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The Day a Cherry Pick Went All Wrong for a Celebrated Champion

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  • The Day a Cherry Pick Went All Wrong for a Celebrated Champion

    Click image for larger version  Name:	images.jpg Views:	1 Size:	29.2 KB ID:	13289

    By Ted Sares

    With a record of 91-5-2, it will be difficult to keep Thai flyweight Pongsaklek Wonjongkam out of the Boxing Hall of Fame when his time finally comes. During his outstanding career, he was in more championship fights than Carter has pills.

    Wonjongkam retired in 2013 but then came back in 2018, thus unwisely extending the call from the Hall. It now appears the 41-year-old, currently serving as a trainer and teaching boxing/Muay Thai classes, is permanently retired.

    “His accomplishments surpass many of those already inducted into Canastota's hall and his popularity in his native country exceeds the local appreciation most hall of famers get. Some people get into the IBHOF on fame, some get in on meaningful accomplishments, and the inductees that people never argue about get in on both. If you're a boxing fan from Thailand you know where Wonjongkam stands….”, wrote Ryan Bivins in BadLeftHook.

    This two-time former lineal flyweight champion won 55 consecutive bouts between 1996 and 2007, the longest continuous win streak in boxing at the time. This was just one of his many accomplishments; another occurred when he defeated South Africa’s Monelisi Mhikiza Myekeni in November 2007 by unanimous decision. In so doing, Wonjongkam, a southpaw, set the flyweight division record for consecutive title defenses at seventeen.

    Wonjongkam was 25-3-2 in his 30 WBC title fights. Among his opponents were such high profile fighters as Malcolm Tunacao, Hussein Hussein, Koki Kameda, Edgar Sosa, Daisuke Naito who he fought three times, and the aforementioned Myekeni. Many of his opponents were former, current, or future world champions. An inordinate number were Japanese which is unusual for Thai fighters.

    In short, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam is recognized by knowledgeable boxing fans as one of the greatest flyweights in history.

    Enter Sonny Boy Jaro
    Sonny Boy Villaluz Jaro (45-15-5) is still fighting but the 37-year-old Filipino is on the downward side of his prime. He fought last month, losing by KO to fast rising Thai Nawaphon Por Chokchai. Among his 15 losses, nine came by way of stoppage while 32 of his 45 wins came the same way confirming his reputation as an exciting fighter.
    In back to back fights in 2010 and 2011, Sonny Boy was stopped by Oscar Ibarra in Chihuahua, Mexico, and outpointed by neophyte Hirofumi Mukai in Osaka, Japan. He won his next four by TKO against fighters with losing records including the well-traveled Rey Megrino of the Philippines (Rey is now 24-20-4). These wins set up a WBC world flyweight title fight with Wonjongkam who was 83-2-2 at the time. They met on March 2, 2012 on a rainy day in Chonburi, Thailand.

    Few gave the Pinoy (33-10-5 coming in) much of a chance -- he had failed in two prior title fights -- but as things turned out, this fight, which would be named Upset of the Year by The Ring magazine, gave new meaning to the phrase “Shock and Awe.”

    Jaro was relentless throughout as he attacked both the body and head while the Thai champion launched periodic mini rallies on the slippery canvas giving his fans false hope, but in the fourth and fifth rounds, he could not hold off the Filipino and absorbed serious punishment. In the sixth Jaro was penalized a point for a low blow. Bowing and contrite, he then responded with two brutal knockdowns throwing some 20 unanswered blows before the second knockdown put the champion down and out. Referee Yuji Fukuchi awkwardly waved his hands to stop the fight. It appeared he could not believe believe that Jaro had just KOed the great Thai champion. He had been knocked down five times before the fight was stopped and while the first round knockdown did little damage, the four that followed were malevolent.

    Becoming the lineal flyweight champion, Jaro laid claim to be "The Man Who Beat The Man."


    Jaro’s reign would end when he lost his title to Toshiyuki Igarashi just four months later, while Wonjongkam went on to win eight of his last nine with the loss—an upset TKO-- being to the aforementioned Rey Megrino in November 2012.

    Jaro’s title reign was brief, but the affable Filipino had his day in the sun, shocking the boxing world with an upset that was one for the books against a legendary opponent who waits to be assuredly nominated and then most likely inducted into the IBHOF.

    Ted Sares is a member of Ring 8, a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He is an active power lifter and Strongman competitor in the Grand Master class.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Though I served his peace ✌️ mission:

    I never knew how many pills Carter had. 😉

    They were for his heart right? Let's Lobster Trap soon Ted!

    #SonnyBoy ☀️


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      You bet, KO.........................

  • #3
    Yo I'm hungry now ya know!
    I'm a Mexican American heavyweight too.
    Born closer to the border than Andy Ruiz Jr.

    #BrockyMexicano 😎


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Geezuz God in Heaven. Tex Mex beckons. El Paso maybe.

  • #4
    Exactly, when we getting those bugs? I'm starvin like Marvin.


    • #5
      Nice email from a buddy who can't seem to be able to register in able to post. :

      What a great article about a Flyweight, who many would have never heard of!!!

      Beau Williford
      Sent from my iPhone


      • #6
        I went looking for more information about Carter and his pills. Turns out I didn't even have the right Carter or the right vital organ. I just always assumed the grownups were taking about President Jimmy when they said this and maybe they were? Here's what the internet says about the phrase: "New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell confounded many viewers during his 2013 appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show when he stated that in the 1996 election his opponent “had more money than Carter had liver pills.” The more senior audience members realized that Mr. Pascrell was referring not to President Jimmy Carter, but rather to a patent medicine originally formulated by one Samuel Carter in 1868. Thanks to saturation advertising campaigns that promoted the tablets as a cure for everything from “overindulging” in liquor consumption to headaches to indigestion to a sallow complexion, Carter’s Little Liver Pills were once as common as aspirin in American medicine cabinets. Carter-Wallace stopped hawking their little pills (in which the active ingredient was a laxative) in 1961 after the FTC forced them to remove the word “liver” from the product name, but that didn’t stop folks from rolling their eyes during an argument and exclaiming “You’ve got more excuses than Carter has liver pills.""


        • Kid Blast
          Kid Blast commented
          Editing a comment
          I long ago took "liver" out of the equation though mine could probably use some help.

      • #7
        The Army tried to ruin my liver, and the pills were grueling!

        But im cured!


        • #8
          Johnny Tango has trouble getting back on TSS but he sent this email to me: "You stumped me! I've never heard of any of the fighters you mentioned in this piece. I don't follow the fight game like you die-hard fans. The only Filipino boxer I know is Manny Pacquiao." Meanwhile Bernie Campbell likes the fact that I write about lesser known fighters.