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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey Fight Preview and Prediction

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Published: Feb 13 2010 by: Scott Levinson
On March 13, Manny Pacquiao will defend his WBO Welterweight Title against Joshua Clottey at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Obviously, the boxing world was hoping to see Pacquiao face Floyd Mayweather, but this is at least a reasonable replacement. Clottey is a top welterweight and a tough out for any fighter at this weight. Having the bout take place in a football stadium adds a little something extra to this fight. It will be nice to see the sport take center stage in a U.S. city other than Las Vegas, NYC, or Atlantic City. The stadium setting allows fans to hearken back to a time when boxing was big enough to pack the biggest stadiums in the country. It will be a big event.

Pacquiao vs. Clottey Preview

Manny is a sizable favorite in this bout and for good reason. His entrance into the welterweight ranks has seen him pick apart his opponents. De La Hoya and Cotto never looked to be winners in their fights with Pacquiao. Many are not surprised that Manny has been able to succeed at welterweight, but it’s safe to say the manner in which he has blitzed through his competition has left fans slack-jawed in admiration of this great little warrior from General Santos City.

Pacquiao and Clottey are what you would call young veterans. 2010 marks the 16th year of both men’s professional careers. Pacquiao and Clottey are only 31 and 32, respectively. In other words, they know what they’re doing and still have plenty of youth to do something about it.

There is no secret what Pacquiao brings to the table at this point. A super-fast and concussive puncher, Manny has added a few new wrinkles to his game since coming up in weight. He moves beautifully, rarely leaving himself in a vulnerable spot for too long. He has improved his right hand to the point where it is a formidable weapon in its own right. Perhaps even more impressive is his advanced vision of what happens in the ring. It has been enough to make him the best fighter in the sport.

What can Clottey bring to the table to counteract this?

Size: Clottey, while only about 2 inches taller than Pacquiao, is a bigger man. He always seemed to be a welterweight a little on the big side. He has been fighting in the 140’s ever since he turned pro. He looked bigger than Cotto when he fought him. When Pacquiao was still fighting at flyweight, Clottey was already a welterweight.

Durability: Clottey’s bread and butter. 15 years in the game, and I’ve never seen him in danger of being stopped. Usually, top fighters with such a long career behind them have showed a time or two when they were on the verge of being stopped. Clottey, however, has been able to survive his bouts with such offensively explosive fighters as Antonio Margarito, Zab Judah, and Cotto without ever being seriously hurt. He is a rare case—a hard nut to crack.

Defense: Clottey is not an easy guy to land clean shots on when he goes into a defensive posture. He can hide behind his arms and gloves well and knows how to ride out the storm. Manny’s recent opponents have been easy to find. Perhaps, Clottey has the right mix of defense and durability to give Pacquiao a difficult night.

Bad Signs for Clottey

Power: Clottey looks like a power puncher and sometimes throws punches that would lead one to fancy him a hard hitter in the ring. It is therefore a bit surprising to reflect on the fact that he has scored only one KO since 2004, spanning 11 fights. Those are bad numbers for those banking on Clottey’s strength to win the day.

Work Rate: There have been times when Clottey doesn’t move his hands enough. With dwindling power numbers, Clottey will have to escalate this part of his game to stand a chance with Pacquiao. Sometimes, it appears that Clottey is either on the offensive or the defensive. He will have to be able to do both at the same time if he hopes to threaten the pound-for-pound number-one guy in the game.

Ring IQ: Not to question the man’s ring smarts, but there have been times when his strategic outlook hurt him more than anything his opponent was doing. In the Cotto fight, it appeared Clottey was gaining a strong foothold in the middle rounds. He was troubling Cotto greatly. As the bout went into its final few rounds, Clottey inexplicably took his foot off the gas and let Cotto sweep the final stanzas to earn a controversial, but well-deserved split decision. One can never tell exactly what is going on in the mind and body of a fighter in a demanding fight, but it seemed Clottey had enough in the tank to close the show, but he didn’t do it for some reason.

The “Book” on Clottey

He is a very good fighter, but he is not great. There’s a little something extra that separates the very good from the great and Clottey has not showed it yet. The greats find a way to win, especially when they are in imminently winnable situations. Clottey has not yet answered the call for greatness. He was ahead against Margarito before hand problems rendered his offense non-existent. Then against Cotto, he again found himself in a fight he could win, and at the end of the day, he didn’t get it done.


Will Manny suffer a letdown? After being so close to fighting Mayweather, is there a chance for Manny to let his focus slip a bit here? Will he be overlooking Clottey as if this is just a stay-busy fight? Can Clottey find that something extra? Knowing that he isn’t getting any younger, will the severity of the situation give way to a renewed spirit? Fighters can sometimes rise to the occasion when their careers are on the line. Clottey surely knows that he is not likely to receive any further opportunities like this one. The now or never scenario might just light a fire under him.
Pacquiao vs. Clottey Prediction

There is almost nothing in Manny Pacquiao’s career to suggest he will be anything but peak for this mega event at Cowboys Stadium. There is still work for him to do in the sport. He wants to leave an indelible stamp of greatness on the sport. He has a vision of what he wants to accomplish. It seems almost inconceivable that he would somehow phone this one in, being on the cusp of not only fighting Floyd Mayweather, but also being so close to establishing an all-time great legacy worthy of being in the top pantheon of all-time greats.

Clottey is not going to go quietly and meekly, however. I think Manny’s speed and movement will give him an incredibly difficult evening. I see Clottey able to get some bodywork done and drive home a series of meaningful shots on Pacquiao in the form of uppercuts and straight rights. Clottey will be pumped up. He will feel a greater urge to let his hands go to curtail the fury of the Filipino juggernaut.

At some point in the middle rounds, Clottey will begin to incrementally lapse into a more defensive posture. He will remain dangerous and continue lashing out with enough menacing punches to keep Manny honest. As the late rounds approach, the only suspense remaining will not be whether Clottey can pull out the win, but whether or not he can last the full route.

A late stoppage is not an unlikely result. The feeling here is that Clottey’s grit, chin, and defense will be enough to see him through to the final bell. In a dominating performance, Pacquiao will win 10-11 rounds for a resounding decision victory.

Prediction: Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision.


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