Junior Witter vs. DeMarcus Corley - Can Junior Win The Title?

14.08.06 - By James Slater: Britain's talented switch-hitter, Junior Witter (photo by Chris Royle) takes on American, DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley in September, in a bid to win the vacant WBC light welterweight title. Can the man who Ricky Hatton is rumoured to have ducked for some time become a world champion in his own right? September is shaping up to be one of the most interesting months for British boxing fans. Not only is Witter fighting for world honours, but Clinton Woods and Michael Jennings also fight in bouts that contest†world titles. Woods, of course, boxes Glen Johnson for a third time - on this occasion as the defending champ, while Jennings faces the big punching Takaloo for a world title at welterweight. Indeed, September could be one fine year for British boxing, should all three men emerge victorious.

It could be argued that Witter has the best chance of winning out of the three men hailing from the shores of England. This is not to suggest that Corley is a bad fighter, far from it, he is an extremely skilful operator. It's just that Junior has been waiting so long for a second chance at winning a world title, it's very hard to imagine him blowing his opportunity having finally received it. Still, his critics will no doubt argue that he did just that in a big fight in the past. Boxing back in 2000, against the world champ Zab Judah, Witter fought extremely negatively and lost widely on points over twelve rounds on the under-card of the Tyson v Savarase fight in Glasgow, Scotland. Some felt as though the enormity of the big occasion got to Junior. The question is, could it do so again?

Witter rebounded well from the loss, his only defeat, and has put on some eye catching shows recently. Boxing in America, Junior defeated the highly rated Lovemore N'dou last year. While he has also both won and successfully defended the European light welterweight title. His sharp punches may not produce devastating KO wins, but his all-round natural ability gets the job done - and usually in stylish fashion. And although he is thirty-two years of age now, he is probably at his peak. He has never taken much at all in the way of punishment, such is his defensive prowess, and he will never have such a good chance at nailing a world title again. Not only will he have the advantage of boxing DeMarcus in his own country, but he will also be in with a fighter who, though definitely more than capable, is no monster. Quite simply, Junior must deliver the goods this time out. He may never get another shot if he loses on September the 15th.

But what of Corley? Like Witter, he is thirty-two. And also like Witter, he has lost on points to Zab Judah. He has also been beaten by Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto. But he went the full twelve with Mayweather and in the fight with Cotto, "Chop Chop" had the Puerto Rican sensation all over the place before being controversially stopped in the fifth round. The loss to Cotto is the only inside the distance defeat on his resume. And in the fight with Zab, he boxed well too - losing a close split decision. His world class is therefore evident. He also boxes as a southpaw, which may throw Witter off somewhat.

Really, the fight is as fascinating as it is hard to pick a winner. I feel a KO, by either man, is unlikely - although Corley did have Cotto on shaky legs courtesy of a shot to the temple, so you never know. DeMarcus probably does hold the edge in fire power, but I think Junior is the sharper and faster of the two, by a slight margin. Both men have fought the same number of fights, and both guys are talented stylists. They are extremely well matched, which is what makes the fight such an attractive encounter.

Corley must be applauded for having the confidence to travel abroad when a vacant world title is on the line - he clearly lacks no self belief. But Witter has fought abroad himself, too, and I believe that if he'd had to on this occasion he would have done so.

In the final analysis then - in what is pretty much a pick 'em fight - I go with Witter on points, just.

Article posted on 15.08.2006

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