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Articles of 2006

Baldomir-Gatti Fight Predictions

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Live Saturday night from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ (HBO), Carlos Baldomir defends the welterweight belt he won from Zab Judah against the indefatigable Arturo Gatti. The Argentine Baldomir has a granite chin, nerves of steel, and is hungrier than Jersey’s favorite son, but Gatti’s resurgent boxing skills and kamikaze ethos should make for a thrilling fight. This is how The Sweet Science writers see Baldomir vs. Gatti.

Ok, so Carlos Baldomir beat Zab Judah pretty handily, and Judah would destroy Arturo Gatti (right?) if they ever fought. So why is Baldomir a slight underdog against Gatti? Shouldn't Baldomir be a runaway favorite? Didn't Gatti look horrible against the pedestrian Damgaard in his last fight? Am I stalling for time on my prediction? Absolutely. In a fight that gives new meaning to the word bloodshed, Baldomir by unanimous decision.
Mitch Abramson

I think Baldomir is too strong and solid at this weight. I don't think Gatti will be able to hurt Baldomir if Zab Judah couldn't. Gatti's only hope will be to box smartly for twelve rounds. Baldomir by twelve round decision or a late fight stoppage.
Ralph Gonzalez

Gatti by unanimous decision or late KO in an exciting match that will bring out the best of his abilities – the boxer and the action brawler.
Amy Green

Even up, you have to like Gatti's superior boxing techniques – but at the inflated 2-1 odds in Arturo's favor, I think the gritty Baldomir is a worthy bet. If he could catch up with Zab Judah, he should be able to eventually slow down Gatti. This is a big welterweight fight; unfortunately none of the big welterweights – including the 3M's of Mayweather, Mosley and Margarito – are in it. Baldomir by decision, or conceivably by TKO on cuts is the tepid pick here.
Michael Katz

Arturo Gatti fighting Carlos Baldomir is the kind of fight that Gatti should win… a guy who's not a big banger without top end punching speed who relies on getting inside to be effective of the distance… other than Ivan Robinson, who was quick, this is the exact kind of fighter that Arturo Gatti handles most effectively… Gatti and Pat Lynch and trainer Buddy McGirt understand that Baldomir beating Judah was a stroke of kismet for them and Gatti will never have this kind of chance for what amounts to a universal championship.
Patrick Kehoe

As Buddy McGirt pointed out earlier in the week, the undisputed welterweight title should by rights have been at stake in this fight. Although he is the younger of the two, Gatti is surely the oldest 34-year-old boxer in captivity, and at this stage of the game there probably aren’t a lot of top welterweights he can beat, but Baldomir would appear to be one of them. Unlike Judah, you can take it for granted that Gatti will come to fight, and unless – and this is always a big if – he's stopped on cuts, we like Gatti by decision.
George Kimball

Baldomir beat Judah when Judah looked awful and that is how he arrived on our screens. We know he will keep coming at Gatti because that's the way he fights, and we saw how Gatti boxed and moved in breaking down Thomas Damgaard in his last bout. Gatti hits harder and is faster than Baldomir. The fact that Baldomir has been a welterweight for longer doesn't concern me much, Gatti has been blowing up after weighing in at 140 so the weight isn't an issue. I think Gatti is more likely to box and move and pick Baldomir apart as he continues to come at him. It's not quite the matador vs. the bull theory . . . but if it turns out that way who would you rather be on? Carlos has a good chin which he needs because he defense isn't all that good but the fact he gets cut over the eyes is a concern against a guy who can hit like Gatti. Both can become bleeders but still, I see Baldomir as being the one who gets cut up as Arturo may be stronger at 147 than at 140 . . . scary thought!
Joey Knish

Arturo Gatti has proven himself to be a warrior time and time again but he's also reinvented himself as a boxer under Buddy McGirt. Mixing boxing with slugging works for Gatti and he'll give more than he'll take. It won't be pretty, it won't be easy, but it will be a “W”. Arturo Gatti via unanimous decision.
Scott Mallon

Although Baldomir has a well-deserved reputation for winning fights he's expected to lose on the road, it is hard to imagine him losing to Gatti. Gatti has been beaten by several light-hitting opponents such as Ivan Robinson, but Robinson was a masterful boxer. While Baldomir is very tough and resilient, Gatti should be able to outbrawl or outbox him. Assuming Gatti doesn't get seriously cut, he should win a clear-cut decision. Gatti W 12.
Bob Mladinich

You got to love boxing when a guy like Carlos Baldomir who’s been in it forever can still step up and win a credible world title. I saw Baldomir the first time about a decade ago when he scored a very controversial draw against Dingaan Thobela in a WBC International welterweight title fight that was being sold as an elimination to face Oscar De La Hoya. Of course neither got that opportunity and while Baldomir did not impress me, he does have the ability to defuse big hitters. He’s got a head on his shoulders and that will be key in his match with Gatti. While my heart says Gatti should win, my head says we could see another points victory going Baldomir’s way.
Deon Potgieter

This is a fight I don’t want to miss — not because boxing’s future lies in the balance; it has the makings of a great scrap: Gatti, paper skin or not, can still bang. Every time he’s been beaten or outclassed, it’s been by a much quicker guy. Baldomir’s there to be hit. Any guy Gatti can keep hitting will fall – no matter how much Corazon. Baldomir’s bigger and stronger, but his chin doesn’t have muscles. Gatti by TKO in a bloodbath.
Joe Rein

Arturo Gatti says bet the house on him because he's not only the better boxer in this fight, but the better puncher as well, and of course he's fighting in his favorite playground, Atlantic City. I wouldn't risk everything or even a significant wager on Gatti as he's going to have his hands full with the hardnosed Carlos Baldomir who's determined to show us that his victory over Zab Judah was no fluke. He's also got some Argentinean magic in his corner with Amilcar Brusa who trained the legendary Carlos Monzon. The styles of these two should make for an exciting and bruising fight, and after going back and forth on this one, I give a hesitant nod to Gatti to win a close decision. The fact that Baldomir doesn't have the fastest hands and will stay right in front of Gatti all night gives the Jersey boy a legitimate chance, but don't bet the house on it.
Benn Schulberg

If Arturo Gatti can consistently move Carlos Baldomir to the ropes, he will voluminously punch his way to the welterweight title. If Baldomir can stay in the center of the ring, Gatti will have a frustrating night. In what seems like a pick ‘em fight to me, I am going to go with Gatti because his resiliency has made me eat crow on more than one occasion. Gatti by unanimous decision.
Aaron Tallent

Just call me King of all Wusses. I'm seeing a draw here. Similar motivation levels, ages, Gatti slightly slicker boxer, Baldo with better durability. If the judges behave themselves, I see a draw, and a helluva fight…
Michael Woods

If Gatti wins this his financial options go through the roof once more. If Baldomir comes through again, he'll be even more of a high risk – low reward commodity. Both men will be equally motivated. Gatti can always get fragile or ancient before your eyes, but it won't happen yet. Gatti by entertaining TKO somewhere between the 8th and 10th.
Phil Woolever

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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