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Canelo Alvarez vs Joshua Clottey: Risky move or wise selection for Saul & Company?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Former WBA/WBC light middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (44-1-1 31 KOs) will fight former welterweight champion Joshua Clottey next.

(Image courtesy of HBO)

Canelo vs Clottey will take place December 6 in Houston, TX.

The confirmation comes a week after Canelo and Hall of Fame fighter Oscar De La Hoya announced that Mexico's biggest ticket seller and box office draw would return to HBO.

So is Clottey the right opponent for Alvarez ahead of a presumptive superbout with Miguel Cotto?

Canelo vs Cotto is arguably the most intriguing match that could be made at the moment and Canelo's team is certainly wary of that. As a result, they needed an opponent they deemed quality enough to add to Canelo's credibility, yet stylistically flawed enough to minimize the risk of Alvarez losing.

The risk of losing is always there but risk levels vary from fight to fight depending on the opponent and style match-ups.

Was Clottey a good selection?

Here are some details Canelo Alvarez and his team likely noticed in their scouting report:

Boxing ability
Clottey is not a pure boxer like Floyd Mayweather or Erislandy Lara, and not nearly as slick as the aforementioned fighters. As a result, he's not a threat to box rings around the Mexican. And while Clottey is more than capable of winning a decision, he's far less likely in comparison to fighters such as Lara and Austin Trout.

Clottey is not your quintessential brawler who'll apply pressure and unleash monstrous shots a la Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.

He's proficient is closing the distance but not overwhelming, such as true brawlers like Ruslan Provodnikov and Marcos Maidana. Consequently, he poses little threat to out-slug the larger, presumably stronger Alvarez.

Essentially, Clottey is not a big threat to outbox or overpower Canelo nor is the latter at-risk of getting starched by a 1-2 combination.

Joshua has formidable power but doesn't possess the dynamite of fighters such as Manny Pacquiao and James Kirkland. He boasts a respectable 51 percent knockouts-to-fights ratio (Canelo's is 67%) and put Anthony Mundine on the canvas five times in the former's most recent bout. However, he failed to knockout his foe as well as 5 of the last 10 fighters he's defeated.

We've seen James Kirkland in precarious situations completely alter the direction of fights using his power. But despite possessing some 'thud,' Clottey is not likely to shift the fight in his favor with a single punch or combination.

Clottey is far from slow but not exactly Sugar Ray Leonard either. Canelo Alvarez will have the advantage here.

Since December 2011, Clottey has fought only twice and there were seven months between his most recent bout (April) and the fight that preceded it. Moreover, the fighter he defeated in September 2013 sported a modest 14-12-3 record.

Will Clottey be ready for a fighter of Canelo's pedigree? He may have a little ring rust to shake off.

Joshua turns 37 in a few days yet he's a youthful 37. He's well-preserved and has had only five fights since Spring 2009. In boxing years he's -probably closer to 32 but it's likely Clottey's (real) age was yet another incentive for the 24 year old Canelo Alvarez and his team to offer Joshua the fight.

Never been knocked out
Clottey has shared the ring with some bruisers, such as Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao, Antonio Margarito, Zab Judah, Diego Corrales and Carlos Manuel Baldomir yet has never been stopped inside the distance. (Clottey was disqualified for persistent use of the head against Baldomir in the 11th Round of a fight Joshua was winning).

Being the first and only fighter to stop the rugged, resilient Clottey would be a coup for Canelo and his team knows it.

On paper, Clottey is a fine choice but he also possesses intangibles that cannot be categorized by plusses and minuses. It would be wrong to consider a fighter on Clottey's level a "safe" opponent... Nevertheless, has Team Canelo succeeded in finding a suitable foe at minimal risk?


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