Jun 14, 2009

Cotto VS Clottey - The Aftermath

Going into this welterweight fight, I was clear on two things:

1. Cotto was hands on the favorite.

2. Clottey could pull off an upset.

From the opening bell, it was clear Cotto was in for a tough night, as was Clottey; they just didn't know how tough. For his part, Cotto fought the way he had to fight. In the first round he actually put down Clottey with a jab that caught Clottey, off base, off guard and off balance. 10-8 Cotto round. The second round had Clottey coming back and raking Cotto with uppercuts and straight right hands, both key weapons to win this fight, had he chosen to pursue this game plan unflinchingly, which he did not do. Then in the 3rd round, the second significant event of the fight occured. After an accidental head butt, Cotto had a cut over his left eye which could win an Oscar for best imitation of raw sashimi by human flesh in a fight or musical. Clottey would then see Cotto bounce back to dominate round 4 and round six. Rounds five and seven, clearly Clottey.

Then during an odd exchange in Cotto's corner, clottey did a thrusting, jump clinch and Cotto responded in kind by standing upright and pretty much launching clottey WWE style to the canvas. Some people would cry foul play, but rather than blame the fighters, I'd like to stress that this situation was more a product of slick logos on a boxing apron than Cotto wanting to bludgeon Clottey.

A brief pause though, I'd like to focus on the head butt and the power slam. If you were to see the fight, you could complain on both events, but what they are in context are moments of adversity. For his part, Cotto pulled a Mickey Ward, pawing at his wound, but not bitching once. How this fight was not stopped on that cut, how the corner did not make a case for it, and how did a fighter insist to finish the fight is beyond me, because honestly they could have stopped this fight after the 7th. But that wasn't the case. Cotto fought on and continued to do all in his power to win rounds and connect to Clottey. On the other side of the spectrum, Clottey took a real bad slam and for a moment I didn't think he'd fight on because he seriously looked like he got the wind knocked the hell out of him and his leg could have been injured. That being said, both fighters fought on and though Cotto demonstrated a mental toughness that eclipsed Clottey, they both deserve props for fighting through their injuries.

The fight continued back and forth and quite honestly, Cotto lost rounds 7,8, and 9. Round ten to me was truly on the table but then the unthinkable happened in rounds 11 and 12, Clottey dropped his punch output and to be honest, gave the rounds to Cotto. Why do I make this dinstinction? Simple, though I was for Cotto from the getgo, I gave him the decision by one point because the fight was a draw and thanks to the knockdown, Cotto won. This means that on my card, Clottey was winning after the tenth by one round and then Cotto showed why he's been a champion and Clottey hasn't. Cotto knew every round counted and didn't play safe, he put himself in harms way and willed those two rounds in his favor. I want to stress the importance of this because to be honest, for however much of a fan I am, I have to admit that Cotto was there for the taking and Clottey didn't. Was it the knee? Was he gassed? Did Cotto's movement in the last two rounds confuse him? I don't know, but I really want to stress that Clottey wasn't robbed in the general sense of the word. I make this distinction because I honestly thought Cotto eeked out the win though wouldn't have a problem with Clottey getting the nod either. It was that close a fight. But what I did mind was the scorecard saying Cotto won 116-111. Everyone ringside had a problem with that score and I agree whole heartedly because that score means Cotto would have won eight rounds to four, which is preposterous at best.

After the fight, Cotto said it was a tough fight but that in the end he got the nod and he thought he had done enough to win. Cut to Clottey and he went on a tirade of how he was robbed and that this was bullshit. Robbed he wasn't, except by one judge but my question is real simple, why even put yourself in that situation if you didn't have to. His fighting in the last two rounds alone are reason enough to give Cotto the fight simply because he had a fish in the barrel and he didn't pull the trigger. So honestly, Clottey has only himself to blame for the loss. Sorry, but though that one score card was bullshit, it didn't have to get to that point and many other boxers would have put Cotto out of his misery, even if he wasn't significantly buzzed in the fight. Actually, neither fighter was because for their own particular reasons, both fighters were fighting WAY out of their comfort zones.

So though Clottey may still be pissed, I have Cotto winning 114-113. I watched the fight a second time and the score was the same because with two rounds as an exception, each fighter won and lost rounds convincingly.

In a final note, Joshua Clottey claimed he was robbed because of X or Y. Though I know it is a boxer's nature to do this, I'd like to highlight three things.

On one hand, I don't think Joshua was robbed last night. I do however think he was robbed in the Margarito fight. I watched that fight, rooting for Margarito and had Clottey winning by two points until shady judging peeked its head and gave the Mexican the nod.

Should there be a rematch? Yes. I'm not eager to see these two fight again to be honest, but the fight had enough controversy to prompt a rematch by the end of the year. Will it be marketable is another question.

The last thing I want to highlight is that if Joshua Clottey wants an example of what it is to get robbed, he need only look to the career of Glen Johnson. The reality is that the main difference between these two fighters is that I don't have a problem with Clottey not having a belt; but Glen Johnson not being a world champion is a sad crime.

So Joshua, suck it up and next time go for broke, because you have nothing to lose, except the decision.


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