Commentary

Scorecard: Clottey gets past Alvarez, moves closer to title shot

By earning a decision over Shamone Alvarez, Joshua Clottey is next in line for a shot at the welterweight title.

Originally Published: December 24, 2007
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Joshua ClotteyChirs Farina/Top RankJoshua Clottey, left, positioned himself for a shot at Kermit Cintron's title by disposing of Shamone Alvarez.


A roundup of last week's notable boxing results from around the world:

Sunday at Halle, Germany
Cruiserweight
Herbie Hide TKO6 Mikhail Nasyrov
Records: Hide, 41-4, 40 KOs; Nasyrov, 19-1, 13 KOs
Rafael's remark: England's Hide, who twice held the WBO heavyweight belt (at a time when it had even less credibility than it does now), knocked down Nasyrov, a 25-year-old from Uzbekistan, three times in the second round and again in the sixth before the fight was called off. Hide, 36, won his sixth in a row since dropping down to cruiserweight from heavyweight, for which he was just too small to seriously compete. Hide has been either knocked out or knocked out his opponent in 44 of his 45 fights. The only time he's ever heard the final bell? A 10-round decision win against Everett "Bigfoot" Martin in 1993.

Heavyweight
Odlanier Solis W8 Julius Long
Scores: 80-71 (twice), 80-72
Records: Solis, 6-0, 4 KOs; Long; 15-9, 13 KOs
Rafael's remark: Solis was pushed the eight-round distance for the first time in his brief career but won the shutout decision over the experienced Long, who is 7-foot-1 and held an 13-inch height advantage. Despite a cut on his right eyebrow in the first round, Solis was the aggressor. Solis, 27, won a gold medal for Cuba at the 2004 Athens Olympics and began his pro career in April after defecting to Germany with teammates Yuriorkis Gamboa and Yan Barthelemy, who also won gold medals. All three signed with Germany's Arena-Box Promotions, which is moving them quickly. Solis was originally slated to face veteran Frans Botha but Botha withdrew two weeks ago and was replaced by Long.

Friday at Las Cruces, N.M.
Lightweight
Urbano Antillon KO1 Adrian Valdez
Records: Antillon, 21-0, 14 KOs; Valdez, 18-6-3, 9 KOs
Rafael's remark: Antillon is one of those fighters who sort of grows on you as you watch his continued development. He's 25 and has been brought along nicely by Top Rank in recent years. He looks like he is emerging into a fighter who will eventually contend for a title. Antillon sure looked impressive in the Telefutura main event, whacking out Valdez in 76 seconds. Antillon, a Mexican living in Maywood, Calif., dropped Valdez almost immediately with a flush left hook and punished him in the follow-up assault until knocking him out with a flurry that was punctuated by a straight right hand to the jaw. Valdez, a 27-year-old who owns a 2004 first-round knockout of former featherweight titlist Cesar Soto, dropped to 2-3 in his last five with losses coming to Antillon, Soto in a rematch and future featherweight titleholder Robert Guerrero.

Heavyweight
David Rodriguez W8 Marcus McGee
Scores: 79-73, 77-75 (twice)
Records: Rodriguez,27-0, 25 KOs; McGee, 19-14, 9 KOs
Rafael's remark: Don't be deceived by Rodriguez's glossy record. The fact that he has advanced to 27-0 is a miracle of modern matchmaking. He has fought awful competition. McGee, who has lost to numerous contenders, was actually a step up for the 30-year-old from El Paso, Texas, and Rodriguez struggled to the decision win. This was a close fight and a draw wouldn't have been a bad call. Rodriguez's jab is very slow and he uses virtually no head movement. McGee landed some hard shots and had his moments. If and when Rodriguez ever fights a serious heavyweight, he's in trouble.

Thursday at Las Vegas
Welterweight
Joshua Clottey W12 Shamone Alvarez
Title eliminator
Scores: 118-110, 116-112, 115-113
Records: Clottey, 33-2, 20 KOs; Alvarez, 19-1, 11 KOs
Rafael's remark: In a thoroughly professional and dominant performance, Clottey, a native of Ghana living in New York, outslugged and outboxed Alvarez in the Versus-televised main event. The methodical victory earned Clottey, 30, a mandatory shot at beltholder Kermit Cintron. In his only previous title fight last December, Clottey performed well against Antonio Margarito in the first half of the fight before injuring both hands and losing a decision. Since then, Clottey has won three in a row -- a dominant decision against Diego "Chico" Corrales in what turned out to be Corrales' final bout before he died, a lopsided points win against Felix Flores in August and this win against Atlantic City's Alvarez. Clottey controlled every aspect of the bout; he fought at his own pace. He never let Alvarez, a 30-year-old a southpaw, really get into a groove. Even when Alvarez landed his punches, they didn't seem to have much impact on Clottey, whose only loss aside from Margarito is a highly controversial 11th-round disqualification to future welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir in 1999. The CompuBox statistics tell the tale of this one -- Clottey landed 181 of 572 blows (32 percent) and Alvarez connected on 116 of 867 shots (13 percent). When Clottey and Cintron eventually meet, you can bet that it will be a grind-it-out affair regardless of who emerges with the victory.

Heavyweight
Tye Fields TKO1 Chris Koval
Records: Fields, 39-1, 35 KOs; Koval, 24-4, 18 KOs
Rafael's remark: Well, that was quick wasn't it? Fields, the massive 6-foot-8, 268-pounder, blew out Koval, 6-2, 277 pounds, in just 43 seconds. Fields, 32, came out firing fast and never gave Koval, 25, a chance to do a thing. He dropped Koval in the opening 30 seconds and finished him seconds later with a left to the body and a left to the head. Fields has the size and look of a serious contender, but he doesn't appear to have the skills. He's still a major work in progress but a fun one to watch. It would be nice if his handlers would put him in with a better cut of opposition. Koval was coming off an August split-decision six-round win, but the fight before that he was crushed in three rounds by former titlist Shannon Briggs.

Junior middleweight
Vanes Martirosyan TKO1 Dan Wallace
Records: Martirosyan, 17-0, 12 KOs; Wallace, 9-3, 3 KOs
Rafael's remark: Martirosyan, a 2004 U.S. Olympian, looked fantastic drilling Wallace in 94 seconds. He displayed a meaningful, stiff jab and a powerful right hand. He staggered Wallace 20 seconds into the fight with the right and battered him for most of the round until dropping him with another big right hand to end the fight. Wallace's head hit the canvas hard. Instead of working with trainer Freddie Roach in Southern California, Martirosyan, 21, has relocated to Houston, where he is now working with trainer Ronnie Shields. The reason for the move was not because of a problem between Martirosyan and Roach but because Martirosyan, a minicelebrity in the Armenian community in Glendale, Calif., needed to get away from some of the hoopla.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.

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