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Articles of 2006

Goodness Has Nothing to Do With This Card – It’s Great



LAS VEGAS, Sept. 15 – Mae West said, and I quote, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful,” but it is doubtful the great comedienne was talking about tomorrow night’s card at the MGM Grand Arena.

(For you juvenile delinquents who think Arturo Gatti was a great fighter and may not have heard of Mae West, she also said, “When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad I’m better,” “A hard man is good to find,” “I feel like a million, but one at a time,” “To err is human, but it feels divine,” and, of course, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime – when I have nothing on but the radio.” Tell me what other boxing website offers adult education?)

Three championship bouts and each favorite is less than 2-1. But let’s not the oddsmakers define this $45 pay-per-view card. It doesn’t get much better than when the promoter predicts one of the prelims might be the fight of the year and it might not be the prelim of the night.

Oscar de la Hoya, said promoter, was talking about the all-Mexico City matchup between 122-pound champion Israel Vazquez and Jhonny Gonzalez, a bantamweight moving up a division. I’m talking about Jorge Barrios of Argentina defending his 130-pound title against Joan Guzman, a stylist moving up from 122 pounds.

Of course, to describe two such hot fights as “prelims” is a bit condescending. These two fights give the card a depth seldom seen on pay-per-view shows. But the main event remains the main event – a truly great fighter, Marco Antonio Barrera, showing his greatness by giving a rematch to the young lion, Rocky Juarez of Houston, who almost upset him four months ago.

“If I wasn’t fighting,” said the personable Juarez, “I’d be here to see the fight.”

Barrera may be the best Mexican fighter in history, though when I asked my good buddy, Rafael Mendoza, about it, he shook his head, said, “Maybe, but for me, it is still Ruben Olivares.”

Mendoza, a former journalist who acts as agent and broker for Mexican television and has been affiliated with boxers from Daniel Zaragoza to Miguel Canto to Pipino Cuevas, is of course well aware of such giants as Julio Cesar Chavez and Salvador Sanchez. Plus, he believes that Barrera, at 32, may not be as “finished” as some people think following his close call against Juarez in May.

“I think he will have no problems this time,” said Mendoza. “I think he has several fights left in him.”

He sees Barrera, who has said he intends to retire after 2007, beating the winner of Manny Pacquiao-Erik Morales III, which he sees as Pacquiao “since Morales first has to fight his weight,” which means avenging a knockout loss to the Filipino slugger. Mendoza then thinks Barrera will move up and add a lightweight title to become the first Mexican to win championships in four different weight classes.

These are lofty goals, which de la Hoya reminded Barrera, his Golden Boy Promotions associate, when the Mexican called to demand a rematch with Juarez.

“I told him I wanted this fight,” said Barrera the other day, “and he said, ‘Marco, you don’t need this fight.’ But I said it was a personal debt I had with myself, with my promoter, with my public.”

“Barrera fights with pride,” said Juarez. “I feel he feels he lost the fight, that’s why he gave me the rematch.”

Barrera was easily able to talk his promoter into making the dangerous rematch (in May, the erstwhile Baby-Faced Assassin was a 4-1 favorite, here he is only 3-2). De la Hoya said he couldn’t talk his promoter into giving him a rematch with Pernell Whitaker after he scored a controversial decision over Sweet Pea.

“As a fighter, I wanted to leave no doubts,” he said. “I think I would’ve done a lot of damage (to Whitaker in a rematch).”

He said he “absolutely” asked for the rematch, “but there was a tremendous problem.”

He meant his old buddy, Bob Arum. “It didn’t happen because it was out of my hands,” said de la Hoya. “The difference is now fighters can control their careers.”

De la Hoya said he didn’t think Barrera was in top shape last May.

“He looked a little puffy,” he said, “kind of reminds me when I fought Felix Sturm. I think Rocky Juarez surprised everyone, including Barrera. He’s a great fighter and I never saw him look so fit, so tight.”

That was the first fight Juarez worked with Brian Caldwell, the conditioner who has been handling his fellow Houston stalwart, the nonstop dynamo Juan Diaz.

Juarez has a lot going for him, besides a terrific left hook and a solid right hand. It’s called character. And motivation. He felt robbed when the May contest was announced as a draw, then worse when a half-hour later, in his dressing room, he was told there had been an error in the scoring and he actually was the loser of a split decision.

“This is a dream,” he said, “to be fighting at the MGM Grand, on a pay-per-view card, being the headliner, on Mexican Independence Day, against a legend. It can’t get any better.”

Yes, it can. The man who first taught him to stand with his left foot in front of the right, his 94-year-old grandfather, will be at ringside. Pedro Juarez Sr. has long been promised the first world championship belt to be won by Rocky.

“He’s 94, and he still gets on the roof and puts on shingles,” said the challenger.

It’s the kind of fight where you almost want to root for both contestants.

WOLF’S U-BET: The way to get a rooting interest, of course, is to put some of my hard-earned cash on the line. I advised against betting on Barrera in May, that he wouldn’t be worth laying 4 to 1. Giving 3 to 2 or so, however, is another matter. I think he will be sharper, box more and control the bout….Joan Guzman impresses the hell out of me with his silky moves, but my buddy Mendoza warns that Jorge Barrios may just be too big for him. “If you can’t hurt Barrios, I don’t think you can beat him,” said Mendoza, acknowledging that while Guzman is the far superior boxer with much greater speed, he believes eventually the Argentine will catch him. What’s interesting is that Guzman is the minus $1.55 (what you have to lay to win $1) favorite while Barrios seems a generous plus $1.35 (what you win when betting $1) underdog….Israel Vazquez, the acknowledged king of the junior featherweights, rates minus $1.75 against Jhonny Gonzalez, plus $1.55. Mendoza said that while Gonzalez can punch and box, he has suspicions about his chin, especially at the higher weight. Besides, how can I root against Israel a week before Rosh ha’Shannah?

PENTHOUSE: Oscar de la Hoya’s boyhood friend and Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Chavez for putting together this marvelous show, a wonderful way to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns classic….Juarez was one year old at the time, so of course he doesn’t remember watching Leonard-Hearns live. Barrera was seven, but said he was just first getting into boxing and didn’t see a tape until four, five years ago. “Tremendous pellella,” he said, half in English, half in Spanish.

OUTHOUSE: Golden Boy Promotions for not even knowing about Leonard-Hearns. De la Hoya was shocked to find out yesterday. He said if he had known he would have invited them to be ringside….Emanuel Steward, Hearns’s guru, here for the HBO telecast, had his young Irish middleweight, Andy Lee, on a card in town last night. Lee scored a 94-second knockout over a late-minute sub for a fighter who was found to have been on the suspended list. Steward predicts Lee is going to be one of the “all-time greats.” That’s no way to prepare him, fighting stiffs. He said he didn’t know, it was all a mistake and he didn’t want to do the same thing with Lee that was done with another Irish hopeful, Gerry Cooney. But Emanuel, you’re the manager, you should know who your guy is fighting. You think Leonard and Hearns fought cupcakes on the way up? De la Hoya didn’t start fighting them until he had a title (see Patrick Charpentier).

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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