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Woods to Fight Cloud for Vacant IBF light Heavyweight title

By William Mackay: Former International Boxing Federation light heavyweight champion Clinton Woods (42-4-1, 24 KOs) will be getting a golden opportunity to try and win back the IBF title when he goes up against unbeaten knockout artist Tavoris Cloud (19-0, 18 KOs) for the vacant IBF light heavyweight title in the near future.

The title came open this past week when the previous champion Chad Dawson decided to vacate the title and fight Glen Johnson for a bigger payday rather than choose to fight the 27-year-old Cloud for lesser money.

Woods, now 37, lost the IBF title last year in April, losing a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision to Antonio Tarver. Woods fought poorly in that fight, showing little interest in mixing it up with the 40-year-old Tarver until late in the fight when the bout was all but decided.

Woods then took off 10 months before stepping back in the ring against contender Elvir Muriqi, and beating him in an impressive 12-round unanimous decision in February 2009 for the IBF light heavyweight title eliminator.

Woods looked like the fighter of old, jabbing, firing off hooks and uppercuts, and blocking many of Muriqi’s efforts to try and land. It’s too bad that Woods didn’t fight the same way against Tarver, because he would have likely beaten him if he performed anywhere close to the way Woods fought against Muriqi.

Cloud is an unknown commodity, because of his lack of quality opposition on his resume. Thus far, Cloud has fought one decent fighter in his career Julio Cesar Gonzalez, the former IBF light heavyweight champion, and stopped him in the 10th round last year in August.

Cloud looked good in that fight in the early going, throwing big power shots and giving Gonzalez some problems. In the middle rounds, though, Cloud’s work rate suffered and he fought poorly. In the 10th, Cloud picked up his game and took out the tired Gonzalez with a series of big power shots.

It was a decent fight by Cloud, but it was also one that exposed his mediocre boxing skills as well. Cloud seems to live and die by his ability to knock his opponents out. If a fighter like Woods, who has an excellent chin, can take Cloud’s shots for 12 rounds, then Woods will have a better than average chance of winning a decision against him.

The important thing is for Woods to stay on the move and fire a lot of jabs, because Cloud is kind of a stationary fighter who does well against an opponent that stands directly in front of him so that he can connect with his big power shots.

Cloud isn’t big for a light heavyweight at only 5’10”, so Woods won’t have to worry about having to deal with a longer reach like he did in his fight with Tarver. Besides, Cloud isn’t much for jabbing his opponents. His whole thing is to try and land as many power shots as he can to take out his opposition as quick as possible. Many of Cloud’s victories have come between the 1st and the 5th round, albeit against poor opposition.

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