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Monday, January 11, 2010

No Catchweight: Pacquiao-Clottey Bout to Be At 147-Pound Welterweight Limit

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1/11/2010 1:42 AM ET By Lem Satterfield

One of the first things that seven-division champion Manny Pacquiao says that he will do long before stepping into the ring against challenger Joshua Clottey on March 13 will be to attempt to get a good feel and to acclimate himself to the expansive venue that is the Dallas Cowboys' Stadium.

"We're scheduled to come in either Saturday or Sunday to America, and on Jan. 18 there is a press tour and I'm sure that we'll go look at the stadium when we're in Dallas," said Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser.

"Manny's heard that it's just out of this world, that's it's a high-tech, top-notch stadium with some plasma screen that goes around half of the field," said Koncz. "We've heard that it holds more than 100,000 people, and that's a spectacular place."

That story was relayed on Sunday night by Koncz, from the Philippines, where he is with Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 knockouts) as the fighter spends time with his children and his wife, who will celebrate a birthday on Jan. 13.

Pacquiao is expected to be in Los Angeles to begin preparing for the 32-year-old Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs) at the nearby Wild Card Boxing Club of his trainer, Freddie Roach, in Hollywood by Jan. 17. Pacquiao's promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, plans to hold a press conference to announce the fight on Jan. 18 at the stadium, followed by another on Jan. 19 in New York.

Arum and his stepson, Top Rank president Todd duBoef, completed the deal in Arlington, Tx., during Sunday's face-to-face meeting with Cowboys team and stadium owner Jerry Jones, who allowed them to watch his Cowboys rout their NFL rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, 34-14 from his luxurious box suite on Saturday night.

"Manny defending his title against Joshua Clottey is not just a great event, it's a great fight, and one we can showcase to the fullest in Cowboys Stadium," Jones told FanHouse. "We're going to promote this like it was the Super Bowl."

The $1.2 billion domed stadium seats 80,000, but is expandable to accommodate up to 111,000 beneath a retractable roof that protects against rain. The stadium also features more than 3,000 Sony LCD displays throughout the luxury suites, concourses and concession areas, and Jones said that most, if not all of the displays will be operating on fight night.

A southpaw, Pacquiao is 11-0 with eight knockouts since losing by unanimous decision to Erik Morales in March 2005, having contested all but two of those bouts in Las Vegas. Pacquiao last fought in Texas at San Antonio's Alamo Dome, where he stopped Jorge Solis in eight rounds in April 2007.

Pacquiao is coming off of November's 12th-round knockout of Miguel Cotto, from whom he lifted the WBO welterweight (147 pounds) crown -- one that will be on the line against Clottey.

Unlike Cotto, who was contracted to come in at a catch weight of 145 pounds, Clottey will not be required to weigh-in at a catchweight. He will be able to tip the scales at the standard welterweight ceiling of 147 pounds.

Originally, Koncz had said that there was a catchweight of 144 for Pacquiao-Clottey, but he has since corrected that. A catchweight could have been a huge advantage for Pacquiao.

Known to be a big welterweight who has been troubled at times with making weight, Clottey has weighed more than 147 pounds for bouts 11 times during his career, including twice at 154 pounds.

Pacquiao-Clottey replaced a previously scheduled, highly-lucrative matchup between Pacquiao and 32-year-old, five-time champ Floyd Mayweather (40-0,25 KOs) that was scheduled for March 13 at Las Vegas' MGM Grand before a drug-testing controversy led to a negotiations impasse.

Mayweather's adviser, Leonard Ellerbe, also CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said that undefeated fighter will face an opponent to be determined at The MGM Grand also on March 13.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, who has been negotiating on behalf of Mayweather, could not be reached for comment.

But Schaefer told Boxing Scene's Rick Reeno that the winner of a Jan. 30 bout between 26-year-old WBC welterweight champ Andre Berto (25-0, 19 knockouts), and 38-year-old WBC super champ Shane Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs), could be a future opponent for Mayweather.

"Shane is considered by most as the best 147-pounder out there. He has a tough fight on January 30 against an undefeated champion, Andre Berto," said Schaefer. "I'm very excited about that fight and there is a lot at stake -- including a possible fight with Mayweather."

Mayweather and Pacquiao had agreed to face each other at 147 pounds even while Oscar De La Hoya and Cotto each fought Pacquiao after having weighed in at 145 pounds. De La Hoya, who was knocked out in the eighth round, said that dropping the pounds drained him, while Cotto's contracted weight was 145.

Pacquiao, who stopped De La Hoya in eight rounds, weighed 142 and 144, respectively, against De La Hoya and Cotto.

Pacquiao reviewed video of WBA and WBO lightweight (135 pounds) titlist Juan Manuel Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KOs), New York's junior welterweight (140 pounds) star Paulie Malignaggi (27-3, five KOs) and WBA junior middleweight king Yuri Foreman (28-0, eight KOs) of New York before settling on Clottey.

Malignaggi "would have been very boring," said Pacquiao, and "the size of Yuri Foreman" would have forced Pacquiao to be "more of a boxer, and the fans wouldn't have appreciated that."

Pacquiao felt that he had nothing to prove against Marquez, whom he has already battled to a draw and beaten by decision.

So the pick was Clottey.

"We didn't see any video on Clottey, but because Manny is a consumate performer, he wanted to give his fans the best that he could give them. Manny felt that this was the right opponent to do that," said Koncz. "The size, the styles, and the marketability -- that's why he chose Clottey. Out of the selections that were available, Manny felt that this would provide the most entertaining fight for the fans."

Pacquiao was, however, at ringside when Clottey lost June's disputed 12-round decision to Cotto, who scored a flash knockdown against the native Ghanian in the first round.

"Our mutual thoughts were that we thought Clottey won the fight against Cotto. It was a very close fight, but we thought that he won it. Truthfully, we were focusing on Cotto, because that's who we were focused on. But I think that the styles are going to make for a spectacular fight, and Manny feels the same way," said Koncz.

"In some aspects, he's tougher than Cotto. He throws a lot more punches than Cotto, he's more muscularly-built than Cotto, and he probably takes a few better shots than Cotto can to the body," said Koncz.

"Those are the two advantages that Clottey had over Cotto," said Koncz. "Plus, Clottey's a little tighter in his defense and we'll have to penetrate that. Cotto had a tendancy to drop his hands, but Clottey didn't do that when he fought Cotto."

On the undercard, former world champion Antonio Margarito (37-6, 27 KOs) of Mexico is hoping to return to the ring.

Margarito is trying to get back in for the first time following a year's suspension by the California State Athletic Commission for having been found to have had an illegal, plaster-like substance as part of his hand-wrappings prior to his ninth-round knockout loss last January 24 to Mosley (pictured at right) for the WBA super world welterweight crown.

The 31-year-old Margarito, whose gloves' discrepancy was resolved and the plaster removed before he entered the ring against Mosley, will have to be approved for re-licensing by the Texas State Athletic Commission before he can be allowed on the card.

If Margarito is permitted to fight, his opponent will be 23-year-old Carson Jones, who has a deceptive record of 24-7-1, with 15 KOs.

A resident of Oklahoma City, Jones is coming off of December's third-round knockout of Philadelphia's hard-hitting KO artist Tyrone Brunson, who entered their fight with a mark of 21-0-1, with 20 knockouts -- the first 19 which he had accomplished in the first round for what is believed to be a world record.

Jones is on a remarkable run of 7-0 with one no-decision that includes five stoppages -- and that's just since losing last February by a 10-round unanimous decision to world title contender Jesus Soto Karass. After that, Jones scored second- and fourth-round knockouts of Mike McGuire and Dan Wallace in March.

Then, in succession, Jones scored May's 10th-round knockout of Michi Munoz, July's third-round stoppage of Steve Walker, battled to a no-decision against Eloy Suarez in August, and won an eight-round unanimous decision over Jose Adelaydo Gonzalez in October.

Before facing Margarito, Jones will take on the 36-year-old Suarez (11-7-1, five KOs) in a Jan. 28 rematch at the Coca-Cola Center in his hometown of Oklahoma City on Jan. 28.

Another matchup, said Arum, has former world champion Jose Luis Castillo (60-9-1, 52 KOs) of Mexico going up against 29-year-old Alfonso Gomez (21-4-2, 10 KOs) of Whittier, Calif., in a clash of welterweights.

The 36-year-old Castillo will be after his fifth straight knockout, and Gomez is coming off of November's sixth-round technical decision victory over Soto Karass.

Also on the card will be hot junior featherweight (126 pounds) prospects Roberto Marroquin (11-0, eight KOs), a 20-year-old Dallas resident, and 24-year-old Mexican Salvador Sanchez (18-3-2, eight KOs), a winner of eight consecutive fights who is the nephew of the late former world champion by the same name.


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