Steve Claggett says experience, activity give him edge vs. dangerous Miguel Madueno
Longtime junior welterweight grinder Steve Claggett continues his active schedule when he faces once-beaten Miguel Madueno in defense of his NABF title on Tuesday at the Montreal Casino, Montreal.
The 34-year-old Calgary native is an all-action fighter, who figures to stylistically match up well with Madueno (30-1, 28 KOs), a heavy handed up-and-comer from Mexico.
“I think it’s a great fight, he’s a tough, tough guy, he’s got a big punch and from his record it would show he’s a knockout puncher,” Claggett (36-7-2, 25 knockouts) told The Ring. “He’s a scrappy guy. Honestly, I feel I have the experience because I’ve been through it. I have been in this game for a long time and I look forward to showing my experience and what I’ve been working on because I feel I’m getting better in every fight and I’m ready to prove it.”
Claggett expects his Madueno to come in and look to take the initiative but feels he can turn his Mexican opponent’s strengths into weakness.
“He comes in and he’s aggressive, he throws a lot of punches and he’s busy,” he said. “From my perspective I’d say he’s reckless. I know he’s a strong guy, he comes in and pushes guys around. His aggression is one of his strengths. That would be something he does well.
“I definitely think I have the edge in experience in the way I’ve fought a bunch of different styles and different opponents that have come to win. I’m not saying his opponents have not come to win but there’s a difference in resume. Just because the paths we’ve both had. I always like to prove it when we get in the ring. That’s when everything will come out. I think he’s been in there with a lot of guys with losing records. It’s great for your record but when you face a guy who is coming to win it’s a different story.”
Claggett has enjoyed one of, if not the best year of his career. He set the tone by becoming the first to stop Rafael Guzman (RTD 7) in March, won the vacant NABF title by stopping former 130-pound titlist Alberto Machado (TKO 3) in June and then bashed up tough Mexican Carlos Sanchez (UD 10) in September.
This will be Claggett’s fourth fight of 2023, rare in boxing today and he feels better for that activity.
“In boxing, consistency is key. If we can stay busy it’s always a good thing,” he explained. “I feel the last couple I had were tough matchups [but] it’s always been a good thing when I stay busy. It’s just not such a mountain to climb when you just fought a couple of months ago. I’m excited because I was ready to go all year because of my consistency and because of my training camps stacked on top of each other. I’m feeling very prepared and I feel I’ve been getting better and better this year.
“I owe that to Eye of the Tiger because this is the best time of my life. All I have to do is fight and stay busy and stay in the gym. My whole younger career, I was looking for fights, I was on the B side, I didn’t have anything scheduled, so I never knew when I was going to fight next, so it actually created a good thing in me where I would always stay ready because I always knew a last-minute call, a last-minute offer was coming. But now with Eye of The Tiger in my corner, the schedule is there for me. I don’t have to chase the fights; they’re going to come up. It’s like a different world for me, I feel very happy, I’m grateful, Eye of The Tiger is doing everything for me. I feel like I’ve been running my whole life but now they’ve gave me the ball so I can show them how I can run.”
The likeable Canadian doesn’t expect anything significant to happen if he emerges victorious but feels it’s another win toward his long-term goal.
“Things will continue to move along the path that they’re moving,” he said. “I feel like I’m gaining some traction out here, I feel like my fan base is growing, my ranking is going up. We’ll see I guess, it all boils down to what kind of performance I can give and that’s why I’m putting everything into this training camp because I really, really want to show everyone, I’m getting better. I feel like right now I’m hitting a late version of my prime because now that I have the consistency, I feel like a whole new fighter.
“I’m ready for the best, I’m ready for the top guys and this guy right here is a dangerous fighter and he’s a big puncher and he’s coming to fight, so I’m ready for this guy first and foremost and after that we’ll see what comes next. Wait, watch and see because I haven’t shown my best yet.”
His promoter, Camille Estephan of Eye of The Tiger, recognizes the danger in this fight but feels they need to take those chances to force the hands of others to face Claggett.
“I think this is quite a fight,” said Estephan. “Clearly, Steve with his activity level and level of competition this year is showing he’s a real threat now to any champion. Obviously, his fight against Madueno will be for a lot of marbles, this fight really matters because I think we’re very close to getting a big opportunity. We will keep pushing because he deserves it.”
Madueño turned professional in his native Mexico in early 2017. While the caliber of his opposition hasn’t always been the best, his vaunted power has been on display with 23 of his opponents not getting past the third round.
He holds wins over once-touted Sonny Fredrickson (TKO 10) and Juan Huertas (KO 5). His lone loss came in Panama against former WBA 130-pound ruler Jezreel Corrales (UD 12). The 24-year-old enters this fight having won his last three outings.
This looks a really intriguing, evenly matched fight on paper. Both have been active, Claggett will be in his fourth fight of the year and Madueno will be having his third bout. Claggett has been in more testing fights of late and is the natural junior welterweight. I think that plus that fact this will be in a familiar setting will help give him the edge, but has to be careful early of the Mexican’s power. As the contests plays out Claggett will start to enjoy more and more moments and win a hard fought but just 10-round unanimous decision.
Claggett-Madueño will headline the event on ESPN+ in the U.S. at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and the card will also be broadcast live on punchinggrace.com.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].