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With Two Good Hands, Can Joshua Clottey Beat Margarito?

Antonio Margaritoby James Slater: An Antonio Margarito-Joshua Clottey rematch is now up on BoxRec as happening at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on November the 1st. No official announcements have been made yet, but let's take the fight as a go for the purposes of this article.

Clottey, the man who picked up Margarito's vacated IBF welterweight title by beating Zab Judah in his last fight, has ached for a return match with "Tony" ever since losing on points to the Mexican in December of 2006. Thinking, no, believing, that without the damage that affected his left hand at the end of the 4th round he would have beaten Margarito, Clottey has been anxious to prove it. Certainly, the 31-year-old who lives in New York was doing well in the first third of the WBO title fight.

In no way overawed, the Accra, Ghana-born "Grand Master" hung tough right until the very end, losing a unanimous decision that was fairly close on two cards and wide on the third. Can the 35-2(20) IBF champ, who has never been stopped, do better this time? Both he and Margarito are huge for their weight. Indeed, last time out, the respective opponents of Margarito and Clottey - Cotto and Judah - looked somewhat dwarfed by their big-framed opponents. Clottey, who somehow makes 147-pounds, can enter the ring at anything approaching 160-pounds! Margarito isn't far off that himself.

With this factor guaranteed to remain in a rematch, we can expect to see a tough battle between two very strong, very physically powerful and very determined warriors. Both men are good body punchers, with the edge going to Margarito, and both fighters have a good chin - again, though he has been down before, the edge here goes to Margarito also. In short, no-one will be expecting to see a KO, one way or the other, in this fight. But the 30-year-old Mexican, for all his undeniable toughness, can be out-boxed. And while he is no master of the sweet science, Clottey did say after losing to "Tony" that he is sure the Mexican great will not be able to alter his defensive shortcomings in a return match with him. In other words, Clottey will try to hit and move more in a second fight, scoring points along the way without letting Margarito do what he does best and wear his man down.

There is no way Margarito will be able to out-box Clottey, but there is at least a small chance Clottey will be able to do so to him. Sure and steady, and with a reputation for wearing opponents down himself, the reigning IBF welterweight champ is a smart fighter, with an effective blend of toughness mixed in with this intelligence. More versatile than Margarito, he just might pull it off in a second fight.

It's hard to do two things with Antonio Margarito: root against him, and/or bet on his opponent. This writer will be doing one of these things come November 1st, however.

Article posted on 19.08.2008



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