The Welterweight Divisionís Dark Horse

Joshua ClotteyBy Michael R. Cumberbatch - Okay, lets first define dark horse. It as a term used to describe a little known person or thing that emerges to prominence. Perhaps he is not little known in boxing circles, but outside of boxing or to the mainstream sports fan he is. He does have a title but is never regarded in the same class as the elite three in his division. Who are we talking about? Joshua ď The GrandmasterĒ Clottey.

He is certainly one of the most underrated fighters in the game today. He sports a career record of 35- 2 with 20 KOís. His only two losses a DQ to Carlos Baldomir for excessive head butting back in 1999 and a 2006 loss to Antonio Margarito in which Clottey was ahead but injured his hand in the fourth round.

Why hasnít he gained the accolades of his better Ėknown peers? The only well known names on his resume (not counting the late Diego Corrales who mistakenly moved up to the welterweight division and was totally in over his head against the bigger and stronger Clottey) are Zab Judah and Antonio Margarito..

Why hasnít he gotten the bigger fights he says he desperately wants, the answer is simple: to fight him is a high risk- low reward proposition. If you are the one of top dogs in the division (Cotto, Mayweather and Mosely) you have other options such as the smaller Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton, both of which will get you a bigger payday. Clottey has repeatedly claimed fighters have agreed in principal to fight him and then back out before the contract is signed. He may have a point. Recently Kermit Cintron agreed and then chose to fight Sergio Martinez.

At 32 years old the native of Ghana holds the IBF welterweight title and is hungry to add some more hardware. Not because they mean anything but he feels it will add notoriety. Can he rise to superstardom? That remains to be seen but he has a tentative agreement to fight Miguel Cotto on June 13th in Madison Square Garden. Should that match be finalized, a convincing victory over the Puerto Rican sensation will elevate Joshua to that elite status he so desires. This will be no easy match for Cotto and quite frankly a dangerous one for him. Clottey is as tough as nails, sports a terrific defense, some pop, a granite chin and is always in great physical condition to go 12 rounds.

Whoever his next opponent and whatever the outcome, you can only hope Clottey gets the opportunity to meet the best the division has to offer.

Article posted on 10.04.2009

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