NSAC Clears Margarito; More Clottey-Judah

BY David A. Avila ON July 31, 2008
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Rumors had been floating for the last six days that new WBA welterweight king Antonio Margarito may have beaten Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto because of steroid use or some other supplement.

Most of the accusations, though never supported officially were emanating mostly from Puerto Rico and spreading among Spanish language publications since last Saturday’s win by Tijuana’s Margarito.

Now those rumors have been squashed.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced officially Friday that Margarito’s drug tests returned negative. He was not on steroids or any drugs whatsoever after stopping Cotto in the 11th round last Saturday.

“We knew he wasn’t on steroids, we just wanted the Commission to say it and they did today,” said Sergio Diaz, co-manager of Margarito. “It was bothering us that anybody would say anything like that.”

Margarito is currently in Tijuana, Mexico where he was going to receive an award from the city mayor today.

Diaz said they are going to investigate to see if any of the radio stations or newspapers were printing false accusations. If so, those media publications could be sued for libel or slander.

“We’re going to look into it,” Diaz said.

But now the Tijuana Tornado is the king of the welterweights, having taken Kermit Cintron’s IBF welterweight title and now Cotto’s WBA title. All that remains is WBC titleholder Andre Berto and hopefully a rematch with WBO titleholder Paul Williams, who captured a decision against Margarito a year ago.

Williams is having a press conference next Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Talks of having a welterweight free for all are beginning to heat up.

Judah-Clottey

When Brooklyn’s quicksilver Zab Judah steps in the ring against the crushing style of Joshua Clottey on Saturday, it marks the beginning of a ticking welterweight time bomb that’s the brainchild of Top Rank’s Bob Arum.

The super fast Judah returns to the fight against welterweight slugger Joshua Clottey (34-2, 20 KOs) on Aug. 2, at the Palm Casino in Las Vegas. The fight will be televised on HBO.

“This fight is for my fans,” said Judah (36-5, 25 KOs).

Judah claims his experience is a major factor in any big match and will be against Ghana’s super tough Clottey.

“He’s a very strong boxer, but in the game of boxing when you have the lights and camera on you, it’s a different type of fight. I’ve been through this,” said Judah, who has been residing in Las Vegas since he was training for the Shane Mosley fight that was canceled due to an injury the New Yorker suffered. “I know the difference.”

Both know each other from their days of training at Gleason’s Gym. Once or twice Judah asked Clottey to spar, but the African fighter declined because he wanted to fight the Brooklyn southpaw, not spar.

“He wanted to fight me on the streets,” said Clottey, who used to train at Gleason’s Gym where Judah formerly trained. “So I left the gym. He knew a lot of guys there and he lives in Brooklyn.”

Now Clottey’s plan to fight, not spar, is about to blossom into reality.

“I’ll beat him because we’re going to fight an in close fight,” says Clottey, who is originally from Ghana. “If he moves, I’ll move, if he runs, I’ll run. I’m not going to let him run.”

Clottey, 31, was forced to take a hard road to the top because of his physically intimidating style. A victory over Colombia’s Richard Gutierrez that was televised on Showtime prompted a world title match up against Mexico’s Antonio Margarito. Though he didn’t win he was impressive enough.

“They gave me the chance to fight Margarito. They didn’t think I would do well,” said Clottey, who lost by unanimous decision. “If Zab beats me, he can beat (Miguel) Cotto or Margarito. If he can beat me.”

“He will never beat me,” Clottey added.

Two New Yorkers face each other next Saturday. Who will be the more resilient?

Tournament

Top Rank’s Bob Arum said he wants to gather all of the welterweights including Saturday’s winner between Judah and Clottey and hold a welterweight tournament.

Arum said in the 1980s it was the welterweights who captivated the boxing world with all of them fighting each other. There was Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfredo Benitez, Carlos Palomino, Armando Muniz, Tommy Hearns, Pipino Cuevas and of course Roberto Duran, who electrified boxing fans by clashing with each other.

Arum said that the winner of Sugar Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga could meet Saturday’s winner or even Margarito.

“The welterweights have always been an exciting division,” said Arum

Under card

Two fights that won’t be shown on HBO will be included on the fight card on Saturday Aug. 2 from the Palms Casino when Anthony Peterson (27-0, 19 KOs) faces former world champion Javier Jauregui (53-14-2, 36 KOs) in a 10-round contest; and former world champion Brian Viloria (22-2, 13 KOs) against Antonio Cochero Diaz (9-9) for eight rounds.

Peterson has quick hands and good defense but has the annoying tactic of holding after he throws a combination or if a fighter gets too close. He kind of reminds me of a smaller version of former heavyweight champion John Ruiz. In fact his brother Lamont Peterson also employs the same hugging technique. If both Petersons want to create boredom that’s a surefire technique.

Jauregui has an awkward style and a great chin. He’s fought some of the best lightweights in the world and despite being 11 years older than Peterson, he could be too experienced for the very athletic youngster.

In the flyweight contest, Viloria returns to the ring but this time as a 112-pound flyweight. He’s working out of Oxnard now.

Also on the fight card is Riverside’s Michael Franco, a hard-hitting bantamweight with power in both fists. He faces Felix Flores of Colombia in a six round fight. Franco is a raw talent but very strong and very tall for the 118-pound division.

Congratulations to Antonio Diaz

After a three-year absence Coachella’s Antonio Diaz returned to the ring last Friday and captured a majority decision against veteran Felix Flores in Florida last Friday.

Diaz, a former IBA welterweight titleholder, had been providing sparring for both his brother Julio Diaz and Timothy Bradley. He’s returning as a welterweight.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Sebastian Demers (25-1) vs. Fulgencio Zuniga (20-2-1).

Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., David Lopez (35-12) vs. Samuel Miller (18-2).

Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Ishe Smith (19-3) vs. Pawel Wolak (21-0).

Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Dmitri Kirilov (29-3-1) vs. Vic Darchinyan (29-1-1).

Sat. HBO, 9:30 p.m., Zab Judah (36-5) vs. Joshua Clottey (34-2).

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