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Articles of 2006

Dis and Dot’s All, Folks

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LAS VEGAS, Aug. 4 – You can connect the dots, but that doesn’t mean they go anywhere….Tomorrow’s latest edition of dueling dates has four nice fights, but none of them seem capable of chasing the summer doldrums….Well, next week I’ll have Dennis Rappaport for inspiration. It’ll probably lead me to look for a job as a foreign correspondent.

The HBO bouts from Madison Square Garden tomorrow night are both competitive betting fights, at least according to my friendly neighborhood bookmaker. Vernon Forrest is somehow a slight favorite (minus $1.65) over Ike Quartey (plus $1.45) in the main event between two middle-aged former welterweights who have gone up to 154….In another intriguing junior middleweight matchup, the talented Kassim Ouma is “only” – I use the word advisedly – a minus $1.35 choice over the undefeated Sechew Powell (plus $1.15).

Up at Lake Tahoe, Showtime will feature the Marquez brothers in a pair of bouts with belts on the line, but I can’t find a line on them, which is an indication perhaps that the foreign challengers are not too highly rated, except by the (in)appropriate sanctioning bodies. Nonetheless, it is always good TV to see the Mexico City boychiks. Silence Mabuza of South Africa, who was stopped in four bloody rounds by Rafael, demanded a rematch and now the masochist has it….Rafael, who last I looked was No. 8 on my pound-for-pound list, says this is his farewell to 118 pounds….Juan Manuel, still at 126, goes for another WBOgus title against Terdsak – and yes, there have been jokes about the poor guy’s name – Jandarng of Thailand.

Thanks to the wonders of tape delay, I’ll be able to get in all four bouts so, please, nobody call with any early results….Speaking of Nobody,  that’s who Roy Jones Jr. fought last week before a half-empty (no, not half-full) house in Boise, Idaho. Prince Nobody was only slightly more animated than a heavy bag after his first-round attack left him out of breath….”I’m glad the dude won,” said John Hornewer, who used to be one of Roy’s attorneys before walking away from the deluded egotist long before Jones lost it. Horny couldn’t watch, but from what he heard, he said he was afraid Jones would continue his make-believe career. “There’s no one around him to stop him,” said Horny, mindful that the Levin brothers are also gone.

Yes, Li’l But Bad Stevie Johnston was too li’l for Vivian Harris, but give Vicious some credit as he stamped himself as still a major player in the 140-pound division. Johnston is going back to 135, where his courage and heart should get him another payday – and possibly another beating….Meanwhile, Joshua Clottey’s workmanlike victory over Richard Guttierrez Rodriguez will probably get him Antonio Margarito on Dec. 2. Clottey’s got a shot….Sultan Ibragimov was a big disappointment in his draw with the slow-starting Ray Austin. Yes, he could become a heavyweight champion, but no, he’s nothing special.

Love Bob Arum waving the flag almost as furiously as Don King does with his trumpeting of next weekend’s Hasim Rahman-Oleg Maskaev WBCounterfeit belt as America’s last line of defense against the Soviet invasion. Arum was not even embarrassed when Maskaev, who lives in Staten Island, protested that he was an American citizen….Rahman, though, was buying. He said “never before I felt like I put my country on my back.” The Rock’s a good guy, but I don’t quite picture him as George Washington II.

I want to know if this guy, Jeremy Bates, that Evander Holyfield is fighting Aug. 18 in Dallas is a man or motel. I can already imagine the shower scene afterwards. I suspect both contestants might be liable to vertigo….Yes, it’s for the birds and enough Hitchcock, who you probably didn’t spot in the first paragraph.

Speaking of Holyfield, Hornewer said if Jones, coming off his victory against John Ruiz, had been able to get the old champ into the ring, it could have been a great finale to Roy’s career, with maybe a Mike Tyson fight thrown in, too. Horny said the problem was Don King owed Holyfield $2 million and insisted that the $10 million purse for the Roy Jones fight included that old debt. Holyfield insisted on $10 million for the fight, plus the $2 million the promoter owed. “Maybe if Roy had chipped in $1 million,” said Hornewer, “they could have made the fight.” Instead, the proud Jones opted to return to 175 pounds and got knocked out in his rematch with Antonio Tarver. And that’s how he became history.

I think the reason Jones went to Boise was to get the incompetent Jerry Armstrong to be the referee. Armstrong absolutely refused to let Prince No Badi Amaju work inside….No Badi had a brave corner – when the Prince of Camden, N.J., mentioned “I can’t breathe” after the eighth round, he was still sent out to take some more body shots.

Juan Manuel Marquez, who lost in the jungles of Indonesia to Chris John – those who have seen tapes say it was, well, if not a robbery, a rather dubious decision – said tomorrow “I come to the fight to prove I am still Juan Manuel Marquez.”…Rahman was knocked out of the ring, virtually onto Jim Lampley, by Maskaev in a 1999 Atlantic City bout that almost started a riot (there was no Rock Newman around to blame, though). The Rock’s family and friends were sitting on the same side as the HBO “talent” and rushed to see how their man was doing. The A.C. security overreacted – hey, how were they to know it was Rock’s people? – and the next thing, there’s a big skirmish….Now the Maskaev camp is requesting the Nevada State Athletic Commission to “pad” the floor around the ring, just in case….Someone asked Rahman if he minded the obvious Dennis Rappaport attempt to get in his head. “You can’t play mind games with me,” Rahman said…Rappaport also says that Rahman wakes up every morning in a cold sweat, dreaming bout Maskaev’s right hand. I hope Mrs. Rahman does not mind Dennis the Menace’s proximity to her husband.

Chris Byrd would love to fight O’Neil Bell, the true cruiserweight champion. Bell would love to meet the two-time heavyweight world titlist. But Jose Sulaiman has ruled that Bell must make a mandatory defense first against Jean-Marc Mormeck, whom he upset in their unification bout in January….Mormeck jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 after beating a lamp-post, but Sulaiman says the new Nos. 2 and 3 should meet to face the Bell-Mormeck winner. Fair enough?…Hell no, unless you think Sulaiman is the puppet of Don King, who happens to promote Mormeck, not Bell, and would not cry too long if his old sparring partner, Byrd, gets hurt….Bell should do the right thing and shove the belt….Oh, never mind….Meanwhile, Byrd possibly could meet perennial Canadian cruiser contender Dale Brown by year’s end….See where Dandy Dan Rafael of espn.com breaks the news that if Rahman beats Maskaev – and why is he only minus $2 to win when he should be minus $5 and I don’t care about 1999 – he could next defend the Sulaiman belt in Macao, or Macau, which is down the shore from Hong Kong. Arum’s Vegas buddy, Steve Wynn, is opening a glitzy casino in Macao, an old Portuguese enclave on the South China coast, this fall and a Rahman defense would certainly be a nice sideshow. Too bad there are no Chinese heavyweight contenders at the moment.

PENTHOUSE: Me, not only did I buy the Roy Jones Jr. show – hey, the Arthur Williams-Kenny Keene was fun until Keene started taking a terrible beating for which his corner should be moved to the OUTHOUSE – but I managed to get in Vicious Vivian Harris’s blowout of game Stevie Johnston and Joshua Clottey’s grueling victory over Richard Guttierez. Plus, without missing my Friday dose of Monk, I got to see the Sultan Ibramigov-Ray Austin duel that should have eliminated both from title considerations. If I’m not careful, I might get as bad as Dandy Dan.

OUTHOUSE: No Badi here but Ajamu. Hey, if he didn’t want to fight, he should’ve just quit instead of trying to take the low road to get out of his beating from Roy Jones Jr. He obviously was hitting Jones low in order to get disqualified. He was docked three meaningless points and allowed to take a beating for all 12 rounds.

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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