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Monday, February 22, 2010

Assessing Steve Forbes as Pacquiao's sparring partner

Pacquiao vs Clottey Updates
Las Vegas Boxing Examiner | Chris Robinson

In a BoxingScene article by Ronnie Nathanielsz it was noted that one of Manny Pacquiao’s chief sparring partners is former Jr. Lightweight champion Steve Forbes. Forbes is helping Pacquiao prepare for his upcoming March 13th bout with Joshua Clottey at the Dallas Cowboys stadium and is somewhat surprising of a choice because his style doesn’t completely reflect the Accra, Ghana fighter. While Clottey is a physically imposing bruiser, Forbes is much more of a slick boxer.

What’s slightly ironic is that of all the fighters today who Forbes’ style resembles, it would be that of Floyd Mayweather Jr., who Pacquiao was in discussion to fight originally on the 13th. It’s interesting to wonder how the sparring sessions are unfolding, as Pacquiao’s precise combinations from his unorthodox attack are surely tested against Forbes, who is a pro’s pro.

Trying to get some more insight into Forbes I broke him down as a fighter from a few different perspectives below…

A quick look at Forbes

Forbes is just a few days away from his 33rd birthday and he has compiled a respectable 34-7 record with 10 knockouts during his thirteen plus year career. He fought nine of his first twelve fights in Nevada while going undefeated as Jr. Lightweight and Lightweight contender. Forbes’ first loss was a March 2000 majority decision to former featherweight champion Alejandro Gonzales.

Forbes would bounce back in 2000 with victories over solid fighters in Ernesto Zepeda and David Santos before landing a shot at the vacant IBF title against rugged John Brown in December of 2000. While in reality it seemed as though Brown was starting to come on in the fight, the contest would be stopped when it was revealed that the stout fighter had a ruptured eardrum, as the blood began to pour following a Forbes connection. Despite trailing on two cards, Forbes was awarded the TKO victory after Brown was seen unfit to continue. In the immediate rematch Forbes would leave little doubt, taking a clear decision over Brown.

Forbes suffered an October 2003 loss to Carlos Hernandez and seemed to dip under the radar a bit. A few years would go by without as much noise but Forbes would end up making his presence known on an even grander scale by being a key participant on the second season of The Contender. Along the way Forbes would defeat the likes of Freddy Curiel, Nick Acevado, and Cornelius Bundrage before losing in the finals to Grady Brewer. Forbes’ appearance on the show also showcased his abilities in a new weight class, as his days at 130 pounds were a thing of the past.

In 2007 the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas was the host of Forbes’ only two fights that year, as he lost a slightly controversial split decision to Demetrius Hopkins in March before turning the tables to win a split nod against Francisco Bojado seven months later. Forbes was in the public’s eye again in 2008 as he performed respectably but still lost decisions to both Oscar De La Hoya and Andre Berto.

Forbes is currently slated to face Harrison Cuello this March 6th at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. It’s unknown whether or not Forbes can still comfortably make 140 pounds, but either way he will surely have his eyes on the evening’s main event as Jr. Welterweight champions Devon Alexander and Juan Urango clash.

While Forbes may never have crossed the line towards being a star in the sport he has always been a capable fighter with great ring instincts, boxing ability, and a reliable defense. During his run on The Contender Forbes’ personality was also on display for the world to see and he has always come across completely down to earth and modest in his approach.

Mayweather’s view

One man who knows Forbes all too well is Las Vegas based trainer Jeff Mayweather, who trained the Oregon native on and off during key moments in his career. When Jeff was told the news that Forbes has been serving as Pacquiao’s sparring partner he was at first slightly surprised.

“I think Steve is an ideal sparring partner to help Manny get ready for Floyd,” Jeff states. "I really don’t know about Clottey though. It doesn’t seem that his style is at all similar to Clottey’s. Not sure how much he could help. I’m sure he is handling himself well. He may even be holding his own with him. Steve is a professional through and through.”

Mayweather also added that Forbes is a very solid fighter whose only glaring weakness has been a lack of power over the years. When looking back on Forbes’ 2008 campaign, Mayweather feels that his losses to De La Hoy and Berto weren’t about skill as much as they were about size.

“I thought he gave a very good account of himself against Oscar,” Mayweather claims. “He came out with a good game plan but I just think that Oscar was the bigger fighter. I also think that was the case with [Andre] Berto, Steve fought well but he was just the smaller guy in both of those fights.”

In giving his closing comments on his former charge, Mayweather seems to find it ironic that Forbes’ time as a champion was more overlooked than his recent years as a contender. While Forbes often came up short in some of his biggest contests Mayweather takes satisfaction in knowing that he was able to reap some financial rewards in recent times.

“I remember when he was a world champion at one time but he never was able to capitalize on it. That’s the whole point of being a world champion, you want to make some money after that. Luckily Steve was able to land those bigger fights later in his career. I’m very happy for Steve. He’s a good guy and we still keep in touch.”


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