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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clottey's Problems

Pacquiao vs Clottey Updates
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Posted By Avi "Shoefly" Korine 12:30 PM

I keep finding it strange that if you had proposed a Pacquiao-Clottey fight two years ago people would have thought you were a lunatic. They would have thought that Clottey would crush and batter the smaller Pacquiao. Part of me thinks that we're all in for a big surprise.

But then I think about Pacquaio's recent performances, and I think about Clottey and that doubt goes away. We know what Pacquiao can do, but the news out of Clottey's camp reaffirms my feelings about him; he's a guy who isn't meant to win. For some reason things just don't seem to work out for Joshua Clottey.

In this fight we've all heard that Clottey is without his preferred trainer, who remains in Ghana dealing with visa issues. Today on Boxingscene it is reported that he is working with Pacquiao's former cutman Lenny De Jesus.

I don't know enough about De Jesus to judge his fitness to train Clottey, but I do know that there needs to be a level of trust between a trainer and a fighter. I can't imagine that is easy to create just weeks prior to the biggest fight of your career.

Equally concerning is an article in the Las Vegas Boxing Examiner. We learn that Clottey's chief sparring partner is Damian Frias. Frias reports that things are going well in camp, but notably say, "From what I can see I am his only real sparring partner. Other guys might come once a week. "

I saw Frias fight on Showbox last year where he lost a clear decision to Freddy Hernandez. He's a decent fighter, but it does seem a little concerning that Frias, Boxrec's 250th ranked welterweight, is Clottey's only major sparring mate. Manny Pacquiao, working at the Wildcard Gym, has an inexhaustible supply of good fighters to work with.

Does this mean Clottey can't win? Absolutely not. It does make one wonder if Clottey will be at his absolute best, if he will have given himself every advantage possible, as Pacquiao has. We know Pacquiao won't wilt in the last few rounds, he trains for it and lives for it. Will Clottey be ready? Will he be willing to do everything it takes? For a guy like Clottey - whose career has been a series of moments where he came up just short - it sounds like it could be part of a familiar pattern.


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