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Monday, January 11, 2010

I wouldn't underestimate Joshua Clottey if I were you

Pacquiao vs Clottey News
Indianapolis Fight Sports Examiner | Dennis "dSource" Guillermo

"Joshua who?"

That's what a lot of casual fans together with some Manny Pacquiao fans were saying when Top Rank chief Bob Arum announced that Ghanan former welterweight champ Joshua Clottey (35-3-0-20KOs) was to step in as Pacquiao's dance partner on March 13 at the magnificent billion-dollar Cowboys stadium in Dallas, Texas.

That's understandable. Compared to the guy he's stepping in for, some dude named Floyd "Money" Mayweather, Clottey is a relative unknown to mainstream media. So a lot of the casual fans who were drawn in from all the Pacquiao-Mayweather hype were left scratching their heads trying to figure out who this Clottey guy is. Well, allow me to be one of the many boxing insiders that will tell you that Clottey is a very dangerous fight for Pacquiao. Emphasis on "very".

Clottey is more than capable to derail the Pac Man and in my honest opinion, is a much tougher fight for Pacquiao than Mayweather. I was talking to Boxing Truth Radio host John Chavez the other day and he pretty much echoed my sentiments. He even went as far as saying that he doesn't see an aspect in his (Clottey) game that Mayweather is significantly better at. He also said at the TBT show last night that he would pick Clottey to beat Mosley or Berto at the moment. As surprising as that may sound, I can see where Chavez is coming from. Clottey has great foot speed and defense and is built like a tank. Mind you this, Clottey hydrates up to as much as 170 pounds which he weighed against Corrales in 2007 on the night of the fight.

Here's more of what Chavez had to say about Clottey,

While Pacquiao undoubtedly made me a believer in his abilities following the Miguel Cotto fight, Joshua Clottey might be the most underrated welterweight on the planet right now. The Ghanan fighter possesses the skillset to give the "Pacman" some serious difficulties being that he's a very polished technical boxer from every standpoint.

"The Hitter's" defense is what I consider to be one of the best in the welterweight division comprising of a tight guard, great upper body movement, and sharp footwork. While some will state that Clottey isn't busy enough with his work-rate, I believe that this works to his benefit when facing off against Manny being that it will make it tough for the "Pacman" to land consistently and cleanly.

While size has been an asset that hasn't proved to be able to overcome Pacquiao's size deficiency at 147 pounds, Clottey is undoubtedly one of the biggest welterweights today and without a catch-weight for this fight, it will most definitely show on Fight Night.

Pacquiao-Clottey is a great fight on paper and will translate itself as such when the initial bell rings. Don't let the lack of a "big name" fool you... Clottey provides more stylistic difficulties than anyone else in boxing not named Paul Williams or Floyd Mayweather Jr. for Manny.

I'll make one thing very clear, if Manny beats Clottey... he beats Floyd.

To off-set Clottey's size advantage however, Pacquiao's camp has asked for a 144 catch-weight for the fight, which to me doesn't sound too bad except for the fact that Clottey has never weighed in at that weight in about ten years. Honestly, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It was alright to ask Cotto to lose two pounds but Clottey to drop to 144 is almost similar to having Dela Hoya drop to 147 except that now we know Pacquiao can manage to fight at welter. If Clottey was too big for Pacquiao, he should've just fought someone his size- maybe even someone like Edwin Valero or Humberto Sotto. Those two are still tough opponents and Pacquiao doesn't need to go up against killers all the time does he? But then again, that's why people love him I guess, I just don't think that 144 catch-weight is necessary against Clottey. If I can find one positive out of it though is that, Pacquiao knows he is still the smaller guy and if he was indeed on steroids, all these catch-weights would have never mattered.

(UPDATE: I wrote this article last night and as of press time, reports were that Pacquiao was to fight Clottey at 144. I have received word however that this will be fought at the 147 weight limit. I apologize for any confusion Michael Koncz has caused upon myself with his statements in the media. I should really stop listening what that guy says)

Regardless though, Clottey is still a tough opponent and many even say he should've won his last fight against Miguel Cotto. Personally, I thought Cotto won but had Clottey applied more pressure in the last two rounds, something he could've done since Cotto was backing up through the final rounds of the fight, definitely would've had his hand raised by the ref at the end of the night.

By taking on Clottey, I think Pacquiao is sending a message. He would rather fight bigger and tougher opponents than to shortchange his fans by fighting a smaller and over-matched fighter. Whether that message blows up on his face is something we have to wait to see on March 13.


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