'Call Em Out Fridays': Joshua Clottey - A (Dangerous) Date With Destiny

clottey54634Vivek Wallace - The evolution of life has a way of testing us, and time and time again we learn that no one will be spared as these forces of nature come ready to build character every step along the way. Each of these test that we encounter from the beginning can be attributed to the very definition of who we become, as well as who we remain until the bitter end. These test typically range in difficulty and contain everything imaginable, with the lone exception being a handbook on how to overcome them. In the case of Joshua Clottey - much like the man that he'll step in the ring against on the night of March 13th - part of his developmental test included perhaps the closest thing one could ever receive in life to that proverbial 'handbook'. That element was a very difficult set of circumstances to start life itself. The kind of circumstances that takes a soft-skinned boy and hardens him to the bone like a man. Initially set on soccer, Joshua Clottey was soon led to the boxing ring by an older brother who had migrated to the sweet science approximately two years prior. After growing tired of hearing about a bully in the gym, Clottey decided to try his hand at something new, stepping in the ring for the first time to see if he could slow him down. At this point in life, none of the previous test had adequately prepared Clottey for a literal 'gut-check' that he would receive in the ring that day. After a few vomit inducing shots to the belly, battered with a bruised ego, a young Clottey vowed "revenge" on the bully and anyone else who dare attempt such an act..

Here we stand better than two decades later, and suddenly, Clottey finds himself preparing to step into the ring with another man known to make a fool out of his competitors.

For many, a date with Filipino Manny Pacquiao is a perceived death-wish awaiting little more than a signature. In the mind of Joshua Clottey, there's no better time than the present to put those life lessons to use, and this career defining moment is not only one he awaits, but one he'll embrace. When you look at the natural presence of Clottey, it's fairly easy to envision him as an undisputed king of the ring. Tracing his past through the corridors of history, we learn that this vision isn't quite paralleled to the reality his career contains. A granite chin.....amazing workrate....deceptive power....and a defensive posture that picks off more enemy fire than a stealth bomber; yet when you tabulate the results, the answer hasn't always equaled success. In 38 professional fights, three times Clottey walked away on the losing end. Aside from the Baldomir fiasco where he was actually up on the score cards and lost due to accidental headbutts, none of the other two truly add up. Against a man that no one in the welterweight division cared to face, (Antonio Margarito), Clottey started out on fire, only to later fizzle for reasons which many still question. The official report was that a hand injury suffered in the fight took away his ability to compete, but critics remain skeptical in the aftermath. After defeating a highly credible Zab Judah and a few second-tier foes, Clottey found himself in the ring with Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in what also started as a very intriguing showdown. After starting out hot, with the fight hanging in the balance, a less-than-spirited second half of the fight left Clottey on the short end of the stick again despite the many protest for victory, which in many respects could be validated.

To date, each time that Clottey has gotten the opportunity to do something grand, fate decided to write another script. Few can identify why the end results deviated from the initial plans, but what we can identify is that at this present moment in time, Clottey appears to be very much aligned with the stars that will grace the scenery at Cowboys Stadium. When asked what he felt about this opportunity, without a crack in his voice, a determined Clottey responded that he "won't be denied this moment with destiny". As we take a moment out to measure the spectacle before us, once you get beyond the super-natural ability of Manny Pacquiao, reality tells us that a rare bad night could set the tone for the impossible to happen in Clottey's favor. No stranger to controversy during a fight camp, Pacquiao now finds himself in a heated legal battle back in his country against the man he will square off against in the pending elections. These troubles have been inconspicuously hidden from most of the media, but according to those close to the matter, the issues are not quite resolved, and may require more attention than the fightin' Filipino has time to dedicate.

A Pacquiao camp isn't a Pacquiao camp without some type of drama, but as we draw closer to March 13th, we learn that a driven Clottey could be perhaps the biggest one of them all. What made the now flat-lined Mayweather fight a great proposition was the fact that it would pair Pacquiao against a superior defensive wizard for pretty much the first time. That fight obviously fell through, but in his place is a man who doesn't fall far off the mark. Opportunities of the past have eluded Clottey, but if his passion remains on point, the plans of a lot of people may change very quickly. Rumor has it that Arum is considering a Margarito/Pacquiao Fall showdown if the Mayweather fight doesn't happen and the two of them get through their next fights. With all the attention on Margarito and Pacquiao's big dates, somehow, few have stopped to realize that Joshua seems to have one planned too. For now, it's just a 'date', but come the night of March 13th, it could very well serve as his his very own date with destiny! Stay tuned.

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook and Myspace).

Article posted on 19.02.2010

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