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.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mexican Tornado Crushes Cotto

Last night, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto continued the long-standing tradition on Puerto Rican vs. Mexican fighter inside the squared circle. And they did not disappoint.

The first round started as expected with Cotto using lateral movement and Margarito chasing him down. Cotto won the round by landing the crisper punches. But in the second round, Margarito showed everyone why his nickname is the Tornado. He waded in on Cotto and threw straights, hook, and uppercuts to Cotto's head and midsection. But Cotto also reminded everyone why he is one of the best fighter's in boxing by fighting back in some of the most furious exchanges.

In the third, Margarito continued his purposeful charge but strayed a but low on two occasions, causing a warning from referee Kenny Bayless. The tempo for the fourth and fifth was a bit slower than its predecessors with Cotto landing more accurate shots and Margarito, while landing some, clearly missed many when headhunting.

Halfway through the fight, Margarito began landing some telling body blows. At 5' 11" his punches landed all over Cotto's arms and body. It was one of the better rounds for Margarito, even if the highlights "highlighted" otherwise. But in the middle of the seventh round, Margarito explode punches on a visibly tired Cotto and forced the Puerto Rican to hold on. Cotto fired back gamely but his punches did not have the same affect as Margarito's.

The eight featured Margarito acting as a woodsman with a strong axe chopping a tree
that refused to wilt. The ninth was more of the same as with the taller Margarito stalking down the sturdy Cotto, and it was Cotto mostly strafing Margarito with his punches. Cotto was handily winning the 10th round when he abruptly adopted the dope-a-rope strategy and crouched down like a catcher and ate some vicious uppercuts and straight rights from Margarito.

The championship rounds would prove to be the end for a tiring Cotto. In the eleventh,Margarito's superior conditioning and non-stop punching forced Cotto, who was exhausted and utterly beaten, to take a knee a two times, with the second time causing referee Bayless to wave off a fight that had already been decided and credit to Cotto's corner who went onto the ring apron to save the bloody fighter from serious injury.

"I was never hurt but I felt his punches" said the steel-chinned Margarito.

Where does Margarito go now? Well, there's a rematch, but not against Cotto. Paul "The Punisher" Williams, the last man to beat Margarito, is still out there and waiting. But Margarito is no dummy as he called out the cash cow--not Mayweather--but the gold standard, Oscar De La Hoya.

For Cotto, a long rest and a new game plan is in order. All those tough fights are starting to catch up with him. A soft comeback fight would be in his best interest.

Fitness Jiu Jitsu