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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pacquiao vs. Clottey: Keys to victory

Pacquiao vs Clottey News, Pacquiao vs Clottey Online Live Streaming
February 27th, 2010
Allan Tolentino

Lot of things happened in the world of boxing in the past few months. And in barely three weeks' time, on 13th of March, we shall witness another action packed boxing action between the WBO welterweight champion and the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world Manny Pacquiao against the formidable worthy opponent from Ghana, former IBF welterweight world champion, Joshua "The Grand Master" Clottey.

Now, the whole world knows about Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao’s ring exploits were well documented against many legends. Outside of the avid boxing fans, Joshua Clottey's name does not ring a bell like, say, Floyd Mayweather Jr. but that doesn't mean this tough guy from Ghana is a push-over.

If you look at Joshua Clottey's record, won 35 (KO 20) + lost 3 (KO 0) + drawn 0 = 39, those 3 of his losses can be negligible. Let's take a look at them one by one shall we?

First loss: Against Carlos Baldomir, former WBC welterweight champion, Joshua Clottey lost via controversial disqualification when Clottey seems to be winning the rounds in the score cards.

Second loss: Against Antonio Margarito, former WBO and WBA welterweight champion. Joshua Clottey lost via controversial decision when Joshua seems to be winning the first half of the fight then broke his hand, giving Antonio " Loaded Gloves" Margarito a gift decision.

Third loss: Against Miguel Angel Cotto, former WBO and WBA welterweight champion. Joshua Clottey lost via controversial split decision when some fight fans saw Clottey winning this fight. But then again, its Cotto's home turf and Cotto was then the champion, so Clottey was expected to do more than that to win via decision against Cotto.

So, Joshua "The Grand Master" Clottey is a very worthy opponent. He is a BIG and strong welterweight! It's amazing how Clottey can weigh 147lbs on the weight-in and then after 1 day at fight night climb up to the ring looking like a hulking super-middleweight!

On the other hand, the whole world knows about Manny Pacquiao by now. He's already transcended the sport and attracted the attention of many Hollywood actors. Here is Manny again, this time defending his WBO belt at 147lbs, facing another bigger, stronger, and taller opponent as usual.


Manny Pacquiao is said to look phenomenal in his training camp. When Pacquiao trains, he gives it his all. He is a machine who goes non-stop!

There have been reports about Manny hurting his sparring partners very bad that some of them were sent home. Numerous posts and articles were published saying that Manny Pacquiao is still very much fit from his fight with Miguel Cotto and had adjusted well in the welterweight division. This is again, a classic blending of Freddie Roach's brilliant work and Manny dedication to the sport.

Recently, there have been reports that Manny could've over-trained and hurt his left leg in training. Thus, was given few days rest. But Manny Pacquiao still opt to train. Freddie Roach has toned his training down a few notches to help Manny recover from his injury. Now, it seems like Manny Pacquiao is back in full gear after passing the medical examinations with flying colors. Statements from Conditioning trainer Alex Ariza saying Manny is recovering very well, and getting close to being 100% or its just that Manny has extremely high tolerance with pain.

We can all hope Manny Pacquiao comes to the ring in the best condition.

Let's look at Joshua Clottey's training camp. Lenny De Jesus, Pacquiao's former cut-man is now Joshua Clottey's lead trainer when Clottey's preferred trainer, Godwin Kotay, also from Ghana, had troubles in getting a visa to the USA. This is such a very important matter because victories are won in the training camp and only manifest themselves in the ring!

Although reports say that Joshua Clottey looked great in training, we shall see how his team handles the pressure come fight night.

We also hope that Joshua Clottey comes in the ring in 100% best condition to give us the best fight they can give.

With regards to training, Manny Pacquiao definitely has the advantage here. He's training with his long time trusted coach Freddie Roach at their home turf at the Wild Card gym doing what they do best. While Joshua Clottey is still in the feeling stages with his new trainer, Lenny De Jesus, a part-time lock smith and more well known as a cut-man than a trainer.


Clottey presents Pacquiao a style he has never encountered before. If there's a style that proves to be troublesome to Manny, it’s the defensive counter-punching style, like that of Juan Manuel Marquez. Manny seems to get caught with some clean punches when his opponents are on the defensive and back-pedaling. We saw that at times when Cotto was on his bicycle throwing sporadic jabs to keep Pacquiao off of him. But unlike Manny's other defensive minded foes, Joshua Clottey doesn't move backward, but rather he stays put or moves forward, with his arms right in front of him as a defensive shield that blocks punches. He uses that style very well in the past. The elongated Antonio "Loaded Gloves" Margarito had a very difficult time penetrating Clottey's defenses. Given that Antonio's style is to overwhelm his opponents with the volume of his punches and use his height and reach advantage. But even so, in the early stages of that fight, most of Margarito's
punches were blocked by Clottey's defenses.

Joshua Clottey fought and beaten Zab Judah, the former undisputed welterweight champion. Take note that Zab Judah, like Manny Pacquiao is a speedy southpaw. What Joshua Clottey did very effectively against Judah was his "peek-a-boo" counter-punching style using the high guard defense. He allowed Zab to come to him and hit him, while Clottey blocks those punches with his arms. Then when he sees an opening, he would time Zab Judah with a straight right hand in the middle and wicked left hook to the body. This strategy nullified Zab Judah's speed and was able to launch his attack the way he wanted it.

Joshua Clottey is not a volume puncher who throws plenty of combinations. He is very conservative with his offenses. This is because he uses his arms as a defensive guard to lure his opponents to attack at him most of the time. You can't throw a punch while your forearms are covering high up in front. A fighter utilizing this kind of defense would find it hard to be the first one to mount an offense simply because, from a high guard position, a fighter needed to pull back his arms or twist his torso to throw an effective punch. Sure, one can throw a punch from an elbows-close-together and forearms parallel in front position, but generally, it would lack power, as it does not have the leverage and momentum to deliver an effective punch. From a high guard position, if a fighter pulls back his arms or twists his torso to punch, he effectively telegraphs his intentions to his opponents. This shall give his opponents time to adjust, evade, block or
counter-punch the coming offensive.

For the high-guard defense to be effective, you must lure your opponent to come at you and then counter-punch him as he attacks. Impeccable timing is the key for this style to be successful. You can observe the same style being employed by former middle weight champion Arthur Abraham, and he uses it brilliantly. That's exactly what Joshua Clottey is also doing. Then again, a fighter using this style of defense must pack some power to make the counter-punches effective. Or else, a good blocking defense plus minimum offensive activity mixed with ineffective counter-punches, equals losing on the score cards. Joshua Clottey has decent power to make this style work for him as we have witnessed during his fight against Zab Judah.

I'm just not sure if Clottey can block all of Manny Pacquiao's punches when Pacquiao fires up 15-punch-combinations in less than two seconds from all sorts of weird angles. We saw Miguel Cotto, who is not too slow himself, able to block two or three of them, but 11 or 12 of those punches still landed by Pacquiao. And those punches packs a lot of hurting power.

Notice also how Clottey often remains stationary with his footwork and depends more on his blocking defense during a fight. I believe this will not work very well with Manny Pacquiao because with Pacquiao's nimble feet, he'll be everywhere in that ring. So Clottey needed to keep up with Manny's speed with regards to footwork in he wants to remain standing in this fight. He needs to keep moving, side to side, around in circles, feint forward then dash backwards then attack, etc.

Back when Pacquiao was about to fight David Diaz, I thought, for him to beat Pacquiao, he must impose his size and strength on the little guy. He must do some rough-housing, a bit of wrestling here and there, just like what Nadel Hussein and Agapito Sanchez did back when Pacquiao was still a bantamweight, which gave Pacquiao some troubles. I also thought of the same when Manny was about to fight Oscar Dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. I realized that the Manny Pacquiao at bantamweight is a totally different version of Manny Pacquiao at welterweight. So, yes, Joshua Clottey is bigger and stronger than Manny Pacquiao, but I believe imposing one's strength against Manny Pacquiao by using his size to try to bully the little guy is NOT the way to beat Manny. Manny Pacquiao is too quick and elusive for Clottey to catch him brawl it from the inside. And though Pacquiao is smaller, he packs a lot of power! So matching power for power against Pacquiao is
not a wise thing to do. Right now, Joshua Clottey's size and strength once again could mean nothing against Manny Pacquiao.

What Joshua Clottey needs to do to beat Pacquiao is to do his own version of Marquez. He needs to time Manny and counter-punch him at the right moment when the little guy attacks. Clottey needs to keep his legs in perpetual motion, employ his superior defensive skills to block Pacquiao's combinations and use his reach advantage to keep him at bay. And he needs to keep at it for 36mins in that fight.

The question is, "Does Joshua Clottey has enough in his tank to do that?" because Pacquiao will definitely be in his face for the full 3 minutes of every round. Clottey cannot afford to fade even just for a minute, like what he did against Cotto, when he faces Manny Pacquiao.

To be concluded...


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