.
David Berlin

I hate to drag up the past, but I'm going to do it anyway: Carlos Baldomir – are you serious?! Zab Judah, according to my personal predictions based on actually watching Baldomir fight one of the more lackluster bouts in Chicago last summer, should have destroyed this guy and retained his belts – that's a plural, folks. The rest of the civilized world paying attention had jumped on the common sense bus when it came to Judah dismantling Baldomir. Baldomir instead works over Judah, but only wants to pay for one of three belts and we're all incredibly confused. To clear the air, Judah puts the loss on performing Don King's job in making special appearances and having to take phone calls.
Good thing he's not doing any of that this time around. He's hiding out in the gym, concentrating on Floyd Mayweather Jr. Answering questions could ruin the whole thing. I'm assuming squeaky cat toys are banned from the gym as well, lest Zab blow off his state of mind to frolic with a rubber mouse on the floor. No matter of hiding or “focus” in the gym is going to bring Judah to Mayweather's level. It's unanimous for “Pretty Boy” after 12. Now what was I saying?
Jesse K. Cox

Judah can be dangerous when he's in the right frame of mind. And he better be in the right frame of mind against Mayweather. Despite Don King promising an upset win by Judah, I can't see it. Mayweather is just too gifted. And too focused. He wins by an easy decision.
Rick Folstad

Zab Judah is known for getting up for big fights. This is a big fight. He'll be up for it.  He'll even have a few flashes of brilliance. Overall, it won't matter. Floyd Mayweather will waltz to a one-sided unanimous decision.
Randy Gordon

There will be no ugly Jeff Lacy-like surprises here. Floyd will win BIG, I am staking my nickel slot jackpot on it. I just can't decide if he will humiliate Judah in taking the fight the distance and win by huge unanimous decision or if he will have mercy on Zab and take him out by mid fight KO.
Amy Green

Carlos Baldomir. You can fool me once, but from now on, every time Zab Judah fights, I'm picking Baldomir. This time, Judah is saying he's going to start fast, so he'll be finished fast, too. About round seven.
Michael Katz

When Judah lost to Baldomir this fight looked like it was dead in the water, and it should have been. Bob Arum's initial reaction was “Nobody cares,” and he was right. I don’t.
George Kimball

This really is an intriguing matchup because it involves two of the fastest and slickest fighters around – when Zab in on his game. It will be interesting to see what happens when Floyd, light years ahead of guys like Arturo Gatti in terms of hand speed and footwork, gets in there with a guy nearly as fast and almost as slick. The huge edge in speed won't be there, and then what? Judah may be the harder hitter of the two speaking in terms of one-punch power, and likely will be stronger at 147 because he has had more fights the weight. Judah has jumped on opponents early in the past if he felt he could overpower them, or has fought at a distance using speed, feints, footwork and angles to get the job done if he felt they were too strong. Problem here is that Mayweather does just about everything a little bit better and I feel he will take a decision. His defense is better and does everything Judah does as well, or a tad better. Two of the best natural athletes meet here and expect the best Judah we have seen in a long time. Still it will be just short of enough as Mayweather takes a decision over twelve competitive rounds
Joey Knish

Let's get one thing straight Zab – you're not the champion, Carlos Baldomir is. I don't see an upset in your future and I do believe Pretty Boy is going to give you an old-fashioned ass-whoopin’. I'm hoping Mr. Mayweather will shut your mouth up for at least ten seconds but my guess is I won't be so lucky. Mayweather via unanimous, twelve round spanking.
Scott Mallon

Judah was stopped by the hard-punching Kostya Tszyu and rocked by the light-punching Carlos Baldomir. Against Mayweather, he'll be in the fight of his life until he is stopped by a barrage of punches in the middle rounds. Mayweather TKO 6.
Robert Mladinich

Floyd Mayweather is the best fighter of his generation and will prove his pound-for-pound status against a determined yet overmatched Zab Judah. Despite their similar speed, he's a smarter, more accurate fighter with better defense. That spells doom for Zab who goes down and out in this one even though he'll be fighting for his life. Mayweather is just that good. KO Round 8.
Benn Schulberg

Zab Judah earned a shot at Floyd Mayweather by losing to Carlos Baldomir. Judah will lose again Saturday night, which should set him up nicely for a rematch with Baldomir.
Ed Schuyler

Judah's says it was Don King's fault for his loss against Carlos Baldomir, who is now the real welterweight champion of the world. Believe me, I truly dislike King, however, I cannot stand a weasel like Judah. The simple fact of the matter is Zab Judah did not train for Carlos Baldomir like he was fighting for a donut, let alone for the undisputed championship. Any fighter who doesn't train for every fight like it's the biggest of his life is a chump. Mayweather doesn't need any title, considering he already owns the most prestigious of them all, the pound-for-pound crown. Mayweather trains for every fight as if his life is on the line. He is truly the best fighter in the world, regardless of weight. On top of that, we have all seen how unrealistically relentless and devastating Mayweather can be when he has a personal vendetta to settle (see “Obliteration of Arturo Gatti”). Mayweather TKO 8.
Alex Stone

Although his fight with Sharmba Mitchell proved very little about Floyd Mayweather’s prospects as a welterweight, he does not seem like he has missed a step. Zab Judah may be able to go the distance with Floyd, but he will have a tough time landing punches. Mayweather by decision.
Aaron Tallent

I'm in the camp with the experts and oddsmakers. Judah does everything Mayweather does, only slightly worse, and doesn't have the pressuring style to give PBF a real hard time. This could be a pose-fest stinker; I'm hoping not. PBF UD12.
Michael Woods

The closer it gets to fight night the more I'm leaning toward a big victory for Mayweather Jr., but when the bout was initially signed the vibe said Judah had a solid chance, style wise. If Mayweather goes all out, he could see a spectacular stoppage that further secures pound for pound honors but something says he's sidetracked. Mayweather by unanimous decision.
Phil Woolever

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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