Joshua "The Hitter" Clottey thoroughly dominated an endlessly gutsy Diego Corrales tonight, taking an impressive unanimous decision victory on Showtime in Springfield, MO.
Clottey took the fight 99-88 on my scorecard, dropping Corrales once in both the ninth and tenth rounds. Corrales was also penalized a point on the second knockdown for spitting out his mouthpiece.
The best thing that can be said about Corrales' debut at welterweight is that he showed his trademark indestructible spirit and heart, taking a beating the entire fight and refusing to give up. He was never truly in the fight with Clottey, who repeatedly staggered the battle-worn Corrales with vicious uppercuts and a rugged inside game. Corrales fought hard and stayed busy, but never rattled Clottey, and only briefly and occasionally was able to slow him down.
What this does for Joshua Clottey is up to the sanctioning bodies, but the veteran fighter put on a career performance and finally notched a win in a big fight. Some will say that he beat a lightweight who wasn't ready to fight at 147, but I don't see it that way. Corrales was very game and didn't fight poorly, but Clottey's handspeed was too much for the former three-time champion. Clottey fought well against Antonio Margarito in December before he injured his hands. Many think Clottey could have won that fight if not for the injury. On this night, the hands stayed healthy, and Clottey remained sharp through the entire 10 rounds.
As for Chico Corrales, the question is now what's next. Corrales, speaking with a possibly broken jaw after the fight, scoffed at the possibility of retiring. He and his team will consider a move down to 140, which will be a hard weight for him to make. Really, Corrales has to fight at 147 or nowhere. Can he beat the best welterweights in the world? Probably not. Can he be a contender in the division? Maybe, maybe not.
At 140, Chico could have a future still, but again, that weight is not for him. It wouldn't shock me to see the Corrales camp give 140 a try, but almost nobody thinks it's a good idea.
Diego Corrales showed his guts, his heart, his chin, and his balls, as he always does. He took a beating. He refused to stay down, and many times simply refused to go down. But this was Joshua Clottey's night, and it was Joshua Clottey's fight. It was a very exciting, very lopsided fight, and saved the night after the dull Calzaghe and Khan victories in Wales earlier in the evening. Congrats to Clottey, and here's hoping we see Diego come back strong in his next fight.