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Cloud-Woods: Look for Clinton to take a Beating

By Scott Gilfoid: I really hate to see a fighter that is at the end of their rope. That I’m afraid is where former IBF light heavyweight champion Clinton Woods (*42-4-1, 24 KO’s) is right now as he prepares to face one of the most lethal punchers in the light heavyweight division in unbeaten Tavoris Cloud (19-0, 18 KO’s) on Friday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, in Hollywood, Florida.

Woods, 37, is 10 years older than the 27-year-old Cloud, and has much more mileage on him than the younger fighter. And this fight isn’t even about age, because Cloud has the kind of one punch power that would have given Woods nightmares no matter how old Woods is.

This is the kind of opponent that Woods would always have had problems with, because Cloud hits so hard and is trouble. That’s not to say that Cloud is unbeatable, because he’s far from that. Cloud looks vulnerable to a pure boxer or a boxer/puncher.

That, I’m afraid, isn’t what Woods is unfortunately. Woods is more of a slugger with okay boxing skills. He can box a little when he has to, but his main specialty throughout his career has been his ability to slug it out with his opponents. In his prime, Woods was an excellent puncher and one of the top fighters in the light heavyweight. He was never the number #1 guy in the division because Roy Jones Jr. and Antonio Tarver were always around, both a level above Woods in talent.

For Woods to win Friday night’s fight against Cloud, Woods is going to have to dig deep and try to find some of his lost youth. And even then, I see it as a close decision. Cloud will have to really look bad for Woods to be able to squeak out a decision, because Woods doesn’t appear to have the power or the boxing skills to match up with a talented fighter like Cloud.

Two fights ago, Woods looked really bad in losing a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision against Antonio Tarver in April 2008. Woods threw few punches and essentially handed his IBF light heavyweight title over to Tarver without much of a struggle. Woods looked mentally not in the fight, which is really strange because he had worked really hard in training while preparing for the fight.

Whatever the issue was, Woods wasn’t there mentally and ended up losing the fight badly. All Tarver did was make sure that he got off to a good start in the first two rounds and Woods quickly discouraged and appeared to give up on himself.

Say what you want about Cloud’s limited boxing ability, the one thing that Cloud is good at is blitzing his opponents in the first two rounds of the bout as he goes after a quick knockout. I can’t see Woods winning the first two rounds because Cloud will come out firing off bombs early on.

But I think Woods may end up giving up mentally after eating a ton of huge punches from Cloud in the early part of the fight, and from there it will be easy sailing for Cloud. I don’t know if Cloud can knock Woods out, because Clinton has only been stopped once in his career.

I think Cloud will be able to do the next best thing, namely giving Woods a terrible beating and winning by a one-sided decision. Hopefully, Woods take a hint after the loss and hangs up the gloves. He’s too old to be taking on young lions like Cloud and he doesn’t have anything to prove by fighting on.

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