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Saensak Muangsurin-Thai Pacman


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Going thru the archives, I was looking for a thread on this guy, but to my amazement found out there was none. Well, that needs to be amended. Muangsurin was surely like a precursor to Manny Pacquiao, the way he fought and broke down and destroyed his opponents. He had true punching power, speed and good enough skills to beat many of the best at 140 in that era. He famously captured his first world title in his only third pro fight, which was and still remains an unbeaten record (Lomachenko has since tied that record but failed to break it, as most of you know). However, his prime was short and lasted only 4 years. During those 4 years, he won the WBC belt twice and made eight defenses of it altogether, in the process beating guys like Saoul Mamby, Guts Ishimatsu, Perico Fernandez, Miguel Velazquez, Monroe Brooks, Lion Furuyama and Jo Kimpani. Here we go.


He was born 13 August 1950 in Tambon ban Sadiang, Petchabun Province, real name Boonsong Mansri. Like many other Thai boxers, he first started practicing Muay Thai and later became a professional world champion in it, knocking out his opponent in one round only, in 1971. He was also a junior welterweight then, standing 5'7/170 cm and having a very big reach for his height, 73 inches/185 cm. He then started boxing as an amateur and won the 1973 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games, winning all his fights by ko. He made his pro boxing debut aged 24, 16 November 1974, winning by a KO1 against Rudy Barro in Bangkok. He then stopped the well known Japanese contender Lion Furuyama by a TKO7, which gave him a sudden ticket to the world title fight against Perico Fernandez, Spanish European champion. The title on the line was the vacant WBC one and the two faced off on 15 July 1975 at Hua Mark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok. Muangsurin became the champion for the first time by knocking out the seasoned Fernandez in 8 rounds. He was well ahead on the scorecards at the time. He thus set that world record I already mentioned. He defended the title first against Furuyama in a rematch on 25 January next year, this time winning by a UD15 in Japan. He then went to Spain, his next opponent's homeland, to fight against Miguel Velazquez, who had previously been the first man to defeat Ken Buchanan and also won the European title. The fight was in Madrid, at Palacio los Deportes, when the Thai champion sent Velazquez down in the second and third round and then knocked him out in the fourth. However, it was judged that he did that after the bell, so the KO4 win turned into a disqualification loss! This wasn't the first time that something like this happened in Spain, as Mando Ramos had also been previously robbed of his world title the same way against their favorite Pedro Carrasco. This was 30 June and the rematch was then set for 29 October, again in Spain, but this time in Segovia. The change of place became lucky for Muangsurin, because he made short work of Velazquez this time, decking him four times in the second round before the fight was over and he won by a TKO2. In his first defense of the second reign, he faced the tough and hard-hitting American Monroe Brooks and after being down once in the third, he put Brooks down in the fourteenth and fifteenth round to win by a TKO15. That fight started 1977 for Muangsurin. In April, he went to Japan to fight the former WBC light champion Guts Ishimatsu and impressively knocked him out clean in 6 rounds. For his third defence, he again faced Perico Fernandez, again at Palacio los Deportes in Madrid, and this time won by a UD15.


After defeating Mike Everett by a TKO5 in his fourth defence, he faced Saoul Mamby in the fifth, at Open-Air Stadium in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, 23 October '77. After the fight went its 15-round distance, Muangsurin was first pronounced the winner by unanimous decision. However, Mamby and his manager (who was affiliated with Don King) filed a protest, claiming the decision and refereeing was unfair. Don King then asked WBC president Jose Sulaiman to change the verdict to a split decision and so happened. That led to Carl King, Don's son, becoming Mamby's manager. Muangsurin went on to defend against Jo Kimpani, then 38-1, for the sixth time and after taking too much punishment, the Congo-challenger was stopped by the doctor following round 13. The fight had been one-sided since the middle rounds. On 8 April 1978, Muangsurin made his final successful defense against the little known and unheralded Francisco Moreno of Venezuela and won by a KO13. It was perhaps a sign that he had started to slip, because he was behind on one of the scorecards at the time of stoppage, against a guy with a 3-2-1 record. All his long and tough fights had taken a toll on him, apparently. He went to Seoul to fight Sang Hyun Kim and was stopped by a TKO13, thus finally losing his title, 30 December '78, 2 years after recapturing it. Perhaps also because of his very busy previous year, it all simply became too much for him. That also turned out the end of Saensak Muangsurin, as the world knew him. He first decided to retire because it turned out eye problems were to blame for the debacle in Seoul, but then quickly changed his mind. He moved up to welterweight but never quite felt comfortable there, losing his first fight at 147 to the Filipino Dan DeGuzman by a onesided UD10. On 18 October '79, he fought Thomas Hearns in Detroit but was once again outclassed and stopped by a TKO3 after getting dropped twice and pummeled. He however gained the respect of American audience by getting up twice and continuing to come forward. Next year, he made his last victory by stopping the 8-0-1 Mike DeGuzman by a TKO5 at home in Thailand, 30 September. He went to Spain for the last time to fight Andoni Amana, a super welter, and lost to him by a UD10. In his last fight on 5 April '81 in Roi-Et, Thailand, he took on the OPBF welter champion Chung Jae Hwang and lost on points in 12 rounds.


He was almost 31 when he finally retired. He left behind a record that looks bad on paper, but in reality is very strong: 14 wins, 11 by ko, and 6 losses, 2 by ko. During his champion days, he was a great star in Thailand and married a popular actress, Prim Prapaporn. However, after his retirement from boxing, he was blind in the right eye and his wife divorced him and took a large chunk of his fortune. After that, he fell on hard times and was dependent on getting a monthly courtesy from WBC and Thai authorities. He was admitted to a hospital on 12 April 2009, due to a liver failure and intestinal blockage. Since he was already afflicted by various illnesses due to his living conditions, surgery could not correct his condition and he died 4 days later, 16 April, aged 58.



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