Pacquiao-Clottey: The Event

After Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KO’s) disposed of Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto last year, it sure seemed that Pacquiao was well on his way to facing Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in what could have been the biggest boxing match in history. But alas, the two camps could not agree how to test the fighters for illegal performance-enhancing drugs so the bout was scrapped, much to the chagrin of the entire boxing world.

Team Pacquiao quickly signed a fight against Ghana’s Joshua Clottey (35-3-0, 20 KO’s) and decided to keep the March 13 date that was originally penciled for Mayweather-Pacquiao or Pacquiao-Mayweather, depending on who’s side you are on. Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, negotiated tirelessly with Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys to stage the fight at the gigantic Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Filipinos sports fans got a closer look at the huge stadium as the NBA’s All Star game was played there last month where 108,713 fans packed the arena. Though Arum is only targeting an attendance of 45,000, it would still one of the largest attendance for a boxing match in recent time. The Cowboys Stadium also features the largest high-definition TV in the whole world which measures at 160 by 72 feet, which means that there are basically no nose-bleed sections in the arena. As Jones put it, “every time a bead of sweat pops up on the shoulder of Manny Pacquiao or Joshua Clottey, everyone is going to see it as clear, or clearer, than someone sitting in the first row of seats.” As of the writing, 41,000 have already been sold.

Some people say that this is a keep-busy fight for Pacquiao. They say Arum chose Clottey because Pacquiao fights better against brawlers rather than tacticians like Juan Manuel Marquez for example. However, people need to look at how and when the fight was made. After the fallout of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, Pacquiao and Arum needed to one-up Mayweather and Oscar de la Hoya so what they did was to look for a top-ranked welterweight who was not scheduled to fight, which as of course Clottey. Another factor that made this fight easier to make was that Clottey is also a Top Rank fighter. Sure, you can say that Shane Mosley was the next best option for Pacquiao but he was scheduled to fight Andre Berto at that time. Team Pacquiao could not have predicted that a devastating earthquake in Haiti would make Berto pull out of his scheduled fight against Mosley.

Clottey lost his last fight and curiously, it was against Pacquiao’s latest victim. Clottey was knocked down by a stiff Cotto jab in the first round but he battled back and actually made Cotto retreat in the latter rounds. He lost a split decision but he could have won in had he exerted more effort in chasing down Cotto when he was visibly tired in rounds 10 to 12.

Clottey’s advantages

In this fight, Clottey is the definitive underdog but there are still some things going for him in this fight. First, Clottey is obviously the bigger guy and unlike Pacquiao’s fight with Cotto, there isn’t a catch weight for this one. Both fighters are allowed to weigh up to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds and Clottey would most likely come in weighing closer to the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds come fight night while Pacquiao would most likely weigh just around 150 pounds to keep his speed. The second is that he really has nothing to lose in this match. The world expects him to lose yet he’ll still receive the first seven-figure paycheck of his career; not too shabby for a guy coming off a loss. Third, he has someone in his camp who is familiar with Pacquiao. Lenny de Jesus has worked as a cutman for Pacquiao for a couple of years and he claims that he knows how to beat the Filipino superstar.

Clottey also has a sturdy chin. He proved it by taking bombs from Cotto then shaking his head moments after to signify that he wasn’t hurt at all. Clottey also has good stamina as he doesn’t get tired although he throws less punches as the fight reaches the latter stages.

Pacquiao’s advantages

            For Pacquiao, the keys are always the same; the combination of speed and power that is rarely seen in boxing coupled with tremendous stamina that lets him fight in the same intensity in the first round as in the last. Then there is his corner bannered by Freddie Roach and Buboy Fernandez. Clottey on the other hand separated with his long-time trainer, Kwame Asante, after the fight with Cotto, then his first choice to replace him, Godwin Nji Dzanie Kotey, wasn’t able to procure a US Visa to train Clottey. So Clottey is stuck with de Jesus and although his inside knowledge on Pacquiao’s tactics could come in handy in the fight, he is more of a cutman and than a trainer.

            Clottey may have a bit more power than Pacquiao but this advantage is negated by speed as Pacquiao will land at least twice the amount Clottey does. Pacquiao also moves better than Clottey. He’ll use this foot speed to make sure that he is out of harm’s way every time Clottey lets his hands go.

My Forecast

            I got lucky with my prediction on Pacquiao’s last fight (“…in the late rounds.. Pacquiao will land a looping left that will not drop cotto, but allow Pacquiao to land five unanswered blows that will prompt the referee to stop the fight” see 7th World Title for Pacman, as I got the ending right. So I’ll try to be a little feistier with this one.

            Although Clottey is a tough match up for any welterweight, he will be hard-pressed to defeat Pacquiao because the Pacman is just on another level talent-wise. Cotto survived till round 12 because he ran away from Pacquiao while Clottey only knows how to fight moving forward. Clottey is tough as nails but he has never faced anyone who has a combination of speed and power like Pacquiao.

            Clottey also has a knack for losing the big fights. The four biggest fights of his career were against Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Carlos Baldomir, and Zab Judah winning only the one against Judah. Pacquiao only needs to stay out of the pocket and he’ll surely win this one. Clottey fights best when in the there is basically no distance between him and his opponent. Pacquiao needs to stay of the ropes and always stay in a safe distance from Clottey; he also has to avoid Clottey’s headbutts, which got him disqualified in his fight against Baldomir, a fight Clottey should have won on the scorecards if it wasn’t called off in the 11th round.

            Again, Clottey was decked by a jab from Cotto in the very first round. Pacquiao on the other hand took everything Cotto had to give and walked right through them. He even lowered his guard in the first couple of rounds just to feel how Cotto’s punches are like.

            Pacquiao would stifle Clottey with quick combinations that the Ghanian won’t see coming. In the end, Pacquiao will be the first fighter to stop the gallant Clottey, I’m guessing in round 7 or 8. He’ll knock him down with a big left, but Clottey will get up albeit gingerly, then Pacquiao will finish him of a six-punch combination while Clottey is trapped in the corner, which would send him down for good.

This wasn’t the fight we were all waiting for but this should be a fun fight to watch while it lasts. Then we’ll all wait and see what happens in the Mayweather-Mosley fight. if Mayweather wins, hopefully he grows a pair and face Pacquiao without the random blood-testing excuse the his father invented.

    • nhojrem
    • March 11th, 2010

    nice article..
    hope your prediction will have the same result as the last time (pac/cotto).

  1. thanks man. i hope so too. but i think my prediction now is kind of pushing it. clottey is a tough, tough dude.

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