Boxing: Star Boxing

Clottey wants to steal Mayweather's thunder

September, 11, 2013
A couple things come to mind when I think of Joshua Clottey.

First, he's a world-class fighter. The Ghana native holds wins over Diego Corrales (2007, UD10) and Zab Judah (2008, D9), and didn't disgrace himself against Antonio Margarito in 2006. He also hung with Manny Pacquiao in 2010.

Secondly, and more mysteriously, is the rarity with which he enters the ring. The ex-title challenger, who turns 36 on Oct. 6, fought once in 2009, and 2010, and 2011. He hasn't fought since Nov. 19, 2011, when he beat Calvin Green (TKO2) on a Top Rank card topped by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr-Peter Manfredo Jr. in Texas.

I chatted with Clottey (36-4 with 22 KOs), who lives in the Bronx, and asked him, point blank, where has he been?

"I'm still around!" he told me. Clottey said he's not been out of the gym, but had to settle some managerial issues. He said issues with finances weighed on him, and that he "lost concentration" going into the ring against Pacquiao, resulting in a subpar showing. "Now I'm fine," he said.

On Saturday night, he will be in Huntington, Long Island, fighting on a Joe DeGuardia/Star Boxing card, against 14-12-3 Dashon Johnson, a 25-year-old Californian who tests young guns on the way up regularly. Can Johnson upset a not-as-young-gun looking to re-climb back to the luxury-box level, where title shots at 154 might appear?

Clottey thinks not; he told me he's keen to stop Johnson and secure a title shot at 154 pounds, soon. Anyone in particular he's targeting?

"A rematch with Miguel Cotto, I'm always looking for that," he said. "I won the first fight and they didn't give it to me."

Chris Algieri tops the DeGaurdia card. Fans can watch the live fights and then stay to watch the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez scrap on TV. Clottey said he knows full well some people will have their mind on Mayweather. "But I want to leave them thinking about me," he said. "That's what I'm going to do."

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Loya is being brought to N.Y. to lose

February, 19, 2013
Javier Loya is being flown to New York on Thursday morning, and being put up in a Long Island hotel, to lose.

He's a 27-year-old man who lives in Phoenix, still exulting in the Feb. 6 birth of his second son, Javier II, but let's put the facts on the table, shall we?

Matchmakers for the Saturday night show at The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island, don't much care about Loya's home life, or that he wants to provide a nice life for wife Ana, 2-year-old Emiliano and the newborn. They do know and care that in his last outing, on Sept. 4, he was stopped in Round 4 of his fight against prospect Jose Benavidez in Las Vegas.

They know that Issouf Kinda, the hometown fighter on the Star card topped by Chris Algieri, is 15-0, hasn't tasted defeat, hasn't had to wrestle with the knowledge that a better man, on a given night, beat him down. Yes, tough sport, cold and cruel, this boxing; let's put that fact on the table, if we need reminding.

I probed Loya (7-1, with 6 KOs; started boxing at age 12 to learn self defense at the suggestion of his father), to see if his psyche was soft, if Kinda will be facing off with a man with a diminished reservoir of confidence.

Are there lingering effects from that stoppage loss?

"No, not at all," said Loya, who is trained by Carlos Alvarez and Johnny C at the Power MMA Gym in Gilbert, Ariz. "Everybody gets caught. It happens. At the time, it felt horrible. I thought I could have kept going, but the ref sees what's going on. It was my fault, having my hands down instead of grabbing."

So, you're not still licking your wounds, not coming to New York a shell of yourself?

"No, I'm even more confident, because I had time to prepare for my opponent," said the son of immigrants from Mexico. "I know they are bringing me in to lose. I love it. I'm the underdog. That's the feeling of having to prove you can do something."