Zab Judah - Joshua Clottey: Keys To Victory, Fight Prediction
02.08.08 - By Vivek Wallace - This evening fight fans will get the chance to witness two of the welterweight divisions top contenders scrap for the last remaining unclaimed title (IBF) in the weight class. In a chilling performance a week ago, Antonio Margarito claimed a piece (WBA) of the welterweight supremacy mantle. Paul Williams (WBO) reclaimed his a few weeks ago, and of course the young Andre Berto made his presence felt as well recently by winning the WBC strap.. Although Margarito's performance left many thinking that he's the creme of the crop in the welterweight class, the million dollar question is which one of the other contenders will develop enough confidence to ultimately challenge, and potentially unseat him in that top spot?
Article posted on 03.08.2008
The reason that tonights fight is so important is because Bob Arum - Top Ranks man in charge - has openly stated that he will try very hard to pit his new champ, Antonio Margarito, against the winner of this fight. It's any ones guess who will ultimately emerge, but in an effort to analyze each mans chances, we take a look at the two vastly different men at center stage. Brooklynite Zab Judah and the Bronx's very own, Joshua Clottey......
Zab Judah - Keys To Victory
For Zab Judah, this fight is simple in the sense that it practically all comes down to two things. Those two things being conditioning, and his mental mindset in the heat of the battle. Throughout the career of Zab Judah, these two things have been his sole Nemesis. Aside from those two obvious effects, Judah will have to be a bit more analytical in his attack than some may think. Clottey has a highly underrated defense which allows him to rarely get hit flush, and even when he is, his durability typically makes it a non-issue. Most of us are used to seeing Judah put the early rounds in the bank with quick flurries and combinations. Clottey has the ability to pick off alot of those shots with his defensive positioning and the quickness to respond with power-shots of his own. Judah will need to be elusive and make sure that he doesn't leave himself in position for Clottey to capitalize on the use of his great counter-punching ability. Judah will have to utilize his sneaky left uppercut, which isn't expected to badly hurt Clottey, but will definitely be enough to get his attention and make him reconsider his patented aggression. If Judah can stay fresh for the full 12 rounds and not get flustered by the aggression and power-shots of Clottey, he may be able to do enough to earn him a points victory, a portion of the welterweight class strap, and more importantly, a much needed lifeline in the sport.
Joshua Clottey - Keys To Victory
For Clottey, this fight will come down to him being able to do what's made him so effective for so many years in the past. That gameplan is effective aggression with an unrelenting passion to walk his opponent down. Clottey has a strong penchant for keeping his guards up and not bringing that aggression until the opponent feels safe enough to pursue. At this point, after using his gloves to pick off shots, he quickly counters with thunderous combinations, both to the body and head. Rather than using his counter-punching, it would be in the best interest of Clottey to come out of the gates fast, pressuring Judah and forcing him to change his style a bit. If Clottey can force Judah into a 'blender' (pressure fight) early, I think he wins the most important victory against Judah, which is the battle of the minds. Also, in coming out of the gates fast, Clottey will need to walk right through Judah's power, which, after taking Margarito's for 12 rounds, should be no problem. Judah has proved regularly to flatline once he realizes that his opponent has no regard for his power. In the end, unrelenting aggression and power should be more than enough for Clottey to earn a victory on points, and/or a potential late fight KO.
Most of you can remember the fight with Judah and Baldomir, where Judah came out working the score cards early, leading on many, only to get walked down as the fight progressed. Last week we saw another example where a much better boxer in Miguel Cotto fell short in dealing with an opponent who had a very durable chin and an unrelenting pressure for the duration of the fight. If you think of the Judah/Baldomir fight, it was all very simple for Judah until Baldomir started to not only walk through Judah's punches, but subsequently taunt him as well by tapping his chin and grinning, letting Judah know that he had no affect on him. This fight I see going much the same way, with the only difference being that Clottey groups his punches much better than Baldomir did, and Clottey is a much better overall fighter. The one silver-lining in this fight is the fact that Judah had an unexpected, but well needed extension to his camp when he had trained a full two months to fight Mosley, only to have that fight postponed due to injury at the last moment. Shortly after that fight was postponed, this fight with Clottey was initiated, which gave Judah some extra time to refine his strategy and work on conditioning. That extra conditioning could come into play in this fight, because a conditioned Judah can keep the energy level up enough to possibly outpoint Clottey. As great as it sounds in theory, unfortunately, I don't think it matters much when Clottey starts to connect and hones in for good, somewhere after the 5th round. It should be a great fight with a lot of back and forth action, but in the end, I see Clottey outpointing Judah.
(CLOTTEY BY SPLIT DECISION)
(Got Questions Or Feedback? Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-857-6858, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved).
previous article: Olympic Boxing Q & A: Gary Russell, Jr and Raynell Williams
next article: Arthur Abraham-Raul Marquez - Can "El Diamante" Pull Off Another Upset?