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Articles of 2006

Mayweather-Judah: The Moment of Truth



“Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather and Zab “Super” Judah are set to do battle tonight at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for the IBF welterweight championship. Yes, Judah is defending his title despite losing his WBC belt to Carlos Baldomir in his supposed tune-up bout back in January. Thanks to Baldomir for not paying his sanctioning fee and the IBF for deciding not to make the title vacant and instead leaving it in the hands of the “former” champion, Zab Judah will enter the ring against Mayweather carrying his belt. For Pretty Boy, it will be a chance to conquer his fourth weight class and cement his claim as the pound-for-pound greatest fighter in our sport.

Championship fight or not, this is a BIG fight that features two combatants who are ready to prove their greatness. Mayweather, 35-0, is on the way to the BHOF en route to possibly becoming one of the most spectacular fighters in boxing history, and Judah, 34-3-1, a three-time world champion, is now fighting for his livelihood and reputation.

What makes boxing such a dramatic and intense sport is how quickly lives can be forever altered. A single hour can change the course of a fighter’s career for better or worse. No matter how good you once were or how much talent you have, it can all be forgotten in a night’s work.

For Zab Judah, Saturday night is his make or break moment as he attempts to rebound from the most disappointing loss of his career against the man many experts believe to be unbeatable. A bad loss for Judah would be a fatal blow, possibly ending his career, while a win over the pound-for-pound king would catapult his standing as not just a good fighter, but a great one.

Judah has been sworn to silence in preparation for this most important of tests, vowing that he would come to Las Vegas more focused than ever before. At Thursday’s final press conference, Judah rose from the dais, decked out with sunglasses and a hoodie, and finally broke his silence.

“This is something I’ve prepared my whole life for. Come Saturday night I gotta trick for you (Mayweather). He already knows,” Judah said.

Tricking Mayweather is no easy task as the betting odds signify, listing Judah as a 5-1 underdog. The key to this fight though seems to be whether or not Judah will be able to use his speed, movement, and southpaw style to disrupt Mayweather’s gameplan. If he is able to keep his opponent off-balance and upset his rhythm enough to be able to gain control of the fight, then we’d be looking at a remarkable upset. But that’s One Big ‘If.’

Roger Mayweather, uncle and trainer to Floyd, reminded us, as well as the Judah camp why his nephew is the best fighter in the world. “He (Zab) already knows what Floyd can do. I don’t have to tell Zab, his father, what Floyd can do. He already knows.”

Uncle Roger also reminded us of the infamous sparring session that Mayweather and Judah had last year that supposedly ended with Judah leaving the ring after a couple rounds with a damaged ego after being thoroughly outclassed. This incident has now gained wide acclaim thanks in large part to Uncle Roger whose speculative story is hard not to believe considering the silent response of the Judah camp.

Yoel Judah’s podium comments only further fueled Roger’s performance.

“Watch what you ask for, dynamite is coming. You said Zab’s got power, heart, but no chin, well you better check yours,” the father and trainer to Zab said.

Roger defended his nephew to the point of daring Yoel Judah to make a bet that Zab would win and promising to pay out if it happened. In response to Yoel’s warning about what his son is going to do Saturday night, Roger said, “Mr. Judah said be careful what you ask for. Well Floyd knows what he’s getting into because he’s been there (referring to the sparring session). He already knows what Floyd can do.”

To his credit, Floyd Mayweather refused to badmouth his opponent, focusing only on the fight in front of him and exuding supreme confidence.

“It doesn’t matter what nobody says, I know what it takes. There may be guys who are physically stronger than me, but there’s no one who can match me mentally. I’m happy and comfortable. I know in my heart that I’ll win. I know that I’m the best fighter in boxing.”

Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, who fought both Judah and Mayweather, agreed with Floyd’s assertion that his mental toughness is what’s given him the edge in all his fights and will carry him to victory once more. “Mayweather will win because he’s mentally stronger and the smarter fighter.”

Not according to co-promoter Don King, who said “I love each and every one of them (the Mayweathers), but you can’t stop destiny.”

He went on to prophesize what’s going to happen come Saturday night.

“Zab is in the shadow and in the darkness comes the light. I resurrect people from the dead and bring them alive,” insisted King. “He’s going out there and is going to seek and destroy – Floyd’s never met someone as ferocious. King Kong will seem like a pied piper compared to this man.”

His longtime adversary and co-promoter for this fight, Bob Arum, gleamed with confidence as he described his fighter’s talents. “When I first signed him this kid really stunned me by not only his skills, but his ring intelligence, which few even great fighters have. He ain’t gonna lose a fight ever. This will be a good fight but he ain’t gonna lose to anybody,” Arum said.

Zab Judah’s “code of silence” broke in dramatic fashion as the press conference drew to a close with both fighters posing face-to-face for pictures. Judah stared intently at Mayweather and starting jawing at him. When members of his camp joined in on the trashtalking it seemed as if we might have a fight right then and there. Visibly agitated by certain comments made by Judah, Mayweather finally lost his cool and had to be pulled back by his handlers. The promotional title for this fight is “Sworn Enemies,” and for good reason.

Judah continued his verbal assault on Mayweather at Friday’s weigh-in, yelling at him with furious rage as he walked out of the Roman amphitheatre at Casesar’s Palace. “Tomorrow night, tomorrow night,” Judah kept barking. With Mayweather out of sight, Judah stood on the stage scowling triumphantly as if he had scared his opponent away. Is this a sign of confidence or a way of masking his self-doubt? That’s the question to which we are all eagerly awaiting the answer.

Notes: Judah weighed-in at 145½ lbs. and Mayweather at 146. The welterweight limit is 147 lbs. The fight will be shown on HBO PPV for $44.95. Arum and King have been arm-in-arm praising each other for their promotional successes. This isn’t the first time these two have come together…there have been a number of fights including De La Hoya-Trinidad, which still holds the record for the largest PPV sales for a non-heavyweight fight. As of Friday, this fight had sold over 14,000 tickets with a couple thousand tickets left. As Arum said, “This event is a tremendous success thanks to my co-promoter Don King for working hard.” I thought these guys were sworn enemies…Finally, the Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo III press conference that was supposed to be held Friday afternoon was inexplicably cancelled. Joe Goossen, Corrales’ trainer, was mystified as to the reason for it but happy to stay at camp. Corrales has begun his training camp in L.A. in anticipation for the June 3 showdown.

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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