Occasionally a boxing contest wont be determined by the skill level or heart of the combatants, but by durability. Simply, who can take the punches better? That was the scenario this past Saturday August 2, as Joshua Clottey (35-2, 20 Kos) secured a technical decision over Zab Judah (36-6, 25 Kos) to pick up the vacant IBF welterweight title.
As usual, the talented but underachieving Judah started fast. Zab broke open a slow first round with a sweeping left uppercut that briefly stunned Clottey. Landing the only clean punch of the round allowed Zab to secure an early lead.
Clottey immediately came back in the second by strafing Judah with short, quick straight right hands. The Brooklyn native could not find an answer for this punch going into the third and fourth rounds, as Clottey round a rhythm and began varying his attacks to the body with digging left hooks.
By the start of round five, Judahs bloody face reflected the effects of Cloteys 9 minute blitz. Showing the toughness that made his bout with Miguel Cotto entertaining, Judah came back in the fifth with an eye-catching flurry but was unable to seriously penetrate Clotteys tight defense.
Round six looked like it may have been the end as Clottey continued to walk down the fading Judah with thudding straight rights. However, the former champion hit an intentional low blow that halted the action and gave Judah the time he needed to recover. After a slight second wind, Judah finished the round with a strong flurry that finally broke through a rattled Clotteys guard.
Still, the tough Ghana native stilted Judahs momentum by coming back strong in the seventh by again establishing the straight right hand. Judah retaliated with a cracking left uppercut to let Clottey know he still had some fight left in him. However, Judahs familiar late sluggish punch output was ample evidence he was being broke down from Clotteys consistent pressure.
Round eight saw Clottey dominate until Zab exploded on his challenger with hooks, pushing Joshua back against the ropes. With the Ghana native not firing back, Judah took the opportunity to unload all his power and speed in a desperate attempt to break through Clotteys tight defensive shell as the round concluded.
Judah looked close to being able to erase the image of a fighter who couldnt close out the championship rounds, but Clottey remained cool and went back to punishing Judah with more straight right hands in the ninth. Just a minute into the round, Judah was already a bloody mess. A slashing left uppercut sliced open Judahss right eye, and referee Robert Byrd stopped the contest to allow the ringside doctor to examine the damage.
While the doctor would later state he felt Zab could continue, Judah stated clearly he could no longer see out of his right eye, and also responded by saying three when the doctor was only holding up two fingers.
Despite the damage being caused by a punch, the referee ruled the cut as being caused by an accidental headbutt. Going to the scorecards, Clottey secured a close unanimous decision of 87-84 and 86-85 (twice).If Judah had won the ninth, the fight would have been a majority draw.
In the post-fight interview, Clottey of course pushed for a rematch with new welterweight king Antonio Margarito, and even mentioned taking on WBC champ Andre Berto or rematching Judah.
Unfortunately, Clottey may have torn his left bicep, which would put him on the shelf for at least six months and likely eliminate his chances against Margarito, who plans to fight again in November.
While Judah was game, as many predicted Clottey as a natural welterweight proved too strong and imposed his will on the smaller Judah. Once again Zab fans are disappointed by a spirited yet losing effort from their man.
But as many times as Judah has fallen short, his fan friendly style and willingness to face anyone ensures he will be back. In just the last two years, the Brooklynite has faced Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, canceled a fight with Shane Mosley, and now Joshua Clottey.
Now if he can just start winning some of these fights
In boxing, you rarely get to savor a hard fought victory.
Even after a career defining win, therell immediately be whispers from fans
and media alike claiming theres a guy out there that has your number. For new welterweight champ Antonio Margarito on the heels of
his decisive victory over Miguel Cotto, the rumblings have been about current
WBO champ Paul Williams.
For most of 2007, Williams dogged and goaded Margarito to
fight him, much the same way Margaritos camp went after then champion Floyd
Mayweather. Due to pride and not wanting to look hypocritical, Margarito
canceled a proposed Cotto showdown last year to face Williams.
Williams badly outclassed Margarito in the early rounds,
only to see the Tijuana Tornado come back strong to hurt Williams several times
in the middle rounds. However, Williams showed his heart by clearly taking the
twelfth to capture a close unanimous decision win. Margaritos camp turned down an immediate rematch, and here we are today with both men back atop the welterweight rankings.
Theres bad blood between the promotional camps for both fighters and Bob Arum nor Antonio Margarito have spoken Williams name since the Cotto victory. Ironically, the Williams fight was Margaritos highest payday at 1.6 million, slightly edging out his purse against Cotto (1.5 million). There are
rumors circulating that the Williams camp is offering Margarito a career high 4
million for a rematch.
No doubt Margarito is not scared of Williams, but will Arum
risk his new champ against a man thats beat him before? Especially when
Margarito has easier, name building matchups on the table?
As amazing as it sounds, Arum has expressed interest in
having recently defeated Zab Judah face Margarito in November. Since Clottey has been injured, Judah might receive the call. Shane Mosley may also be available, but theres a strong chance he wont be ready by November after facing Ricardo Mayorga in September.
Lets hope Margarito and Arum make a wise decision, because
facing Judah would not be a good way to start Antonios reign.
Hatton Splits with Trainer, Set to Face Malignaggi in November
Billy Graham, Ricky Hattons trainer for 11 years, has
confirmed he is no longer training the British 140 pound champion. Graham has worked all of Hattons fights, including his recent UD win over Juan Lazcano in May.
Ricky and Billy had a meeting (July 28) in which Billy
admitted he was not going any further, Hattons father Ray explained to
espn.com. It was quite emotional because they have been together so long. Its
a sad day. Billy will be remembered as one of the worlds great trainers, and
to go out after a win in front of 58,000 people in Manchester will be a fitting end to his
Despite the kind words, rumors abound that Graham was forced
Moving forward, Hatton will face Paulie Malignaggi on November 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The bout will feature the number 1 contender at 140 pounds facing the recognized champion.
I am thrilled to be involved in the biggest 140-pound fight
of 08, stated a confident Malignaggi to ESPN. This will be my first fight in
Las Vegas, which makes it all the more exciting. Las Vegas' nickname is the City of Lights', so it is only fitting that on November 22, The Magic Man will be lighting The Hitman up all over the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Since whisperings of this fight began over a year ago, Ive
stuck with Hatton as my pick. Despite his work-rate decreasing, the Hitman
still has exceptional foot speed to close the distance Malignaggi needs to work
his jab. And since Paulie has no inside game whatsoever, the safe bet is Ricky
Hatton outworks him to an ugly but clear decision.
Darchinyan Picks Up
Junior Bantamweight Vic Darchinyan (30-1-1, 24 Kos) returned
to Showtime last Saturday August 2 to win the IBF title after a dominating
fifth round KO over Dimitri Kirilov (29-4-1, 9 KOs).
For the majority of the bout Darchinyan displayed his
trademark aggressive, wild swinging come forward style. Kirilov was repeatedly
rocked by Darchinyan and could offer nothing substantial in return to deter the
In round five, Darchinyan dropped Kirilov with two early huge
left hand shots. After taking an eight count on unsteady legs, Kirilov was
finished by a fusillade of left hand bombs that again planted him on the
In the post-fight interview, Darchinyan turned his attention
to the man who knocked him cold last year, Nonito Donaire, and current titlist
Cristian Mijares. I would like to fight Donaire, Darchinyan stated. I fight anyone they put in front of me and I would love to fight Cristian Mijares.
On the undercard, undefeated Supper Middleweight Andre Dirrell (16-0, 11 KOs) won an exciting shootout against Mike Paschall (17-1-1, 4 KOs, stopping him on a cut in the fourth round. Both men landed bombs, but Dirrells speed and slashing punches proved more damaging and enabled him to pick up the hard fought victory.
Throwback Fighter of the Week: Terrible Terry Norris
One of the most exciting fighters of the 90s, former junior
middleweight champion Terry Norris lived by the adage kill or be killed. Norris came up short in his first title shot against power puncher Julian Jackson in 1989, getting knocked cold in the second round.
He bounced back by defeating Sugar Ray Leonard in a
dominating UD in February 1991 before knocking out former welterweight champ
Donald Curry in June. He made seven defenses, including a KO of faded Meldrick Taylor, before being upset by Simon Brown in a stunning fourth round KO.
The rest of Norris career proved inconsistent. After wining
a UD in the Brown rematch, he was DQd twice against journeyman Luis Santana.
However, he did manage to win both the WBC and IBF titles before retiring in
1998 after three consecutive losses.
In 2005, he settled a brain damage lawsuit out of court with
Don King for 7.5 million. Terrible Terry Norris has a final record of 47-9, 31 KOs.