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Articles of 2006

Boxing and the Law: Judah-Mayweather and Its Aftermath



The better man won. And he won by outperforming his opponent in the ring. That is as it should be. But the melee that erupted in the tenth round of Judah-Mayweather, and how that melee was handled after the fight, revealed what is wrong and what is right with boxing.

On Saturday night, April 8, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather met Zab Judah in a welterweight showdown. Judah started fast, using speed and straight left hands to take three of the first four rounds. Mayweather took over in the fifth. Behind a solid defense, Mayweather wore down Judah with a steady attack to the body. His effective and consistent body work set the foundation for a possible late round knockout. But Judah, looking to avoid that fate, did what Floyd’s trainer and uncle Roger warned him might happen if Zab got in trouble – Zab got dirty. Twice. Near the end of the tenth round, Zab hit Floyd below the belt and followed the low blow with a rabbit punch. Referee Richard Steele called time to give Floyd a chance to recover from the illegal one-two combination. And then the trouble began. 

Roger Mayweather, incensed that his forecast had come true, jumped into the ring and went after Zab. Yoel Judah from Zab’s corner and Leonard Ellerbe from Floyd’s were not far behind. Quickly the ring filled with cornermen and security men, leaving in doubt whether the fight would continue. It took several minutes to clear the ring, and to eject the offending Roger from his nephew’s corner. Steele, known for stopping fights too early, rightly allowed this one to go forward. The timeout called to give Floyd a chance to recover from the illegal blows, and the several minutes of chaos that followed, gave Zab the time he needed to recover from Mayweather’s debilitating body attack. The fight went the distance, and a refreshed Judah even won the final round. But it was not enough as Mayweather earned a clear-cut unanimous decision.

When the fight finished, the politics started. Don King didn’t like the result of the fight – so he tried to change it. That’s what Don King does. In 1990, when Buster Douglas dominated a seemingly invincible Mike Tyson en route to a sensational tenth round knockout, King attempted to erase his fighter’s loss by claiming that Douglas was given a long count when he was dropped by a Tyson uppercut in the eighth round. This time he argued that Floyd should have been disqualified when Roger Mayweather entered the ring. King’s henchman Bobby Goodman wrote a public letter invoking “the integrity of the sport” in calling on the Nevada State Athletic Commission to change the result of the fight. Then Don King himself spent fifteen minutes preaching to the Commission that his fighter Zab should be declared the winner.

The Nevada Commission, to its credit, rejected the self-serving efforts of Don King and his minions to steal a victory where his fighter could not earn one honestly in the ring. It upheld the decision of Richard Steele, who used his discretion well when he allowed the bout to continue after the ring was finally cleared in the tenth round. Nevada Administrative Code Rule 467.662 states that “[t]he referee may, in his discretion, stop a contest. . .if an unauthorized person enters the ring. . .during a round.” The Commission had no reason to interfere with the referee’s use of his discretion in choosing NOT to stop the contest. If Steele’s judgment can be questioned at all, it can be argued that he should have deducted points from Zab Judah for the low blow and rabbit punch that precipitated the tenth round melee. In fact, the referee had the authority not only to deduct points but also to disqualify Judah for his fouls. (Bobby Goodman forgot to mention that in his letter.) But it is a point not worth arguing. Mayweather was far ahead on the scorecards at the end of the tenth and the outcome of the fight was not in serious question.

Nevada’s most important decision in the fight’s aftermath was to uphold Floyd’s victory. Some say that the Commission had no choice since the local sports books had already paid the winners who put their money on Floyd. Cynicism certainly has its place in boxing, but not here. Floyd won the fight in the ring, and when a fighter shows his superiority inside the ropes, he should not have that taken from him by anything that goes on outside the ropes.

The Nevada Commission also acted appropriately in targeting for punishment those who misbehaved during the melee. Where a contestant or participant “[i]s guilty of an act or conduct that is detrimental to a contest or exhibition of unarmed combat, including, but not limited to, any foul or unsportsmanlike conduct in connection with a contest or exhibition of unarmed combat,” the Commission has the power to discipline that person. It meted out harsh but fitting punishment in the aftermath of the April 8 incident. At an April 13 hearing, it hit Roger Mayweather with a $200,000 fine, Roger’s entire share of his nephew’s purse, and revoked his license. At a hearing held on May 8, the Commission disciplined the other offenders in the melee. It fined Yoel Judah $100,000 and revoked his license. It fined Mayweather cornerman Leonard Ellerbe $50,000 and suspended his license for four months. And it imposed the harshest sanction on Zab Judah, who joined the fray once the cornermen entered the ring, fining him $250,000 and revoking his license. The hefty fine reflects the fact that for Zab, this is the second time around. On November 3, 2001, at the MGM Grand, Zab suffered a technical knockout at the hands of Kostya Tszyu; when referee Jay Nady waved off the fight in the second round, Zab reacted by shoving his gloved fist into Nady’s neck and throwing a stool. That conduct cost Zab $75,000 and a six-month suspension. Joe Brown, one of Nevada’s five commissioners, called the Brooklyn native “a recidivist in this state” in explaining the Commission’s decision to impose the most severe penalty on Zab.

“A person whose license has been revoked cannot reapply for a license for a period of one year,” says Keith Kizer, chief counsel for the Nevada Commission at the time of the Judah-Mayweather fight and now its new executive director. Unfortunately, the revocation of the Nevada licenses of Zab and Yoel and Roger, and the suspension of Leonard Ellerbe’s license, may not prevent other states from licensing them. The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act states that “no boxer is permitted to box while under suspension from any boxing commission due to. . .unsportsmanlike conduct or other inappropriate behavior inconsistent with generally accepted methods of competition in a professional boxing match.” The participants in the tenth round melee were disciplined by Nevada for precisely this reason, their unsportsmanlike conduct. However, the Ali Act, on its face, only applies to boxers, thereby leaving an opening for Yoel Judah and Roger Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe to find work in other states. As for Zab, although the Ali Act seems to require that other commissions abide by the revocation imposed by Nevada, there is already talk in the boxing community that New York and New Jersey may allow Zab to fight. And in light of the decision in the case of Joe Mesi, where a Nevada judge held that the Nevada Commission had no authority to continue the suspension of Mesi’s license once the license itself expired, it seems doubtful that other commissions will be required to respect the ruling of Nevada when Zab’s license expires on the last day of 2006. Whether the revocations imposed by Nevada will be respected by other commissions remains an open question, and potentially diminishes the severity of the sanctions. It highlights once again the need for uniformity in boxing, the need for a national commission which can enforce its rules and its standards throughout the United States.

Still, the heavy fines send a clear message that Nevada, at least, will not stand for conduct that disrupts the orderly progression of a bout and that damages the image of an already damaged sport. Indeed, the very fact that Nevada has the ability to impose such heavy fines indicates its seriousness in working to curb misconduct inside the ring. When Mike Tyson took two bites out of Evander Holyfield’s ears at the MGM Grand on June 28, 1997, the Commission imposed the maximum possible fine of $3,000,000. This may seem like a lot, but it represented a mere ten percent of Tyson’s purse. At the time, the law allowed for a fine of $250,000 or ten percent of a fighter’s purse, whichever was greater. Nevada reacted to the relatively light penalty imposed on Tyson for his barbaric conduct by amending the law. Now the Commission can impose a fine of $250,000 or 100 percent of the fighter’s purse, whichever is greater. Armed with this power, the Commission has used it to good effect. It has made a clear statement that boxing has rules, and that those rules must be followed.

The Nevada Commission borrowed a page, or at least a line, from referee Joe Cortez, who is also based in Las Vegas. At every fight that Cortez referees, when the fighters meet in the middle of the ring prior to the first bell, Cortez speaks his final words, “I’m fair but I’m firm.” That’s the message that the Commission is sending to boxers and their seconds who work in Nevada. It is fair but firm. When Roger Mayweather asked the Commission to reconsider what he considered an excessive fine, the Commission firmly rejected his request. It is a good bet that the other participants in the melee will receive the same response if they request reconsideration of their fines.

Part of being fair but firm is imposing appropriate penalties on those guilty of misconduct. The other part is making certain that only the guilty are punished. In upholding the victory of Floyd Mayweather, the non-offending fighter, Nevada demonstrated its fairness.

Floyd Mayweather not only fought a disciplined and intelligent fight, but exercised discipline and intelligence in staying out of the fray. In earlier days, “Pretty Boy” Floyd presented himself as a gangster wannabe. But like Shakespeare’s Prince Hal, whose youthful misbehavior provides a backdrop against which his later displays of responsibility and leadership shine particularly bright, boxing’s pound-for-pound best exhibited his growth as a man and as a fighter. Floyd, who recently signed with the William Morris Agency, kept his new image intact and conducted himself like the professional he has become. Floyd did everything right on April 8, and it is appropriate that he was not made to suffer for the misconduct of others.

The melee that interrupted the tenth round of Judah-Mayweather was bad for the fight and bad for boxing. But the Nevada Commission dealt with the incident appropriately. The hope is that Nevada’s response will curb such conduct in the future, that it will dissuade other fighters and other cornermen from breaking the rules. If so, the Commission will have accomplished its purpose, and done some good for boxing. The hope is also – since boxing does not have a national commission – that other state and tribal commissions will respect and abide by the revocations handed down by Nevada, and will follow the example set by Nevada. Only by enforcing the rules, only by insisting on appropriate behavior in the ring, will boxing be able to improve its image and attract fans who now view boxing as a sport out of control.

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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