Clottey: Gutierrez gave me my toughest fight ever

Author: Bernard Neequaye
Joshua Clottey- Gutierrez helped me to improve
Joshua Clottey- Gutierrez helped me to improve

Former International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight champion, Joshua Clottey, has recounted exhaustion and bodily pain he endured, as well as difficulty in walking after his fight with Richard Gutierrez in an IBF Inter-Continental championship, describing it as the toughest fight of his career.

Almost 14 years after his bruising 12-rounder with the Colombian at the Chumash Casino Resort in California, Clottey rates the encounter as his toughest and it was his majority decision win that launched the Ghanaian towards his first world title shot five months later --- a unanimous points loss against American-Mexican, Antonio Margarito, for the WBO welterweight title.

Clottey, who last fought in September last year, revealed to the Graphic Sports that he could hardly walk after the fight and needed the assistance of his promoter, Lou DiBella, and trainer to aid him to his hotel after the hard-fought victory.

Recounting how he spent days indoors to regain his strength, Clottey told the Graphic Sports that despite having shared the ring with world champions such as Zab Judah, Margarito, Miguel Cotto and MannyPacquiao, he still rated the Colombian as the strongest opponent he ever faced in his career.

“I remember my fight with Richard Gutierrez where I won a majority decision. It was the toughest fight of my career because I really struggled after the bout.

“My promoter and trainer then held me to my hotel room because I couldn’t walk after the bout. He was very strong,” recalled the 42-year-old Clottey as he took the Graphic Sports on a journey down memory lane.

The former champion maintained that Gutierrez brought out the toughness in him [Clottey] and provided him with the needed test that prepared him for a world title triumph two years later when he defeated Judah on August 2, 2008 in Nevada to win the vacant IBF world title.

Clottey believes his majority decision win over Gutierrez was a deserved victory but expressed surprise at how the Colombian failed to make it big in the sport.

“I deserved to win on the night and I expected Gutierrez to make it big by becoming a world champion but it didn’t happen,” he added.

Gutierrez, who was handed his first professional defeat by Clottey, failed to make it to the top of the sport despite fighting 29 times after his bout with the Ghanaian.