Saturday, Aug. 2, 2008 | 8:35 p.m.
- Boxing: Judah vs. Clottey
Prefight: Zab Judah brings a record of 36-5 with 25 knockouts and a wealth of big-fight experience into this showdown for the vacant IBF welterweight title at the Pearl at the Palms, yet he is approximately a 2-1 betting underdog against Joshua Clottey (34-2, 21 KOs). Both men want a shot at world welterweight champ Antonio Margarito, who is doing an interview with HBO's Bob Papa at ringside. Margarito tells the HBO audience that he wants to fight Oscar De La Hoya next.
Judah, the pride of Brownsville, Brooklyn, N.Y., draws a louder ovation from the crowd at the Pearl than Clottey, a native of Ghana who fights out of the Bronx.
Round 1: Both fighters are feeling each other out. Clottey, working off his jab, snaps off a couple of right hands that sting Judah. Clottey effortlessly blocks several of Judah's shots with his gloves. Clottey's round.
Round 2: Judah controls the tempo by staying active with the jab. Judah's impressive hand speed allows him to land several combinations, keeping Clottey on the defensive. Clottey is covering up well and trying to pick off Judah's punches, landing only an occasional effective shot. Judah's round.
Round 3: Judah comes out firing with the jab and the right hook. Judah continues to throw a lot of jabs, but does not appear to be hurting Clottey, who responds with a crisp shot to Judah's body. Clottey winds up and lands a big right to Judah's head. Judah remains active, but can't penetrate Clottey's defense. The most effective punches are thrown by Clottey, who wins the round.
Round 4: After being briefly wobbled, Judah comes alive and finally lands some powerful body blows. The action is halted for a moment after Judah connects with a low blow. Clottey's combinations and straight rights look particularly potent. Clottey inflicts some visible physical damage as Judah begins to bleed from the nose. Clottey's round.
Round 5: Clottey is still dictating the pace of the fight, picking off most of Judah's attempts and firing back with searing, open straight rights. Clottey works in an assortment of cleanly landed uppercuts. Both men land some body shots, but Clottey scores with a series of lefts. More blood is streaming down Judah's face.
Round 6: Judah is busier yet on the defensive before the fighters clinch. Judah is throwing more punches, alternately attacking Clottey's head and body with mixed results. The action is halted again due to a low blow from Judah. Judah seems to frustrate Clottey with his hand speed and the quick pace he is maintaining. Judah's round.
Round 7: Judah is throwing punches from various angles, including a couple of good ights to the body. Clottey connects with a wide-open right to Judah's face that jars Judah, forcing him back to the corner and momentarily throwing him off-balance. Judah backpedals, but Clottey scores again with a vicious right. After the bell, Judah raises his fist, but to no avail: He still lost the round.
Round 8: Clottey brushes off Judah's initial flurry before Judah lands a couple of solid body shots. Clottey lands a couple of straight rights. Judah finishes with a strong rally that drives Clottey back and into a corner. Judah's round.
Round 9: Clottey snaps off a potent straight right. Judah is bleeding heavily from a cut above his right eye, the result of an accidental head butt, according to the official ruling. The action is stopped, and Judah tells a ringside physician that he cannot see well enough to determine how many fingers the doctor is holding up. The fight is stopped after it's ruled that Judah cannot continue because of the cut, and therefore it goes to the judges' scorecards. The round is stopped at the 1:22 mark, but Clottey wins the round.
Postfight: Clottey wins a technical decision by scores of 86-85 twice and 87-84 on the judges' cards. The Sun also scored it 87-84 for Clottey.
In the ring right after the decision is announced, Clottey says he believes the cut was caused by a right hand rather than a head butt, and the replay in the arena appears to support his view. Nonetheless, Clottey tells Judah he will grant him a rematch.