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Monday, February 8, 2010

The Replacements Might Spell Disaster for Either Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather… Or Both

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Published on February 7, 2010 by Reylan Loberternos in Boxing

Tungod, Inabanga, Bohol – When the highly anticipated Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown fell through, most boxing fans and pundits probably thought that anything else would be a huge letdown. I am not about to disagree with them, though… not unless they are thinking that the replacements in Joshua Clottey and Sugar Shane Mosley for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr., respectively, are mere pushovers and nothing but keep-busy fights. While the much-ballyhooed clash between the consensus top dogs in the sport still remains incomparable in terms of significance and magnitude, the Pacquiao-Clottey and Mayweather-Mosley encounters are certainly a great way to test the mettles of the sport’s consensus best fighters pound for pound as well.

There are actually three possibilities when all is said and done. The first one, probably the last thing that the promoters would not want to happen, is if both Pacquiao and Mayweather lose their respective matchups. Second would be if one of them loses. The third possibility is if both of them wins, which definitely makes the impending barnburner a whole lot more mouthwatering and outright necessary. Take note that the possibility of draw verdicts weren’t taken into account. After all, a draw could be considered as a loss for either Pacquiao or Mayweather.

But before we jump into the conclusion that the third possibility just might be the most probable outcome, let’s first try to examine the matchups.

We start our discussions with what will perhaps turn out to be the more exciting bout – the Pacquiao-Clottey faceoff. Any contest with the name Manny Pacquiao in it should be assurance enough for a thrilling and exhilarating boxing spectacle. The odds are expected to be stacked against the fire-breathing Pinoy’s opponent in former IBF welterweight champion Joshua “Grand Master” Clottey (35-3-0, 20 KOs). This is no surprise, considering that the fighter out of Ghana, by way of Bronx, New York lost to the same guy who was destroyed by Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) of the Philippines, not to mention that the Filipino is universally considered as the best fighter pound for pound at present. But before you Pacman fanatics get too excited, please allow me to point out a couple of things that might make you think twice about Clottey being just a walk-in-the-park for the Pinoy great.

Make no mistake about it. Joshua Clottey is probably the best and most dangerous Pacquiao opponent to date, among the Pinoy pug’s long list of opponents. The potent combination of size, speed, stamina, skill, power, and chin is certainly a tall order for even a fighter like Pacquiao to overcome. Don’t be fooled by Clottey’s 3 losses. His first loss to Carlos Baldomir, who eventually became a welterweight champion, was due to disqualification with Clottey ahead in all three scorecards at the time of the halt. In his second setback, Clottey was making a good account of himself before sustaining an injured left hand in the fourth canto and was basically fighting one-handed from round 5 onwards against the hard-punching Antonio “Loaded Hands” Margarito. Clottey’s third loss, against Cotto, as we all know, was very much closer than the scorecards would suggest.

Clottey has top-notch defensive skills. Using his gloves and arms to protect himself the way Ronald “Winky” Wright does, the “Grand Master” has always finished fights with more than enough gas in his tank. Of course, Pacquiao is definitely in a league of his own, but Clottey could very well pose a lot of problems for the General Santos native. Clottey boasts a great left hook downstairs and up, often followed by a quick right straight. Team Pacquiao should also take note of Clottey’s tendency to come in with his head first. With their contrasting fighting stance, it is not farfetched that Pacquiao could sustain a cut that might hinder his vision just like he did in his first bout against Morales. We all know what happened to that fight. I don’t see Pacquiao knocking Clottey out in this confrontation… but then again, Pacquiao has made the habit of making surprises and exceeding expectations. He might once again do it this time around.

Now let’s move to the other one – the Mayweather-Mosley snoozefest. Though I believe that this will probably be more significant than Pacquiao-Clottey, I couldn’t help but consider Mayweather’s propensity to run and he might do just that against Mosley, a fighter who has a legitimate shot at getting one of the O’s in Mayweather’s immaculate record. If Mayweather ran against fighters who had no chance of hurting him, how much more against a man who can hurt him… hurt him really bad at that? With those bum hands and xycloccain or whatever they call that banned substance Mayweather has been using to numb his fragile fists, I don’t know what else to expect with this fight other than a marathon.


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