Monday, September 16, 2013

No Ring Rust for Former Champ

By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 16- After an absence from the ring of nearly two years, former World Welterweight Champion Joshua “Grand Master” Clottey (37-4, 22 KO’s) made his boxing comeback at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, Long Island on September 14. Clottey defeated his opponent Dashon “Fly Boy” Johnson (14-13-3, 5 KO’s) of Escondido, California in a one-sided, 10-round unanimous decision. The judges’ scorecards read 100-89, 100-89, 99-90 in favor of the former champ. The bout was fought in the middleweight division.
At a Wednesday press conference prior to the bout, Clottey expressed his desire to return to the squared circle, “I’ve been off for a while, but I’m anxious to get back in the ring and start my path towards winning another world title. He spoke confidently of making a good impression in his comeback bout, “I have been thinking of nothing but a KO for this fight. This fight will not go the full distance.” Although, Clottey dominated the encounter, he was not able to fulfill his prediction to KO his opponent.
The Star Boxing card, “Rockin’ Fights 10” on September 14 was headlined by undefeated junior welterweight Chris Algieri (18-0, 8 KO’s), who stopped Wifredo Acuna in the seventh to continue his undefeated pro career. A special feature of the show was a live screen presentation of the heralded Floyd Mayweather/Saul “Canelo” Alvarez title fight that was seen by the crowd after the live bouts concluded.
Clottey, a 35-year old signed a contract with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing promotions in August. Clottey is not the first world champion to be guided by the experienced promoter/manager from the Bronx. The partnership is especially appropriate as the native of Ghana is now a resident of the Bronx, the borough that is the birthplace of the renowned promoter and the home base of his successful promotion, Star Boxing.
DeGuardia, very familiar with the newest addition to his stable of boxers, spoke in high praise of Clottey, “He’s fought the very best in the world including Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto and he fits very well in the mix in the top 10 middleweights in the world. His world title fight against Miguel Cotto was one of the most memorable bouts New York City fight fans had seen for many years.”
Clottey began his pro career in his native land in 1995. After winning 25 of his first 26 bouts, Clottey had his first bout in the U.S. in 2003. His first world title tilt was for the WBO Welterweight crown against Antonio Margarito on December 2, 2006. The 12 round loss by decision for Clottey may have been affected by Margarito’s hand wraps, which in some bouts were allegedly filled with plaster, but definitely was affected by Clottey breaking his hand early in the encounter.
That loss was followed by four impressive victories that gained the Ghanaian an IBF Welterweight Title bout over Zab Judah, for the crown vacated by Margarito. Clottey won his first world title by defeating Judah.
Clottey’s next two bouts were 12 round losses by decision to two of the most renowned boxers of the current age, Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao.
The defeat by Cotto was on a split decision and was in Cotto’s “home” arena, Madison Square Garden.
Since Clottey’s most recent bout in November, 2011, he has put on weight and is now competing as a middleweight.

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