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Articles of 2006

Undefeated Welterweights Attempt to Mimic Hitman and Sugar

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Undefeated welterweights Joel Julio and Carlos Quintana invade Las Vegas on Saturday for a chance to capture the boxing fans’ interest the same way two other legendary fighters did 25 years ago.

Colombia’s Julio and Puerto Rico’s Quintana (22-0, 18 KOs) meet at Caesars Palace on Saturday in a fight card promoted by Main Events. It’s the same location where Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns put welterweights on the map a quarter of a century ago. The fight will be televised by HBO and the winner moves on to fight for the WBA title.

“I’m ready to see what he has,” Julio (27-0, 24 KOs) said of his undefeated opponent Quintana. “I know he’s a good counterpuncher.”

Julio, 21, has amassed 27 wins with a blend of power and determination that seems rare in a weight division filled with many skillful and powerful fighters. This is the first major step for the Colombian who is trained by Buddy McGirt.

Quintana, 29, has quietly rolled to 22 victories without a defeat. The southpaw has 18 knockouts and has yet to meet an opponent as dangerous as Julio. Both fighters are crossing the line to another level on Saturday.

“I don’t have no pressure,” said Julio who is native to Monteria, Colombia but now trains in Florida. “It’s not about who hits the hardest, but who moves better for 12 rounds in the ring.”

Few of Julio’s matches last longer than a few rounds, but the young Colombian who stands 5-10 expects a stiff challenge with the Puerto Rican southpaw.

“His (Quintana’s) camp doesn’t believe I know what to do,” says Julio, who has failed to knock out only three of 27 opponents. Most of the knockouts came by the fourth round. “I think the winner is going to be whoever manages himself well in the ring.”

Hearns and Leonard

It was 25 years ago that two other undefeated welterweights met at Caesars Palace named Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. That fight set the benchmark for welterweights.

Hearns had crushed Mexico’s Pipino Cuevas a year earlier for the WBA welterweight world title and looked to be unbeatable at 6-1 in height, with long arms and shocking power. But arriving at the same time was 1976 Olympic gold medal winner Leonard.

Leonard had already endured two wars with Roberto Duran and was coming off a surprising knockout win over Ayub Kalule for the junior middleweight world title. It was a meeting that had to take place, like two runaway trains on the same track.

“Thomas Hearns was such a great fighter. His speed was phenomenal,” Leonard said when in Riverside a few years back. “And he has these long arms.”

Leonard and Hearns met on Sept. 16, 1981 at Caesars Palace for the undisputed welterweight world title and their contest was televised nationally. Fight fans witnessed a contest where each boxer’s superiority shifted back and forth with Leonard hurting Hearns early, then the Detroit fighter using his height, reach and speed to outbox the former Olympian for much of the fight. But in the 14th round, Leonard hurt Hearns once again and stopped him at 1:45. Hearns was ahead on all three scorecards at the time. The RING magazine called it the Fight of the Year. It’s considered by many to be one of the greatest welterweight fights of all time.

WBA welterweight title

The winner between Julio and Quintana is expected to meet Paul Williams for the WBA welterweight world title held by Ricky Hatton (who might be moving back down to junior welterweight). He’s also undefeated and recently erased Walter Matthysse’s undefeated record with a knockout in the 10th round last May.

Julio witnessed the fight on television and was impressed.

“He’s (Paul Williams) a good boxer. But I think that fight’s in the future. Right now I’m concentrating on June 24, says Julio. “The future we’ll see who is the greater welterweight champion. He’s well ranked but wait till June 24 to see who the next champion is.”

Other welterweights worthy of world title shots are Riverside’s Mark Suarez, Brazil’s Anthony Mesquita who fights out of Las Vegas, and former titleholder Luis Collazo.

Other great welterweight fights in history:

Henry Armstrong vs. Barney Ross
Hammerin’ Hank had grabbed the featherweight world title seven months earlier against Petey Sarron. Then, on May 31, 1938, he decided to move up all the way to welterweight where he challenged the Chicago boxing machine Barney Ross. The fight took place in Long Island and Armstrong, who was at his peak, had his way in winning a 15-round decision. Armstrong later said he could have knocked out Ross but did not want to embarrass the great fighter who never fought again.

Ted “Kid” Lewis vs. Jack Britton four-part epic collisions
Not many people today know about these two pugilists. Lewis, a native of London, England, and Britton, from upstate New York, fought four world title fights against each other. But also collided a total of 20 times in the ring. From 1915 to 1921 these two were like gasoline and fire. Britton had more than 340 professional fights while Lewis had more than 280. During that period of time boxing records were not accurate and some of the fights may not have been recorded. Who knows if Britton and Lewis fought another dozen times?

Barney Ross vs. Jimmy McClarnin trifecta
“He couldn’t hit you real hard but he was a terrific boxer,” McClarnin told Peter Heller about Ross in his book In This Corner. “He could stab you real good, make you look like a nickel, very embarrassing. But he was quite an attraction.” Ross and McClarnin battle three times from May 28, 1934 to May 28, 1935 with the Chicago fighter taking the first and third encounter by decision. McClarnin took the second fight by decision. All three were held in New York.

Kid Gavilan vs. Johnny Bratton
The Cuban slickster was at the height of his power in 1951 when he met Bratton for the welterweight title in New York City. Gavilan was on his biggest roll and Bratton was defending his title for the first time. The bolo punching Gavilan was just too much for Bratton. They fought three times and the best Bratton could get was a draw in their non-title bout in Chicago. They fought again in 1953 in Chicago, but Gavilan won another 15-round decision.

Carmen Basilio vs. Tony DeMarco
It was like the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees. DeMarco from Boston had knocked out Johnny Saxton in 1955 and was meeting New York’s rough and tumble Basilio two months after capturing the world title. The heavy-handed DeMarco was stopped by Basilio in Syracuse, New York and again in Boston five months later. DeMarco never won another world title and Basilio moved up to win the middleweight title.

Emile Griffith vs. Benny “Kid” Paret
They were bitter enemies. Paret had won the title by decision over Don Jordan in 1960 and was defending it for the second time against Griffith. Paret was stopped in the 13th round. In the 1961 rematch, Paret scored a decision win against Griffith in New York City. But in the third meeting held in March 24, 1962, Paret died 10 days later from injuries sustained from Griffith.

Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Trinidad
It was the undefeated Mexican-American facing the undefeated Puerto Rican on Sept. 18, 1999. The Mandalay Bay arena was packed with supporters of De La Hoya and Trinidad who combined had a total of 66 pro fights and 54 knockouts. A knockout was expected but what occurred was a display of boxing skill by the East L.A. fighter and some bad advice. He gave away the final three rounds and with it the decision to Trinidad. There were no knockdowns but plenty of debate. It’s still going on.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Joachime Alcine (26-0) vs. Javier Mamani (28-4-1).

Fri. Telefutura, 9 p.m., Victor Ortiz (13-1) vs. Lenin Arroyoa (14-5-1)

Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Robert Guerrero (17-1-1) vs. Gamaliel Diaz (20-5-2).

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch

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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 allAfrica.com, 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

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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

Featherweight

Chris John (Indonesia) #1
In Jin Chi (Korea) #3
Takashi Koshimoto (Japan) #5
Hioyuki Enoki (Japan) #7

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4

Bantamweight

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

Flyweight

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Thailand) #1
Takefumi Sakata (Japan) #7
Daisuke Naito (Japan) #10

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1

Minimumweight

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

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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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