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Articles of 2006

Pacquiao-Morales III Fight Predictions

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Live Saturday night from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada (HBO PPV), Manny Pacquiao meets Erik Morales for the third bout of their classic trilogy. Tijuana’s El Terrible (48-4, 34 KOs) beat Pac-Man (42-3-2, 32 KOs), from General Santos City, The Philippines, to the punch in their first go-round, but it was close, whereas Manny turned the tables in the rematch and handed Morales his first loss by KO. Now the two warriors meet in the rubber match, with one fighter (Pacquiao) on the ascendant, at the top of his game, and the other fighter (Morales) hoping to regain his former status as one of Mexico’s premier fistic assassins. This is how The Sweet Science writers see Pacquiao-Morales III.

There's little reason to believe this rubber match will be any different than the rematch. Morales appeared old, tired and used up. Pacquiao is at the top of his game. That said, don't be surprised if this one is a little more competitive than the last one. Morales, with his new training regimen, may use the jab more. But the bottom line is that he doesn't have the stamina to last with a whirlwind like Pac-Man. Every great fighter has his day. Saturday will be a sad one for the great “El Terrible.” Pacquiao TKO 11.
Matthew Aguilar

Expect Pacquiao do a demolition job on a shot Morales. Morales will probably fight well for three rounds but the drop in weight is too much for the aging warrior who will go out on his shield between rounds eight and ten.
Peter M. Carvill

It's a good idea not to go against Pac-Man. I won't say Erik Morales is washed up or is a has-been, but the smart money is still on Manny for at least the decision.
Jesse K. Cox

Despite his new training methods, I think losing the weight is still going to come up and bite Morales in the behind somewhere around the ninth or tenth round. It seems tougher every fight for him to get down to 130. If he even gets there for this fight. I'm picking Pacquiao to stop Morales sometime after the tenth. If Morales comes in at 133 and they still fight, all bets are off.
Rick Folstad
 
I feel Morales knows how to beat Pac-Man since he's done it in the past. This will be all up to conditioning for Morales. Everything I've been hearing regarding the Morales camp is extremely positive so I'm predicting a unanimous decision win for “El Terrible” who will try to take Pacquiao to school.
Ralph Gonzalez

Here comes another shootout, and it's one I just can't see Morales winning. Pac Man in 9.
Randy Gordon

Morales has lost something along the way and Manny Pac is still picking up steam. The weight loss and years of hard battles have taken their toll. “Pac Man” will soundly defeat “El Terrible” and I'll bravely say by brutal 8th round stoppage.
Amy Green

All things being equal the younger, stronger fighter should prevail. Not that the issue of Erik Morales fighting Manny Pacquiao in November of 2006 speaks to equality, balance and indistinguishable terms for our referencing. Morales, mentally worn at 30, seeks to reconstitute himself for the rubber match with Manny Pacquiao. He's taken his body down to weight scientifically. He believes he's a new man at 130. Pacquiao, who reversed a decision lost with a stoppage win in the rematch, will be hoping to better his own best performance, playing the faster, more powerful hitting soldier of fortune. Neither man is afraid of the other. Morales will have to erase Pacquiao's advantages applying tactical brilliance, something he's disdained in the last four mega fights he's contested. No one tells Morales how to win; he's closed his door to adaptive impulses, or so it seems. We are ripe for a surprise; but, Pacquiao's a superstitious guy. He's ready for something magical from Morales, one last flight toward greatness. The Philippine star and Freddie Roach are ready, waiting, solutions laced up. They are not about to be surprised. Or so they have been saying.”
Patrick Kehoe

If things hold to form this one could be decided by respective expertise of the combatants' cutmen. Barrera has a lot of miles on him, and I expect Pacquiao to prevail if one of them doesn't bleed to death first. If Pac-Man doesn't win it's probably an indication that those rumors of less-than-dedicated out-of-the-ring stuff may be true.
George Kimball

In short, this one is too close to call.  Morales appears to be shedding the weight comfortably, while Pac-Man is still in prime form. I'm going out on a limb: Draw.
Evan Korn

You can't help but love a fight like Pacquiao – Morales. Both are fighters in every sense of the word and will bring their all to this battle. Morales has worked hard to get his weight and training right which makes the fight that much more appealing. The question is, just what does he have left? Pacquiao is in his prime which is why I'm leaning towards him winning a decision victory. The Filipino has it all and Morales is going to have to fight the fight of his life if he wants the win. Morales winning might be better for boxing as it would open up a host of other bouts but it's hard to bet against the Pacman. Manny Pacquiao via unanimous decision…or late round TKO.
Scott Mallon

Morales' well-documented weight problems could come back to haunt him in this fight. The always charging PacMan should be able to stop him even sooner than he did last time. Pacquaio TKO 9.
Robert Mladinich

Erik Morales has the blueprint to beat Manny Pacquiao.  He showed it  conclusively (though not to the populace of Manila) the first time they fought, much like Juan Manuel Marquez did after he was nearly vaporized by Pac in the first round: He moved side-to-side — hands high — behind an educated left jab and lead rights, keeping Pac off-balance and frustrated — reducing him to hail-Mary lefts. Pac came back with a vengeance in the return, armed with a newly-developed right hook, courtsey of Freddie Roach, and duplicated what he did to Marco Antonio Barrera: shocked, beat-up, beat-down and left him in ruins. Whether it was “El Terrible’s” hubris or being weight-drained is for Monday morning quarterbacks. The defeat for Morales was so crushing; any thought of matching the two again would have been cruel and inhuman punishment.  Manny put a period to Erik’s career, with an exclamation point. But, here we are again Saturday night for the rubber match. After being made to look like a wooden Indian against Zahir Raheem and the annihilation at Manny’s hands, most think the shell of Erik will be butchered even earlier. I don’t. Morales is a proud, proud man, seething to show Barrera and the world who’s best. Like Floyd Patterson that put the decimation by Ingmar Johansson behind him and stretched Ingo in the return, I think Morales will return to cold-blooded form, take charge, use his five-inch reach advantage and win convincingly.
My heart’s with Manny. My instinct’s with Morales.
Joe Rein

Morales heads into his latest rubber match hoping to forget about the worst defeat of his career in which Pacquaio did the unthinkable and sent him down and out for the first time. He blamed his weight struggles as the reason for ending up on the canvas and he's confident he can handle Pacquaio's electrifying speed as he did in their first contest. The problem is that Morales isn't getting any younger and has to make the junior lightweight limit once more, which will surely take its toll. Look for Pacquaio to be too much for the aging Morales, with his speed, movement, and punching power once again proving to great an obstacle to overcome. Morales won't go easily though as he's still a dangerous foe and his valiant effort should make for an intriguing fight. Pacquaio by unanimous decision.
Benn Schulberg

I cannot find a reason to pick Morales, especially after his last two fights. Another KO victory by Pacquiao looms.
Ed Schuyler

Having lost three of his last four fights, one wonders what Erik Morales has left. While I do not think he is a shot fighter, he will not silence any naysayers on Saturday night. Manny Pacquiao by decision
Aaron Tallent

A fight where you put on your Mr. T mask and predict “pain.” Pac-Man and El Terrible are so close in “styles make classics” status that it may come down to something like whoever fits the weight easier. In this case it appears to be Pacquiao.
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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