McCloskey Road-map – Shane Morrissey
It’s the 16th April 2011, shortly after 10:45 pm in the M.E.N arena in Manchester, there’s a look of both amazement and confusion on the face of Oscar De La Hoya. Amir Khan, his next star, is lying on the flat of his back. His opponent, Paul McCloskey, is jumping up and down in celebration after delivering the most devastating right hook of his career to buckle Khan and claw back a fight that was slipping away from the Irishman. The home crowd is shocked; the Dudey army are in delirious celebration.
Sadly as you know by now this was not the case, instead just a possible outcome had not fight officials sent another boxing highlight into a shambles. In another case of boxing politics, a seemingly tiny cut (considering Erik Morales boxed eleven rounds last week with practically one eye) provoked the doctor to enter the ring and give instructions to stop the fight. The fight went to a technical decision which Khan won, and led us all to start conjuring up these likely and unlikely scenarios of what could of, would of or should have happened had the fight gone on. In many ways an outcome of this type is becoming less surprising, especially when the supposedly next “big thing” is involved. Things were awkward for Khan, he was missing his opponent to the extent were he was beginning to look silly and along comes the perfect “excuse”, get him out of there, yes Sir.
So what’s next for Paul McCloskey? The Manchester shambles was shown on tape delay on HBO in the States so he’s gotten some exposure Stateside for the first time in his career. But the big question is just what will they make of him, Americans like exciting fighters and let’s be honest Dudey didn’t get to start many fires Saturday night. However I do think that they’d be impressed by McCloskey´s defensive skills and his ability to make Khan miss the majority of his punches, I mean Khan was supposed to blow McCloskey away but instead was left too often looking amateurish.
It can surly be guaranteed that his television appearance didn’t do too much harm to Dudey´s reputation and now at least he’s got some exposure at world level. Its fairly obvious at this stage that McCloskey is too good for European level, judging by his recent wins up to the Khan fight. He’s not getting any younger and would do well to return against another top ranked fighter to maintain the momentum his has gathered. Andriy Kotelnik 34-4-1 (KO13), for example would provide a good test and the opportunity for Dudey to put his skills on show. Amir Khan beat Kotelnik in a shutout in 2009 but Devon Alexander 21-1 (KO13) had all sorts of trouble beating him last year and Kotelnik also has a win over Marcos Maidana 30-2, (KO27) who himself could be another future opponent for McCloskey. Kotelnik is a come forward type fighter who would suit McCloskey´s style while providing a decent way of measuring how Dudey can mix it at world level.
Maidana as I mentioned earlier could be another fight the McCloskey camp could try and arrange. Marcos Maidana was very unlucky in his fight with Khan and is well known stateside, so a win over him would benefit McCloskey greatly. I personally belive Maidana to be a bit over-rated and one dimensional and although Dudey might not be the bookies favourite I think he’d be well capable of beating him. Also Maidana has the interim WBA world title and winning that could put Paul in a mandatory position to fight for the WBA title again, which could very well be his old friend Khan. There’s also a little known South African fighter by the name of Kaizer Mabuza 23-7-3 (KO14) who wouldn’t be a bad fight to take for McCloskey, he might not seem like much of a top contender looking at his record but don’t let this fool you, he has a win over highly rated American Kendal Holt 26-4 (KO14) and was recently stopped in a world title fight by Zab Judah 40-6 (KO28) but managed to drop and hurt Judah early in the fight. This could be a tough fight for Dudey as the South African can bang but another one he’s well capable of winning.
The underrated and highly skilled Joan Guzman 30-0-1 (KO17) could be another potential opponent, although relatively not too well known Guzman has already won world titles at super bantamweight, super featherweight and lightweight, is undefeated and has recently moved up to light welterweight in search of his fourth world title. This fight would be a difficult task for Dudey but not one he should shy away from taking as it would be a massive win.
In truth it is an exciting time for Paul McCloskey, even though he lost his recent chance at a world title he definitely showed he can compete at world level. All of the names mentioned above would be great and interesting fights for the McCloskey camp to try and fix in the near future. The light welterweight division is one of the best in boxing right now so there are plenty of big fights out there for Paul. While he might have looked on as Khan celebrated his victory in Manchester last week, in truth the world knows his victory was hallow and Amir must be grateful to the Khan Family Doctor for keeping him safe. But in the eyes of many Dudey was the real winner and remains undefeated.