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Articles of 2006

Ready Or Not For Klitschko/Brock At MSG



Last weekend, the post-fight period provided as much action and intrigue as the fights themselves, with Floyd Mayweather trying to verbally rip Larry Merchant a new one for hatin’, and Shannon Briggs admitting that he once came very close to physically tearing interrogator supreme Jim Gray a new one.

We can hope that the action on Saturday evening’s heavyweight title scrap between the Punching PhD, the Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko, and the Boxing Banker, undefeated American Calvin Brock, will not need to be augmented by post-bout interview beefs.

The final press conference, held on Wednesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, was an ordered, almost genteel affair, so perhaps the writing is on the wall: these two heavies won’t do their best work before the bout, during the hype-weeks preceding the battle. They won’t talk a good game, and then deliver a pedestrian, or even putrid, outing.

We can hope, as fans, that Klitschko, the 6-6 hitter from the Ukraine, will continue his improbable climb from tender-chinned underachiever to odds-on favorite to emerge as the division’s standard-bearer. He is favored, heavily in some quarters, to hand the 2000 Olympian Calvin Brock (29-0, 22 KOs) his first loss as a pro.

We can hope, as fans, that Brock will show the all-around skills and fistic ambidexterity that he’s exhibited intermittently since turning pro in 2001.

We will hope, as fans, that we’ll tune in to an entertaining fight when we turn to HBO on Saturday night, and miracle and of miracles, won’t be forced to pony up $50 for the privilege. After all, who amongst us will have any money left over after we break down and buy the Holyfield/Oquendo PPV extravaganza on Friday evening?

Anyone looking to get an insight into the Saturday heavyweight faceoff might have noted that while Brock won the war of apparel yesterday (in a sharp blazer/slacks ensemble), he appeared to be harboring some butterflies in his belly. When his time at the podium came, Brock stuttered, and then grasped for a word that never did come to him until another person on the dais filled in the blank for him.

Klitschko, in contrast, appeared in a black workout outfit, with his big bro Vitali in tow at a respectful distance. Wladimir’s ever-improving English was delivered without stumbling, in the confident, graceful manner he’s honed in the last couple years as he’s climbed back from his 2003/2004 Corrie Sanders/Lamon Brewster chin-check fiascos.

Michael Buffer, the golden throated, mystery-aged announcer, presided over the PC, and deftly shifted the spotlight to Klitschko, Brock, Laila Ali, her new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr., Kevin Kelley, Manny Medina, Carl Moretti, Tom Loeffler, Bernd Boente, Manny Steward and Kery Davis.

The younger Klitschko, who last fought on April 22 (TKO 7 win over Chris Byrd), came off as properly focused and confident during his turn at the mike.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” said the 30-year-old, who is drawing praise for setting up a charitable drive from his portion of the ticket-sale proceeds for a United Nations education and health care effort in Africa.

“Madison Square Garden is the Mecca of entertainment. I know it, I see it. Such a press conference I have never seen,” Klitschko said, as he marveled at the top level nature of the promotion in New York. “Everyone gave their best performance talking, and I wish Saturday all of us give a performance as good as we talked.”

The boxer, who secured the IBF belt with his win over the crafty but undersized Byrd, said he got goosebumps on the stage as he pondered fighting in the Mecca, home to memorable bouts featuring Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano.

Calvin Brock, who last laced up against Timor Ibragimov on June 24 (UD12 win), said that the time is right for him to notch an upset win.

A year go, he explained, efforts were made to match him with big brother Vitali, who was trying to overcome an assortment of physical woes that eventually convinced him to retire. The time didn’t feel right, he said, but now, he says, it’s different.

“That was not God’s timing because it fell through,” he said. “This is God’s timing.”

“It’s the best camp I ever had,” he continued. “I’m ready mentally, physically, emotionally and skillfully,” he said. “I’m altogether prepared.”

“After I win, I don’t want to hear any excuses people saying maybe Wladimir wasn’t the real champ, the Real McCoy. He’s the most legit and well-known and that’s how I should look after I win. I look forward to a great boxing match.”

Brock, a North Carolina resident who believes he was called to pugilism by God at age eight, isn’t a runaway fan fave. He hasn’t shown the level of passion or finishing ferocity that most fans of the division want to see in a titlist, even in this Heavyweight Bronze Age Era. But, he hasn’t lost as a pro, and we don’t award style points. His trainer, Tom Yankello, said that his guy has pop in both hands and is a multi-dimensional boxer, as opposed to Byrd, and Sam Peter, Klitschko’s last two foes.

“I don’t think they realize what they’re up against,” young Yankello said. “Calvin is great inside and outside.”

(Who am I dispute Yankello, but I have trouble thinking that the 6-2 Brock, who will be outweighed by around 20 pounds come fight time, will be able to get inside on the Ukrainian.)

Emanuel Steward, Klitschko’s trainer (he’s no longer sharing billing with Fritz Sdunek) doesn’t seem to be looking past Brock to a partial unification date with the Giant Valuev, or Oleg Maskaev.

“Brock is a balanced boxer who doesn’t get hit much,” Steward said, “and he’s very good defensively. He doesn’t get tired, so we got a solid fight on our hands. I have a lot of respect for this fighter.”

But Klitschko, Steward said, “prepares better than any boxer I’ve ever had. He’s the fastest I’ve seen since Ali of anyone who has power. He’s on his way to becoming one of the greatest heavies of all time.”

SPEEDBAG The fiercely telegenic Laila Ali was utterly charming during a one-on-one session; I can’t decide if she’s mellowed a bit with age and maturity, or I’m being swayed by being so close to her. Regardless, she resisted the urge to ream HBO for it’s debatably sexist practice of not showing female fights, preferring to take the high road and talk about what a joy it will be to fight in front of her pop, The Greatest.

I’m not insulted (that HBO will only show excerpts of her bout against Shelley Burton),” Ali said. “I don’t take it personal.”

Ali is looking forward to showing her dad how much she’s learned from Floyd Mayweather Sr. (who delivered a pro-Laila poem that her dad wouldn’t have sneezed at): “I love after fighting seeing his cute little face and getting a kiss, it’s so gentle.”

This year has been spent on personal matters (she got divorced from Johnny McClain, who has been her promoter her whole career), and next year, Ali said, hopefully she’ll get one of the women who have called her out but haven’t gone the whole nine and signed to fight her to put up and shut up.

Laila finished by tossing her parents props for her accomplishments. “The genes have a whole lot to do with it,” she said.

Consider me a covert to She Bee Stingin.’

—Kery Davis said that HBO will show PBF’s rout of Baldy at 10 PM on Saturday, before Klitschko’s title defense.

—Manny Medina showed a better-than-expected grasp of English when he talked about his bout with the Queens talkmaster Kevin Kelley. An interpreter was left hanging as Medina talked for a minute. The boxer then switched to Spanish…

—Kevin Kelley said he and Medina, who he labeled one of his idols, met up in Vegas not long ago. They both marveled that they never hooked up. Now, viola. Kelley promised to try and steal the show in the IBF super feather title shot eliminator….

—Burton’s trainer, Don House, said he’s pumped to be in NYC. Not for the reason you think, though…House is psyched to attend a Maury Povich Show taping on Thursday….

—Burton did the right thing, and remembered to thank her sponsors. Then she realized that she only had one sponsor. It’s the thought that counts….

—Ali cut-minder Cassius Green publicly chided HBO for not showing Ali’s fight. “A low blow,” Green called the decision…

—Ali was charming towards Burton, but still promised her a beating….

—Ali revealed that PBF Sr. dissed his brother Rog when he started her camp. “You don’t know sh–,” he bellowed when he checked out her game. “I’m a hundred times better now if that’s what Senior tells you,” she said.

—Main Events Carl Moretti represented that entity. Buffer said that he was in ‘aw shucks’ mode, which means he’s confident about his guy’s chances.

–Steward started his remarks by lauding Laila, saying that he became a believer when he saw how hard she works in the gym.

–Dino Duva, Peter’s promoter, paid respects to Vitali. “I voted for you,” said Duva, referring to Vitali’s unsuccessful bid for the Kiev mayoralty. “You should have brought some of your friends,” Vitali said, laughing.

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch



Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

Heavyweight contenders Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and James Lights Out? Toney get it on a second time this Saturday from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. (Showtime).

The hard-slugging Peter, unlike Toney, is one of those strong, silent types notorious for letting their fists to the talking one the opening bell sounds, but the Nigeria Nightmare is as confident as ever and determined to turn Lights Out’s lights out for good.

I have got dynamites in my two hands,? said Peter, according the Lagos, Nigeria Vanguard, and I will crush James Toney once and for all. The Toney camp made the mistake of their lives by protesting and seeking a rematch. I am ready to teach him a bitter lesson.?

Sam Peter walked away with the W for Peter/Toney I at the Staples Center in LA last September, but it was by disputed split decision a verdict so disputed, there was even a dispute about the dispute which forced the WBC’s hand into mandating Saturday’s rematch.

Samuel Peter is the biggest thing to hit African boxing since Ghanaian superstar Azumah Nelson rocked the feather and junior welterweight divisions. The President of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, Prince Olaide Adeboye, admitted, according to, We are rooting for Samuel Peter, of course. He is one boy we believe in to bring back the country’s lost glory in professional boxing. I am personally making arrangement to be at the ringside to see him fight Toney again. I was at the first fight in Los Angeles in September.

Peter has the brutal punch, and to me he was the clear winner of the first fight. But the WBC Board of Governors, of which I am a member, voted 21-10 for a rematch. There was nothing those of us Africans on the board could do in the circumstances. But I believe Peter will confirm he is better than Toney and will then go ahead to meet the champion and claim the belt for Nigeria and Africa.?

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia



There are claims that boxing is dying. Hogwash. The heavyweight division isn’t the only division in boxing and 2007 promises to be a banner year in boxing; especially for boxers hailing from Asia.

While Asia isn’t Vegas or Atlantic City, it is a region packed of diamonds in the rough; undiscovered gems and potential superstars who wait for their moment in the sun.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

1) Manny Pacquiao – There’s no way to dispute Pacquiao is the best fighter in Asia, if not all of boxing. He’s exciting, he wins with Je Ne Sais Quois and is definitely “the man” in boxing.

2) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Although his competition leaves much to be desired, his longevity and skills are undeniable. He is currently Thailand’s only world champion and is undefeated in ten years. Need I say more?

3) Chris John – A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, however controversial, shows he belongs at the top of the heap. He easily outpointed Renan Acosta to close out 2006 and should have no trouble defending against Jose Rojas in February. A fight with Pacquiao would not be a good move on his part but a rematch with Marquez would not hurt – especially if he defeats the Mexican again.

4) Hozumi Hasegawa – Hidden away in Japan, Hasegawa is a sharp punching southpaw who put former champion Veeraphol Sahaprom to sleep. He recently bested Genaro Garcia and his herky-jerky style will give fits to any one who steps in the ring with him.

5) Masomori Tokuyama – Tokuyama has never shied away from a good fight and although he only fought once in 2006 (UD12 Jose Navarro), he ledger shows wins over Katsushige Kawashima (twice), Gerry Penalosa (twice) and In Jin Chi (twice). A fight with Hozumi Hasegawa is a distinct possibility in 2007.

6) Nobuo Nashiro – With only seven fights under his belt he took on WBA champion Martin Castillo – and defeated him. Although he’s only fought a total of nine fights, nearly all have been against quality opposition. A victory in a rematch with Castillo would cement his claim as the king of the 115-pound division.

7) Yukata Niida – This light-hitting minimumweight defended his title twice in 2006, winning a technical decision against unbeaten Eriberto Gejon (Tech Win 10) and the other on points over Ronald Barrera (W 12). Scheduled to meet Katsunari Takayama early next year – the best has yet to come for this WBA belt holder.

8) In Jin Chi – Won back the title he lost to Takashi Koshimoto in January from Rudolfo Lopez. While there’s little uncertainty to his skills, at thirty-three, 2007 may provide some insight as to just how much he has left.

9) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai –Sor Nonthachai is an exciting, top-shelf fighter with an iron chin. Has no trouble making mincemeat of mid-level opposition and deserves a title shot in 2007. Time is running out.

10) Rey Bautista – He’s young, relatively inexperienced in big-time boxing, but will continue to shine in 2007. One of the better prospects in boxing, he should snag a title in 2007.

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #1
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9


Chris John (Indonesia) #1
In Jin Chi (Korea) #3
Takashi Koshimoto (Japan) #5
Hioyuki Enoki (Japan) #7

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4


Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan) #2
Veeraphol Sahaprom (Japan) #3
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand) #6
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Thailand) #10

Jr. Bantamweight

Nobuo Nashiro (Japan) #1
Katsushige Kawashima (Japan) #7
Pramuansak Phosuwan (Thailand) #10


Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Thailand) #1
Takefumi Sakata (Japan) #7
Daisuke Naito (Japan) #10

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1


Yukata Naiida (Japan) #2
Eagle Kyowa (Japan/Thai) #4
Katsunari Takayama (Japan) #5
Rodel Mayol (Philippines) #7

Boxing in Thailand

There’s no shortage of boxers in Thailand. With a huge pool of Muay Thai fighters to draw from and several talented amateur boxing prospects turning pro after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thailand seems destined to remain a boxing powerhouse in Asia.

The country is known for having tough, determined and disciplined fighters who give their all whenever the step in to the ring. However, consistently losing while fighting abroad and padding their records with no-hopers has done nothing to enhance their reputation.

Whether because of a lack of marketability, a lack of funds or their unwillingness to travel abroad, the vast majority of boxers from Thailand remain a mystery to fans in the west. If anything though, the boxing scene involving Thai fighters will be active. In fact, it’s one of the most active in the world; since 2000, the number of fights has nearly doubled in the country.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal
4) Wandee Singwancha
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan
9) Terdsak Jandaeng
10) Oleydong Sithamerchai

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight) – Definitely the top dog in Thailand

2) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (Super Lightweight) – He’s a seasoned fighter who has proven himself in the big-time. He’s one Thai who can fight outside of Asia. He has an abundance of skills and one-punch power. His overall ability and ease in dispatching anyone other than championship caliber get him the runners-up spot.

3) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Super Bantamweight) – After losing to Vladimir Sidorenko he’s bounced back. He’s young, he can punch, but the former interim champion needs to prove himself against a name fighter.

4) Somsak Sithchatchawal (Super Bantamweight) – Was his win over Monshipour a fluke or was Celestino Caballero just that good? Did Sithchatchawal catch Monshipour at the right time and can he rebound from the devastating loss? The jury is still out.

5) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (Super Lightweight) – Get this guy a fight. He’s better than Jose Armando Santa Cruz and would have beat up Inada had the fight taken place. He’ll fight anyone but his biggest obstacle is staying motivated fighting tomato cans in Thailand. Like many Thais, he needs a fight against a name opponent.
6) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

7) Pramuansak Phosuwan (Super Flyweight) – A genuine tough guy. Always calm and focused no matter how heated the battle. But at thirty-eight, he’ll be in trouble should he fight one of the division’s elite.
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Bantamweight) – Will be lucky to get another crack at the title. Although he has a puncher’s chance of winning a belt, that’s about all he has left at this point. A third shot at Hasegawa is unlikely.

9) Oleydong Sithamerchai (Minimumweight) – He’s fought better than the usual opponents faced by Thais at his level and he moves up one spot with the departure of Terdsak Jandaeng. He lacks the punch and is in the wrong division to become a superstar. He’ll need to defeat a name opponent to convince me.

10) Saenghiran Lookbanyai / Napapol Kittisakchokchai (Super Bantamweight) – These two square-off in early March, supposedly to see who deserves a shot at Israel Vasquez. Kittisakchokchai has the edge in experience but some feel Lookbanyai has the edge in heart and is the favorite.

Neither has defeated a top twenty fighter and yet are ranked number one and two respectively in the WBC’s world.

In Kittisakchokchoi’s lone shot at the big-time, he was TKO’d in 10 by Oscar Larios. His dreadful performance against Larios and lack of quality opposition leads me to believe Saenghiran might have more of a shot at beating him than some suspect. Regardless, neither of them lasts longer than six rounds with Israel Vasquez.

Honorable Mention: Wethya Sakmuangklang, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: #1 Flyweight
Pramuansak Phosuwan: #10 Jr. Bantamweight
Veeraphol Sahaprom: #3 Bantamweight
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin: #6 Bantamweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym: #10 Bantamweight
Somsak Sithchatchawal: #3 Jr. Featherweight
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9 Lightweight

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak



LAS VEGAS—UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell’s fists proved too much for Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz who was stopped in the third round before a sold out crowd at the MGM Garden Arena on Saturday.

The punching machine Liddell (20-3, 13 KOs) repeated his victory in UFC 66 over the much-improved grappler Ortiz who has improved his punching and blocking. Ortiz was trying to avenge his loss of April 2004.

Despite all the new weapons displayed by Ortiz it wasn’t enough as Liddell pummeled the former champion and retained his title with a technical knockout at 3:59 of the third round. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.

“This was the most satisfying victory of my career,” said Liddell, 36, of Santa Barbara. “Tito came back real tough.”

Ortiz (15-5, 8 KOs), a former wrestler, worked on his boxing technique knowing he would need it against the former boxer Liddell. But Liddell’s experience allowed him to find the right moment to pounce on Ortiz.

“I had him hurt, I just kept throwing punches,” said Liddell who also knocked down Ortiz in the first round with a left hook.

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

“Chuck is the best fighter Pound for Pound in the (mixed martial arts) world,” said Ortiz, 31, who suffered a gash on the side of his left eye from a punch. “I’m disgusted by myself. I let my fans down.”

Other bouts

Underdog Keith Jardine (12-3-1) knocked out Forrest Griffin (13-4) at 4:41 of the first round in their light heavyweight showdown. A right uppercut followed by a left hook wobbled Griffin who was sent to the floor by a barrage of punches. On the ground Jardine landed right after right until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight for a technical knockout.

“I couldn’t believe he was hurt,” said Jardine about Griffin who is known for his resiliency. “I was so nervous coming into this fight, but now I know I belong here.”

Canada’s Jason McDonald (18-7) choked out Chris Leben (15-3) in a middleweight bout that was up for grabs. Though Leben seemed to control the fight with stunning left hands, once the fight went to the ground McDonald managed a chokehold at 4:03 of the second round. Referee Steve Mazagatti saw Leben was unconscious and stopped the fight.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (12-5) caught Brazil’s Mario Cruz (2-2) with a sneak right hand while both were tangled on the ground. Then the Belarusian pummeled Cruz until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:15 of the first round.

Third season winner of the Ultimate Fighter television reality season Michael Bisping (12-0) of Great Britain won by technical knockout over Eric Shafer (9-2-2) at 4:29 of the first round. A knee knocked Shafer groggy then Bisping knocked him to the ground and pounded him. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bludgeoning.

Thiago Alves (16-4) caught Peru’s Tony De Souza (15-5) with a knee as he attempted to dive for his legs in a welterweight contest. After that it was pretty much over as Alves pummeled De Souza at 1:10 of the second round forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout.

Gabriel Gonzago (7-1) proved too strong for Carmelo Marrero (6-1) in a heavyweight bout. At 3:22 of the first round Gonzago of Massachusetts manipulated his way into arm bar forcing Pennsylvania’s Marrero to tap out.

Japan’s Yushin Okami (19-3) pounded Georgia’s Rory Singer (11-6) into submission at 4:03 of the third round of a middleweight bout. Okami seemed the more-rounded fighter with effective kicks to the head and more accurate punching.

Christian Wellisch (8-2) jumped to a quick start with an accurate left hook that rattled Australia’s Anthony Perosh (5-3) in a heavyweight bout. During the first round it seemed the Sacramento fighter might end the fight but the Aussie hung tough. Wellisch won by unanimous decision.

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