Could Custio Clayton be the significant fight that Rashidi Ellis is searching for?
Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (23-0, 14 KOs) is a fighter in search of a breakthrough fight. When it comes to the unbeaten welterweight from Lynn, Massachusetts, the skills and talent are obvious. On the surface, he has the tools to become a major player at 147 pounds. Yet, Ellis has been unable to secure a signature fight. It has to be a frustrating ordeal. Inside, you think you are the real deal. However, you have not received the opportunity to prove it.
Unified World WBC/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence is fighting Manny Pacquiao on August 21. WBO World welterweight champion Terence Crawford could face his mandatory challenger, Shawn Porter, this Fall. Ellis is unlikely to fight the division’s elite anytime soon.
That reality aside, the possibility for “Speedy” to make a statement could be right around the corner. The circumstances surrounding this scenario are the product of the sport’s current connection to social media.
Canadian welterweight contender Custio Clayton (18-0-1, 12 KOs) came to prominence when he faced former IBF World junior welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets in October of 2020. The fight ended in a 12-round majority decision draw, but some believe the 33-year-old did enough to deserve the verdict. Clayton has not fought since.
Ironically, Clayton is also big-game hunting for a fight. He made that known during a social media post on July 24. Boxing social media being what it is, word got around to Ellis. That led to plenty of trash-talking between the two, with Ellis telling Clayton, “I’ll beat your ass, stop playing”.
AN OPPORTUNITY ON THE HORIZON?
Ellis is ranked ninth by the WBO and tenth by the IBF. Clayton is ranked seventh by WBO and fifth by the IBF. A grudge match between them could be staged as a world title eliminator by either sanctioning organization. It could be the opportunity that both men are seeking.
ONE BIG HICCUP
However, a looming impediment could prevent this possible fight from happening. There are prevailing issues between Ellis and his promoter of record, Golden Boy Promotions.
His contract was supposed to be up with the company. That may not be the case. During an appearance on Tha Boxing Voice, the man from Massachusetts says he’s leaving it up to his representation to resolve the matter.
“It was supposed to have ended, but I guess I owe them some time. My lawyers are looking into it. So I’m going to let my lawyers get into that.”
As a result, his future is in flux. Golden Boy has drawn criticism for not promoting Ellis properly. On the surface, they seem to devote more time and attention to other fighters on their roster, most notably fellow welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr.
MAKING YOUR MOVE
At age 28, Ellis is approaching his prime years as an athlete. Now is the time for him to make any significant steps in his career. There is a threat he could become old before getting the time to shine.
If Clayton is barking and wants the fight, it would behoove Ellis and Golden Boy to patch up their differences. It’s relatively easy to make and could be aired either on DAZN or Showtime. Most importantly, it would be a signature fight that could propel either right into world title contention. This is an under-the-radar match that would make plenty of sense.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.