Connect with us

Articles of 2006

Make Some Space Sugar Ray, Here Comes Bernard Hopkins



When a middleweight beats a light heavyweight, especially a world champion, that’s something special.

Bernard Hopkins 12-round unanimous decision victory over light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver nailed his claim as one of the best middleweights and pound-for-pound boxers of all time. Now he can retire with a win.

Move over Sugar Ray Robinson, move over Harry Greb and move over Marvin Hagler, dust off a space for the Executioner after his dominating win over Tarver on Saturday in Atlantic City.

It was a Hall of Fame performance.

Hopkins, 41, whose hero is Robinson, proved his ability as a master boxer with a near flawless strategy that immediately was unveiled when the bell rang for the first round. Few believed the Philadelphia prizefighter capable of winning let alone making Tarver into his own Kewpie doll.

“It was a fantastic performance,” said Emanuel Steward, the famed boxing trainer who witnessed the fight ringside.

The piercing right hands of Hopkins ripped through Tarver’s gloved defense like a laser and often produced a look of surprise and confusion on the former champion. Never before had Tarver been manhandled by any light heavyweight, let alone a beefed up (or vegged up, Hopkins is vegetarian) middleweight.

“It just wasn’t my night,” Tarver (24-4, 18 KOs) said shaking his head. “I give all credit to Hopkins. He’s a great champion.”

After losing his middleweight title and the eventual rematch to Jermain Taylor last year, the hard-nosed Hopkins decided to step in the ring one more time, two weight divisions higher and chose Tarver after a fight with Roy Jones Jr. was nixed by HBO.

Against Jones, many favored Hopkins because of his ability to box and move. But against Tarver, he entered the ring a solid 3-1 underdog.

“I love being the underdog,” Hopkins (47-4-1, 32 KOs) said.

Before the fight Tarver, 37, had expressed contempt that a smaller man could even contemplate fighting him.

“Hopkins has made a serious mistake,” Tarver said eight weeks ago while in Los Angeles. “It could prove fatal to his health.”

But once the fight began it was obvious that Hopkins was much quicker and more experienced as he landed right leads, moved quickly side-to-side and counterattacked with abandon.

“I just used the moves of Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles and [Archie] the Mongoose Moore, to keep him spinning and rolling my shoulders and get out of there,” explained Hopkins.

Despite facing the taller and supposedly stronger Tarver, Hopkins felt all along he would win.

“I’m used to fighting southpaws,” said Hopkins who has fought left-handers Robert Allen and Carl Daniels, as well as John David Jackson, who worked as an assistant trainer in the Phillie fighter’s corner for this fight. “I’ve never had a problem with them.”

It was Tarver’s powerful left hand that made him the favorite. That left hand had knocked Roy Jones Jr. out cold in their second meeting and left a blistering impression on many.

“He’s got a pretty good punch,” Hopkins offered. “But people underestimate I take a good punch.”

Tarver’s left hand rarely made contact as Hopkins defense befuddled and proved impenetrable.

“He had a helluva game plan,” said Tarver, whose eyes swelled from the pounding. “I saw the openings and was just a step too late every time.”

Now Hopkins can fulfill his mother’s wish for him to retire. The two losses to Taylor last year soured his goal to retire then. But last weekend’s win put a winning and everlasting glow on his career.

He’s on top of the world ma.

“He’s a great champion. A legend,” said Tarver willingly. “All praise to him.”

Best middleweights of all time

1. Sugar Ray Robinson (173-19-6, 108 Kos) – His real name was Walker Smith Jr. but other than that, you only need to know he was one of the best to ever lace up a pair of boxing gloves. His colorful style and lightning hands influenced many fighters to follow including Muhammad Ali. He beat a long list of terrific fighters such as Jake LaMotta, Carmen Basilio, Rocky Graziano and Kid Gavilan to name a few between 1940 and 1965.

2. Harry Greb (263-21-15) – They called him the Human Windmill and those who fought him faced a nonstop punching machine. He was only 32 when he was killed in an automobile accident ending his career as one of the most feared middleweights of all time. A list of fighters he beat reads like a Who’s Who of boxing from 1913 to 1926.

3. Marvin Hagler (62-3-2, 52 Kos) – The southpaw from Brockton, Mass., fought and beat the best in an era filled with great middleweights. Marvelous Hagler’s most notable win came against fearsome Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns in a three-round affair in 1985 that remains a must-see for boxing fans.

4. Carlos Monzon (87-3-9, 59 Kos) – Anybody who saw Argentina’s Monzon fight during the 60s and 70s recall his long arms and awkward looking style. He never looked strained or concerned, but slowly he would figure out his opponents before drilling them senseless. His 14 straight world title defenses set a record for middleweights but has since been broken. He died in a car accident.

5. Mickey Walker (109-21-4, 58 Kos) – Known as the Toy Bulldog, Walker was a glamour boy of sports along with Babe Ruth and fought from welterweight to heavyweight. The native of Elizabeth, New Jersey was an aggressive but skillful fighter who oozed toughness. Some of those he fought were Soldier Bartfield, Mike McTigue, Jock Malone and Greb.

6. Bob Fitzsimmons (54-8-7, 47 Kos) – Most people know Fitzsimmons as the man who knocked out Gentleman Jim Corbett with the famous “solar plexus” punch in a heavyweight bout. Few remember he began as a middleweight capturing the world title in 1891 against Jack Dempsey in New Orleans. He never lost again as a middleweight spanning five years before moving up to heavier competition. He was 50 when he quit.

7. Stanley Ketchel (53-4-5, 49 Kos) – A murderous puncher, Ketchel was known as the Michigan Assassin. Despite a huge size difference, he challenged heavyweight great Jack Johnson and dropped him with a punch. That resulted in Johnson knocking him out within seconds, but his fame as a heavy-hitter was set. He was shot and killed at age 24.

8. Tiger Flowers (132-17-8, 54 Kos) – Anybody who beats Harry Greb not just once, but twice, deserves to be recognized as one of the best middleweights. Flowers, a native of Georgia, died in 1927 at the young age of 32 following surgery to his eye. He defeated Greb for the title in Madison Square Garden and later lost to Walker. He was never given a rematch.

9. Charley Burley (83-12-2, 50 Kos) – A slick boxer-puncher who never got a chance to fight for a world title. Burley fought fighters no one else would fight such as Ezzard Charles, Holman Williams and Archie Moore. In his fight with the Mongoose, he dropped the future Hall of Famer three times en route to a unanimous decision at the Hollywood Legion Stadium in 1944.

10. Mike McCallum (49-5-1, 36 Kos) – Though he fought at the latter end of an era where the middleweight division was filled with stars, few allowed the Jamaican-born puncher McCallum a shot. Known as “The Body Snatcher,” his best victories came against Milt McCrory, Donald Curry and Julian Jackson. He never got a chance against Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns or Marvin Hagler.

Israel Vazquez Retains Title

WBC junior featherweight titleholder Israel Vazquez needed three rounds to convince Ivan “Choko” Hernandez’s corner that maybe he had enough. At the beginning of the fourth round it was over.

Vazquez proved once again that he just could be one of the top prizefighters in the world. Even HBO commentators Jim Lampley and Emanuel Steward chimed in that Vazquez should crack the top 10 of the pound-for-pound list by boxing publications.

After unifying the IBF and WBC titles, Vazquez decided to dispense with the former belt in favor of the much coveted (by Mexicans) green belt of the WBC.

Managed by Frank Espinoza, the Mexico City native now lives in West Covina and has been under the tutelage of Freddie Roach for several years now. Ironically, a stablemate of Vazquez also deserves consideration as one of the best fighters in any weight division: Martin “Gallito” Castillo.

Fights on television

Wed. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Oscar Diaz (24-1) vs. Chris Smith (20-2-1)

Fri. ESPN2, 7 p.m., Anthony Peterson (17-0) vs. Adan Hernandez (14-4)

Sat. HBO, 6:30 p.m., Jermain Taylor (25-0) vs. Winky Wright (50-3).

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.?

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading