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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Arum: Pacquiao faces toughest fight

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Pacquiao vs Clottey
By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated March 05, 2010 12:00 AM

HOLLYWOOD – Freddie Roach said Wednesday that Manny Pacquiao can knock Joshua Clottey out inside nine rounds.

Most people would believe the four-time Trainer of the Year. But not Bob Arum, the promoter, who said it may go the other way.

“I don’t know how you’ll knock Clottey out,” said the Top Rank big boss who happens to promote the two fighters who will slug it out on March 13 at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Arum, the greatest salesman in boxing, tried hard to keep his feelings to himself even if in the past he had described Pacquiao as “the greatest fighter ever” and therefore would be very hard to beat.

But he said Wednesday at the Wild Card Gym, as Pacquiao was hosting his final media workout before the fight, that Clottey will be the toughest fight for the Filipino champion over the last two years.

And that the unexpected can always happen in Texas.

“I would be much more surprised if Manny knocks him out,” said Arum, who tried to ignore the tremendous odds going against the 33-year-old Clottey, who is at minus-350 against Pacquiao’s plus-500.

He said the odds are just a reflection of how people, particularly the fight fans, look at the fight, and that in their minds it’s going to be very, very difficult for Pacquiao to absorb his first loss in five years.

“The odds would say that Manny Pacquiao, after the (Ricky) Hatton victory (in May 2009), after the (Miguel) Cotto victory (in November 2009), is now Superman. And people judge him accordingly.”

Arum said the odds are better pegged at two-and-a-half-to-one for Pacquiao.

“This fight is going to be harder than the Cotto fight. Why? Because Clottey is more durable than Cotto,” said the legendary promoter.

Cotto, who was pummeled by Pacquiao for 12 rounds, barely got away with a victory over Clottey in New York last year, and many felt that the 33-year-old Ghana was winning the fight until he slowed down in the last two rounds.

Arum really doesn’t know what’s going to happen on March 13 except that the fight is going to take place.

He even entertained questions or thoughts of Pacquiao losing the fight.

“Clottey is bigger and stronger but Manny is a much better boxer, a much better athlete. And if Manny loses, I would be sorry for Manny. But that’s boxing and a lot of things can happen. Clottey is a very good and a very dangerous welterweight,” said Arum.

“If Clottey is successful then I would go immediately to Clottey who is under promotion to us and ask him to do a rematch.

He’s not obligated but I would ask him for a rematch.”

Roach thinks that’s not gonna happen.


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