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Articles of 2006

“Are You Lou’s Son?”



“Are you Lou’s son?” mumbled the old flat-nosed pug.

The young middleweight, annoyed, looks up from bandaging his hands. “Nope.”

The old pug shuffles over to a welterweight. “You Lou’s son?”

The welterweight, lacquered with sweat, stops his shadowboxing. “What?”

“You Lou’s son?”

“Nah,” frown the welterweight and continues punching the air.

The old pug shuffles on to a heavyweight. “Are you…”

That’s why I quit fighting. I didn’t want to end up like that old punch-drunk fighter, looking for Lou’s son.

I hated fighting. But that’s exactly why I fought. Figure that one out. I never did.

Lou’s son is the promoter’s son. There’s always a problem at these boxing shows.

Maybe a fighter is over-weight, under-weight, or doesn’t show. Happens all the time. I wasn’t a bad fighter. I threw a decent left hook and I trained hard. I won a few bouts. But my parents were happy when I quit and entered college. That’s when I started hitting books instead of people. Now, 25-ish, I’m happily retired. No more black eyes, no more bloody noses.

No more cheering crowds.

I must admit, after quitting, I was relieved. But my blood has never pumped as fast. I’ve never been so exquisitely exhilarated. It’s like something has been subtracted out of my flesh. Now I am just a face in the crowd.

I still attend fights. I can’t pry myself away. It stays in your blood. That’s why I’m backstage, watching the fighters loosening up in the dressing room. Tonight it’s New York vs. New Jersey, an amateur fight card in Totowa, New Jersey, promoted by Lou Duva.

I’m watching all of these nervous, young thugs and seeing myself. Some are swiveling their thick necks, some are escaping into sleep and some are thwapping loud punches onto their trainers’ punch-mitts. All of them are camouflaging their fear. Waiting in the dressing room was the worst. Too much time to think.  You ended up imagining things. The thought of a punch in the nose always hurt worse than the actual punch.

I spot a sleepy middleweight in the corner, sporting the young felon look. He’s wearing a black porkpie hat and black leather jacket. Violent clothing. He’s chewing a toothpick. That was me. I secretly wonder if I could beat him. Bet I could.

On the table are boxing gloves. I slip one on and tap my jaw. Eight-ouncers. Hard as a rock. I clench my teeth and tap my jaw again – harder. I lost my last fight. Maybe I should get back in shape and have one more fight. If the promoter needs a quick fill-in tonight, I wonder if I could do it. Bet I could.

Suddenly, someone taps my shoulder. The old pug. “You loose, son?”

I break into a cold sweat…

…How did this happen? I’m actually stepping into a pair of white satin boxing trunks, getting ready to fight. My boxing shoes are already laced.

“You 165?” mumbles the old troll.

I nod. Well, the last time I looked I was.  

“A little soft,” he mumbles, pointing to my belly.

“Who am I fighting?” I whisper, looking around the room. A trickle of sweat slides down my side. My heart is beginning to thump.

“Don’t know,” he shrugs. He throws me a stick of gum. “Here.”

My gum theory was this: chewing before a fight saps energy. Chewing was okay only after a training session, after my jaw muscles had been punched raw – chewing stretched the sore muscles back.

“No, thanks,” I say, waving him off. But I start, nervously, chewing the skin on the inside of my cheek.

What did I get myself into?

A certain black fighter, sitting in the corner, is scowling at me. He’s, obviously, emotionally sick. He’s just sitting quietly in the corner, seething with anger and hate, just staring at me. What did I ever do to him?

I always comforted myself with the bizarre thought that, even though a black fighter might live in the ghetto, I was a ghetto. I prided myself on my emotional sickness. My mental sickness, somehow, counterbalanced his physical talent. But that was four years ago. In college, I read Thoreau and Kant and worked hard to lose my emotional sickness. I wish I had some of that sickness tonight – it’s gasoline.

“You sure you’re loose, son?” asks the pug, tossing me dirty handwraps.

“Yeah,” I said, swiveling my neck. But was I?    

I had sex two nights ago. I wasn’t properly pent up. Sex is death. At least for a fighter.  He should be celibate two weeks before his fight. Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier – all celibates. Last week, I masturbated. Twice. I could kick myself.

I look down at my hands. Damn. My nails are much too long. My theory was by clipping my fingernails as short as possible, it made my hands much quicker. Less weight. More aerodynamic. I clipped my toenails, too.  

“Excuse me, you have nail clippers?” I ask the pug. “I need to trim my nails.”

“No time for that,” he scoffs. “Wrap your goddamn hands.”

I start wrapping my hands. I’m yawning with nervousness and I notice my fingers trembling. “Who am I fighting?”

“Dunno,” he shrugs. “Stop askin’ me.”

I spot a white fighter sitting in the far corner, quietly seething. I don’t appreciate the way he’s glaring at me. His bulging muscles are making me nauseous and I sense I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to go back home and hop into bed.  

The crowd outside is cheering. Probably a knockout.

“You sure you’re loose, son?” asks the pug. “You look squirrelly.”

“I’m good,” I say. But my testicles are shriveling up into my belly. I hate when that happens. I’m sweating bad.

“Here,” he says, grabbing my shoulders with his gnarled hands, “I’ll rub you down.”

“No, thanks,” I say, pulling away. I always refused rubdowns before a fight. My thinking was a rubdown might, somehow, break down my muscles and confuse my muscle memory.

“Okay,” he grunts, “have it your way.”

I sit back and try to relax. But my socks are sweat drenched. This room I’m sitting in is infested with monstrously muscled middleweights, angry light-heavies and seething heavyweights. Each kid is wallowing within his own pungent anti-social delusion. Each kid is itching to explode. It’s difficult to relax.

The pug points with his whiskered chin, “That’s you’re boy.”  

Sitting next to me is a muscular, white thug smirking.

“Who’re you smirking at?” I want to say, but I don’t want to get him angrier than he already is. I remember when I enjoyed fighting a white fighter. I always liked punching someone who reminded me of myself. But that was years ago. Now, my left eye is twitching and my head is throbbing.

“Wood and Johnson! You’re up!” yells a voice.

My blood is racing; the crowd is cheering.

I’m finally walking down the aisle…up the steps…I slip through the ropes into the ring.


…Suddenly, I’m lying on the dressing room floor. The faces bent over me look distorted. “Son, you okay?” asks a voice.

“Someone get the doctor!”

A hand is slapping my cheek.

Another hand is shoving smelling salts up my bloody nose.

My head is pounding. Did I get knocked out?

“What happened, Jake?” asks a voice.

“I dunno,” shrugs the pug.

“What the hell did you do?”

“Nothin’, Lou, I swear!” blurts the old pug. “The kid’s eyes just rolled back and he fainted dead away.”

“Jesus! What did you do to him?”

“All I did wuz ask him a question!”

“What did you ask?”

“Are you Lou’s son?” mumbled the flat-nosed pug.

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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