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Articles of 2006

Don’t Believe Mayorga’s Gripes of Wrath, There’ll Be a Fight




LAS VEGAS, May 4 – The one-armed bandits were busy when Ricardo Mayorga’s two limousines pulled up to the MGM Grand for the ritual final press conference for Saturday’s fight. In the Hollywood Theatre, the media had been eating and greeting since 11:30. Backstage, Oscar De La Hoya waited for his beer-drinking, cigarette-smoking, smack-talking opponent. And waited.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said that Mayorga and his promoter, Don King, “had some issues and were in negotiations.” Someone said Mayorga wanted half of Nicaragua credentialed. That didn’t seem likely since there was ample room for at least the population of Managua in the Theatre. The wait continued. What sounded like Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 kept playing over and over on the muted loudspeakers. De La Hoya remained backstage and the Mayorga half of the dais remained empty as the undercard fighters were introduced. At around 2 P.M., De La Hoya was told that Mayorga wanted to meet with his opponent, and the fight’s promoter, before facing Tiny Tim Smith, Dandy Dan Rafael and the rest of the deadline dicks.

On the prefight press tour in Chicago, Mayorga had slapped De La Hoya in the back of the head. Elsewhere, he said he would loan De La Hoya the use of his WBC junior middleweight belt for one night, in exchange for a night’s use of De La Hoya’s wife. The Nicaraguan terror insulted De La Hoya’s beloved late mother, Mexicans, Mexican-Americans and said he had trained with chickens to prepare for Chicken De La Hoya.

De La Hoya said even as Mayorga stuck out his right hand to shake, he expected the eccentric former welterweight champion was “going to swing at me.” Mayorga said, hey, “we’re two great warriors, you’re not a chicken, otherwise you wouldn’t be fighting me, but listen, I’ve got to get more money or there’s no fight.”

De La Hoya looked around. No, George Clooney wasn’t there. This was not “Oceans Thirteen”, another Vegas heist flick. Maybe Don King was going to pull the rug out from the $50 pay-per-view show here so that his Showtime card in Worcester, Mass., Saturday night would have no competition. Nah, who was going to watch Alejandro Garcia and Juan Antonio Rivera fight for some other 154-pound title? Kassim Ouma, who would be heavily favored over either King fighter in Worcester, was on the undercard here and could always skip out on his scheduled opponent, Marco Rubio, and move up to fight his promoter, De La Hoya. Nah, Ouma was much too tough an opponent for De La Hoya to face first crack after a 20-month layoff. Maybe Mayorga was trying a heist. But he was holding up the wrong promoter.

Mayorga said he wasn’t getting enough money. Golden Boy had paid Don King Promotions $4 million to produce Mayorga on May 6. Mayorga had signed a $2 million bout agreement with King. Now, suddenly, he was demanding $8 million.

De La Hoya figured Mayorga was trying “to get to my head” three days before the fight. He said he wasn’t about to reach into his pants pocket and pull out his checkbook. Besides, he said, Millie has the checkbook and she wasn’t around. De La Hoya said Mayorga’s money was “his problem.” He said Mayorga seemed on edge, “a lot of times you can be beat outside the ring before the fight.”

Whatever. The show must go on, at least the press conference portion. Mayorga traipsed onto the stage. King walked slowly behind him, his son Carl – Mayorga’s “manager” – in tow. The promoter, 74, and starting to look it, especially since his wife, Henrietta, has been ailing, carried his usual two little American flags. He didn’t have one for Nicaragua.

No one mentioned what had transpired backstage. The press conference, a couple of hours late, continued as if nothing had happened. King did mention cryptically that there were always “whisperers” around fighters, “blowing smoke in your ears.”

Later, it was said that someone told Mayorga that De La Hoya was likely to make close to $30 million for this fight, which of course is hogwash. First, if indeed there were that many pay-per-view sales, Mayorga’s share of the “upside” would add maybe $2.5 million to his own pot. But in fact, for Mayorga to make that much, De La Hoya would still find it difficult to reach $15 million.

In any case, no mention of the purse dispute was made as the press conference droned on. King kept advising everyone to run out and bet on his kid, who was plus $2.70 at the local shops while Oscar was minus $3.30 (if you want that in man-to-man terms so you can strike a deal with your friendly neighborhood barber, the line is 3-1). Mayorga said he was only one and a half pounds over the 154-pound limit, and by fight time will be about 18 pounds over. De La Hoya said he’s been at 151½ for three weeks.

King said Mayorga was the “Latin Mike Tyson, the closest thing to Tyson I’ve seen.” Mayorga said he would “represent all of Nicaragua” and make his mother and country proud of him. King called Schaefer, born to a banking family in Bern, Switzerland, a “Swedish banker.” Floyd Mayweather Sr., De La Hoya’s bard and self-appointed world’s greatest trainer, called Mayorga “the joke blowing smoke with no hope.” Stacy McKinley, a longtime King aide who helps train Mayorga, called Mayweather “the ugliest trainer in the world.” Mayorga presented De La Hoya with a little skirt for the “Golden Girl.” His longtime trainer, Luis Leon, said De La Hoya would be stopped within six rounds.

The wolf who cried “Chicken” was otherwise wearing sheep’s clothing. And then it was over and Mayorga grabbed the microphone and said, “I’m thinking about not fighting because I’m not getting the pay I want. I’m not scared of Oscar. I want what I’m worth.”

He would get more specific when surrounded by reporters. He admitted he signed a contract for $2 million, but said it was “a lure” to get De La Hoya to fight him. He said he had been promised $8 million. King, standing behind him, said this was the first time he had heard that figure mentioned “was when I got here.”

“I’m not going to fight for free,” said Mayorga. He said when Felix Trinidad Jr. beat him to a pulp last year, “Trinidad took all the money” and that wasn’t going to happen again. It would be very easy to dismiss Mayorga’s belated bargaining, but this is a man who has risen from great poverty. Nicaraguan reporters say there was a time when the family had only enough money for a three-pound bag of rice and had to subsist on mangos, plucked from friendly trees, and rice for weeks. In Nicaragua, it is said, his home is always open to the needy – a father who needs medicine for a baby, a mother who needs food for her children.

It is possible Mayorga realizes that if De La Hoya does what Trinidad did – and they both chose the wide-swinging Nicaraguan against whom to end long layoffs – there may not be any more big-money opportunities. He may be mad, but he’s not crazy.

At the same time, he should not be listening to the “whisperers.” This is a guy who lost to Cory Spinks – okay, it was close, but he lost to the light-punching son of Leon – and who has a WBC belt only because he was able to beat the ancient Italian, Michele Piccirillo, but needed all 12 rounds after dropping the former welterweight champion three times in the first four rounds.

Mayorga hits hard, has a superior chin and not a hint of technique. At $2 million, it could be fairly said he is being handsomely overpaid. In any case, Schaefer made it clear that if Mayorga tried to hold a gun to his head, he would simply say, “Pull the trigger.”

The Swiss banker said there would be “no extortion.” That if Mayorga doesn’t fight Saturday, he could forget about his boxing career. And so could King. But then, of course, no one expects it to come to this. De La Hoya seems to think it’s just an attempt to play with his mind. Schaefer wasn’t sure what Mayorga’s plan was. “I don’t know what goes through his crazy mind,” he said. Maybe, on a week leading up to the Kentucky Derby of horse racing, a threatened work stoppage might be the only kind of headlines that can come out of here.

Maybe King won’t be able to keep his half of the $4 million Golden Boy has paid him, maybe he’ll have to cough up a few extra pennies for the one-armed bandits. Peace will be had. There will be a fight. I guarantee it.

PENTHOUSE: Just seeing photog Teddy Blackburn, who will receive the James J. Walker Award for “long and meritorious service to boxing,” makes one smile.

OUTHOUSE: Let’s skip Mayorga and King and this silly exercise in brinkmanship and remember what passed for a fight last weekend, the Acelino Freitas-Zahir Raheem matchup of contrasting nonstyles. For the record, off the tube, I had Raheem ahead by a point (one equal round), but almost every round I noted was “close.” Close, but no cigar or any other kind of prize. They both lost.

MORE DIS AND THAT: It could be that Zab Judah, his father, Yoel, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. cornerman Leonard Ellerbe could face the Nevada State Athletic Commission for last month’s extracurricular fights on Monday, executive director Marc Ratner’s final week on the job. But Ratner said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Judah faction asked for a delay. Not that he wouldn’t show up even beyond his May 13 final day on the job before going over to the UFC. “I’ll be only eight blocks away,” he said….By the way, De La Hoya-Mayorga is not Ratner’s last boxing match before turning over the job to Keith Kizer. There’s a club show next Friday night at the Orleans….So I asked Oscar if he thought Mayorga’s money demand was an indication that his opponent was a “chicken.” De La Hoya looked at me and laughed. “I’m the king of chickens,” he said proudly. More about him tomorrow.


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

David A. Avila



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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