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Saturday, February 6, 2010

While Pacquiao works OT, Clottey's head in clouds

Boxing Examiner | Michael Marley

Maybe Joshua Clottey's teeshirt should say "Neverlast."

By my calendar, next Saturday night is not only the night before that cracksmoking cherub, Cupid, starts shooting love arrows to and fro.

I'm hoping the icon of romance will zap Floyd Mayweather who is throwing not flowers or boxes of chocolates at Sugar Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins even going so far as to label SSM as “a puppet” for Weekend at Bernie's.

I understand Mosley's rapid reply was: “Hey, I resemble that!”

Hopkins was a bit more severe, saying, "Wait until my boy Shane turns Flippant Flomo into Howdy Doody."

But I digress, back to the timeline, back to next Saturday night.

It is also, this Feb. 13, one month before Joshua Clottey tries to cash in on his Power Ball/Mega Millions ticket against Pinoy Idol Manny Pacquiao in the Cowboys football playpen in Arlington, Tejas.

playtime, no long plane flights for Pacquiao, in midseason form at Wild Card Gym (Top Rank/Chris Farina)

I've been known to push the panic button too early, for sure, but I want to ask this question, right now, is the Ghanaian preparing to fail against Pacman by failing to prepare?

I, for one, am completely underwhelmed by the reports or lack of same about Clottey working his backside off in this, the greatest opportunity of his career.

He's training in The Bronx yet he is supposed to shift his camp down to the warmer climes of my old residence, Fort Lauderdale.

He just wasted several days by flying to and from Africa where he was supposedly working to secure a US entry visa for his self-selected trainer.

Not a word about having sparring partners on board or bearing down both at the gym or in doing roadwork and other conditioning. Manager Vinny Scolpino did say that, once they are settled in South Florida, Team Clottey will have a head trainer and a conditioning guru in tow.

Meanwhile, the Pacman camp is cooking with hot grease, running on all cylinders and has quality sparmates lined up awaiting their turns against Manny.

I'd hate to think that while Manny is punishing his hired hands and the leather mitts held up by Coach Freddie Roach that Clottey is lounging on his couch.

Let me throw this out there now. Actually, let me toss out two different ideas.

One, and this is something I've written before, Clottey has a bit of a reputation among boxing insiders as being a “game quitter.” In other words, he is not what Big Al Braverman and other oldtimers would derisively refer to as “a cayoodle,” meaning a heartless fighter.

A “game quitter” is a fighter who, when the going gets tough, mentally and physically refuses to bite down and just accepts losing. You saw this in Clottey's split decision loss to the dented by Margarito Miguel Cotto. Instead of lurching forward and stepping on the gas down the stretch, Clottey inexplicably took both feet off his accelerator and went into a survival mode.

If he does that against Pacquiao, you know the outcome. As they say in that racket known as tennis, game, set, match.

My second opinion and something to look for in the football playpen where the Cowboys roam is that we may be looking at an overly relaxed Clottey turning into Manny's least dangerous foe since glorified journeyman David Diaz (he was no game quitter, just 100 percent game).

Usually, I ascribe Roach's daily blatherings to the prefight propaganda category. But over at Chez Freddie, also known as the Wild Card, Roach is only talking Pacman by KO.

There hasn't been a tepid response from the Clottey camp, there has been zero response. Whatever happened to fighting fire with fire or balut with bombs?

Perish the thought but does Clottey subliminally see himself as the “B” side player who only got the Megamanny massive payday because he's on Uncle Bob Arum's roster?

Will Clottey pop up in Texas merely to pass go and collect his paycheck and not with the proportiante fire in the belly which might lift him to a shocking upset?

They say a leopard does not change its spots.

I don't think a “game quitter” does, either.

There will be no shame in Clottey's game if he fights desperately, battles hard and goes balls to the stadium walls against the Pinoy Icon.

Anything less is a disservice to himself and to the sport.

Maybe Clottey will surprise me but, right now, he is not exactly what anyone could properly call well organized and buttoned down.

Pacman's nose is to the Roach grindstone.

While Manny is running in Griffith Park, toiling at the gym or drilling with conditioning expert Alex Ariza, where is Clottey?

On an airplane, I guess, flying to Ghana and now flying to Fort Lauderdale.

Clottey can't get those wasted hours back.

Is he preparing to fail by failing to prepare?

It's certainly a fair question.


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