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Articles of 2006

The Science of Boxing



So boxing isn’t an exact science, the calculations of perfect outcomes beyond plotted increments. And yet the metaphorical alliteration – the sweet science – sustains itself as poetic analogy, more than a hint of irony suggested in the compounding of sweet and science. What if we did indulge ourselves further, as if examining the fistic realm from the perspective of alternative science, formulas at the ready to try and put some of boxing’s illustrious past – near and far – into something like an exact(ing) perspective?

Thee most basic mathematical formula which one might use to investigate the fistic realm would be force x speed = power. We don’t necessarily think of George Foreman or Sonny Liston or Alexis Arguello or Archie Moore as being blessed with tremendous speed and yet their respective quotients of applied force, well, that’s never been called into question. Weight transferred, aliened with neuromuscular contraction along honed motor muscular stability, the force point moving through the target. Good night and down goes Frazier, Patterson, Mancini, and Durelle. Indeed, our calculations are only intimations of the empirical, with determining proofs counting only in the record books. But we do remember how nearly perfectly power was applied to Ken Norton in Caracas, punching with impunity, the final uppercut by Foreman cementing him into boxing history as the wrathful spirit of his era in heavyweight boxing, title belt or not, Zaire or not.

Speed does kill, does transmute substance into style and back again as in the searching or scorching punches of Sugar Ray Robinson, or his named-sake Sugar Ray Leonard and certainly pristine prime Roy Jones Jr., aka RJ.J. At this point we might as well make allowances for another calculable illusion, speed. Speed – force = m (mass) a (acceleration) – is real and illusory, rendering time, as in an opponent’s timing, a muddled insignificance. They have no time to defend, only a slipstream of movements to trace and paw after. The decisive moment of discovery and delivery are instances of received punishment, in multiples, disorientating or concussing. Ray Robinson made speed in a boxing ring up in lights, jazzed, cool. Willie Pep had made speed artful, dogging and reinventing definitions of mastery as defensive measuring. Muhammad Ali would make the signature of his telegenic speed applied transcendent, until Ray Leonard would make it the fashion statement of ultimate vanity, Macho Camacho and Roy Jones raving and rapping out speed as the ecstatic personification of over-the-top ego.

There was to all of them, save Robinson, more than a hint of denying the opposition anything, if at all possible, all the while living off flourishes of pure inject-able acceleration. We might digress to clarify this notion of acceleration by simply referring to Donald Curry or Terry Norris, the “Cobra” and the “Terrible” one, who made displays of instantaneous speed markers in time that Benny Leonard and Gene Tunney and Henry Armstrong would have recognized as part of their legacies to the sport they ennobled.

Average Acceleration = V end + V beg over time; indeed. The velocity from beginning to end could be calculated now, captured in high definition, near perfect resolution video telling us the launch point of a hook by Floyd Mayweather, with the aching velocity beginning only to end at the sub-cranial endpoint or the made in Montreal jawbone of the king of New Jersey, Arturo Gatti. Splat! The math or science adds up, in this example to what looked like criminal intent, displayed as unadulterated excellence proving that this bonanza of a super-promotion was no real fight at all. All of that average acceleration by Mayweather careening of the only slightly better than average edifice of the loveable “Thunder” Gatti was, from beginning to end, pillar to post, the real formula for disaster. There really was more than a hit of Ray Robinson and Carl Olson about Floyd Mayweather and Arturo Gatti, except that “Bobo” never did photograph anywhere near as well as Arturo.

Think of Jack Dempsey or Joe Frazier or Felix Trinidad letting go with their famous left hooks. Technically we could invoke the formula A = V2 over R to trace something like arch of the arm as a hook understood as the speed of the arm squared in relation to the radius of the hook. No, we don’t for a moment think that kind of mathematical awareness would have helped Jess Willard or Luis Firpo or Bob Foster or Jimmy Ellis or Maurice Blocker or Fernando Vargas or Ricardo Mayorga avoid the individual fates that befell them. The athletic and all too human application of scientific logic punched out by the all-time greats of boxing looks so much like inevitability, at least after the fact. Perhaps, John Tate would disagree, even if he could remember that fifteenth round against Mike Weaver. He was, after all, just forty-five seconds away – over 14 rounds – from successfully defending his WBA championship. Not that we can use mathematics or the science of bodies in motion to determine exactly why Weaver should have reversed what looked so plainly as his looming fate.

And boxers and their chief trainers give off signals that they have made plans amounting to the calculus of successful engagement. Mostly, they try to avoid talking in details about their plans, their fight plan secrecy suggesting that calculation makes all the difference, their collective efforts something more approachable than just probability. When the best laid plans go wrong or entropy or circumstance or opposing genius denies a fighter the execution of his version of the sweet science, chaos reigns. We might remember the formidable Danny Lopez walking into the sharp-shooting hail of punching excellence from a twenty-one year old Salvador Sanchez. Sanchez proved yet again, that great fighters do make things happen, turning assets into determination realized as the ultimate in attainment.

How cruel the science of boxing when the mathematics of application are reversed, as speed becomes the sword of humiliation as with Terry Norris dispatching the legend of “Sugar” Ray Leonard. Power also seems to ebb and flow, alternating fortunes, stripping titles only to restitute championships as with Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano. The true heart and nature of those contests are beyond empirical or statistical measure, except perhaps to suggest that like with the figure of Joe Frazier bouncing up and down off the canvas in Jamaica, January 22, 1973 against the 22-year-old George Foreman we can suggest the speed of a falling body. If we ignore the factor of resistance as incidental, g = v for velocity as speed, yet again, = the square root of – is it? – 2gd… well, we are close, perhaps, only save in the knowledge of gravity as 32f/s squared. Though Stanley Ketchel looked like poplar tree felled with one enormous swing of Jack Johnson’s axe. Frazier seemed to almost defy gravity, his body never set to rest, despite the repetition of Foreman’s applied power. And seeing or remembering Foreman taking the world championship in Jamaica, is to relearn the form and formula for applied power.

Artistry and aesthetic totality can also be turned into what seems like mathematical certitude; no matter how often boxing can also deny its existence. Larry Holmes proved that by extinguishing the iconic figure of Muhammad Ali in Las Vegas, the date, the excruciating points of reference not really mattering, except in Shakespearian terms. Only the fact that Holmes was his master, turned from pupil to executioner need prove how certain the measuring of falling bodies can become for those who try to deny the laws of the knowable universe, scientific or moral.

Then again, in boxing, the only certain outcome is determined by more variables than could reasonably be calculated. Misrule and chaos can be tamed by discipline and excellence for one fight, then another, but not forever. It can even take the form of planes crashing 2 miles south of Newton Airport, the ring only a memory. Even if we knew, could know, a fighter’s ultimate destiny such is the paradox no applied mathematics or scientific understanding can fully illuminate.

It’s just that in that ring, under the hot lights, we tend to see things with either emotional partisanship or clinical scrutiny, things most of us can only approximate.

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch



Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

Heavyweight contenders Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and James Lights Out? Toney get it on a second time this Saturday from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. (Showtime).

The hard-slugging Peter, unlike Toney, is one of those strong, silent types notorious for letting their fists to the talking one the opening bell sounds, but the Nigeria Nightmare is as confident as ever and determined to turn Lights Out’s lights out for good.

I have got dynamites in my two hands,? said Peter, according the Lagos, Nigeria Vanguard, and I will crush James Toney once and for all. The Toney camp made the mistake of their lives by protesting and seeking a rematch. I am ready to teach him a bitter lesson.?

Sam Peter walked away with the W for Peter/Toney I at the Staples Center in LA last September, but it was by disputed split decision a verdict so disputed, there was even a dispute about the dispute which forced the WBC’s hand into mandating Saturday’s rematch.

Samuel Peter is the biggest thing to hit African boxing since Ghanaian superstar Azumah Nelson rocked the feather and junior welterweight divisions. The President of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, Prince Olaide Adeboye, admitted, according to, We are rooting for Samuel Peter, of course. He is one boy we believe in to bring back the country’s lost glory in professional boxing. I am personally making arrangement to be at the ringside to see him fight Toney again. I was at the first fight in Los Angeles in September.

Peter has the brutal punch, and to me he was the clear winner of the first fight. But the WBC Board of Governors, of which I am a member, voted 21-10 for a rematch. There was nothing those of us Africans on the board could do in the circumstances. But I believe Peter will confirm he is better than Toney and will then go ahead to meet the champion and claim the belt for Nigeria and Africa.?

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia



There are claims that boxing is dying. Hogwash. The heavyweight division isn’t the only division in boxing and 2007 promises to be a banner year in boxing; especially for boxers hailing from Asia.

While Asia isn’t Vegas or Atlantic City, it is a region packed of diamonds in the rough; undiscovered gems and potential superstars who wait for their moment in the sun.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

1) Manny Pacquiao – There’s no way to dispute Pacquiao is the best fighter in Asia, if not all of boxing. He’s exciting, he wins with Je Ne Sais Quois and is definitely “the man” in boxing.

2) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Although his competition leaves much to be desired, his longevity and skills are undeniable. He is currently Thailand’s only world champion and is undefeated in ten years. Need I say more?

3) Chris John – A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, however controversial, shows he belongs at the top of the heap. He easily outpointed Renan Acosta to close out 2006 and should have no trouble defending against Jose Rojas in February. A fight with Pacquiao would not be a good move on his part but a rematch with Marquez would not hurt – especially if he defeats the Mexican again.

4) Hozumi Hasegawa – Hidden away in Japan, Hasegawa is a sharp punching southpaw who put former champion Veeraphol Sahaprom to sleep. He recently bested Genaro Garcia and his herky-jerky style will give fits to any one who steps in the ring with him.

5) Masomori Tokuyama – Tokuyama has never shied away from a good fight and although he only fought once in 2006 (UD12 Jose Navarro), he ledger shows wins over Katsushige Kawashima (twice), Gerry Penalosa (twice) and In Jin Chi (twice). A fight with Hozumi Hasegawa is a distinct possibility in 2007.

6) Nobuo Nashiro – With only seven fights under his belt he took on WBA champion Martin Castillo – and defeated him. Although he’s only fought a total of nine fights, nearly all have been against quality opposition. A victory in a rematch with Castillo would cement his claim as the king of the 115-pound division.

7) Yukata Niida – This light-hitting minimumweight defended his title twice in 2006, winning a technical decision against unbeaten Eriberto Gejon (Tech Win 10) and the other on points over Ronald Barrera (W 12). Scheduled to meet Katsunari Takayama early next year – the best has yet to come for this WBA belt holder.

8) In Jin Chi – Won back the title he lost to Takashi Koshimoto in January from Rudolfo Lopez. While there’s little uncertainty to his skills, at thirty-three, 2007 may provide some insight as to just how much he has left.

9) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai –Sor Nonthachai is an exciting, top-shelf fighter with an iron chin. Has no trouble making mincemeat of mid-level opposition and deserves a title shot in 2007. Time is running out.

10) Rey Bautista – He’s young, relatively inexperienced in big-time boxing, but will continue to shine in 2007. One of the better prospects in boxing, he should snag a title in 2007.

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #1
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9


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

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4


Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan) #2
Veeraphol Sahaprom (Japan) #3
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand) #6
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Thailand) #10

Jr. Bantamweight

Nobuo Nashiro (Japan) #1
Katsushige Kawashima (Japan) #7
Pramuansak Phosuwan (Thailand) #10


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

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1


Yukata Naiida (Japan) #2
Eagle Kyowa (Japan/Thai) #4
Katsunari Takayama (Japan) #5
Rodel Mayol (Philippines) #7

Boxing in Thailand

There’s no shortage of boxers in Thailand. With a huge pool of Muay Thai fighters to draw from and several talented amateur boxing prospects turning pro after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thailand seems destined to remain a boxing powerhouse in Asia.

The country is known for having tough, determined and disciplined fighters who give their all whenever the step in to the ring. However, consistently losing while fighting abroad and padding their records with no-hopers has done nothing to enhance their reputation.

Whether because of a lack of marketability, a lack of funds or their unwillingness to travel abroad, the vast majority of boxers from Thailand remain a mystery to fans in the west. If anything though, the boxing scene involving Thai fighters will be active. In fact, it’s one of the most active in the world; since 2000, the number of fights has nearly doubled in the country.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal
4) Wandee Singwancha
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan
9) Terdsak Jandaeng
10) Oleydong Sithamerchai

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight) – Definitely the top dog in Thailand

2) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (Super Lightweight) – He’s a seasoned fighter who has proven himself in the big-time. He’s one Thai who can fight outside of Asia. He has an abundance of skills and one-punch power. His overall ability and ease in dispatching anyone other than championship caliber get him the runners-up spot.

3) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Super Bantamweight) – After losing to Vladimir Sidorenko he’s bounced back. He’s young, he can punch, but the former interim champion needs to prove himself against a name fighter.

4) Somsak Sithchatchawal (Super Bantamweight) – Was his win over Monshipour a fluke or was Celestino Caballero just that good? Did Sithchatchawal catch Monshipour at the right time and can he rebound from the devastating loss? The jury is still out.

5) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (Super Lightweight) – Get this guy a fight. He’s better than Jose Armando Santa Cruz and would have beat up Inada had the fight taken place. He’ll fight anyone but his biggest obstacle is staying motivated fighting tomato cans in Thailand. Like many Thais, he needs a fight against a name opponent.
6) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

7) Pramuansak Phosuwan (Super Flyweight) – A genuine tough guy. Always calm and focused no matter how heated the battle. But at thirty-eight, he’ll be in trouble should he fight one of the division’s elite.
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Bantamweight) – Will be lucky to get another crack at the title. Although he has a puncher’s chance of winning a belt, that’s about all he has left at this point. A third shot at Hasegawa is unlikely.

9) Oleydong Sithamerchai (Minimumweight) – He’s fought better than the usual opponents faced by Thais at his level and he moves up one spot with the departure of Terdsak Jandaeng. He lacks the punch and is in the wrong division to become a superstar. He’ll need to defeat a name opponent to convince me.

10) Saenghiran Lookbanyai / Napapol Kittisakchokchai (Super Bantamweight) – These two square-off in early March, supposedly to see who deserves a shot at Israel Vasquez. Kittisakchokchai has the edge in experience but some feel Lookbanyai has the edge in heart and is the favorite.

Neither has defeated a top twenty fighter and yet are ranked number one and two respectively in the WBC’s world.

In Kittisakchokchoi’s lone shot at the big-time, he was TKO’d in 10 by Oscar Larios. His dreadful performance against Larios and lack of quality opposition leads me to believe Saenghiran might have more of a shot at beating him than some suspect. Regardless, neither of them lasts longer than six rounds with Israel Vasquez.

Honorable Mention: Wethya Sakmuangklang, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: #1 Flyweight
Pramuansak Phosuwan: #10 Jr. Bantamweight
Veeraphol Sahaprom: #3 Bantamweight
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin: #6 Bantamweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym: #10 Bantamweight
Somsak Sithchatchawal: #3 Jr. Featherweight
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9 Lightweight

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak



LAS VEGAS—UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell’s fists proved too much for Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz who was stopped in the third round before a sold out crowd at the MGM Garden Arena on Saturday.

The punching machine Liddell (20-3, 13 KOs) repeated his victory in UFC 66 over the much-improved grappler Ortiz who has improved his punching and blocking. Ortiz was trying to avenge his loss of April 2004.

Despite all the new weapons displayed by Ortiz it wasn’t enough as Liddell pummeled the former champion and retained his title with a technical knockout at 3:59 of the third round. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.

“This was the most satisfying victory of my career,” said Liddell, 36, of Santa Barbara. “Tito came back real tough.”

Ortiz (15-5, 8 KOs), a former wrestler, worked on his boxing technique knowing he would need it against the former boxer Liddell. But Liddell’s experience allowed him to find the right moment to pounce on Ortiz.

“I had him hurt, I just kept throwing punches,” said Liddell who also knocked down Ortiz in the first round with a left hook.

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

“Chuck is the best fighter Pound for Pound in the (mixed martial arts) world,” said Ortiz, 31, who suffered a gash on the side of his left eye from a punch. “I’m disgusted by myself. I let my fans down.”

Other bouts

Underdog Keith Jardine (12-3-1) knocked out Forrest Griffin (13-4) at 4:41 of the first round in their light heavyweight showdown. A right uppercut followed by a left hook wobbled Griffin who was sent to the floor by a barrage of punches. On the ground Jardine landed right after right until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight for a technical knockout.

“I couldn’t believe he was hurt,” said Jardine about Griffin who is known for his resiliency. “I was so nervous coming into this fight, but now I know I belong here.”

Canada’s Jason McDonald (18-7) choked out Chris Leben (15-3) in a middleweight bout that was up for grabs. Though Leben seemed to control the fight with stunning left hands, once the fight went to the ground McDonald managed a chokehold at 4:03 of the second round. Referee Steve Mazagatti saw Leben was unconscious and stopped the fight.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (12-5) caught Brazil’s Mario Cruz (2-2) with a sneak right hand while both were tangled on the ground. Then the Belarusian pummeled Cruz until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:15 of the first round.

Third season winner of the Ultimate Fighter television reality season Michael Bisping (12-0) of Great Britain won by technical knockout over Eric Shafer (9-2-2) at 4:29 of the first round. A knee knocked Shafer groggy then Bisping knocked him to the ground and pounded him. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bludgeoning.

Thiago Alves (16-4) caught Peru’s Tony De Souza (15-5) with a knee as he attempted to dive for his legs in a welterweight contest. After that it was pretty much over as Alves pummeled De Souza at 1:10 of the second round forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout.

Gabriel Gonzago (7-1) proved too strong for Carmelo Marrero (6-1) in a heavyweight bout. At 3:22 of the first round Gonzago of Massachusetts manipulated his way into arm bar forcing Pennsylvania’s Marrero to tap out.

Japan’s Yushin Okami (19-3) pounded Georgia’s Rory Singer (11-6) into submission at 4:03 of the third round of a middleweight bout. Okami seemed the more-rounded fighter with effective kicks to the head and more accurate punching.

Christian Wellisch (8-2) jumped to a quick start with an accurate left hook that rattled Australia’s Anthony Perosh (5-3) in a heavyweight bout. During the first round it seemed the Sacramento fighter might end the fight but the Aussie hung tough. Wellisch won by unanimous decision.

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