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Articles of 2006

Manfredo Destroys Spina in Providence

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The brief with which Peter Manfredo Jr. was charged seemed straightforward enough: If he wanted to secure a lucrative bout against Roy Jones Jr., he not only needed to beat his neighborhood archrival Joey Spina, but do it impressively.

But on this night, Manfredo may have been too impressive for his own good. After watching his seven-minute annihilation of the previously undefeated Spina Saturday night, Roy could be forgiven if he decided to look for a different Junior to fight in January.

In what may have been the most impressive performance of his career, Manfredo (26-3) utterly destroyed Spina in the main event of Jimmy Burchfield’s aptly-named “Put up or Shut up” Contender-themed card at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

Although both Providence fighters were performing for a hometown crowd, the Manfredo faction, representing Federal Hill, appeared to significantly outnumber the pro-Spina faction from Silver Lake in Saturday’s half-a-house audience at the old Providence Civic Center.

While it was in the end a decisive victory for Manfredo, Spina gave nearly as good as he got over the first two action-packed rounds of the scheduled 12-rounder.

Spina, in fact, won the first on the cards of two judges (as well as our own), largely as the result of an assault late in the stanza, when he ripped into Manfredo with a hard left hook that sent him backing into a neutral corner, where he landed a good left-right combination before the bell.

Both boxers ratcheted up the energy level in the second. Although Manfredo was able to stun Spina twice with right-hand leads, Spina came back to rock his foe with a solid left hook. Later in the round, though, Manfredo landed a left-right combination that buckled Spina’s knees and had him holding on for dear life, and then caught him with a left hook just before the bell as well.

In the next minute of combat Manfredo rendered the judges’ opinions immaterial in any case. A lot of bad blood and trash-talking, most of it emanating from Spina, had preceded this encounter, and Manfredo had calmly forecast that he would demonstrate that Spina “isn’t in my league.”

Few would argue that proposition now. Early in the third, Manfredo staggered Spina with a right-hand lead to the head, and then another. All told, he did it five times in less than sixty seconds, and with the last of the straight rights he hit Spina so hard that he would have landed in the fourth row of spectators had the ring ropes not gotten in the way.

Using the ropes for support, Spina agonizingly pulled himself to his feet, but even as referee Charlie Dwyer eyed him cautiously, trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad was climbing up the steps to rescue his fighter by firing a white towel into the ring. A minute and one second had elapsed in the third when Dwyer officially waved the fight to a conclusion.

“I saw the towel,” said Dwyer, “but I was going to stop it anyway. [Spina] was pretty disoriented.”

The defeat was the first for the self-proclaimed “K.O. Kid,” now 19-1-1, and his fans fell silent as Manfredo’s celebrated all around the building.

“I told you, I’m on a different level than he is,” said Manfredo. “I honestly never wanted to take this fight. I didn’t want to hurt anybody from Rhode Island, but he kept shooting off his mouth.

“I guess [Spina] got his 15 minute of fame and he got his money, but he took the beating of his life.”

“I’m fine,” said Spina once he revived. “I just didn’t do what I wanted to do, which was to knock him out.”

Spina later acknowledged having injured his right thumb in the hectic second round.

Roach wasn’t quite ready to describe it as man-against-boy, but the Massachusetts-born trainer knew all along he had the best horse in a two-horse race.

“Spina’s strong, that’s all,” said Roach. “And Peter is improving tremendously. He’s really benefited from the sparring he’s gotten out in California.”

Roach had drawn up the game play, but he admitted that the one-handed attack with which his fighter so decisively settled matters hadn’t been part of it.

“We didn’t know Spina would be such a sucker for the right hand,” chuckled the trainer.

“You know,” added Roach, “feinting has become a lost art, but if you noticed, that’s what Peter was doing to set up those right hands. He’d feint with the left, Joey would go for it, and Peter would smack him right in the face with the right.”

After seven rounds of what sometimes appeared to be some arcane Greco-Roman rumble, Oklahoma super-middle Allan Green floored Jerson Ravelo twice in the last round to register an 8th-round TKO.

Although Green and Ravelo had engaged in some pre-fight woofing that occasionally rivaled Manfredo’s and Spina’s, once the bell rang each seemed unnecessarily wary of the other. For the most part, Green and Ravelo seemed to land their best punches while locked in the grappling embraces that characterized much of the bout.

Then in the eighth, Green caught Ravelo with a solid right uppercut, stopping him in his tracks and making him an easy target for the left hook that put him on his backside.

When action resumed, Green landed a left-right combination to knock his foe down again. Although the bout was allowed to continue, Green connected with a savage right that nearly tore Ravelo’s head off. Whether he might have gone down from the punch remains unlearned, because as he lurched sideways, referee Joe Lupino swept in and caught Ravelo, ending the bout at 2:24 of the round.

“I’d give myself about a ‘C’ for this one,” said Green after the largely-inartistic performance. “I wasn’t doing what my coach and trainers were telling me to do.”

Green said he planned to “take the rest of the year of. Hopefully something big will be coming.”

Green, now 23-0, led by scores of 69-64 (twice) and 68-65 after seven rounds. (Our scorecard had it marginally closer at 67-66.) Ravelo fell to 18-1.

Pawtucket featherweight Jose Sanchez made an impressive pro debut, flooring Detroit southpaw Rasool Shakoor (0-2) three times en route to a 4th-round TKO. Sanchez, trained by Peter Manfredo Sr., had Shakoor down once in the third and again in the fourth before closing the show with a big right hand that led Dwyer to wave the fight off without a count at 2:20 of the round.

The opening act of the evening saw Pawtucket lightweight Eddie Soto run his unbeaten record to 6-0 by outpointing Brockton’s Felisberto (The Joker) Fernandes (4-5). Although all three judges (Clark Sammartino, Wayne Lima, and Scuncio) all scored it 40-35 (as did the Sweet Science), it wasn’t quite a runaway. The Joker didn’t mount any semblance of an offense until far too late, but was on his way to winning the final round when he walked into a Soto right hand seconds before the fight would have ended. Fernandes got up, and was still taking Lupino’s mandatory 8-count when the bell rang.

The walk-out bout saw junior welterweight Hank Lundy (3-0) obliterate Alabaman Mike Williams (3-3) in less than a minute and a half, scoring a TKO at 1:12 of the first.

Crowd-pleasing ‘Contender’ alum Alfonso Gomez, who was to have met another Mexican-born middleweight, Juan Pablo Montes de Oca, on the Providence show, was present at The Dunk, but not in action, after being mysteriously pulled from the card.  Word has it that The Fonz was quietly suspended by the California commission as the result a positive test for marijuana following his 8th-round TKO of Carson Jones in Sacramento back in August.

Fellow ‘Contender’ idol Sergio Mora, also at ringside, was the object of taunts from the cheap seats during the undercard. The Manfredo loyalists in the audience, displeased by their man’s back-to-back losses to The Snake in made-for-TV fights last year, took up a chant or “Mora Sucks!” and mockingly hooted “Sergio!” (Mora acknowledged the derision by waving at the Manfredo supporters, bringing a loud chorus of boos.)

Both Jones and WBO/IBF champion Joe Calzhage had Manfredo on their short list of prospective opponents going into Saturday’s fight, but it is not at all clear either would want to fight him now.

On the same night Manfredo demolished the previously undefeated Spina in Rhode Island, Calzaghe, in England, struggled to a 12-round decision over Sakio Bika, a handpicked opponent so overmatched he’d probably have trouble with Spina. And Jones? The fight – if it happen – is tentatively penciled in for January 20 at The Dunk.

“Sure, we’ll fight Roy. Who is that Prince guy he fought last time?” asked Roach. “I’d never heard of the guy till Roy fought him. If RJ wants to come to Providence, bring him on!”

“But why,” ESPN’s Joe Tessitore wondered, quite properly, of Manfredo, “would anyone want to come to Providence to fight you?”

PUT UP OR SHUT UP
DUNKIN DONUTS CENTER
PROVIDENCE, R.I.
OCTOBER 14, 2006

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Peter Manfredo Jr., 167, Pawtucket, RI TKO’d Joey Spina, 168, Providence, RI (3)

Allan Green, 167½, Tulsa, Okla. TKO’d Jerson Ravelo, 165½, San Cristobal, D.R. (8)

JUNIOR WELTERS:  Hank Lundy,138½, Philadelphia, Pa. TKO’d Mike Williams, 131, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (1)

LIGHTWEIGHTS:  Eddie Soto 1336, Pawtucket dec. Felisberto Fernandes, 134½, Brockton, Mass. (4)

FEATHERWEIGHTS:  Jose Sanchez, 126, Pawtucket TKO’d Rasool Shakoor, 126¼, Detroit, Mich. (4)

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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