As I thought, Joshua Clottey was too fresh and too strong for Diego Corrales. He won the fight fairly easily this past Saturday night on Showtime Championship Boxing. If Clottey had been more aggressive and let loose he would have been able to stop Corrales who was ready go on a number of occasions. True to his character Diego hung in their and showed heart, toughness and the willingness to take a lot of punishment. He has been doing this for quite a while now. Actually, he has been doing it for too long now and I for one do not want to see him do it much more. Diego said after the fight that he will continue his career, but where does he go from here. He has outgrown the lightweight and super lightweight divisions; he has really been too big for that for a few years now at least. He also is not going to be able to compete with the top 147 pounders in the game. So what does that leave him, well he could become an opponent, a name for guys on the way up and who wants to see that? Nobody who appreciated that memorable night here in Vegas, when he rose from the deck twice to stop Jose Luis Castillo in their first scintillating fight.
That fight alone has helped make Diego a fan favorite for certainly his lifetime. He has also made a few dollars along the way and if he is to be able to enjoy his life with his family, he needs seriously consider retirement. It seems like I'm saying that every week to some fighter doesn’t it. Well it is part of my job to be totally honest and I will continue to work that way even if a few feelings get hurt along the way. Like my momma told me when I was a kid, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, but I really don’t think it’s being cruel advising a boxer to retire. We all know the alternative to that.
As for Clottey, he looked OK, but he is not a world beater. He made the same mistake in this fight that he made in his loss to Antonio Margarito. He did not finish strong. It possibly cost him the fight with Margarito and the title that would have gone with it. In this fight, it cost him a knockout which he would have gotten had he been aggressive in the mid and later rounds of the fight. I have called a few of Clottey’s fights in the past and I have noticed he tends to not be a good closer, and that is something that is really hard to improve upon, you either are a finisher or your not. He is a good fighter, but an elite fighter? No, he would have to step it up a few gears, will see if he can.
Welshman Joe Calzaghe is an elite fighter; there is no doubt about that. You don’t get to 43-0 with 20 consecutive title defenses and not be an excellent fighter. Problem is he needs to fight some other elite fighters and his opponent Peter Manfredo of ‘Contender’ fame is not in the same area code as Calzaghe. Manfredo like all of the contenders’ are just good club fighters who have gotten much too much acclaim from a reality ‘non-reality’ series. Just because you are on American Idol does not mean you can sing ( see Sanjaya). Just because you fight on The Contender does not mean you truly are a world championship contender. Although the fight was prematurely stopped in round 3 when most all of Calzaghe’s powder puff punches missed in the final flurry with Manfredo against the ropes, it was clear that Peter was not there to win, he was happy to just be there and getting the opportunity. HBO should not put another Calzaghe title defense on unless he fights A REAL CONTENDER.
As I mentioned last week, there are some big fights for him over here across the pond against Winky Wright, Jermain Taylor, and of course, Bernard Hopkins. The most attractive fight for Calzaghe, and for Boxing would be for him to take on the other elite Super Middleweight Champion unbeaten Mikkell Kessler of Denmark. This fight needs to happen sooner than later, hopefully sometime before the year’s end, but it will be a tough one to make politically and otherwise. Hey they made Oscar vs Floyd, so there’s hope for Calzaghe and Kessler. I certainly would mark it down in bold on my pugilistic calendar.
This week we have marked down Manny Pacquiao taking on unbeaten Mexican Jorge Solis at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio. I will still never forget the night of September 10, 1993 in Texas when I was there ringside as Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker put on quite a boxing display against then 88-0 Julio Cesar Chavez. They called it a draw. Chavez, in truth, may have one 4 or 5 rounds, more like 4. Anyway, it was buzzing that night and it will be buzzing again this Saturday night when boxing’s most thrilling fighter, the Pac Man, once again will display his fighting wears. His opponent, Solis, is 27 years old is 32-0-2 with 23 knockouts. He’ll have the height and reach advantage and they say he can punch. He better be able to do more than just punch, when he steps into the squared circle against this Filipino buzz saw. From what I have heard this kid Solis does have some of the skills that have troubled Pac Man in the past. We have seen him have difficulty, at times, with Erik Morales in their first fight and Juan Manuel Marquez when they boxed him smart, used angles and kept tight defense. Also, when they punched back with straight punches when Manny comes in, sometimes wild was effective. You have to try to time Manny when he comes rushing and jumping in, easier said then done. However, that was Morales and Marquez two excellent fighters. We don’t know, or at least I don’t know, enough about Solis to know if he can use some of those same tactics against this dynamo known as Pac Man. It will be fun to see, because it is always fun to watch Manny.
Countdown-T-minus 3 more weekends till Cinco De Mayo’s fistic extravaganza Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather, live from The MGM Grand here in Las Vegas May 5!