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Articles of 2006

Holyfield Stuck In Promotional, Financial Quagmire



None of us thought that Evander Holyfield would come within sniffing distance of a heavyweight championship again. In 2004, his career, glorious and rewarding, had come to a grinding, pathetic halt.

He looked positively geriatric against Larry Donald at Madison Square Garden.

Donald, no Hall of Fame talent, made The Real Deal look like a done deal.

At that point, we all waited for some years to pass, so we could install Holyfield, with his undersized body and supersized heart, into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

But the man persevered, and let some nagging injuries heal, and lo and behold, he’s a win away from getting a crack at a belt. He’s 44 years old, and were he to pull off this an improbable feat, and win a heavyweight title for the fifth occasion, the praise heaped on the Christian warrior would be unrelenting.

While we’re on the subject of perseverance, however, it is unfortunate that I must report some people who did business with the promoter Holyfield aligned himself with in his last outing, Murad Muhammad, are being forced to persevere in their quest to get paid what they were promised. In fact, Holyfield himself may have been misled by the promoter, as a source tells TSS that the boxer hasn’t received the bulk of his purse for the bout.

On November 10, Holyfield won a unanimous decision against 33-year-old Fres Oquendo (26-4) in San Antonio. Against Oquendo, Holyfield (40-8-2, 26 KOs) didn’t look great, but he looked more than acceptable for a 44-year-old.

He’d agreed to a $2 million purse for the bout, which was presented on pay-per-view by Fox Sports Net. The card was available for $44.95, but despite what Barnum said, there weren’t enough suckers available to make much of a dent towards paying Holyfield’s purse.

Really, it doesn’t take an especially sharp mind to comprehend that putting Holyfield (who had just fought on free TV two months before) on a PPV offering might not be the right course of action. In fact, no more than 40,000 people bought the card on PPV, a source close to the promotion tells TSS.

Muhammad, Holyfield’s representative, likely will derive around $500,000 when the PPV take is tallied and paid out. If he was hoping that a strong live gate would bail him out, he thought wrong. (Note: Typically, the local cable systems take around 60% for providing the platform to show the event, and for promoting it. Then the fight promoter and the distributing network, which in this case was Fox, split the other 40% or so of the pie. In this case, a source tells TSS that Muhammad enjoyed something like a 70/30 split of the remaining 40% of revenue generated.)

The San Antonio Express News said that an estimated 4,000 people paid to get in to the Alamodome on fight night, and about 6,000 were allowed in for free. That, in an arena built to seat about 23,000 people for an event of this sort, or more than 35,000 if an upper deck is put to use, was a woeful turnout.

The Nov. 10 gate probably netted Muhammad $400,000, the paper said. Again, common sense would indicate that perhaps many Texans’ desire to see the Real Deal in the flesh may have been sated by his appearance in Dallas, a scant two months earlier. Also, there was no advertising for the event started until two weeks before the card.

It is assumed that Muhammad also took in some monies for international TV rights and sponsorships, which may have brought him another $200,000. Those revenue streams add up to perhaps $1,400,000. Considering Holyfield was supposed to get $2 million, Muhammad is in the red right there, without factoring in payments to the other fighters and other miscellany expenses, which likely total another $400,000-500,000.


TSS called Muhammad’s office and left a message on afternoon of Dec. 27 to delve in to specifics on the matter, and allow the promoter to have his say, but Muhammad didn’t respond.

We also know the boxers, such as undercard fighters Oscar Diaz and Golden Johnson, were given checks for their performances that bounced. Subsequently, however, they were compensated properly almost a week after the event. And Oquendo’s promoter, Lou DiBella, is still playing the waiting game.

He fronted Oquendo most his $100,000 purse, as Muhammad promised the former head of HBO boxing that he’d pay him back ASAP. It hasn’t happened, and DiBella is irked.

“Murad scammed me,” he said to TSS. DiBella told TSS that he’d give Muhammad a bit more time to make good, as he’s been assured by one of Muhammad’s associates that payment would be arriving in a timely fashion, but his patience, he said, is wearing thin.

Soon, he says, he will sic lawyers on Muhammad to recover the $85,000 the promoter owes him. He may have to stand in line behind Holyfield himself, though, if the fighter is indeed waiting on the majority of his promised purse.

The fighters and DiBella weren’t the only people involved with the promotion who were touched by Muhammad’s financial distress. The Radisson Downtown Market Square in San Antonio is still waiting to get paid for rooms they rented to Muhammad for use during the show, to the tune of about $25,000. The GM of the facility, David DeSimone, told TSS that he didn’t want to talk about the specifics of the matter, but did acknowledge that Muhammad hasn’t paid up, and said “it has become a legal matter.”

It didn’t have to be this way.

In the first leg of his comeback, Holyfield was being advised by Texas event marketer Lester Bedford, who advised him to set up his own promotional entity, so he could run the show the way he saw fit, and not be reduced to ticket-selling cameos to pad out big-named promoters’ cards.

Holyfield responded to that wisdom, but allowed a boxing neophyte named George Hutson* (see Aug. 26 TSS piece by Woods for more on Hutson) representing a Texas law firm, to head up the business side of Real Deal Events.

As Hutson took over more and more control of Holyfield’s career resurrection, Bedford was shunted aside, and Holyfield’s choices worsened noticeably. Instead of taking incremental steps to rebuild his credibility, as Bedford advised, Holyfield leapt right from journeyman Jeremy Bates on Aug. 18 to awkward vet Fres Oquendo. Instead of pursuing a slow, steady buildup to rebuild Holyfield’s aura, Hutson listened to Muhammad, who talked up Holyfield’s PPV potential.

Muhammad had come on the scene during the Bates promotion, and worked to dislocate Bedford from the mix. He succeeded, and Bedford was told that his services were no longer needed. His realistic outlook, and years of expertise in the field were jettisoned, and Hutson relied instead on Muhammad. Bedford, in a heated back-and-forth with Hutson after the Bates fight, warned Hutson that Muhammad’s business record wasn’t free from controversy; he had been sued for $33 million by Manny Pacquaio in 2005, and had been forced to settle the case with an $800,000 settlement check.

Hutson didn’t heed the warning.

But the point was soon made moot, because not long after that, Hutson himself was dislodged from the scene. As the Holyfield/Oquendo promotion heated up, he became more and more scarce, and Muhammad’s persona was front and center.

As of Dec. 27, it looks like Hutson is no longer associated with Bond, Hunt & French, and all calls to his line are redirected to a partner in the firm. TSS called the law firm, and left a message with one of the partners to determine if Hutson was still an employee at the firm, but didn’t hear back.

After Holyfield and Oquendo battled, Muhammad went on the record as saying that he’d like to see Holyfield fight Wladimir Klitschko, and that he would hand Klitschko $20 million for the task of bludgeoning the aged warrior. There was no interest shown by Team Klitschko, which some might find surprising. After all, that sort of payday for a simple demolition job seems enticing on the outside. But if Klitschko were interested, where would Muhammad, who’d just written a bunch of bad checks, come up with any up front money if he weren’t able to pay DiBella what he owed him? Or the Radisson?

But then again, Holyfield could be waiting to get paid himself. TSS has been told that Holyfield was paid an advance of $250,000 and has lawyers looking into securing the remaining $1,750,000. TSS has been unable to confirm this development.

On Dec. 28, TSS contacted the Texas boxing commission, and was put in touch with spokesman Jeff Hill.

Hill said that the commission has forwarded complaints on bounced checks to an enforcement division, which will gather the facts in the case. Muhammad did have to post a bond in order to maintain a license to promote in Texas, but that is a modest $10,000. That bond wouldn’t do much to make a dent into Holyfield’s purse, for sure, and if other persons or businesses are owed money by Muhammad from the bout, money from the bond will be distributed on a pro rata basis.

As of now, Muhammad still holds his license to promote in Texas, and the whole process of gathering facts, and of holding a hearing that will provide a ruling on whether or not Muhammad acted improperly, will likely take months, Hill said.

Bottom line—if there is one vocation where a man deserves honest pay for an honest effort, it’s boxing.

So c’mon, Murad, do what you have to do, within the bounds of the law, and make good on your IOUs. Presumably, you still want to take part in this business that you have graced with your presence for parts of four decades. Making good on your debts will enable you to keep in the game.

Evander, I’m certain that there is a line in the Bible that talks about loyalty, and not being swayed by promises of excessive riches, but that is your department, not mine. But Evander, if for no other reason than to keep your legacy from being further tarnished, please be aware of the entirety of this financial quagmire that threatens to drag you down by association.


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

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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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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