Gatti-Branco and Bojado vs Clottey Predictions

24.01.04 - By Jim ďBoxadamusĒ De Pierro: Well gang its been a while since I have written anything and to some of you that is probably good thing. I must say this year is off to a slow start in terms of quality boxing matches. January tends to be a slow month for boxing so that is nothing unusual. What is somewhat disappointing is the cancellation of the Feb. 7th card of Kostya Tszyu against Sharmba Mitchell and James Toney against Jameel McCline. Mitchell is still on the card against the always upset minded Omar Weiss while McCline is searching for an opponent.

I havenít seen a really good fight since the start of the new year. Right now I am kicking myself for falling asleep while watching FNF, not because I was particularly bored during the program but just being plain tired. I really enjoyed the first match between Pemberton and Sheika and the rematch sounded like it was even better. Oh well I will just have to check the TV listings and keep my VCR poised. Now to dust off my crystal ball and tell you what I foresee in the world of boxing on tonightís HBO card.

Francisco Bojado 14-1 (11 KOs) vs. Emanuel Clottey 21-5 (14 KOs)

Bojado was originally slated to face ring veteran and former champion Jesse James Leija as part of the co-feature to Arturo Gatti. As a fan I am disappointed that Leija had to withdraw as Bojado-Leija is a much more compelling fight than Bojado-Clottey. For Bojado this was a blessing in disguise IMO. Bojado is not at this point physically or mentally developed enough to take on a fighter of the caliber of Jesse James Leija. Bojado would have fought valiantly and it would have by no means been easy but I think Leija would have knocked the poor kid out in a fight that would have been a pure blood bath for both combatants. Ultimately the fight would have boiled down to a man vs. boy match. Leija has definitely peaked but I donít see Leija as a shot fighter by any means. Bojado at this point is in what I would call his pre-prime stage. Bojado is still developing and will probably be a champion someday but he wasnít ready for Leija yet, he will beat Emanuel Clottey though.

Clottey is sort of your typical tough as nails journeyman type of fighter who wonít win to many rounds but will leave you thinking Ďhow the hell is this guy still standing?í after taking round after round of constant abuse. I think that is going to be the case in this fight. Clottey recently gained some notoriety when he scored an upset win over Olympic gold medallist Mohamed Abdulaev. It was a fight that Abdulaev was easily controlling until he was caught and counted out. I think it was kind of a fluky win for Clottey because on the TV it looked to me that Abdulaev lost more due to a language problem than the punch that Clottey landed. As I recall Abdulaev was trying make sense of what the referee was saying while his corner was shouting instructions to him. Abdulaev not being fully aware of what was going on inadvertently IMO allowed himself to be counted out. Nevertheless a win is a win is a win and Clottey has to be given credit for toughing it out and handing the Olympian his first loss in the pro ranks. Abdualaev, I am almost certain would win a re-match with Clottey. Clottey has been beaten by lesser fighters like Ebo Elder who is several tiers lower in terms of talent than Bojado.

Another factor that will weigh heavily in Bojadoís favor is that he has been training for this fight for the last month or two while Clottey is taking this fight on short notice. It was actually Bojado who originally pulled out of this fight several weeks back when he caught the flu but I donít think that will be a relevant factor in this fight. I see Bojado a fairly one sided fight with no knockdowns.

Francisco Bojado UD over Emanuel Clottey

Arturo Gatti 36-6 (28 KOs) vs. Gianluca Branco 32-0-1 (15 KOs)

There really isnít much to say about Arturo Gatti that most of you reading this column donít already know. The guy is obviously pure warrior. I donít think Gatti has ever been in a boring fight. Well OK maybe Erik Jacubowkski was a boring Gatti fight only because Jacubowski didnít put up much resistance and didnít get knocked out as brutally as he could have. After three grueling wars with Mickey Ward this fight should be a walk in the park.

Its always hard to gage what these undefeated guys coming out of Europe bring to the table but from what little I know and have seen of this Branco guy I am not impressed. I probably wonít win any friends on this forum with my opinions but I think European fighters are for the most part wimps when compared to their American counterparts. Now before you start writing me angry e-mails I am not saying that is necessarily true in every case. Joe Calzaghe and the Klitschko bros to some extent come across as obvious exceptions but in a continent where Julius Francis is considered a top rated contender and a guy like Morrade Hakkar can some how rack up enough wins that he ends up being a mandatory challenger for the middleweight crown something is wrong. Only in Europe could a guy like Brian Nielson even come close to breaking the record of Rocky Marciano by fighting stiffs although some in this country might argue that Joe Mesi is trying to do the same thing.

Bottom line is a record of 32-0 in with all but one fight fought in Italy doesnít mean much. Branco is three years older than Gatti and hasnít fought in well over a year. Branco hasnít fought a fighter with a credible record since early 2002. Branco is reportedly a mover and likes to throw a lot of punches. I will tell you one thing if Brancoís record is 33-0 come Sunday morning than we will know he is a contender but I think Branco will be shown to be a pretender. I am thinking this fight end really early with a brutal knockout. Gatti has a history of seriously hurting fighters that are either way past their prime or just not the same caliber of fighter as demonstrated in past fights against the like of Reyes Munoz, Joey Gamache and Terron Millett. Gatti literally ended the career of Munoz and Gamache and Terron Millett was all but destroyed as an effective fighter I would argue as a direct result of his fight with Gatti. My guess is Branco will meet a similar end.

Arturo Gatti KO 3 over Gianluca Branco

* * * * Bonus Prediction * * * *

Hasim Rahman will begin a bum of the tour and will be 5-0 at the end of 2004. Next up for the Rock will be Al Cole on March 11th whom the rock will beat inside the distance.

Agree? Disagree? Think Iím full of it? E-mail me at and tell me what you think.

Article posted on 24.01.2004

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