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Articles of 2006

If This Was His Final Act, Oscar Deserves a Curtain Call



LAS VEGAS, May 7 – Oscar de la Hoya got on a plane for Puerto Rico today, but where he is going is still up in the air.

As far as Oscar the Boxer is concerned, he could be flying west, into a beautiful sunset.

After one of the most satisfying nights of his Golden career, beating up a bully and thus delighting anyone who’s ever been browbeaten or threatened in a schoolyard, de la Hoya again established himself as the richest prize in sports, especially if he opts for a grand finale Sept. 16 to coincide with Mexican Independence Day celebrations.

Following some cryptic remarks about who he will choose as his partner for the last dance – the hopefuls begin with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Winky Wright, possibly Felix Trinidad Jr., Ricky Hatton and Antonio Margarito – in which he told the post-fight press conference “I think people will be surprised,” de la Hoya coyly dropped the possibility that we had just seen his last fight.

“There’s a big chance I’m going to retire,” he said.

The Dow-Jones dropped 150 points. Never mind what a de la Hoya retirement would cost potential opponents; the loss to Time-Warner might rock the stock market.

There’s no reason to go on boxing, of course. He’s 33, revealed that he’s had a torn rotator cuff for three years (even his trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. had never heard about it), and what’s another $25-30 million to a guy who’s rich enough to start his own bank and has real estate in Hollywood and Manhattan. His wife, the Puerto Rican singing star Millie Corretjer, would obviously prefer he not go away to long training camps and instead stay home with her and their infant son, Oscar Gabriel.

He was “semi-retired” as Richard Schaefer, his friend, and chief executive officer of de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, said for 20 months before coming back to shut the big mouth of Ricardo Mayorga, dispatching the Nicaraguan novice at 1:25 of the sixth round with a delightfully brutal beating.

De la Hoya said he had to “erase” the picture he had in his head of his last performance in the ring, crawling on the canvas, slamming the floor, after being dropped by a Bernard Hopkins left hook to the liver, as if anyone remembers who beat Sugar Ray Robinson in his last fight (you don’t have to look it up, it was Joey Archer).

That picture was obliterated last night at the MGM Grand Arena. De la Hoya need not risk going out on a loss again, though that same great pride might tempt him to try and beat the best out there right now as a fond farewell.

De la Hoya already has a long leg up on Matchmaker of the Year for choosing Mayorga as his foil. The next choice won’t be so easy. It is especially complicated because Mayweather Jr., whom he acknowledged as THE best pound-for-pound, is the son of his own trainer. And Floyd Sr. has made it very clear that he can not be a “bad daddy.”

“What kind of daddy would I be helping to knock out my own son?” he says.

Young Floyd, making the obligatory nice remarks about de la Hoya’s performance (“I thought he looked great, great hand speed, that long layoff really rejuvenated him”), said the matchup would be “an incredible fight.”

“I think it’ll get done,” he said.

Schaefer said “I think it’s very makeable.”

De la Hoya said “I always want the best, but there is nothing on the table.”

Then, cryptically in light of his later comment about retiring, said “that fight is not a guarantee, in fact, no fight is a guarantee.”

Kevin Iole of the Las Vegas Review Journal here has suggested that Floyd Jr. take $2-3 million of his purse and give it to his father to sit out the fight. That could leave no Mayweathers in the corner – Roger Mayweather, the younger brother with whom Floyd Sr. has been feuding for years, has had his license revoked by Nevada for entering the ring during Junior’s victory last month against Zab Judah.

De la Hoya, in any case, said “if I fight again, I have to have Floyd Sr. in the corner, he’s the person who brings me confidence.”

De la Hoya had a long string of trainers before hiring Floyd Sr. in 2000 after losing the first time to Sugar Shane Mosley. The evidence last night against Mayorga is that de la Hoya has finally incorporated much of the Grand Rapids master’s teaching into his game. He now has a right hand; it may not make anyone recall Earnie Shavers, but it stings well enough to set up the Golden left hook, which no less an expert than Mosley said again last night “was the best in boxing – it is so fast, you never see it.”

It was a right hand that set up the hook that Mayorga didn’t see less than a minute into the match that dropped him the first time. Mayorga never recovered, said one of his assistant trainers, Stacy McKinley.

De la Hoya had left his corner with no intention of “feeling out” anything. He went right after Mayorga, who had dropped his hands and allowed Vernon Forrest and Felix Trinidad Jr. to hit him.

Mayorga, of course, began the wild swinging that made him such an attractive opponent to anyone with de la Hoya’s knowledge of boxing. But there probably was as much attention in the de la Hoya camp to audio tapes as there were to Mayorga videos.

Mayorga, whose insults of everyone he fought rankled many, was chosen, it is clear, because in the long months of training, de la Hoya wanted to have his “blood boiling.”

“The way he was talking about my wife and my son made me work harder,” said de la Hoya. “The plan always was that he was going to talk dirty.”

After a few weeks of wondering if the rust of 20 months’ inactivity would ever leave, de la Hoya said, “finally it clicked in.”

Mayorga was talking right up to the first bell. He had looked rather reluctant, walking slowly to the ring, and one wondered if Don King, the promoter he was unhappy with, had a cattle prod to get him moving. Before the bell, he kept telling de la Hoya, “I’m going to knock you out, I’m going to knock you out.”

De la Hoya said he thought, “Okay, this is the moment of truth.”

Mayorga fought as if he were missing a cattle prod for the first couple of rounds before he started to at least make a concerted effort. It was not much; he just was never in the same league with the 1992 Olympic gold medallist who probably has almost as many title belts from more divisions than Marian Muhammad has stripped in a month.

Okay, given the opposition, it is hard to go overboard on how well de la Hoya fought. But it is just as hard to ignore his speed, his willingness to risk punches – he did get caught with a wild right uppercut with about 20 seconds remaining in the third round, but just smiled and jumped back at Mayorga with a dazzling three-punch combination just before the bell.

“I had to show the bully I wasn’t going to back down,” he said.

The corner, especially his brother, Joel Jr., kept telling de la Hoya to “stay on your toes and box.” But he said “I could tell I was reaching him with my punches by the way he winced.”

In the sixth round, almost as if he had had enough fun tearing the wings from the butterfly – or maybe it was a flying cockroach, Doug Fischer of suggested – de la Hoya put the attack into drive. He unleashed punches so quickly that ringside scribes quickly ran out of fingers and toes on which to count. It was maybe eight blistering punches in a row that sent Mayorga stumbling along the ropes to Oscar’s corner. Another series dropped him. He got up at eight, but de la Hoya jumped all over him and Referee Jay Nady had no choice but to stop the torture. In fact, he had to virtually throw de la Hoya to the canvas, but this time, he did not pound the floor.

Maybe it was good that he finished the job so efficiently. He said the left shoulder, about three weeks ago, started to bother him again. Floyd Sr. said all he knew was that “they were giving him pills.” (The state of Nevada, of course, will check to make sure there was no hanky-panky – though de la Hoya would be the last guy one would think about cheating.)

De la Hoya said he has had this problem for years, but he was worried because in training, “when I sparred, after nine rounds it starts burning and I have to my hand down.”

Maybe he knew he could get rid of Mayorga before the shoulder started burning. Mayweather or Winky Wright would be a bit more dangerous. De la Hoya almost eliminated Trinidad from consideration, saying he would never fight at 160, which was where the again-retired rival has been toiling for years. Wright has also moved up to 160 and will challenge Jermain Taylor next month for the middleweight title. If successful, he said he would be glad to starve himself down to 154 for de la Hoya. Wright makes some kind of poetic sense – he handily beat Trinidad, who beat Hopkins, and Trinidad and Hopkins both have victories over de la Hoya. The logic may be convoluted, but it’s still a huge fight.

And though Wright has his supporters for No. 1 in the pound-for-pound “ratings” (he’s my No. 2, behind Little Floyd), there is no question de la Hoya-Mayweather is by far the bigger fight. The patricide element has been a big deal from Euripides through Eugene O’Neill to the Mayweathers.

Floyd Sr., who used to train his son before the kid kicked him out of the house he bought for father, said there must be “a burden on my kid, a vendetta,” but Junior seems always to be challenging fighters trained by Senior.

Big Floyd, diplomatically, said both his son and Oscar could win. Floyd Jr. had the speed advantage, but Oscar was bigger and stronger. “Chop Chop (Corely) hurt him, but he didn’t jump on him,” said Senior, noting that de la Hoya certainly would not make that mistake.

Bottom line, he said he couldn’t allow the fight, even if he did recuse himself from de la Hoya’s corner. So what if Junior misses out on making millions – he has alternatives in Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito et al. But Junior wants Oscar.

“I don’t give a damn who he wants,” said Senior. “I’m the daddy and I’m calling the shots.”

De la Hoya is calling the shots and he left the impression that he might have fired his last one in a ring. If so, he had a brilliant career and he’ll be missed as a fighter. As a promoter, though, he’ll still be in the thick of things.

PENTHOUSE: How could it be anyone else but the Chicken de Jour, the Chicken Delight, the Chicken who beat up the bully? It was a magnificent performance, even considering the opposition. But let’s put Oscar in here for an entirely different reason – he took a political stance. Okay, it’s one I happen to agree with, but it was nice of him to enter the ring with a head band saying “No to HR4437,” the House of Representatives bill that would block immigration.

De la Hoya, who is proud of both his Mexican blood and his American heritage, is also proud that he comes from a family of illegal immigrants, people, as he says, who want “only to work to make things better for their families.” He acknowledged that it was difficult for them to get proper papers and the green card, but that doesn’t mean they can’t pay taxes and be good citizens. “People who come across the border,” he said, “want to work.” Hear, hear.

OUTHOUSE: Afterwards, Mayorga finally shut up. De la Hoya went over to the Nicaraguan’s corner and was told by the bully, “You’re a great champion and a great fighter – I apologize for everything I said to you.”

“I forgive you,” said de la Hoya.

But then Mayorga – and his beaten promoter, Don King – brushed off the post-fight press appearance. Mayorga, we were told, went up to his room at the MGM. King was seen lurking in a hallway leading to the post-fight press conference, but there was nothing he could say. “I never thought I’d see Don King pass up an open microphone,” said Norm Frauenheim of the Arizona Republic.

OUTHOUSE II: Marc Ratner is retiring this week as executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. It is hereby requested, again, that he take Darby Shirley with him. Shirley has long been one of the worst fight judges in Nevada, and that covers an awful lot of ground. Last night, he somehow saw Marco Rubio of Mexico a point ahead of Kassim Ouma, the former junior middleweight champion, after 12 rounds. Rubio knocked down Ouma with a right hand in the opening round, staggered him with another a few seconds later, and did land a few more before the Ugandan began to keep his left hand a bit higher than his ankles. But all in all, I gave Rubio two rounds after the first. So did Jerry Roth, who astutely scored it 116-111 for Ouma; I say astutely because we had identical cards. The third Vegas judge, Bill Graham, gave Rubio only one other round on a 117-110 card. But 114-113 for Rubio? Shirley, you joke.

There’s more. As if there weren’t enough bad judges locally, the WBClowns imported some Shirley-score-alike named Guido Cavalleri from Italy to work the de la Hoya-Mayorga affair. Cavalleri gave the third round to Mayorga – okay, he landed that right uppercut, but the left uppercut by de la Hoya earlier in the round was just as good – and somehow scored the fourth round even. “Even?” He must have had World War II a draw….Of course, Paul Smith of Nevada also gave the third round to Mayorga. That is just incompetent. At least Duane Ford, who with Roth and Dave Moretti are the best locals, scored it a shutout for Oscar.

MORE DIS AND THAT: Okay, let’s say something nice about King. He gave the Boxing Writers Association a $10,000 check to give to the Gerald McClellan Fund….Yoel Judah was the main cornerman for Mayorga. It may be his last work for a while. Tomorrow, he faces the Nevada commission in a hearing on his part, and son Zab’s, in the Mayweather-Judah mini-riot. Leonard Ellerbe, one of Mayweather’s assistants and close friend, will probably get a stiff fine when he too is judged tomorrow….There was an unusually large police presence at the MGM Grand before the fight. Someone said Zab Judah must be in town….Paid crowd was announced as only 13,076. Yes, boxing was on TV four straight days last week (and when was the last time that happened? Before my 1952 Bar Mitzvah, I guess), but when de la Hoya doesn’t sell out the house on the Cinco de Mayo weekend, maybe the game is slipping. Actually, I think the economy may be slipping; maybe it’s the price of gasoline, but when things are tough, fight tickets are not easy sells….MGM Grand crowd was so sedate during prelims I thought I was at a political debate. Even when de la Hoya’s arrival was flashed on the big screens, there was no reaction….Biggest cheer of intros was for Sylvester Stallone. Chant of “Rocky, Rocky” followed….I’m glad I looked it up. I almost wrote “Jimmy” Archer instead of Joey Archer as Ray Robinson’s last fight.

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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