FORMER IBF welterweight ruler Joshua Clottey will face tough warrior Gabriel Rosado in New York on December 19 (on the Luis Ortiz-Bryant Jennings card) and the 38-year-old from Accra, Ghana is hoping an impressive win will lead to a shot at the winner of the November 21 Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Miguel Cotto super-fight.
Currently 39-4(22) and campaigning as a light-middleweight, Clottey will have to go up to an agreed catch-weight of 158-pounds to fight Rosado, 21-9(13). “The Grand Master,” as Clottey is known, is sure he will get the win next month.
Here he speaks exclusively with Boxing News:
Q: Firstly, how has training been going – you are training at home in Accra, Ghana right now?
Joshua Clottey: “Well, I’ve always been training, but now that I have this fight I have stepped it up and trained really hard. I’m fine tuned and I’m ready. It’s great that this fight is in New York, but it’s great to come to Ghana to train; here I get all the best sparring partners. But I am very happy to box in New York and I want to thank Golden Boy and my promoter Star for giving me this chance. I want to prove myself and have the fans love me again.
Q: Rosado has fought plenty of big names such as Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin and Jermell Charlo, all recently, and he is always in exciting fights even though he has lost his big fights. Do you think he will come right at you and make it a physical fight?
J.C: “It will definitely be a very exciting fight, that’s the way he fights and that’s the way I fight. I know this will not be an easy fight but I am sure I will win. I am ready. I want to re-prove myself, that’s why I took this fight.
Q: The fight is set for 158-pounds as you know, will you fight as a middleweight afterwards?
J.C: “Well, he’s big for the weight and I am a 154-pound fighter. When I fought [Anthony] Mundine (in April of last year, an impressive points win for Clottey) I weighed 153. I am not a middleweight, no, I will go back to 154 after this fight. I’m not sure I will stop him [Rosado], I don’t make those predictions. But I will go out and get the win. I am ready for him.”
Q: The last time we spoke, back in the spring, you were close to getting a fight with Canelo Alvarez. It was a big disappointment to you when the fight never happened of course. Do you still want Canelo?
J.C: “I still want to fight Canelo, trust me. I know he’s a good fighter, strong, but I want that fight, to show the people who I am. I have done everything [right] since the Manny Pacquiao fight (in March of 2010), I have won all my fights and I went to Australia to beat Mundine. So I would love to fight Canelo or Cotto again.”
Q: You had a very close fight with Cotto back in June of 2009…
J.C: “I called Cotto out for a rematch a long time ago, but I never got it. If Cotto wins [against Alvarez on Nov. 21] and he wants a fight with me at 154, I am ready. But sometimes politics in boxing can spoil things. I wanted that return a long time ago.”
Q: And who do you think wins between Canelo and Cotto?
J.C: “I think Cotto wins with his experience. He is a very smart guy, who can adapt in the ring. [His] age is okay, it’s how you look after your body and the winning mentality you have, so I’m not worried about his age. Cotto is very smart and I think he will win on points.”
Q: And do you have any time-frame for how long you will box on for? You look a young 38 but how long do you plan to continue?
J.C: “My body still responds and my mind is ready for boxing. I feel strong. I don’t look 38. As long as I feel like I do, everything is fine and I will continue to box.”