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Articles of 2006

In Boxing News: Freitas Wins, Blue Blood Boxing, Chris Eubank Peacenik

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In Boxing News: Freitas-Raheem ugly mess of a fight

Saturday’s Acelino Freitas-Zahir Raheem title bout on HBO’s newly refurbished Boxing After Dark was disappointing fare for those of us watching the bout live at Foxwoods, but was even more disappointing, according to some websites, for those glued to the tube watching the new B.A.D. broadcast team of Max Kellerman, Fran Charles and Lennox Lewis.

The Sweet Science‘s George Kimball, who was ringside for the bout, had it even after 12 rounds and wrote of the fighters that the truth of the matter is that neither of them deserved to be a champion off Saturday night’s work. Freitas spent much of the night whining to referee Steve Smoger (although God knows he had plenty to whine about), while Raheem turned into a 135-pound John Ruiz, attempting to envelop the Brazilian in a bear hug every time he landed a punch, and sometimes when he didn’t. Kimball suggests that Raheem, perhaps in tribute to what was also the NFL’s draft day, took Freitas down in both the second and third rounds with deftly-executed open field tackles and this after he had risked a fine from Paul Tagliabue for the helmet-to-helmet hit he delivered in the opening round,” a theme reiterated in the boxing press. Bernard Fernandez in the Philadelphia Daily News also has fun with the football analogy. It is perhaps ironic that prizefighters Zahir Raheem and Acelino “Popo” Freitas spent 12 rounds perfecting their tackling techniques on the same night that the NFL opened its annual 2-day draft, he writes. Although no official knockdowns were scored in Saturday’s HBO-televised scrum for the vacant World Boxing Organization lightweight championship, the unofficial count revealed that Raheem was on the canvas six times and Freitas three from assorted entanglements, pushes, trips and wildly missed punches. Maybe styles makes fights and Freitas and Raheem had the wrong styles to make for much of a fight, but the consensus along press row was that Freitas, who once knocked out 29 opponents in a row, appeared the more controlled fighter or at least the less desperate one. Freitas’ trainer Oscar Suarez awarded his winning performance with a middling grade of C-plus, but his adoring fans who had the room swaying to a samba beat reminiscent of Carnival in Rio didn’t seem to care. The only people who seemed to care were boxing people, whose memories are by necessity very short. Some writers even compared the bout to the ridiculous WWF. Thank goodness Andre Ward was fighting on the same card The Filipinos love boxing and we love the Filipinos for it, but there’s trouble brewing in the Philippines, trouble that’s spelled with a capital P. As reported in the Manila Bulletin, trainer Freddie Roach, while preparing for his flight from the Islands back to his home in L.A., Manny Pacquiao is in danger as a result of too many distractions. Roach said he spoke with Pacquiao over the weekend and that PacMan took the time to say goodbye, unlike Friday when he suddenly skipped town without telling his trainer. “He told me that he will be there (Wild Card Gym) on May 13,” said Roach, alluding to Pacquiao’s July 2 with Oscar Larios, adding that he would need at least six weeks to get Pacquiao ready. “There’s just too many distractions here,” said Roach, referring to Pacquiao’s sponsorship deals, personal appearances, et cetera, not to mention certain nocturnal activities which have kept Manny running on all cylinders. More than one champ has blown it all thanks to the vagaries of wine, women and song. Hopefully Manny Pacquiao won’t be joining them any time soon To those who like cinema almost as much as they love boxing, especially when the two meet head-on, a review from Cinematical concerning a film called Blue Blood at the Tribeca Film Festival is of special interest. The documentary is about the Oxford Boxing Club (that’s in Oxford as in England). Director Stevan Riley contrasts the brutality of the pursuit and the intellectual reputation of the school. He focuses on a handful of boxers and his film is wildly engaging and cleverly constructed, faltering only, oddly enough, during the climactic annual match against Cambridge. The Oxford boxers in the documentary are Kavanagh, who studies philosophy, Justin, an American Air Force Academy graduate chasing after a PhD in astrophysics, Charlie who is rich, Fred who is poor, and a tough Oxford bruiser named Boiler. According to Cinematical, Riley does a tremendous job in his film of making his characters appealing, and deepening their stories beyond stereotypes. Very quickly, it becomes clear that “Blue Blood” is about much more than posh boys beating the living hell out of one another. Instead, it’s about a group of painfully self-aware young men, all bent on improving themselves in various ways, for various reasons. If that’s something you’ve heard before and don’t want to hear again feel free to click on that mouse, but don’t be surprised if it shows up in an indie theater near you this summer, or at the very least on HBO. Former WBO heavyweight champ Tommy Morrison, 37, has decided he wants to resume his boxing career a decade after he tested positive for HIV. Morrison and his attorney told Norm Frauenheim in The Arizona Republic that they hope to get Tommy back into the ring by the end of the year. John Montano of the Arizona State Boxing Commission said Morrison is free to apply for a license, which would be subject to a routine review that includes mandatory blood tests, but “There are questions I don’t have answers for right now. Is he contagious? That’s one of the things you would have to look at.” Morrison’s attorney Randy Lang said, “I don’t think he’s HIV-positive now.” Positive or not, and only tests will tell, Morrison believes They’re just depriving me of a livelihood.” B.J. Flores, a young fighter fighting out of Phoenix, said that he, for one, wouldn’t fight Morrison. “To my knowledge, HIV is not something you can get rid of. I just don’t see anybody without HIV fighting somebody who has HIV. No way.” No doubt the Puerto Rican Commission that okayed Joe Mesi‘s last outing is paying close attention And from the London Sunday Times comes an update on Chris Eubank. Bankrupt, a nomad in the throes of a painful divorce, Chris Eubank climbs from the cab of his gleaming blue Peterbilt truck, which he has parked on the doorstep of an exclusive London hotel, and struts into the lobby like a peacock in mating season. Dressed to kill in a dark three-piece suit and clutching a manbag, Eubank, his sartorial splendor intact, still manages to turn heads. Someone who drives a truck, wears jodhpurs and a monocle, has poetry and philosophy on his mind, is quick-witted and struts, all of this alludes to a person who is a show-off, Eubank says. I’m a showman. There’s a difference. Quoting Samuel Johnson (Remember, when he is old, that he has once been young), Friedrich Nietzsche (We do not accuse nature of being immoral because it sends us a thunderstorm and makes us wet; why do we call the harmful man immoral?) and Oscar Wilde (How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?), the former champ reveals that his IQ was measured recently at 190. I’ve found that I’m probably a crazy man to people who have an average IQ, which is 120. I’m a little different, a little bit off’. Not that I’m off, it’s just that you have to be intelligent to understand me. Three weeks ago I met somebody with an IQ of 246. He is now going to be negotiating particular deals for me. Eubank insists he has a superhero complex my internist tells me there’s a lot of that going around these days and a couple of years ago even went so far as to make a statement by driving his Peterbilt to the gates of No. 10 Downing Street, home of the British Prime Minister. I had a banner fixed to the top of the truck, Eubank says. The banner read: Tony Blair, military occupation causes terrorism.’ The piece in the Times doesn’t reveal whether or not Blair was affected by Eubank’s anti-war declaration, but at least the British PM, to his credit, seems not to think, unlike the decider, that nuking Iran is such a hot idea.

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

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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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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