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Articles of 2006

Frogger’s Best Shot (Sweet Science Fiction)

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The Fourth of July square dance was an affair Reid Choate had looked forward to ever since he was old enough to do so. The dancing never appealed to him. His main enjoyment came from seeing people he had not seen in quite some time. As a kid, it was a good time to see the buddies he had not seen since the last day of school. Since graduating from high school, the square dance had become a mini class reunion.

“Daddy, can I get some cotton candy?” asked his daughter, Amanda.

Reid pulled two crumpled one dollar bills from his wallet and handed them to Amanda. She scurried off in complete happiness. A child’s fascination with cotton candy never ceased to amaze him. It was stickier than ice cream and ate away at the corners of his mouth. The only solace was that the vendors at the square dance only charged two dollars. The vendors at Ringling Brothers charged ten.

“Gimme some of that,” said his son, Frank, when Amanda returned.

She opened the bag and let Frank grab a hunk of the bluish sugary wool. Their mother, Debbie, reached over Amanda’s shoulder and took just a pinch.

“I’ll bet you I could eat a whole bag of this,” said Amanda, the sides of her mouth already blue.

“I’ll bet you can’t,” said Frank.

“Well we’re not going to find out,” said Debbie.

Reid tore off a little piece of the candy.

“Ain’t no way either one of you is having much,” he said.  “Eat more than a handful and you’ll end up puking your guts out.”

“We made Patrick Lane eat a whole bagful of it at the fair last year,” said Frank. “He didn’t hurl.”

Debbie grabbed Frank’s arm and turned him towards her.

“You did what?” she asked.

“When Ms. Rollins took us to the Tennessee Valley Fair last fall, a bunch of us pinned Patrick in the corner and made him eat a whole bag at one time,” answered Frank.

Reid stopped walking and looked at his wife for a moment, hoping she would handle the scolding herself. When she just stared right back at him, he looked to the ground and sighed.

“Son,” he said. “I ain’t gonna put up with you pickin’ on a kid who’s smaller than you or weaker, and I definitely won’t have you doin’ it while a bunch of boys are cheerin’ you on.”

Debbie frowned. The band had stopped playing but there was an unusually loud commotion erupting by Silo’s Bakery, which sat on the opposite end of the town square where the dance was held. They all looked over to see that folks were walking up to shake hands with the biggest athlete to come out of Ashburn County since Bobby Lee, an NFL linebacker from the 1950s.

“Who’s that?” asked Amanda.

Reid picked up his daughter and rested her on the crook of his arm.

“That’s Kermit “Frogger” Dalton,” he said. “He went to high school with your Momma and me and then set out for Philadelphia after we graduated.”

“Philadelphia, Tennessee?” she asked.

Reid smiled.

“Nah, Sweetie. There is a much bigger Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. He went there and became a professional boxer and did pretty good. He fought as a welterweight.”

“What’s a welterweight?” asked Frank.

“He weighed 147 pounds and fought other guys who weighed that much too,” answered Reid. “Y’all ever heard of Shane “Machine Gun” Viturbo?”

“He’s a champion, isn’t he?” asked Debbie

“Was,” said Reid. “He’s retired now. Kermit fought him for the title about five years ago. He lost, but made enough money to buy his own car dealership. You know what they call it?”

His family blankly stared at him.

“Frogger’s Ford,” he said with a high pitched laugh. “Does pretty well from what I hear.”

“Doesn’t he look good kids?” said Debbie.

Reid glared at her. She said that only because she thought he was being too hard on Frank. But she was right. For all those in the Class of ’91, Frogger looked like he had taken the best care of himself. He certainly had added a little padding to his fighting weight but was 160 or 165 at best. His hair looked like he had required more than a barber’s touch and his polo shirt and khakis were definitely designer wear. It did not give Reid any solace over the expanding mound protruding from his overalled belly. And the smooth-legged wife on Frogger’s arm only reminded Reid that Debbie seemed to have little concern for her blackening incisor and fraying strawberry blonde hair.

“He’s a little too pretty by my standards,” said Reid.

Frogger continued to press flesh in the crowd, giving hugs, and smiling constantly, all the time scanning the square dance’s attendants while doing so. When his eyes met Reid’s, they narrowed and a scowl appeared on his face. Reid pressed his first two fingers against Debbie’s elbow to turn her in the opposite direction.

“It’s getting awful late,” he said, “and we ain’t gonna have a free night all week with revival and all.”

Despite Amanda and Frank’s protests, they turned in the opposite direction of the crowd towards the old Western Auto lot, where Reid’s truck was parked. Once Frogger saw them leave, he ended the pleasantries and broke away from the crowd to follow Reid at a breakneck pace.

“Hey Reid Choate,” he maliciously screamed.

They were 20 feet from the truck, close enough to get in and drive off, but Reid stopped. He sighed and turned around to face Frogger, who was within striking distance of him. The two stared at each other before Debbie punctuated the silence.

“Why hello Frogger,” she said. “You’re lookin’ good.”

“That your Ford Ranger with the ‘If it ain’t King James, it ain’t Bible’ bumper sticker?” asked Frogger.

“Yeah.”

“Interesting,” said Frogger. “I never remember you witnessing to anybody when we were in school. What would you say if I told you that I was a Scientologist?”

Reid feigned a smile.

“Not much,” he said. “As long as I knew you knew that Jesus Christ was your savior.”

“What if I didn’t?” asked Frogger.

His jaw muscles clenched.

“Then I would pray that you found him,” said Reid.

“You mean you wouldn’t beat me into doing so?”

“That ain’t my way no more,” reiterated Reid.

Frogger grinned and turned to Frank.

“Did you know your father when it was?”

Frank shook his head. Reid let out a deep sigh.

“Frogger, can’t we settle this in private?” he pleaded.

“No,” said Frogger. “We can’t.”

He bent down to Frank.

“Your father gave more boys more wedgies than anyone in the history of the school,” said Frogger.

Frank gave a snorted chuckle.

“Laugh,” said Frogger. “That’s the nicest thing he ever did to ‘em.”

“Frogger, please,” begged Debbie.

He shot her a seething grin and continued.

“I’ve hated your father ever since career day in the seventh grade,” said Frogger. “My dad had a forklift overturn on him when I was little. It messed his back up and he couldn’t work. When we were going around the class discussing careers, I asked ‘What do you say if your dad is on disability?’ You know what your father said? He said, ‘Then you put bum.’ And from then on, he always called my dad a deadbeat and would make fun of his walk. My dad has his own hot tub now to soak his back. You got one of those Reid?”

Frogger looked over the crowd that had surrounded them.

“Then I started boxing,” continued Frogger. “The closest gym was in Sweetwater, and working out there I made a lot of friends, some of whom were black. Your daddy ever used the word nigger around you?”

Frank shook his head.

“Back then,” said Frogger, “it was neck and neck with the F-word for him. One day when we were seniors, my friends and I were up at Indian Boundary Lake for the day. They happened to be African-American. They didn’t want to go at first, but I assured them that it would be fine. We went swimming, walked around the lake. We got back to my jeep around 6:00 and found that our tires had been slashed. All four of them.”

Reid looked down at the ground.

“No one was around,” said Frogger. “There’s a payphone there, but none of us had any change. So we sat there for three hours hoping someone would happen to come by and give us a ride, or at the very least some change. Didn’t happen. No one showed up. So we began the 15-mile walk back to town. Of course, you know this town. No one would pull over and give three black kids a ride. We made it to the Full Tank around 5:00 in the morning. My friends never had anything to do with me after that night. Said I shouldn’t have kept assuring them that everything would be okay.”

Frogger looked behind him to see that the band was still playing, but the crowd’s focus was on the two them.

“A few months later, somebody told me that you did it,” he said. “I doubt if I asked you now that you would deny it.”

Reid paused, glancing at the crowd before finally staring at his family.

“No,” he said. “It was me.”

Frogger gave himself a congratulatory nod and smile.

“I knew it,” he said. “You know, sometimes when I was in the ring, I would envision that my opponent was you.”

“Well, you should be thankin’ him then,” said Debbie. “You seem like you’ve done pretty well for yourself.”

Frogger nodded.

“Got a beautiful wife. Baby on the way. Last year, I pulled in $750,000. You still hoping to get on first shift at the plant?”

Reid ran his thumbs under the straps of his overalls.

“Actually,” he said, “I’m kind of partial to thirds. Gives me more time with Frank and Amanda.”

Frogger squatted and stared directly at Amanda.

“You kids got your own room, or you still waiting for daddy to finance a bigger trailer.”

The bag of cotton candy hit the ground.

“You little—”

Reid charged forward, but Frogger stood up, stepped back, and raised his fists.

“Come on,” said Frogger.

A crowd rushed over. Debbie grabbed the back of his overall straps.

“Reid,” pleaded Debbie. “The police will put you in jail.”

“Not for him,” said Reid. “Frogger if you want to do this, let’s go over there right where the square dance was. That way we can have a crowd, and you can make it up to all of us who paid $49.95 to watch you last 79 seconds with Machine Gun Viturbo.”

Frogger pushed his tongue against the roof of his front teeth and then motioned Reid towards the town square parking lot. He walked past Frogger and Debbie ran to his side.

“Do you want your kids to see this?” she asked angrily.

He turned 45 degrees in her direction to reveal his wall of stubbornness. Thirteen years of marriage had taught her that it was useless to press the issue.

The band had recessed playing and a crowd had gathered around the two of them as they stood in the center of the lot. Reid recognized all of them except the out-of-towners. Many went to Chadwick Hill Baptist Church with him. He was taking in the frowns on their faces when Deputy David Gibbons entered his line of vision.

“Reid,” he said. “I can’t let y’all do this.”

“Sure you can,” said Frogger. “We’re not hurting anybody.”

“Shut up Frogger,” said Gibbons.

“David,” said Reid. “We’re just gonna wrestle around a bit. Anything gets out of hand, you can make us stop.”

Gibbons gave half a grin and sucked his teeth before walking away. Reid pulled a pack of Red Man chewing tobacco from his front pocket and put a chaw in his right cheek. During his teen years, its juice had been his greatest pugilistic weapon. Even the nastiest of the nasty lost a step when hit with tobacco spit, and if a shot landed in someone’s eyes, they might as well run in the other direction.

The crowd had cleared away, but it did not diminish the heat. Reid could feel the beads of sweat streaming down from his armpit to his waist. Even Frogger’s blown-dry aura was beginning to moisten. A small wet patch had appeared on the chest of his pink polo.

“You sure you don’t want to take that off?” asked Reid.

Frogger shook his head.

“Don’t need to.”

“It must’ve cost you at least fifty dollars at that Men’s Wearhouse,” argued Reid.

Reid held out his hands diplomatically. Frogger condescendingly showed his teeth.

“I don’t shop at the Men’s Wearhouse,” he said. “And I’m guessing you don’t either. This came from Brooks Brothers. And it cost way more than fifty dollars.”

Reid nodded. I’m going to kill this little worm, he thought. Frogger was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 160 pounds. Reid stood six foot two inches and weighed 215 pounds. There were always stories about little guys dancing around, taking potshots at big men. However, the victims of that were tall, plodding oafs, something Reid was not.

Not taking off that pink polo will be the death of him, thought Reid. Frogger would charge in, ready to fire a few jabs at Reid’s chin, and step back. The minute he did, the tobacco juice would fly, not in Frogger’s face, but all over that expensive shirt. He’s a prizefighter, thought Reid. It won’t faze him for long, but it will slow him long enough for me to box his ears and bring him down to the ground.

Reid extracted every bit of juice possible from the brown mound in his cheek and stared directly at his opponent. Frogger had already raised his fists, which seemed a little premature to Reid. As he stared closer at his opponent, he realized why. The difference in size had finally registered with Frogger and was apparent by the bewildered frown across his face.

This is going to be easy, thought Reid. He took one quick look at the crowd, stopping to study Frogger’s wife briefly. Her face showed many emotions, none of which were worry, concern, compassion, or supportiveness. He turned back to Debbie, Frank, and Amanda. Debbie looked as if she wanted to cry and Amanda had her head buried in her mother’s stomach. Frank looked at his father and punched his fist with his hand.

“You ready?” asked Frogger.

Reid nodded, his mouth too full of spit to talk. He put his fists up and stepped towards Frogger. Much to Reid’s surprise, Frogger did not charge him. Instead he circled with Reid, seemingly studying his opponent. After a few circles, Reid stepped back and hocked all of his tobacco juice onto the ground. His opponent’s refusal to charge told him everything he needed to know. In Frogger’s materialistic world, he could have beaten Reid by simply walking in front of him with his pretty wife in tow. But life imitates sport, and as Philadelphia fighters often did, Frogger let his pride get the best of him. In life, however, Reid decided to go easy on him. After he lowered his arms, Frogger tilted his head.

Don’t come a chargin’,” said Reid.

“What are you doing?”

“Frogger,” said Reid, “you’re right. I did do you wrong, and for that I am truly sorry. I wish I could do or give you something to make up for it, but the Lord has blessed you beyond the point of me being able to provide you with anything of real value. However, if that is not enough, I will give you the opportunity to take one shot at my left cheek.”

Frank’s eyes widened. Debbie lowered her head. Frogger looked relieved and disappointed at the same time as he lowered his hands.

“You do know that my right cross is my best shot, don’t you?” he asked.

“Yeah,” said Reid. “And if you need to do this, I want you to hit me as hard as you can. Because one shot is all you get.”

Frogger nodded and lifted his hands. As he set his fighter’s stance, Reid tightly crossed his arms and clenched his fists. He gritted his teeth. The wad of Red Man stayed tightly wedged between his jaw and cheek. Frogger stared at him intently, before lowering his hands. Reid breathed a sigh of relief and unloosened himself.

“So are y’all even?” asked Gibbons.

Reid turned to look at his family. When he did, Frogger launched a vicious right fist into his jaw. Reid could feel tears well up in his eyes as tobacco juice burnt his throat. A sharp pain went through his right shoulder as he hit the asphalt.

“Now we are,” said Frogger.

The bystanders looked at Frogger, mostly with disapproval.

“You definitely forgot where you came from,” said an older lady in the crowd.

“My home’s in Philly,” he said, as he and his wife made their way to their Mercedes.

Reid slowly picked himself up off the ground. When he stood straight up, he wiped the blood away from his lower lip.

“You all right?” asked Debbie.

“He didn’t even make me swaller by ‘baccer,” said Reid.

Debbie rolled her eyes.

“Something every woman hopes to hear,” she said.

“Frank, come here,” said Reid, as he motioned to him.

Frank walked over and Reid put his hand on his shoulder.

“That guy that just punched your daddy; he beat some of the best boxers of his era and makes more in a month than I do in a year. But he doesn’t seem very happy, does he?”

“No,” said Frank.

“Part of that is probably because I was mean to him when he was growing up,” said Reid.

“You just did a few things,” said Frank.

Reid shook his head.

“I did a lot more than that. So when you pick on somebody, you may think it’s funny at the time. But you may be hurtin’ that person for life.”

Frank nodded.

“You’ve gotta choice,” said Reid. “When we get home, you can go get me a hickory or you can offer your right cheek to Patrick Lane this fall. I’ll let you think about it on the way.”

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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