Friday, May 23, 2008
Judah to face Clottey in August for welterweight title
By Dan Rafael
Zab Judah didn't take long to line up another fight two weeks after severely cutting his right arm, an injury that forced the cancellation of his May 31 fight with Shane Mosley.
Judah came to terms Friday to face Joshua Clottey on Aug. 2 for a vacant welterweight title, Top Rank president Todd duBoef told ESPN.com.
Clottey-Judah will headline a "Boxing After Dark" card on HBO. The date gives Judah plenty of time for his cuts, which required 50 stitches, to heal.
"We agreed to terms and we are drawing up contracts for Aug. 2 and sending them out," duBoef said. "I think it's a make or break fight for both guys."
The site has not been finalized but deBoef said he is talking to Connecticut casinos Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
Clottey has been the IBF's No. 1 contender since outpointing Shamone Alvarez in an elimination bout on Dec. 20. Antonio Margarito won that belt by knocking out Kermit Cintron in their April 12 rematch and inherited the mandatory obligation. However, Margarito has renounced the title.
Margarito sent the IBF a letter explaining that, instead of facing Clottey in a mandatory defense, he was taking a far more lucrative fight against Miguel Cotto on July 26, duBoef said. That fight was signed last week.
The 30-year-old Judah (36-5, 25 KOs), the former undisputed welterweight champ, has won his last two bouts against low-level opposition after a rough stretch in which he was 0-3 with a no contest. He also had to sit out for a year because of a suspension imposed by Nevada officials for a melee he ignited during the 10th round of his loss to Floyd Mayweather in April 2006.
Clottey (34-2, 20 KOs), 31, who is from Ghana but based in New York, where Judah is from, had a shot at Margarito in December 2006, but lost a unanimous decision. Clottey started fast but injured both hands and was dominated during the second half of the fight. He has won four in a row since then.
"Josh has wanted to fight Judah for a long long time," said Vinny Scolpino, Clottey's manager. "It's funny how it comes around that we fight him for the vacant title. When I first met Josh he wanted to fight Zab, but the kid would never fight him. But now they will. It will be a great fight, but Josh will be the one who shines at the end of the day."
Said duBoef: "Clottey has been a workhorse. He's gotten to this title shot the hard way. Now he's knocking on the door again."
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.