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Articles of 2006

Hatton-Collazo Fight Predictions



This Saturday night live from Boston in a fight broadcast on HBO, Ricky “Hitman” Hatton moves up in weight to challenge Luis Collazo for his WBA welterweight title. Since his destruction of Kostya Tszyu and Carlos Maussa in 2005, expectations have been running high for Hatton, and for good reason, but Collazo’s no slouch, far from it, and Ricky will have to do what he does best – overwhelm his opponent with relentless high-volume punching – which is exactly what he’s coming to America for. This is how The Sweet Science writers see Hatton vs. Collazo.

You have to wonder why Ricky Hatton would bother with the welterweight division. He is so effective and comfortable at 140 that it's a mystery as to why he'd move up seven pounds to a place where he may be physically overmatched. He'll be giving up seven inches in reach and three inches in height to Collazo, who, if he's smart, will box and utilize his natural advantages. Hatton's squat build doesn't appear to translate very well to the new division, and it's more difficult for brawlers who depend on strength and determination – and not speed – to pack on the pounds and fight naturally bigger men. Hatton is a special fighter, so he should get by a Collazo. But, given his physical disadvantages, it sure won't be easy. Hatton by split decision.
Matt Aguilar

Ricky Hatton has passed every test that has been put in front of him. That’s how he got to be 40-0 with 30 knockouts. Fighting a slick southpaw and natural welterweight on his home turf is just one more test that the Englishman is going to pass. Hatton’s vast experience includes a strong 2004, in which he knocked out Ray Oliveira and Michael Stewart, two fighters who had never previously been stopped, and an even stronger 2005, in which he knocked out Kostya Tszyu for the IBF title and Carlos Maussa for the WBA title. Even at a higher weight, his relentless pressure and volume punching will be too much for Luis Collazo, who was stopped in his only loss and owns just twelve knockouts in 26 wins. Hatton overwhelms the WBA welterweight titlist for a middle round stoppage.
David Berlin

Ricky Hatton has KOed much better fighters than Collazo. The Hitman convinced an all-time great like Kostya Tzyu to stay on his stool. Besides, Hatton won 30 of his 40 fights by KO and is still undefeated. He is also used to be the star of a major event, as he sold-out MEN Arena in Manchester many times and that’s a 20,000 seats building. On the other hand, Collazo has beaten only two major opponents (Jose Antonio Rivera and Miguel Angel Gonzalez) and is not used to the big time. I don’t think that he is more motivated because Hatton wants badly to make an impression on the U.S. scene and that’s enough to motivate anybody. Hatton by KO.
Luca De Franco

Like a lot of people, I picked Kosyta Tszyu over Hatton and took a severe verbal beating from a handful of blokes from “over there” when Hatton won. I'm not going to set myself up for that kind of abuse again. Even though he's moving up a weight class and he's fighting over here, I can't see him losing to Collazo. Hatton wins by TKO in the eighth round.
Rick Folstad

Hatton is in for a very rough night against smooth southpaw with fast hands. An upset is certainly not out of the question. It's probably the way to bet, but I have a feeling Hatton will have home court advantage on HBO and squeak out a decision.
Michael Katz

Hatton is the prohibitive favorite to not only win but to win by a knockout. Seeking some major pay-per-view outings, Hatton understands he has to win and win impressively if he's going to establish a 'presence' within the North American sporting industry. That's why he let go of his title belt and has lined up Collazo; presentation and packaging are critical at this juncture for Hatton. Hatton can be cut and he's let his weight soar at times in the last three years, and yet all the incentive he's ever dreamed about stands before the English bomber. If that isn't enough for Hatton to train hard and wreak havoc on Collazo, well, then the Tszyu fight was just the young lion gorging the old lion and not a suggestion of anything like greatness.
Patrick Kehoe

A year ago we picked Kostya Tszyu to beat Hatton, but Ricky's going to have to show a lot of slippage before we'll ever bet against him again. The ease with which Jose Rivera handled Terra Garcia last weekend is literally the only thing that gives one pause here, since when they fought a year ago Rivera couldn't put a dent in Collazo, but it's almost impossible to go against Hatton in this one. The promoters appear to be looking at half a house in the new Garden, and at lease half of those figure to be Brits, so it's going to be more of a home game for Ricky than for Collazo. Throw in what he's got on the horizon and it's actually a much more meaningful fight for the putative challenger than for the champion – not that this title is particularly meaningful anyway. And forget the fact that Hatton is moving up in weight. The 7-pound divisional jump gives him a chance to come in closer to his walking-around weight. Even when he had to make 140 he was usually 152 or so by fight time, which is just about what he'll be on Saturday night. Collazo will be game while he lasts, but Hatton will be too much for him. We like the Brit by a mid-round stoppage.
George Kimball

Squeaking by a drained Jose Antonio Rivera and beating a shopworn Miguel Angel Gonalez is enough to make Collazo the WBA welterweight champ. But it doesn't make him a world beater…and only one of those is gonna best Manchester's finest. In fact, the pitbull Hatton may be that much stronger at 147, his fragile skin (now hydrated) less susceptible to cuts. The southpaw Collazo is a cutie and, on paper, looks to frustrate Hatton. By the middle rounds – say the 6th – is when the Brooklynite will wish he was facing The Hitman on paper and not in 3-D. That's when he gets stopped.
Zachary Levin

Say what you want about Ricky Hatton, the fact remains he's 40-0 and in the last two years has proved he's more than legitimate. I'm not yet convinced by Luis Collazo however. Hatton's in a different league and this difference of class will show midway though the fight. Hatton via KO in round eight.
Scott Mallon

Moving up against a fairly dangerous opponent like Collazo is pretty brave for Hatton. But it seems to me that he still has enough momentum in his favor to outpoint Collazo over 12 tough rounds.
Robert Mladinich

Hatton’s coming here to wow America – not to win. Collazo fits the profile: good skills, no slouch – a champ…credible. But to most, he’s an opponent to kick off Ricky’s bandwagon I’ve not seen Collazo, but word is: He’s got an educated jab, good legs and some stones. He’ll need all of them – and some pop – to keep from being run over. The fly in the ointment: He’s a southpaw. Eamonn Magee, another portsider, had Ricky doing staggers in the first round with a straight left a few years ago…”Exposed” flashed to mind. But he survived with the W. That’s then. This is now. But you can bet Team
Collazo has eyestrain watching that video. Seeing it is one thing, doing it another. If Collazo’s gritty, as I understand, he may last six. Bring on “Blue Moon”; I’m tired of “Rocky.”
Joe Rein

I don't know much about Collazo. One thing I do know however, is that with the exception of his last two title fights, his last ten opponents before that presented an embarrassing combined record of, get ready… 90-91-8 (who cares how many KO's). Meanwhile, the relentless Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton has not been in with an opponent with anywhere close to a .500 record since 1999. That doesn't even matter though. What does matter is that Ricky Hatton is a psychotic maniac in the ring and he will plow through whatever… or whoever is put in front of him. The only opponent I honestly believe can defeat Hatton right now is “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather. I do think it would be a great fight, one in which “Pretty Boy” would not come out so pretty. Hatton would give him trouble through the first six rounds, trouble that he's never been in before, but using his untouchable ring wisdom, Mayweather would figure out the puzzle that is Ricky Hatton. But until that happens, let's focus on the fight at hand. Collazo is not known as a big puncher, but even if he was… it wouldn't matter. Hatton isn't afraid of getting hit considering he isn't the most pleasant looking one in the bunch. I think he's looked in the mirror enough times to know why he isn't called “Pretty Boy.” Hatton wins this one in brutal fashion, TKO in 7.
Alex Stone

Collazo does not have the pop to keep the relentless Hitman off his arse. An upset is not in the making. Ricky is on the verge of the big, big time. He's not going to muck it up by looking past Luis. Hatton TKO4.
Michael Woods

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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