30.11.06 – By Onur Tezucar: Nervous is a word not in Joshua Clottey’s vocabulary. However, I found out yesterday that spoiler is. I had a very candid conversion with the champ from Ghana, catching up with him and Antonio Margarito at the Showtime press conference yesterday in NYC. Clottey, though, he acknowledges the fact that Margarito is his toughest challenge to date, he oozes with confidence heading into their welterweight brawl on December 2.
Interview with Clottey:
ESB: Who is the person credited with starting your career?
Clottey: A very good friend who saw me fight with a local kid in Ghana. He was impressed and invited me to box with him in a gym. Though, he beat me so bad, I threw up all over the place! After that, I started to train a little, and then I beat him good!
ESB: When did you first know boxing could be a career for you?
Clottey: When people wouldn’t fight me in Ghana anymore. They would say, Joshua he is too much, too tough! After fighting everybody here and beating everyone, I knew.
ESB: In a recent a Ghana paper, you were quoted saying, “Antonio Margarito can’t beat me! I think Margarito is in trouble, trust me.” What are your thoughts about this quote?
Clottey: Yeah, he is in trouble, because I’m very tough to crack. This is will be a very, very tough fight for him and I will beat him.
ESB: Is that a guarantee?
Clottey: Definitely, I’m going to win, I know it’s a tough fight, but I’ll win. I know how good my skills are and I’m going to give the fans everything I got!
ESB: Good luck, champ.
I also got a chance to talk to the current WBO Welterweight champ Antonio Margarito, later on. Here’s what he had to say:
ESB: Your name and Mayweather’s name are hot topics in internet forums and other media outlets. Do you think, though, you missed out on a big pay day and recognition fighting a seemingly intimidated Mayweather, that maybe this exposure has indirectly elevated your marketability, positively helping you land big fights moving forward?
Margarito: No, not all. I believe I earned my merits and exposure, my style sells fights, I don’t think Floyd helped me out in the least bit, I earned all of it.
ESB: What do you think the major problem is in selling Antonio Margarito the brand being that you haven’t been able to land a career defining fight and are somewhat unknown to the general boxing public, yet you’re recognized in boxing circles as one of the best if not the best welterweight in the world?
Margarito: The major problem is the fighters are being too cautious and are hand-picking opponents. I’m too much of a threat to any of them, and they maneuver around me, getting other big fights.
ESB: Are you going to come out with a little more urgency against Clottey, and possibly try to earn some style points by knocking him out? No doubt, looking impressive against Clottey, will likely help you get bigger fights in the near future, do you agree?
Margarito: I never look for knockouts because they come on there own. But, I will put on a great show. If he wants to brawl with me, then I’m ready to brawl.
ESB: Clottey has a propensity in past fights to foul opponents with either awkward lounging head butts or low blows. Have you addressed this possibility during training camp and if it happens when you fight would you retaliate?
Margarito: We are aware of his style and we’re aware that he comes in hard with his head and the low blows. No, I’m not going to retaliate. I’m not that kind of fighter, we’ll speak to the commission to address it.
ESB: Can you rate these fighters from best to worst? Mosley, De La Hoya, Mayweather.
Margarito: De La Hoya is number one, pound for pound; He has fought the best. Floyd, for all the titles in different weight classes and then Mosley.
ESB: Good luck, champ.