Like all the other people who knew him or had seen him fight, Joshua Clottey was saddened to hear of the death of Alfred Kotey two weeks ago. The former WBO bantamweight champ apparently suffered a fall, then a stroke, and passed away at the young age of just 52. Clottey, speaking with Times Sport, said Kotey was the finest, most naturally skilled fighter to have come out of Ghana.
This is of course saying a lot, seeing how great fights such as Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, and Clottey himself are from Ghana. Kotey was as tough as they come if not tougher – often facing far bigger men, in the latter days of his too-long career especially, yet getting stopped just one time. And Clottey says “The Cobra” was an absolute joy to watch in his prime.
“One boxer one can watch and fall in love with the sport was “The Cobra.” I feel his biggest problem was his attitude to training. He didn’t go about the sport the hard way like those who stayed as champions for long did,” Clottey said of Kotey. “I am not taking anything away from the other champions, especially the popular ones. Azumah Nelson stayed longer as a world champion and won titles in two weight categories. He did so much for Ghana and some of us see him as [the] father of the sport. He was a strong boxer and fought so well. The same applies to me and Ike Quartey. We were all very good boxers that won world titles, but none was stylish and skillful like “The Cobra.”
Kotey was a fine fighter. An Olympian as well as a WBO champ at the pro level, Kotey was unfortunately abused as he got older. Often thrown into fights with fighters who had a ton of weight on him, Kotey nevertheless fought hard all the way. It was only in Kotey’s final fight that he was stopped. Going out at 26-16-1(17), Kotey deserved far better than the tragic fate he met two weeks ago; when he died alone and largely forgotten in New York.
It’s great that fellow warriors like Joshua Clottey can pay tribute to Kotey. Was he really the finest boxer to have come out of Ghana? High praise indeed.