Joshua Clottey and That Night in Arlington

By Marc Livitz on December 19, 2015
Joshua Clottey and That Night in Arlington
What we got on the part of the Ghanaian was, well...nothing. (Jed Jacobson/Getty Images)

If styles make fights, then this could be the perfect mix. Clottey is 38. If he can’t hear the clock ticking, then maybe he never heard it at all…

Joshua Clottey faces Gabriel Rosado tonight at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.

Well before the opening bell sounds, fighters are instructed to among other things, protect oneself at all times. Such parameters are at the heart of knowledgeable prizefighting. The ability to find the perfect balance between all-out protection and the advantages taken at the expense of the errors of one’s opponent is what oftentimes sets the stars apart from the mere supernovas. When and if a fighter is lucky enough to not only be in the “right place, right time” setting for a high profile bout, but accompanied by the talent sufficient to provide some excitement as well, then all signs usually point to a night of entertainment.

Joshua Clottey (39-5, 22 KOs) was such a fighter during the latter half of the first decade of the 2000s by way of his potential to thrill in the ring.

The Bronx, New York (by way of Accra, Ghana) slugger was having a decent night in December 2006 against a then dangerous fighter known as “The Tijuana Tornado,” Antonio Margarito. He lost at a good chance to top the Mexican punching terror when he appeared to have suffered a hand injury midway through the contest. He ended up losing a unanimous decision, yet his best nights were yet to come. He bested the late Diego “Chico” Corrales a few months later and went on to build a decent five-bout win streak up to his ninth round knockout victory over Zab “Super” Judah in August of 2008. What was thought to have been the result of a clash of heads ending up being a solid landed punch which caused Zab’s right eye to become blurred of vision due to drips of blood into it. The fight was stopped.

Next for the man known as either “Hitter” or “Grand Master” came a fight to watch over and over again. Some still argue that if his June 2009 contest with then WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto had been held at a venue other than Madison Square Garden (or more to the point, anywhere other than New York City), then Joshua may have been the on the winning side of the razor thin, split decision defeat. Clottey was so mad that he fumed all the way back to the dressing room and was in a perpetual state of protest for much of the night. It’s still one of those fights that one can watch again and again.

In any case, the “A” for effort given that night in Manhattan was enough to catapult “Grand Master” Clottey into the sweepstakes to face Manny Pacquiao in early 2010. At the time, Manny was on top of the world and even had an exclusive contract for a line of shoes and sportswear from Nike to prove it. Adding to the mix was the fact that Pacquiao had thoroughly clobbered Miguel Cotto a few months after the aforementioned clash with Clottey.

Of course, what should not be left out is the fact that 2010 would be the year that the ongoing saga between the respective camps of Pacquiao and a certain pound-for- pound (recently retired) primetime king from Las Vegas would begin. There was more mud slung across the two than what is absorbed throughout election season. But that’s another argument, and we all know how long the two ends took to finally meet. It was worse than rotten milk. So, there’d be no superfight and in stepped Clottey. The stage was set for March 13, 2010, and the venue would be the freshly minted Cowboys Stadium (now known as AT&T Stadium) in Arlington, Texas.

A grand spectacle style of press conference took place at the venue earlier in the year and even Jerry Jones, the Emperor himself, was present to welcome the two fighters to his beloved Death Star. The world-famous Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders were on hand and Jones had both Manny and Josh donning the silver and white football jerseys which have made the star on the 50-yard line so recognizable. The Saturday evening arrived in the Dallas suburb and over 40,000 fans and media showed up. Granted, the vast majority were there to see Pacquiao do his thing, yet there were likely enough in attendance who were aware of Clottey’s boxing prowess and rightly so, many were expecting a firefight in the ring.

What we got on the part of the Ghanaian power puncher was of course, well…nothing. We ultimately saw reports such as, “Clottey doubles as heavy bag for 12-round Pacquiao training session” among other opinions. Fans left happy that Manny dominated but were not lost on the fact that his opponent often stood toe-to-toe with him yet refused to do anything more than remain seemingly frozen in a staunchly defensive posture. That night in Arlington appeared to have put Clottey in the pugilistic doghouse for quite a while.

Promoters and the like understand the “win some, lose some” philosophy, however most cannot tolerate lack of bona fide effort. In short, not trying speaks volumes and Joshua’s subsequent inactivity in the ring as well as his respective competition upon his return eighteen months later was a clear reflection of the road not taken the previous year. Perhaps for personal reasons or the like, Clottey has only fought three times since his November 2011 bout with Calvin Green on the undercard of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.‘s WBC middleweight title bout against Peter Manfredo Jr. in Houston. To his credit, he did soundly defeat Anthony Mundine for the WBA junior middleweight strap on his home turf of Australia in April 2014.

Joshua last fought six months ago as part of the undercard of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s three-round destruction of James Kirkland. He easily took care of Jorge Silva over 10 rounds. He’s now been given the chance to take baby steps in the right direction with a tailor-made bout with Gabriel Rosado (21-9, 13 KOs), who is a fan favorite to many and comes to fight, face first at times. Rosado backs down from no one and has the record to prove it. He has been beaten, of course, but he usually takes a beating in the process and has a cavalier attitude in regard to quitting. He won’t do it.

If styles really make fights, then maybe this could be the perfect mix. Clottey is 38 now. If he can’t hear the clock ticking, then maybe he never heard it at all.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey 13.03.2010 HD

Antonio Margarito vs Joshua Clottey

Diego Corrales Joshua Clottey 2007 04 07

Joshua Clottey vs Zab Judah

Anthony Mundine vs Joshua Clottey Highlights | Mundine loses after he was floored 5 times

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  1. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:06pm, 12/19/2015

    “Vicious, vicious left hook”?! Ringside commentary on the half hook thrown from a very high guard by Clottey that traveled less than six inches and put Mundine down for the fifth time. Ban boxing in Australia ! That’s as good a place as any to start. Ban it!!!

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