Saturday, August 2, 2008

Clottey Derails Judah's Title Hopes

Clottey picks the wrong eye

A once-promising, superstar in the making, Zab Judah had what was perhaps his last chance at seizing his supposed destiny. For now,his journey there is still ongoing, though the potholes may have getting too bog for any further travels.

Against Joshua Clottey, Judah was facing an opponent every bit as dangerous as the current king of the welterweights: Antonio Margarito. Clottey had last lost a close decision to margarito in a fight where he broke his left hand. Clotteyis a sturdy fighter who never stops coming and has a chin which has yet to fail him.

Clottey, whose toughness can nver be questioned, does not deal well with boxers. This was evident in his close fight with Judah. Judah, as he is prone to do, started off with well-timed, rapid punches and with purposeful lateral movement. Clottey, fought as always: straight ahead.

The first few rounds were mostly won by Judah's jab and fast combinations. The middle rounds, which is almost where the fight ended, belonged to Clottey when Judah showed why he will never be compared to the greats of yesteryear and began to tire a bit. Judah also showed that time is quickly leaving his side. Before, Judah could zab in and out of danger and not be much the worse for wear. But lately, Judah's face has been a crimson mask as he has leaked from every section of his eyes, nose and mouth.

After a nasty cut to Judah's right eyelid in the 10th, officially ruled a headbutt though replays were ambiguous at best, the fight went to the scorecards. The judges favored the stronger Clottey who pressed the action all night long. Judah, for his part, landed more punches though neither fighter seemed hurt throughout the affair.

Tonight, Clottey won and Margarito lost. Margarito, who could have had a chance at a big payday against the more popular Judah, now has two opponents nobody wants to face and cannot open the money-flood gates: Paul Williams and Clottey. Two rough fighters who know margarito all too well.

For Judah, this may be the end even if he doesn't know it. Judah is still good enough to beat second-tier welterweights but when it comes to the top-tier, he either has already lost to the best or would undoubtedly lose to the best. Maybe he'll be satisfied with a gatekeeper role, because unless he gets a fight against a top name and beats him, this is the end for annother one of Brooklyn's coulda, woulda, shoulda.

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