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Articles of 2006

Ponce De Leon Stops Overmatched Seeger in El Paso

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Daniel Ponce De Leon had to chase a bit. But he chased well. And he chased relentlessly.

De Leon caught up with Al Seeger Saturday night in the main event of an HBO pay-per-view card in El Paso’s Don Haskins Center — caught up with him over and over and over.

Finally, 1:43 into the eighth round, Seeger’s corner could watch no more.

And just like that, De Leon improved to 30-1, scoring the 28th early stoppage of his hard hitting career. Seeger was game, showed some heart but was in way over his head. The Savannah, Ga., fighter dropped to 27-2 in his career.

De Leon retained his WBO junior featherweight title and also took Seeger’s IBA belt home with him.

Early in the fight Seeger was mixing it up, lunging forward in awkward fashion, going for it. Fortunately for him, De Leon never quite measured him with one of those atomic lefts during those lunges. But De Leon did land a short, crisp left hand in the fourth round and it was all but over. Seeger went into survival mode, simply trying to make it through the 12 rounds.

He had no chance.

As the fight wore on, Seeger was simply a heavy bag for De Leon — albeit a heavy bag that held.

Referee Laurence Cole deducted a point from Seeger for holding in the eighth round. That opened the gates for De Leon, who continued throwing serious leather until Seeger’s corner called for the stoppage. It was the right move. Seeger was taking a beating and it was not going to get any better.

“He didn’t want to fight,” De Leon said. “He was just grabbing and holding. He also fouled me quite a bit.”

Two of the three judges scored the seventh round 10-8 for De Leon, even though there was no knockdown. The entire fight was that lopsided. If they could have scored some of the rounds 11-8, the judges probably would have done so.

When the fight was finally and mercifully stopped, judge Levi Martinez had De Leon leading 70-62 and judges Gale Van Hoy and Ruben Carrion had the hard-hitting fighter from Chihuahua, Mexico, ahead 70-61.

A small but lively crowd of about 4,000 cheered De Leon every punch of the way.

“I know the people didn’t want to see me in the main event,” De Leon said. “They wanted to see [Juan Manuel] Marquez (whose opponent had visa problems).

But I hope I put on a good show for them.”

He did. At least, he put on as good a show as possible against a game fighter who was simply trying to survive.

The semi-main event was no such slam dunk. And the crowd actually ended up booing the decision, even though it favored the home town fighter.

El Pasoan Juan Lazcano, who has been trying to right himself since losing a decision to tough Jose Luis Castillo for the WBC 135-pound title in June of 2004, eked out a split decision over Manuel Garnica of Guadalajara, Mexico. Judge Jerry Wright had Lazcano winning in a walk, 98-92. But judge Levi Martinez gave the nod to Garnica 96-94. Judge Mark Ortega scored it 97-93 for Lazcano — leaving Lazcano, trainer Freddie Roach and all of Golden Boy Promotions to heave a huge sigh of relief.

Lazcano, who had not lost in six years before dropping that decision to Castillo in Las Vegas, has fought just four times since that last loss. He has wins over Marco Perez, Courtney Burton, Ben Tackie — and now Garnica. Lazcano is now 36-3-1 and Garnica is 20-6.

It was a back and forth affair throughout Saturday night’s fight. Garnica almost certainly won the first round. Lazcano appeared to take the second. Then it was back and forth, back and forth. Lazcano, coming off a seven month layoff, seemed sluggish at times. He just did not seem able to assume his usual hyperactive ring persona. He blamed that largely on Garncia and his style.

“He was a safe fighter,” Lazcano complained of Garnica. “But I was the power puncher. He landed some shots but he never hurt me. He didn’t want to fight. He just wanted to survive. He would hit once, then come in with his head, then tie up.”

For his part, Garnica said, “I didn’t really like fighting here in his hometown. I thought I won the fight. He is really a dirty fighter. During the fight, he said, ‘come on and fight; you don’t have any guts.’ I said yes I do.”

The two continued punching after the bell in the 10th and final round, ending in a clinch in Garnica’s corner. The two appeared to try to exchange close range head butts before calm was restored.

Lazcano said, “That’s how he is. Why didn’t he fight like that before the bell rang. He knew it was over so then he started punching.”

Oscar De La Hoya said prior to this fight that Lazcano would “have some big fights next year” if he got past Garnica.

He did that. Barely.

One of De La Hoya’s newest acquisitions, 21-year-old Antonio Escalante, delivered in big fashion Saturday night in a junior featherweight dance.

Escalante, also an El Pasoan, body bashed Puerto Rico’s Omar Adorno in the first round. In the second round, after landing a few more liver lacerators, Escalante came in with two big right hands to deck Adorno. The Puerto Rican fighter got to one knee, waited for the eight-count and tried to get up. But somewhere between his head and legs, the signals had been jumbled by those Escalante right hands and he staggered backward — a dazed man walking — and this fight was history.

“I had seen him fight once,” Escalante said of Adorno. “I knew he came forward and I knew he was a tough guy. I really expected a little more. I saw I hurt him in the first round with those body shots. But this felt great, fighting in front of my home crowd, on the undercard of an HBO show.”

Gerry Penalosa of the Philippines scored a big bantamweight win over veteran Mauricio Martinez of Panama. Penalosa, who improved to 51-5-2, scored his 34th knockout in the ninth round. Martinez is now 31-7-1.

Penalosa, the former WBC champ, dominated this fight. He led 79-71 on two cards when he closed the show at 1:06 of that ninth round. He finally ended the massacre with a crunching, wind-eliminating left to the body, then a big left over the top as Martinez was retreating, searching in vain for some breath. And Penalosa closed that show in spectacular fashion despite injuring that left hand in the very first round.

“Look,” he said, displaying a small knot on top of his hand. “I felt it after I knocked him down in the first round. But before the fight I said I will knock this guy out. And I did.”

And he did. And it seemed inevitable from the beginning.

Penalosa dropped Martinez in the first round and again in the fourth round. Penalosa used a crisp, sharp left for that fourth round knockdown and Martinez was forced to also nurse a cut over his right eye along with his other aches and pains. He was almost too game for his own good, taking quite a beating in those nine rounds of war.

Veteran Ben Tackie put another notch in his belt. But not that easily.

Tackie scored a sixth round knockdown over Mexico City’s Esau Herrera and that might have been just enough to turn the tide in their welterweight 10-round tangle. Judges Rocky Burke and Raul Valencia scored it 95-94 for Tackie. Judge Mark Ortega gave him a bit more breathing room with a 97-92 verdict.

All the same, Tackie improved to 29-6-1 while Herrera dropped to 12-3.

Miami’s Andre Berto remained undefeated, taking a fifth round TKO over Dallas’ James Crayton in another welterweight battle. Berto, now 15-0 with 13 punchouts, put an end to this whipping with 34 seconds left in the fifth. This one, though, was never a contest. Berto won all four rounds on all three judges’ cards before finishing in the fifth.

El Pasoan Saul Palacios got a unanimous decision over Alejandro Chavez of Juarez in a battle of young men making their pro debut. Palacios got the nod 40-36 on two cards, 39-37 on the third in their four-round junior featherweight duel.

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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