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Articles of 2006

Shame, Shame on You (and You Know Who You Are)



LAS VEGAS, Sept. 20 – You call yourself a fight fan, but all you want to see are blood and guts.

Someone else’s.

That’s what you pay for, and when you don’t get your pound of flesh, or pint of blood, you think you’ve been robbed of your hard-earned money, as if the price of a ticket entitles you to a seat at the guillotine.

Hopefully, you’re not in the majority. If I thought that you were, I doubt if I could continue aiding and abetting your vicarious thrills. But I truly believe that you are outnumbered by those of us who like to see a good brawl, when accompanied by skill, to see the flip side of the coin, the great courage and determination of the competitors. Yes, Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo gave us a classic fight, but what is remarkable is how they each battled back from adversity. Their courage is enhanced by danger.

But you can’t call yourself a fight fan if all you want is to put the competitors in that danger. You’re nothing more than a ghoul who can’t appreciate the subtleties of boxing. You call yourself a fight fan, but it’s not the fighting that interests you, it’s the blood.

Damn the torpedoes, it’s full speed ahead. Forget defense, forget setting up punches. You want what you surmise is action. If they could erect bleachers by the spot where the most accidents happen on the New Jersey Turnpike, you’d pay $500 for a ringside seat to the next crash. Back in the Fifties at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of France’s great auto races, a couple of cars locked wheels and flew into the stands. Officials gave a death toll in the fifties, though about 150 died. The French didn’t count all those who succumbed in hospitals after the race. The point is, you don’t have to guess which part of the stands was the first to fill the following year. Auto racing’s version of fight fans were out in full force. They weren’t there to see how clever the drivers were shifting gears.

You call yourself a fight fan, but you were heading out the door starting in the tenth round as Marco Antonio Barrera, who spent so much of his great career giving you his own blood and guts, decided instead to give Rocky Juarez a boxing lesson. You spent much of the match booing and calling Barrera a dog, chanting “Beso,” or kiss, because boxing wasn’t why you were sitting in the MGM Grand Arena.

It was one year, minus a day, from the night Leavander Johnson suffered fatal injuries in a Vegas ring, and you probably expressed your condolences when the warrior died. You call yourself a fight fan, but you tell yourself you’re not barbaric. You don’t see yourself the way director Robert Wise did in his 1947 film noir classic, “The Set-Up,” still the best boxing film in my opinion. Wise showed close-ups of the fight fans in all their Roman Coliseum gory. Old women with hatred etched on their faces, screaming their lungs out; men choking on blood lust.

You call yourself a fight fan and when one of the competitors gets in serious trouble, you rise out of your seat in gleeful anticipation of the kill. You might as well point your thumbs downward. Tell me what part of “sport” is a knockout, the rendering of a fighter unconscious.

It’s not like Diego Corrales, showing the flip side of the brutal game, somehow hanging in during all the adversity with courage and guts. That’s the kind of stuff that makes boxing so compelling, but the fight fan who roots for the KO is not looking for drama, any more than a gawker at a ten-car pileup is looking to give someone CPR.

You call yourself a fight fan, but you regard Barrera as useless and never mind all those great rounds with Erik Morales, Manny Pacquiao, Kennedy McKinney, Junior Jones, Naseem Hamed. You have no use for a smart boxer who reminds us that “this is a sport where you’re supposed to hit and not get hit.” Thank goodness Barrera turned into a great boxer; otherwise the world may have had another useless lawyer. But that same intellect that had taken him to law school, when applied in the ring, enabled him to shatter the stereotypical “Mexican fighter” that he resembled early in his career.

He proved over and over again that, when necessary, he can “go to war.” But you wish that some of the world leaders would learn from him that sometimes it’s healthier to use diplomacy and tact. He had a tough time with the aggressive young Juarez in May, then demanded a rematch to prove that he was the superior fighter.

“I beat him with one hand,” he would say winning 10 of 12 rounds on my ringside card (when two veteran Vegas judges, Chuck Giampa and Dave Moretti, each scored it seven rounds to five, I asked the best of them all, Duane Ford, how he saw it from his seat in the expensive section, and he also gave Juarez only two rounds, the same two I did – the third and fourth).

He was a 4-1 favorite in May and escaped with a split decision. This time, he was a much more attractive 3-2 choice and left no doubt as to who won.

At the post-fight news conference, we almost had the fight of the night, with apologies to Israel Vasquez’s comeback stoppage of Jhonny Gonzalez. With the Juarez claque berating Barrera for “running,” Rocky’s girlfriend and Marco’s wife almost got into it. I liked Senora Barrera on points because, if Juarez’s lady didn’t know more about boxing than did her man, a jab and a move to the left would suffice.

One of my colleagues, Doug Fischer, wisely pointed out that perhaps all the booing was not for Barrera. I believe it was, but Juarez certainly deserved his share. It was his inability to solve the simplest puzzles that turned round after round into what ace publicist Bill Caplan said was a Roy Jones Jr. “safety-first” demonstration. Not quite, because even when boxing defensively, His Royness could juice up the show with some cheap frills.

Barrera failed to engage. His “partner,” Oscar de la Hoya, pointed out “we all know he can fight and stand in there, but Barrera used his skill, his intelligence.” He won with one hand, why waste the other? His left hand had Juarez’s right eye nearly closed by the end. Juarez may be lucky Barrera used only one hand. But you who call yourself a fight fan did not want to see a boxing match, especially a one-sided one. Barrera had no sympathy for you.

“Instead of coming into ‘I’m Still the King’ I should’ve used (as his entrance music) ‘I’m Nobody’s Fool,’” he said.

Instead of giving Juarez a chance in a shootout, he saved himself for the fight he really wants, a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, which already has been penciled in by HBO for next March. And if Pacquiao doesn’t win his rubber match Nov. 18 with Erik Morales, the ghouls will have to be satisfied with Barrera-Morales IV.

OUTHOUSE: Joe Souza is one of the great cut men in the world. The Texan was in Rocky Juarez’s corner when Barrera landed an uppercut to the right eye (the challenger’s description) in the fifth round. But Souza was kept on the floor by the challenger’s amateurish trainer, Ray Oliveros, who instead had his son up in the ring working on the injury. Finally, Souza was invited up after the tenth round but all the doctors at Johns Hopkins couldn’t have done any good by then. It is certainly no surprise that Juarez was not given a Plan B, or could not figure out one for himself, during amateur hour….Leave a little room for the scoring of that four-round pay-per-view opener that went by majority decision to Jorge Paez Jr. Derrick Campos, the opponent from Topeka, deserved at least a draw and, if it had been a five-round fight, probably would have scored a knockout. Paez’s kid better look for work in the circus.

PENTHOUSE: Vazquez deserves much credit for getting up twice, though the first knockdown was more a case of being caught off-balance, and eventually breaking down the frail-looking Gonzalez. Vazquez, a minus $1.55 favorite (what you needed to bet to win $1 and why do I have to keep explaining this?), has been considered the king at 122. He showed true grit in stopping Gonzalez in the tenth – and no, the bantamweight titlist’s trainer, Oscar Suarez, was not premature in waving the towel – but he should also be thankful that Joan Guzman moved out of the weight class.

Guzman moved two divisions higher and outboxed and outslugged the tough Argentine, Jorge Barrios, in what was somehow scored a split decision. I think the fight was closer than most of my colleagues had it – 115-112 for Guzman – but there should have been no doubts that the undefeated Dominican speedster won. He’s got wonderful moves, terrific hand speed and I’ve got to find a spot for him on my pound-for-pound list….I wish to hereby acknowledge the assistance of former junior middleweight champion Raul Marquez, at ringside for HBO Latino, in translating what was raining down from the MGM Grand stands. The personable Marquez, now fighting at middleweight and hoping for another shot, is on Telefutura this Friday against Elio Garcia, who went into the tenth round on one of Vernon Forrest’s comeback fights. I’m afraid, though Marquez was always an exciting fighter, he might be a tough sell to HBO or Showtime, the only networks who can pay him what he wants unless he gets on one of Bob Arum’s pay-per-view undercards.

B-HOP SERIOUS: Guys, and gals, don’t take Bernard Hopkins too seriously when he says he wants to challenge Oleg Maskaev. He’ll stay retired. You know why? Because there’s no way he can get to Maskaev, unless Dennis Rappaport is smart enough to scrap Paul Okhello, the Japan-based Ugandan, as the opponent for a proposed December voluntary defense and switch to the longtime middleweight king before Samuel Peter gets his mandatory shot. Once Peter fights Maskaev, there won’t be any other voluntary defenses for Oleg – and Bernard won’t be looking to face the Nigerian Nightmare.

Happy New Year, even to the goyim.

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

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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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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