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Articles of 2006

Klitschko-Brock Fight Predictions

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Live Saturday night from Madison Square Garden in New York City (HBO), Wladimir Klitschko, aka Dr. Steelhammer, defends his IBF heavyweight crown against the hard-punching Boxing Banker from Charlotte, North Carolina, Calvin Brock. It looks like Klitschko's got the goods with his size, power, experience and cornerman, but Brock is a fine defensive fighter with power to spare and a sturdy, solid chin. Chances are someone’s going down in this bout that may not go the distance, but we won’t know for sure until Saturday. This is how The Sweet Science writers see Wladimir Klitschko vs. Calvin Brock.

I still don't understand this preoccupation with Wladimir Klitschko. He's been knocked out by a couple of journeymen (one who held the WBO title), beat up a fighter in Chris Byrd who was so far past his prime, it was a crime for him to be in the ring with Klitschko in the first place, and barely defeated Samuel Peter while tasting the canvas in a scared, not-very-good effort, and here is being touted as the future of the heavyweight division. Why is this? iI it because he's white? Can punch? And wants to save the world with his charitable efforts? Please, Calvin (tap dancing) Brock, beat this guy so we can move on and root for a real champion like Shannon Briggs. (That was a joke.) Brock by third round knockout.
Mitch Abramson

This has the potential to be a very good fight. Two hungry fighters looking to prove a point always make for a good scrap. Both guys could go down (Klitschko more than Brock), and both will be hurt. In the end, Wladimir has too much size and ability for the Boxing Banker. Klitschko by UD. And look for this fight to lift a sagging division.
Matthew Aguilar

Brock hasn't beaten any fighter of note, with the exception of Jameel McCline. Klitschko has more experience in double the number of fights yet seems to have an inclination towards getting stopped when least expected. Klitschko should win but expect it to be closer than first expected with the possibility of an upset. My head says Klitschko but my gut is going with Brock by stoppage.
Peter M. Carvill

Wladimir Klitschko has more experience than Calvin Brock and the power to stop him. Brock is determined to make it big, but so is the champion. Wladimir wants to have a long reign and unify the major belts. A fight with WBA king Nicolay Valuev would get Klitschko the biggest purse of his career and he cannot afford to lose this chance. On the other hand, Klitschko lost to average boxers Ross Puritty (TKO 11), Corrie Sanders (TKO 2) and Lamon Brewster (TKO 5). It’s obvious that Wladimir cannot take a punch. As a matter of fact, when he won decisively he was never in danger. He is not the kind of fighter who gets hit dozens of times, hits back and scores a KO. Calvin Brock’s record is 29-0 and he won 22 times within the distance. Brock could put the champion to sleep, but I think that Emmanuel Steward has studied a way to neutralize Brock’s strengths. I say Klitschko on points.
Luca De Franco

Calvin Brock had his hands full with Timor Abragimov last June. On Saturday, he'll more than have his hands full with yet another boxing brother act. Wladimir Klitschko's jab will run him ragged and his thunderous right will punish him. Wlad will wear him down and stop him in the 10th round.
Randy Gordon

This is a check the Boxing Banker will have a hard time cashing. Wlad by late stoppage. The co-main event deserves a comment or two, although the powers-that-be at HBO decided (dictated) not to televise Laila Ali/Shelley Burton. Shelley Burton is a tough competitor, with a never-say-die attitude and a great friend. The “Montana Tough Woman,” as she's been called, is no pushover for “She Bee Stingin,” so those on hand that get to see this fight should expect a battle. Shelly Burton will not quit, give up or stop in her effort in the greatest fight of her career. Laila will have her hands full.
Amy Green

Looking at this matchup, the fight would seem to be Klitschko's for the taking, and I say this because Wladimir has tended to get into trouble when he's been forced to fight instead of box, forced to endure and absorb in order to land and punish. Making pier-sixers has never been the stock and trade of “The Boxing Banker” with Brock tending toward being a jabber, loosely technical, generally meaning to disengage the fire power of his opponents, thus outpointing them, ever alert for opportunities to cash in early. If that accurately reflects the general accounting to be negotiated between these two stalkers from a distance then Klitschko, playing the bigger man, the leveraging partner, should win from the outside, depositing right hands when he can. Brock will have to look for the homerun counter, perhaps the left hook, to secure the upset. This one looks like a twelve-rounder to me, some puffy eyelids and some decent, though only intermittent, exchanges throughout. Klitschko W12 Brock.
Patrick Kehoe

Brock might be undefeated, but there’s little on his resume to suggest that he even belongs in the same ring with Dr. Steelhammer. On the other hand, one might have made the same observation going into Klitschko’s fights against Ross Puritty, Corrie Sanders, and Lamon Brewster, all of whom whipped the Ukrainian. (And don’t even mention Samuel Peter, who knocked Klitschko down three times in an otherwise undistinguished performance.) Another point to ponder: It may not be particularly significant, but it’s at least interesting to note that while Klitschko will be fighting as a pro for the 50th time in this one, he’s actually the younger of the two. Wladimir appears to be holding as a 4-1 favorite at the sports books. He should win, but if we were going to bet this fight (which we are not), at the risk of offending UNESCO we’d take a flyer on Brock.
George Kimball

Brock is as steady as they come, but he has never faced the type of firepower Klitschko is going to provide on Saturday evening. Klitschko will be too big, too strong, and too skilled for the “Boxing Banker.” Klitschko TKO 10.
Evan Korn

Hopefully this fight won't piss away the time like Liakhovich-Briggs did. My guess is Klitschko and Brock won't play patty cakes like Liakhovich and Briggs. Two stinkers in a row won't exactly appease the boxing Gods, but for some reason I smell a knockout and a modicum of excitement – and this time the excitement will come earlier than with one second left in the fight. There's a title at stake and Brock could bring the score to 2-2 in the war between the Russkies and the U.S. but I wouldn't count on it. What will be interesting is who can take whose punch. A good big man beats a good smaller man – Klitschko via 8th round TKO.
Scott Mallon

Brock has had so many opportunities to shine – on both NBC and HBO – but has yet to do so. He did score a sensational knockout over Zuri Lawrence on a pay-per-view show, but Lawrence had not scored even one knockout in 20 wins so he posed no real threat. Although Klitschko's chin is questionable, Brock is not the guy to test it. Klitschko will keep him at the end of his ramrod jab and probably stop with a right hand him late in the fight. Klitschko KO 9
Bob Mladinich

Wladimir Klitschko is the most fitting successor to the long abdicated Lennox Lewis, given his physicality, articulation and fluctuating fortunes at the hands of big punchers. And he can fight, offensively at least. He lacks the media magnetism of Briggs or Toney but probably represents the most rounded hope of emerging from the debris of the post Lewis, Tyson and Holyfield era. But without leaning too heavy on the past or cliché, he gives a puncher a chance. He doesn't employ his height and reach to the effect his elder sibling did. Vitali could maintain a chasm of distance between his chin and the opponent, holding his head high and leaning back. Wladimir doesn't hold a shot like him either, as Sanders and Brewster proved. However, to bring that form-line into this fight is hard to justify – Brock isn't the world-class puncher either Brewster or Sanders were. And Klitschko is a big puncher, with good coordination for a tall fighter. I actually think this could represent a really emerging performance. With Briggs looking very beatable as the custodian of the WBO belt, the chinny veteran Maskaev clutching the prestigious WBC belt – unifying three of the belts looks distinctly achievable. A crushing stoppage victory would further distance Wladimir from the mediocre prospects, fossilized contenders and vulnerable fellow champions. I expect him to score one. Klitschko KO6. (But by way of cheap caveat; Brock is an unbeaten heavyweight against a guy with two stoppage defeats on his record. So don't bet the house on the favorite.)
David Payne

I believe that if Brock can stay around, Klitschko's lack of stamina will kick in, and Brock will win. It would not be an upset. With today's crop of heavyweight champions, upsets are not possible.
Ed Schuyler

After last weekend's heavyweight extravaganza, the bar has been set even lower (if that's possible) in terms of expectations of heavyweight title fights. Whoever wins, let's just hope we don't have to endure yet another slow-motion spectacle. Klitschko needs a strong performance to prove his merit that he's the best out there, while Brock gets his shot at glory and better make it good. He says God set it up this way for a reason, well God might not set it up again if he stinks up the place. Brock does have some pop though and remember it hasn't taken much in the past to rock Klitschko. If he can hurt him early, take him out of his rhythm, and get into the later rounds where Klitschko's been known to tire, you could see another American grabbing hold of the crown. That said, I like Klitschko by early KO simply because I think Brock's intimidated and will buckle under pressure.
Benn Schulberg

Calvin Brock is not a glutton for punishment, but this bout will come to down to the durability of his chin. If he can weather Wladimir Klitschko’s early attacks, he will eventually break through and do damage of his own. Brock is also a crafty enough fighter to win rounds without relying on knockdown bombs. He will put Klitschko on the canvas at least once on his way to a decision. Brock by decision.
Aaron Tallent

By the time our great readers get to this point on the predictions list you've already processed more quality analysis and formulated more intelligent conclusions than I can add any insight to regarding Klitschko and Brock, except to say that despite Wladimir's obvious edge in strength and previous opposition plus big spotlight experience my sizeable gut feeling tells me Brock is going to show up strong and make by far his best showing yet.
Phil Woolever

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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