Boxing: Woods takes fourth title shot

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The Independent Online

Most good fighters never get one chance to challenge for a world title, but Clinton Woods will get his fourth opportunity tonight, in Rotherham.

Most good fighters never get one chance to challenge for a world title, but Clinton Woods will get his fourth opportunity tonight, in Rotherham.

Woods, 32, won a British title nearly a decade ago and first fought for no less than five versions of the world light-heavyweight title in 2002, when he was stopped in six rounds by Roy Jones. In late 2003 he met Jamaica's Glen Johnson for the vacant International Boxing Federation version and drew over 12 rounds, and in February of last year he lost on points for the same title against the same opponent.

Since that night Woods has fought just once but Johnson, who was seen as nothing more than a solid campaigner, knocked out Jones and then amazingly, briefly unified the light-heavyweight world titles when he beat Antonio Tarver.

"I know that I have been lucky to get so many chances but I think that I have been unlucky in one or two important fights and now I aim to put my past behind me," Woods said.

So tonight Woods will enter the ring against Detroit's Rico Hoye, who is unbeaten in 18 fights as a professional but was a late starter having spent nearly 10 years in prison for killing a rival gang member.

Hoye, 30, has stopped or knocked out 14 of his 18 victims but in theory he is the weaker of the two men that Woods has so far met in world title fights. The American often looks limited and slightly one dimensional when an opponent makes him think and if Woods, who has a decent boxing brain, can use his head rather than his heart he could win.

Perhaps the best incentive for Woods, who knows that this is surely his last chance, is a possible and potentially easy to arrange fight against the Welshman Joe Calzaghe, who has made 15 defences of his World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight title since 1997.

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