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Yodsanan cansend out areal signal : On June 26th , 2008
After 15 years and 59 fights, Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai has to prove tomorrow whether he still deserves to be eligible for a WBA or WBC title shot.
Yodsanan faces decent Filipino Jimrex Jaca in Pattaya, with his world rankings (WBA eight at light-welter and WBC 12 at lightweight) on the line.
He will also have the memory of former WBC bantam champ Veeraphol Nakhonluang getting smashed by Vusi Malinga fresh in his mind.
Yodsanan's age is quoted as being anything between 33 and 38 but what is beyond dispute is that he is entering the final stage of his career and needs to beat Jaca to maintain his hopes of another title challenge.
Unlike Veeraphol, it is hard to gauge how much Yodsanan may have left because his recent opposition has been so poor he hasn't even had to break sweat to beat them.
In his last fight, at Suan Lum night bazaar, he was up against Filipino Rodel Orias. Orias had the distinction of being knocked out early in his three previous visits to Thailand and seemed keen to extend his run when Yodsanan dropped him with a combination to the body at the end of the first round.
At the start of the second session, Yodsanan threw a right hook but it missed the target and his forearm cuffed Orias on the side of the head. The Filipino went down as though he had been hit by a ton of bricks and stayed on the canvas for the full count.
It was a pointless exercise and I bet Yodsanan has harder sparring sessions.
He will definitely face a stiffer challenge in Pattaya because Jaca is durable with a respectable 28-4-3 (13 KOs) record, although he is a naturally smaller man.
The Thai is 55-3-1 (44KOs) and it is three years since he lost his WBA super-featherweight title to Panama's Vicente Mosquera at Madison Square Garden in New York.
I expect him to beat Jaca, but the pattern of the fight should tell us a lot about how far he can go.
WBC and WBA world-ranked light-welterweight Sirimongkol Singwangcha made a real statement by knocking out Chad Bennett in one round in Australia in May and that is the kind of performance that Yodsanan has to emulate.
In an ideal world Sirimongkol and Yodsanan would fight each other in a final eliminator to see who gets a world title shot.
But that may not happen because the money in Thailand probably isn't worth the huge risk for either of them at this stage of their careers.
They need to be featuring in high-profile matches abroad and Yodsanan has a good chance to put himself in the shop window tomorrow (Channel 7 televise live).
I saw him lose a fight in Muay Thai last year but feel it is unwise to read too much into it.
Yodsanan was hurt badly by a series of elbows but that may have been because he wasn't used to defending against them.
Jaca doesn't appear to have the power to trouble him, so the stage has been set for Yodsanan to send out a signal to the rest of the division.
One man who sent out a very strong message last week was WBC strawweight champion Oledong Sithsamerchai with his brilliant performance against Japan's Junichi Ebisuoka in Phuket.
Oledong dominated a weak opponent from the start and punched accurately and with real sharpness until he won by stoppage in the ninth round.
It was a quality display in his first defence.
Ebisuoka was a good choice of opponent because his upright and slow style was perfect for Oledong to showcase his skills against.
When the fight was first announced Ebisuoka was ranked 20th by the WBC, which would have made him ineligible to fight for the title.
He soon climbed to 15th spot without throwing a punch to make the Oledong fight within the rules. Only in boxing.
Staying in Thailand, it was good to see WBA super-bantamweight number one contender Poonsawat Kratingdaengym keep busy with a three-round knockout win in Samut Prakan on Tuesday.
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