Third Time's A Charm For Clinton, As He Outpoints Johnson In Rubber-Match

02.09.06 - By James Slater: In a fight that has to be a candidate for fight of the year, at least inside a British boxing ring, Sheffield's Clinton Woods finally managed a win over the teak-tough Glenn Johnson at the third time of asking, in Bolton, Lancashire tonight. With a desperately hard fought, but well deserved split decision victory, Woods made huge inroads towards making believers of everyone with regards to his being the best light heavyweight in the world. Johnson, as one would expect after such a hard and close fight felt he'd won, but he definitely looked the more dejected of the two as the reading of the scorecards was awaited. He was dead tired, perhaps more so than was Woods, and he really has no cause for complaint this time. He was certainly hard done by in the first meeting with Clinton, which was scored a controversial draw, but the right man's hand was raised tonight.

In a quite intense start, both men looked very sharp as they immediately went on the offensive and started unloading punches. I felt Glenn just shaded the opener - a round that set the pattern for the full fight in terms of its gruelling and bitter action. Round two was another close round, one that I gave to the champion. At this stage though, I was sure the bout would not reach its latter rounds, such was the frantic pace. The dog-fight continued in the third, a round I definitely awarded to Woods. He started to use his uppercuts to some good effect in this session, while Glen looked as though he was starting to blow a touch..

The action really was back and forth throughout, however, and by the middle stages it was extremely close on the cards. The older man started to look tired by the eighth and I wondered if the old warhorse would at last begin to show the adverse affects of a long and hard career. Such thinking was blown to smithereens in the ninth round though, as Johnson seemed to be a punch or two away from a KO win. He badly rattled Woods with left and right hands to the head and Clinton was in terrible shape. His legs looked as though they had gone and he was without a doubt traversing queer street.

Some how he held on, I don't know how, and lasted out the round - one of the worst in his career since becoming champion.

Still, Glen's efforts did not quite deserve a 10-8 round in his favour. So the fight remained up for grabs. If Clinton could avoid another round like the ninth, that is. This was the case, as Johnson was unable to find the hurtful shots that had so disorientated the IBF king in round nine. In fact, quite amazingly, Clinton came back strongly and won the tenth. With a boxing and moving approach, Clinton put the round in his column. He was back on track and it was clear Johnson's best chance to score a stoppage had very definitely come and gone.

The champion also had more left in the final two rounds. Glen was holding on almost constantly in the final three minutes, and his mouth was hanging open noticeably. Woods didn't have too much left either, so hard had the war been. But he managed to pick up the last three rounds, at least on my card, which meant he'd done enough to pull out a tough win.

The decision, when it came, was a split verdict and officially the scores were as follows; 115-112 for Woods, 115-113 forJohnson and 116-112 for Woods.

At last, Clinton Woods has defeated the man who, to many, looked as though he would always have too much for him. As such, the win ranks at the very top of Clinton's entire career achievements. With the retirement of Bernard Hopkins, Woods has surely got what he always wanted. To be the best light heavyweight boxer on the planet!

Article posted on 03.09.2006

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