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Articles of 2006

Byrd-Klitschko and the P4Ps



IBF titleholder Chris Byrd might be the bravest heavyweight prizefighter on the planet when he travels to Germany to defend his title against Wladimir Klitschko.

Fight after fight the Las Vegas-based Byrd accepts challenges against the biggest, baddest and menacing heavyweights in the world of boxing.

“I’m used to it,” says Byrd (39-2-1, 20 KOs), a two-time heavyweight champion.

Once again Byrd travels to Germany on April 22 where he’ll meet challenger Wladimir Klitschko (45-3, 40 KOs), snatched the WBO title from him back in 2000. The small American heavyweight plans a revenge party.

“I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve,” said Byrd, after training in an underground boxing ring with a couple of guys that look like they can eat steel.

“I’m used to it,” says Byrd (39-2-1, 20 KOs), a two-time heavyweight champion.

“In those days Wladimir was considered the better all-around fighter,” Byrd said, dressed in a tight-fitting sweat suit revealing a distinctly small sized heavyweight. “I lose a lot of weight working out.”

But the only weight he worries about is the 230-plus pounds Klitschko is sure to lean on him as much as possible during the fight.

“Man, that’s not fighting,” Byrd says of holding tactics used by big men. “If you’re so much bigger than me, why do you need to hold?”

Holding on to the IBF world title has been an experience for Byrd, who finally severed ties with Don King Promotions.

“I feel relieved,” he says, citing numerous differences and problems that he faced under contract with the well-known promoter. “You can’t imagine what the fighters go through.”

After fighting on the 1992 U.S. Olympic boxing team where he met fellows like Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, the Michigan native scrambled around the ring as a middleweight. Even his first pro fight was at 169 pounds.

“I’ve been the smaller guy for a long time now,” said Byrd who at six feet in height, jumped to the heavyweight division in his third pro bout against Exum Speight in 1993. “There’s nothing I haven’t faced before.”

Lately, another former middleweight has joined the heavyweight club and he’s also from Michigan.

“Chris Byrd is a good fighter,” said James Toney. “Just because a guy is bigger than someone don’t mean he can’t be beat. Just go to chop them down.”

Toney and Byrd are probably the heavyweight division’s most skillful boxers. You would think a mutual admiration would develop, but this is the real world and heavyweights walk alone.

“I thought he lost the decision against Hasim Rahman,” Byrd says. “He was just resting against the ropes. It was a sparring session.”

Toney doesn’t admire Byrd’s ability much.

“He just slaps like a girl,” Toney says.

Though both are not fond of each other, their abilities could possibly produce an eventual collision.

But first there’s Klitschko.

“Wladimir beat me the first time. I just didn’t feel right,” Byrd recalls of their first fight six years ago.

Though Klitschko was knocked out by Lamon Brewster, a cousin of Byrd, the Ukrainian fighter has returned from the bottom of the heavyweight heap with wins over Williamson and Samuel Peter.

“He’s made some changes to his style,” Byrd said. “He’s got my respect for beating Sam Peter.”

Most boxing observers feel Byrd faces an overwhelming test against Klitschko, especially fighting him in Germany.

“He’s a little man in a big man’s game,” said Harold Lederman, an HBO analyst for boxing. “But he’s a heck of a fighter.”

Byrd smiles when people tell him he’s too small to beat the bigger guys.

“They’ve been telling me I’m too small since before I won my first heavyweight title,” he says.

Pound-for-Pound List
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s decisive win over Zab Judah nails down the top spot for Pound-for-Pound. A few changes have been made since the last posting of Pound-for-Pound list. Here is the new list for April 2006:

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr., welterweight (36-0, 24 KOs) – Mayweather’s win over Zab Judah last weekend could be reversed by the Nevada Athletic Commission because his trainer and uncle Roger Mayweather entered the ring. But regardless, Mayweather battered and belittled Zudah’s defense with some amazing work. If they gave PhDs to boxers Mayweather would definitely have several.

2. Winky Wright, middleweight (50-3, 25 KOs) – Coming this June, Wright gets an opportunity to showcase his defensive tactics against the young and very strong middleweight champion of the world Jermain Taylor. Wright’s domination over Felix Trinidad almost a year ago still has boxing fans raving about his defensive skills. He faces Taylor on June 17 in Memphis.

3. Marco Antonio Barrera, junior lightweight (61-4, 42 KOs) – A postponement of his fight with Jesus Chavez for the IBF lightweight title last March has caused him to shift gears. Instead of training for a 135-pound opponent, he now finds himself preparing for a speedy 126-pound opponent in Rocky Juarez of Houston, Texas. It should be an interesting match. Juarez likes to go to the body and that’s Barrera’s weak point. Barrera meets Juarez on May 20 at the Staples Center.

4. Manny Pacquiao, junior lightweight (41-3-2, 33 KOs) – A third match between Pacquiao and Erik Morales was scheduled for September 16 in Las Vegas, but the Filipino bomber has not signed yet. If not Morales, it could be a possible rematch with Marco Antonio Barrera. That would certainly decide who’s the better fighter. Pac-Man stopped Barrera in their previous match back in November 2003.

5. Jermain Taylor, middleweight (25-0, 17 KOs) – The Arkansas middleweight is preparing for his big showdown against Winky Wright on June 17. Taylor’s speed and strength helped him withstand multiple assaults from Bernard Hopkins that would have easily felled any other middleweight. Now he faces a different kind of test with a southpaw. The contest takes place in Memphis.

6. Bernard Hopkins, middleweight (46-4-1, 32 KOs) – Hopkins began his pro boxing career as a light heavyweight then moved down to middleweight. Can he contend with the big boys? Hopkins says he can and points to his win over former light heavyweight world champion Glen Johnson, who he knocked out. Now he faces Antonio Tarver on June 10 in Atlantic City. It could be Hopkins last fight.

7. Antonio Tarver, light heavyweight (24-3, 18 KOs) – Tarver seems anxious to prove he’s one of the best boxers in the world. When he appeared in Los Angeles to promote his June 10 fight with Bernard Hopkins, Tarver seemed to consider the former middleweight champion as an easy opponent. It could be a very intriguing match when they meet in Atlantic City. Tarver trains in Florida.

8. Jose Luis Castillo, lightweight (54-7-1, 47 KOs) – People still get angry when Castillo’s name is mentioned on this list. Many do not forgive him for coming in overweight and gaining an advantage in his rematch with Diego Corrales. They’re fighting again on June 3 in Las Vegas. It should be another classic. Castillo promised he’s moving up in weight after mixing it up with Chico.

9. Diego Corrales, lightweight (40-3, 33 KOs) – The lanky lightweight out of Sacramento possesses the best knockout punch in the business. Take your pick in deciding if it’s his left or right, he can do the job with either hand. Now after a short lay off, it’s back to work for Corrales who gets a third test with Jose Luis Castillo. This is for serious bragging rights.

10. James Toney, heavyweight (69-4-3, 43 KOs) – Toney dropped down in this list because of a lackluster performance against Hasim Rahman last month. Lights Out was unable to use his vast boxing skills against Rahman because of weight issues. Toney was much too heavy to move around in his last fight. Right now weight is his main enemy.

11. Ricky Hatton, junior welterweight (40-0, 30 KOs) – The Hitman is moving up to welterweight to chase Luis Collazo for his WBA title. Expect a footrace from Collazo who’s known for his cleverness and mobility. It’s a fight meant more to adjust the UK fighter who seeks a match with Floyd Mayweather or one of the other money guys. Collazo hasn’t lost in four years.

12. Rafael Marquez, bantamweight, (35-3, 31 K)s) – The slender Mexico City precision assassin is slowing down a bit, but those fists still pack a punch. In Marquez’s last fight Silence Mbuza thought he could take anyone’s power and found out the skinny Mexican hits like a lightweight. Marquez seeks a big money fight. Looking down the pike it seems to be IBF junior featherweight title-holder Israel Vazquez. Vazquez is also from Mexico City and a fellow chilango.

For a further list of Pound-for-Pound fighters (12 thru 24) see Boxing Chatter coming up.

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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