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Articles of 2006

Casamayor Promises Corrales KO

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Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor has met with plenty of success during his 11-year career. With 33 victories and 21 devastating knockouts to his credit, Casamayor has twice been a world champion. Despite three defeats, all coming on close decisions (two split, all disputed), and one draw, Casamayor still demands the respect of those willing to face him.

Yet for all his accomplishments, the 35-year-old Cuban feels he still has not received the credit he deserves, a feeling that began when he was an amateur and has continued through this day.

“I have been shortchanged in the respect department,” said Casamayor,  who will meet WBC lightweight champion Diego Corrales in a rubber match on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas during the Free Preview Weekend on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).

“Maybe it is because I am from another country and all of my fights are on the road. I never had the advantage of fighting at home, but look at my record. I never get the benefit of the doubt. In my heart, I do not feel like I have ever lost. All of my losses have been controversial.”

Casamayor’s three losses as a pro came against Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo and Acelino Freitas. The draw came against Almazbek Raiymkulov, aka Kid Diamond.

“I beat Corrales the first time and got robbed in the second,” Casamayor said through an interpreter. “The decision was unjust. I knocked him down. I won the last six rounds and they said I lost. I had it eight rounds to four and I was pretty close to the action, so I should know. It was disappointing. I dictated the pace and landed the harder shots. Smart boxers do not get enough credit for ring generalship and defense.

“I also definitely feel I beat Castillo, but fighting him in Las Vegas is basically like fighting a Mexican in his backyard. Being a Cuban boxer, I do not have a country to support me like some of the Mexican fighters have. Take away the knockdown that wasn’t against Freitas and I win that. The Kid Diamond fight was an absolute joke.”  

Casamayor expects the majority of fans to root for Corrales when they collide in their highly anticipated third bout. He also realizes what a victory or loss could do for his stature in boxing.

“This is a fight I have wanted for a long time and I am looking forward to it,” he said. “I give Corrales respect for fighting me again. But, after I beat him, I gave him a quick rematch. He made me wait two-and-one-half years. I was supposed to fight him a long time ago, but after he got the decision, he bailed. There was controversy enough that there should have been a quick third fight.

“I have been like a backseat driver ever since the second Corrales fight. If it was not for Castillo, I doubt Corrales would be fighting me now. I am very confident, but I realize it could be my last shot. Lose and I am back fighting on basic cable. So, I know I have to win convincingly against Corrales and not let it go to judges’ hands.

“I am going to try and knock him out. In our first fight, I hurt Corrales, but then got caught with a good shot and went down. But, if he could not knock me out with that shot, he is not going to knock me out with anything. In our rematch, the big slugger Corrales got very defensive minded and tried to jab. He ran the last six rounds. He ran for his life the last three.

“So, I will fight carefully, but aggressively. I plan to come out and dictate the action from the opening bell. My trainer, Roger Bloodworth, and I have been working on starting a little quicker. I know I have to work harder in the early rounds.”

The rap against Casamayor is that he does not always break smartly from the gate and takes too long to get into stride.

“I am an old-time guy,” Casamayor said. “I wish there were still 15-round fights. Guys like me like to take their time and figure guys out, break them down and go from there. In the Freitas fight, I ran out of time in the eyes of the judges.”

At the press conference to formally announce “MANIFiST DESTINY,” Casamayor said, “Corrales has been in a lot of ring wars. He is burnt. I just need to touch him in the chin and he will go.

“I said that because I know I can hurt Corrales, and he knows it, too. I have hurt him three times. I expect a good fight, but I have a score to settle with him. I am training to fight Corrales at his best.”

In their first fight, Casamayor produced a career-best performance when he scored a sixth-round TKO over Corrales in an IBF junior lightweight elimination bout at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Oct. 4, 2003.

Making like a miniature Marvin Hagler, Casamayor utilized effective boxing skills to produce two knockdowns and come away with a controversial victory. The bout was stopped by the ringside physician as Corrales was bleeding badly from the mouth. He was not allowed to come out for the seventh round.

Casamayor led 58-54 twice and 57-55 after six rounds despite having a point deducted for holding and hitting. He sent Corrales down in the third with a quick left hook to the jaw and again in the fourth with a lead right hand. Casamayor, who seemed to hurt Corrales constantly with left hands, went in for the finish after the second knockdown, but was caught by a Corrales left hook that sent Casamayor to the canvas.

In the rematch, Corrales won a disputed, 12-round split decision and the vacant WBO title March 6, 2004, on SHOWTIME. Corrales triumphed by 115-112 twice and 113-114.

Before turning pro, Casamayor compiled one of the most prolific records in amateur boxing history (380-30), and was the 1989 World Champion. Three years later, he outpointed Ireland's Wayne McCullough to win a gold medal as a bantamweight for Cuba at the 1992 Olympic Games.

Casamayor's biggest victory, however, had nothing to do with boxing. “The greatest feeling in my life was coming to America,” he said.

A prohibitive favorite to repeat at the 1996 Olympic Games, Casamayor defected to the U.S. before the opening ceremonies. He walked away from the Cuban compound in Guadalajara, Mexico, and left a five-year-old daughter, a girlfriend and his parents in Guantanamo.

“I never got to say goodbye to anyone,” Casamayor said. “But I wanted to be free.”

One of the reasons Casamayor defected was he felt slighted by Fidel Castro, who reportedly regarded him as one of his favorites. Casamayor was given a bicycle as his reward for bringing home the gold medal in ‘92. He sold the bicycle for a pig to feed his family. Casamayor also had friction with Cuba's national team trainers.

“They did not treat me like a champion,” Casamayor said. “They never gave me the honor of someone who had done so much for his country.”

Casamayor agonized over what would be the most difficult decision of his life—to leave or stay.

“When I had doubts (in Guadalajara), I thought of the pressure they put on me to make 119 pounds,” he said. “It was very difficult for me to make that weight, but they threatened me. 'If you do not make weight, we will send you back to Cuba.' That stayed in my head. That made me strong.

“People knew I was supposed to win a gold medal in 1996, but I made a decision. You cannot eat off of gold medals. I missed my daughter so much. I did not want to leave her, but I had to.”

So, one day, Casamayor told his chaperone that he was going to walk down the street to buy a bottle of water and would be right back. “He is still waiting for me, I think,’’ Casamayor cracked.

Casamayor turned pro at age 25 with a first-round knockout over David Chamendis on Sept. 20, 1996. The smooth lefthander won the WBA interim super featherweight belt with a lopsided 12-round decision over Antonio Hernandez on June 19, 1999, in Miami. In an excellent performance, Casamayor captured a world title on May 21, 2000, when he thoroughly dominated defending WBA 130-pound champ Jongkwon Baek en route to an impressive fifth-round TKO in Kansas City.

Prior to suffering his first loss on a controversial decision to Freitas, Casamayor made four successful defenses. He has gone 7-2-1 since, the losses coming to Corrales and Castillo. Despite scoring a knockdown in the first round against Kid Diamond, he had to settle for a draw (115-112, 111-116 and 114 apiece).

Casamayor has won each of his 2006 efforts inside of the distance, including a ninth-round TKO over Lamont Pearson in his most recent outing on July 7 from Phoenix.

In the Oct. 7, 2006, co-feature, undefeated Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan will risk his IBF/International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight crowns against world-ranked Glenn Donaire.

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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