Joshua Clottey defeats Jorge Silva in unanimous decision


Former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey pounded out a near-shutout decision against journeyman Jorge Silva in a junior middleweight bout on Saturday night on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland junior middleweight fight at Minute Maid Park.

Two judges scored the bout a shutout, 100-90, and one judge gave Silva two rounds for a score of 98-92.

Clottey put in solid work as he let his hands go and could barely miss with his right hand. He also backed up Silva with body shots throughout the fight.

An accidental head butt seemed to shake up both fighters in the sixth round and a toe-to-toe exchange in the final round brought the crowd to life.

Clottey (39-4, 22 KOs), 37, who is from Ghana and based in New York, was supposed to face Alvarez in December in the first bout of Alvarez’s HBO contract, but the fight was canceled when Alvarez pulled out due to a lingering ankle injury. He was put on the card because to partially make up for not getting the Alvarez fight as well as to be on standby to fill in in case Kirkland had fallen out for any reason.

“It was a good fight,”
Clottey said of his performance. “I took this fight (after the fight with Canelo didn’t happen last year) because I needed to get in the ring fast.”

Clottey beat Zab Judah to win a welterweight world title in 2008 and later gave up the belt in order to challenge Miguel Cotto for his welterweight title in 2009, coming away with a split decision loss. In his next fight in 2010, after a 10-month layoff, Clottey lost a lopsided decision to Manny Pacquiao, who had won the belt by knocking out Cotto, in which Clottey was roundly criticized for barely throwing any punches in an awful performance.

“The Pacquiao fight was not the end of me. Boxers make mistakes,”

Clottey said.

“The people have to forgive you.”

Clottey has fought four times since the Pacquiao debacle, including in April 2014 when he impressively outpointed former super middleweight titleholder Anthony Mundine in Mundine’s native Australia to land the fight with Alvarez that was eventually called off. Silva (19-9-2, 15 KOs), 23, of Mexico, lost his sixth fight in a row and for the seventh time in his last eight bouts.

In some of the other bouts on the card:

• Featherweight Joseph Diaz (16-0, 10 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from South El Monte, California, rolled past Giovani Delgado (15-3, 9 KOs), of Mexico, winning a near-shutout decision in a fast-paced entertaining bout. Diaz, who won 100-90 on two scorecards and 99-91 on the other, did as he pleased, lashing Delgado with right hands and left hooks, but Delgado was game and never stopped coming forward trying to make something happen.

• Heavyweight Taishan Dong (4-0, 2 KOs), a 7-foot, 289-pounder from China, struggled to a majority decision win against Jamal Woods (6-19-3, 6 KOs), of Forrest City, Arizona, who took the fight on two days’ notice. Taishan won 40-36, 39-37 on two scorecards and one judge had it 38-38. But Woods landed some wild right hands that seemed to bother Taishan.

• St. Louis welterweight junior welterweight prospect KeAndre Gibson (13-0-1, 5 KOs) rolled to a shutout eight-round decision against Mexico’s Jorge Romero (24-9, 21 KOs). All three judges had the fight 80-71 for Gibson, who knocked Romero down with a right hand in the second round.

• Lightweight prospect Ryan Martin (13-0, 8 KOs), of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who is in the promotional stable of rap star Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, quickly disposed of Ivan Zavala (7-9-2, 3 KOs), of Mexico, knocking him out with a left hook the chin at 1 minute, 4 seconds of the first round. He beat the count but was in no condition to continue.

• In an all-Mexican fight, junior featherweight Rodrigo Guerrero (23-5-1, 16 KOs), who briefly held a junior bantamweight world title in late 2011 and early 2012, stopped Arturo Badillo (20-7, 18 KOs), who retired on his stool at the end of the seventh round.

• The scheduled 10-round co-feature pitting 23-year-old Los Angeles junior welterweight prospect Frankie Gomez (18-0, 13 KOs) and former lightweight and junior lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto (65-8-2, 35 KOs), 34, of Mexico, was canceled at the weigh-in on Friday because Gomez weighed in at 147½ pounds, 6½ more than the contract weight of 141. The contract limit was raised on Friday to 145 and he was still way over the limit.

Welterweight James Leija Jr., son of former world titleholder Jesse James Leija, who was also co-promoter of the card, had his professional debut against fellow San Antonio, Texas, fighter Eric Butler (0-5-1) canceled as well because Butler was overweight.