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Monday, February 22, 2010

Joshua Clottey: 'If I Beat Manny Pacquiao, It's Not An Upset'

Pacquiao vs Clottey, Pacquiao vs Clottey News
/21/2010 6:00 PM ET By Lem Satterfield

A native of Ghana who is preparing for a March 13 challenge for the WBO welterweight (147 pounds) crown held by seven-division champion, Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20 knockouts) of the Bronx, N.Y., spoke to FanHouse recently from his sleeping quarters near his training facility at Fort Lauderdale's Contender Gym in Florida.

This is the first of four diaries for Clottey that will appear regularly on FanHouse as the 32-year-old Clottey enters the most lucrative and biggest fight of his career.

It's 8 p.m. on Thursday evening, Feb. 18. Joshua Clottey is sleeping. Or he was sleeping. Clottey was rustled into consciousness by the third of four calls from media specialist Ed Keenan, insisting that he had to do a telephone interview.

Speaking through a hoarse voice that struggles against his desire to return to slumber, Clottey says, "Okay, I have to do this, so let's go." Clottey knows by now what's coming, and he's growing more and more tired of hearing the same questions.

Questions such as those about Godwin Nii Dzanie Kotey, who was to work Clottey's corner for the first time were it not for visa problems that prevented him from coming to America. In place of Kotey is Lenny DeJesus, under whom Clottey's strategy has been worked out over the past three weeks at the Florida-based gym owned by former two-time world champion, John David Jackson.

"I went to Ghana to try get a visa for my trainer, and it didn't work out for Godwin Kotey. I think that was three weeks ago, and I've moved on. I'm training with Lenny DeJesus, we're training hard, and we're very happy," said Clottey.

"I can't tell you my strategy. I can't and will not tell you what I'm going to do to Manny Pacquiao," said Clottey. "But I'm coming to fight -- I will tell you that. This, I do know: Manny Pacquiao is not that different from anyone else that I've fought."

Pacquiao is, however, a southpaw who has gotten more-and-more powerful as his weight has risen, having gone 11-0, with eight knockouts since his last loss by unanimous decision to Erik Morales in March 2005 as a super featherweight (130 pounds).

Pacquiao has stopped his past four opponents, David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and, Miguel Cotto, respectively, while weighing 134, 142, 138, and, 144 pounds.

The most notable southpaw Clottey has fought was Zab Judah, against whom Clottey won a dominant, technical decision.That bout, in August 2008, earned the IBF title for Clottey.

Cotto was coming off of June's split-decision victory over Clottey when Pacquiao dethroned him in the 12th round.

"Manny Pacquiao is a human being, like everyone else. He's just a really good fighter who is out there now who is No. 1 now," said Clottey. "I don't know how he's coming to fight me, but I can tell you that I'm a different fighter altogether than anyone else that he's faced. I'm a really difficult fighter, you see."

Clottey enjoys the fact that, unlike Cotto and De La Hoya, he will be allowed to fight at the 147-pound weight limit rather than being contracted by Pacquiao to fight at catch weights of 145 pounds like Cotto and De La Hoya.

"It is good for me to be at 147. I'm a very big welterweight, so it's not really easy to make 147. I'm going to be big," said Clottey, beginning to warm up. "But I'm going in there and taking it like, 'I'm just going to go in there and do my thing and make people happy.'"

Clottey said that he did not do that with Cotto, against whom he failed to cut off the ring and to take advantage of a fighter who, at times, appeared to be dazed by the challenger's punching power.

"Cotto is a very tough fighter. He had been beating guys and knocking guys out before I fought him. There are people who think that I got robbed. That's because I'm a big welterweight who doesn't necessarily throw a lot of punches, but I throw good punches that are going to connect," said Clottey.

"I felt like I threw more punches that connected well than Cotto did. You don't have to throw a thousand punches that miss a lot. I don't miss punches. I throw punches that land," said Clottey. "I don't throw punches that get blocked. I don't respect that. I want to connect good. After the fight, Cotto's face showed who won and who lost. That's the way I'm coming to fight Manny Pacquiao."

But will those punches be appreciated against a Manny Pacquiao, whose activity level alone could earn a momentum and favor with the crowd and the judges -- perceived or otherwise?

"Pacquiao is coming from a smaller weight to welterweight, and he's going to have an advantage in speed already because he's a smaller guy. I can't throw a lot of punches like Pacquiao will do. But I will connect enough to make him slow down and wear down, and bring his speed down," said Clottey.

"I will also rely on my pressure. But I don't know what Pacquiao is coming to do, so I have to use my head. I don't know if he's planning to move around. But I'm not going to make him chase me. I will be right there," said Clottey. "I want to make this fight so exciting that the fans will have something to talk about. I don't run. I'll keep coming. I'll be there."

Clottey's three losses were to former world champions Carlos Baldomir, Antonio Margarito and Cotto. Clottey led against Baldomir when he was disqualified for head-butting, and was also in front against Margarito before having to fight the final eight rounds with injuries to both hands.

"I've never left the ring feeling like I lost. I feel like I'm undefeated. If I win this fight against Manny Pacquiao, I will never feel like I beat the best fighter in the world," said Clottey.

"I will feel like I had a fight with Manny Pacquiao, the best fighter out there, and I won," said Clottey. "So even if I beat Pacquaio, and people talk about it like it's a big upset, I'll say, 'It's not an upset, but a win.'"

Clottey has heard what Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, has said that the Filipino superstar has planned for him -- and that's a knockout, as in Pacquiao will be the first man to stop Clottey.

"That's okay by me. Because anything Freddie Roach has said, Pacquiao has done. I have respect for him for that. And if I get into the ring, and, the big guy that I am, Pacquiao beats me so bad that he knocks me out, then that says something about Pacquiao," said Clottey.

"But trust me: My training is going very well for this one. I work out in the morning, running from here to the beach. I run on the beach. I go to the gym. I spar," said Clottey, adding that one of his sparring partners has power, and another moves around and boxes.

"Today, I sparred 10 rounds with four-minute rounds and a 30-second rest in between. I'm not really even tired after I'm finished," said Clottey. "I'm in shape. I want to prove to the whole world that this a fight that I can win, and that they should be careful not to write me off."


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