Sunday, February 28, 2010

Opinion: Pacquiao - Clottey

If you don’t already know who Manny Pacquiao is – then you probably don’t watch any boxing, or sport.

Won titles in seven divisions?

Generally accepted best fighter on the planet??

Hellava karaoke singer???

Anywho...after negotiations between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather broke down, Pacquaio found a willing opponent in former titlist Joshua Clottey. The fight, scheduled for March 13, would see the first bout in the brand spaking new $2 billion dollar Cowboys stadium. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was aggressive in trying to get a major fight there, and after the collapse of a proposed bout between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Clottey was bought in and a match was made. At the time of writing, “The Event” was about sold out.

The last time we saw both of these fighters, it was in bouts against Miguel Cotto. Clottey lost a close split decision whilst Pacquiao obliterated him over twelve rounds. It is nice to see this bout happening at the welterweight limit of 147. As previously stated, if you want to compete in a division then you should do it at the weight limit (and be subjected to tests by the ruling commission, and not anybody else).

MANNY PACQUIAO (50-3-2, 38 KOs)

We all know how Pacquiao comes – fast. With straight shots aimed at relieving you of your senses. From all angles. Coupled with this is that Pacquiao can throw those things all night and, although both hands carry significant power, his left (from a southpaw stance) will straight stretch you out.

Pacquiao has also been walking through punches of late, he has great head movement and footwork but even the stuff that lands is barely causing him to miss a beat. It is almost to the point that he doesn’t even respect his opponent’s ability. His only stoppage loss came when he was severely drained at 112 pounds, he is now 147.

Despite being an undersized welter, Pacquiao will come and get you. This is rare intangible quality. That fighting spirit. No matter how big the opponent, you know for damn sure that Pacquiao is coming forward.

Trainer Freddie Roach has also worked wonders with Pacquiao, training him and providing strategy for his biggest wins to date. Roach is just on at the moment and once he declares that he has found a way to beat a guy it happens.

After being knocked down three times on the opening round, Juan Manual Marquez counterpunched Pacquiao silly in their first outing and was unlucky to come away with a draw. Clottey is also a defensive fighter who likes to counterpunch.

Once again, the question must be asked how Pacquiao is going to handle someone of Clottey’s size, although Clottey’s power doesn’t really pose much of a problem, if he can rough Pacquiao up and lean on him, he just may be able to wear him down.

Pacquiao also hasn’t been seriously tested whilst on the back foot at the heavier weights. If Clottey can force him backwards then keep using his strength and momentum then we may need to see something different from Pacquiao.


Clottey’s main strength is his durabilty, although taken off his feet early against Cotto, he has never been stopped. His defence is also very good and he keeps his hands high when taking fire. He did this very well against Cotto and, by the second half of the fight, was able to come forward after Cotto started to tire.

The “Grand Master” is a good defensive counter puncher who throws a great uppercut when in close. He may just get a chance to use this on the smaller Pacquiao as he will undoubtedly have to get inside.

Clottey is a big welterweight, Pacquiao will never have faced someone naturally that big. We are talking about a guy who could jump up to 154 no problem here so he should have an advantage in strength (Note: strength does NOT always equal punching power).

He has also faced good opposition in the form of Margarito, Diego Corrales, Zab Judah (whom he beat for an IBF strap) and Cotto. Anyone who ends the fight on their feet against Margarito is obviously doing something right.

It must be noted that Clottey’s biggest wins (against Judah and Corrales) aren’t what they seem. Although fantastically skilled, Judah wasted his gifts and Clottey beat Corrales at 147 – 17 pounds over Corrales prime fight weight. And, although he lost a split decision to Cotto, Cotto could have easily had the fight stopped on the cut caused by a headbutt and sent to the judges scorecard A LOT earlier. Remember, Clottey won most of the later rounds when Cotto looked like something out of a movie Rob Zombie directed.

Although defensively good, he only really protects his head and he isn’t an active defender preferring to sit there and absorb. You just can’t do that with a guy with the speed, power and precision of Pacquiao. He WILL find the gap between those gloves.

Clottey does not have the hand speed nor power to seriously worry Pacquiao. I mean, WHO has he stopped of note? Although punches opened the cut on Judah, he couldn’t do what Kostya Tszyu did to him . Even with a massive size advantage, he couldn’t stop Corrales (although he did knock him down three times).

Clottey’s heart, is also suspect. At best. Against Cotto he feined injury and flailed around when there was no need for it. If you wanna be a dramatic pussy – play soccer. He also had plenty of opportunities to put this fight in the bag when Cotto was tiring but couldn’t, nay wouldn’t, seize the opportunity. All it would have taken was activity from Clottey. And he didn’t do it.

Do I think Clottey can wear Pacquiao down? No. The only way Pacquiao will wear down will be from consistently touching Clottey’s chin. Which he will do, from bell to bell without letting up. This fight will be hard from the get go, but Clottey’s resolve can and will be broken. Clottey simply does not have the tools to concern Pacquiao, other than his size and durability.

Pacquiao late stoppage.

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