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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clottey's trainer knows Pacquiao's ring secrets

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Pacquiao vs Clottey
By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) Updated March 10, 2010 12:00 AM

, Philippines - Joshua Clottey’s trainer Lenny de Jesus worked five fights in Manny Pacquiao’s corner for two years and was in Manila for the bout against Fahsang 3-K Battery at the Fort, Global City, in 2004. No doubt, the insider’s information on Pacquiao may come in handy for Clottey when the Ghanaian challenger takes on the defending WBO welterweight champion at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, this Sunday morning (Manila time).

De Jesus, 64, took over from Ruben Gomez as Pacquiao’s cutman starting the Emmanuel Lucero fight in Los Angeles in 2003. He stayed for the fights against Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Fahsang and Erik Morales until Joe Chavez got the job in 2005. Chavez has since been replaced by Argentina’s Miguel Diaz.

De Jesus was brought into Pacquiao’s camp by Murad Muhammad who represented the Filipino in negotiating US fights since the Lehlo Ledwaba bout in 2001 and was later bumped off by Shelly Finkel then by Top Rank’s Bob Arum.

Clottey ditched his long-time trainer Kwame Asante reportedly due to a financial dispute after losing to Miguel Cotto last year. Asante, a Ghanaian like Clottey, was legendary champion Azumah Nelson’s trainer. Clottey picked another Ghanaian to replace Asante but Godwin Nji Dzanie Kotey, who used to train Ike Quartey, couldn’t get a US visa to travel from Accra.

Clottey then settled for De Jesus who will be working his corner in the Pacquiao fight with two Ghanaians, Kwaku Gyamfi and someone named Bruce. It’s not certain what experience Kwaku and Bruce will bring to the corner. Also in the corner will be Gjin Gjini, the Albanian owner of John’s Gym where Clottey trains in the Bronx.

But De Jesus is an old hand, for sure.

“I’ve been involved in boxing for over 40 years,” De Jesus said in a Manila interview before the Pacquiao-Fahsang fight. “I live, love, sleep and eat boxing.” The Puerto Rican native fought as an amateur, winning the borough championship at 16, and appeared in six fights as a pro before becoming a trainer at 19. Among the world champions whose corners he worked were Wilfredo Gomez, Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello, Hector Camacho and Carlos Santos. Some of the trainers with whom he shared corner chores were Angelo Dundee, Eddie Futch, Al Gavin and Freddie Roach.

De Jesus is more of a cutman than a head trainer but with Kotey unavailable, Clottey promoted the Puerto Rican out of necessity. It’s been close to 22 years since De Jesus was a chief second in anyone’s corner and he’d rather forget the memory. That was when De Jesus’ protégé Miguel Santana lost a technical decision to IBF lightweight champion Greg Haugen in Tacoma in 1988 after he had been declared the winner by stoppage.

“There are five things you can do in a corner and I’ve done all of ‘em,” said De Jesus, quoted by John Whisler. “Not even Roach can say that. I’ve been the bucket guy, the stool guy, the advisor, the cutman and I’ve been the head guy before, too. But mostly, I’ve been a cutman.”

Aside from boxing, De Jesus is into locks. He owns a locksmith store in the Jackson Heights section of Queens. Clottey hopes De Jesus has the key to unlock Pacquiao’s secrets to his success.

ESPN described Clottey as “a part-time locksmith and long-time boxing satellite.”

De Jesus admitted that treating cuts is his specialty, more than anything else. He was employed six years as an orderly and technician in a New York hospital so the experience has come in handy. “I’m good at what I do and that’s to save fighters from cuts,” said De Jesus. “Manny’s not a bleeder. He was cut in the Barrera, Marquez and Morales fights but nothing serious. He’s got good bone structure with no jutting edges.”

Curiously, in the five fights that De Jesus worked with Pacquiao, the Filipino icon was cut in three.

When Clottey fought Miguel Cotto last June, De Jesus was in his corner as a cutman. But Clottey said De Jesus worked beyond his scope of duty.

“We established a good relationship during the Cotto fight,” said Clottey, quoted by Lem Satterfield. “When he was my cutman, he pushed me. He sort of wakes you up, tells me some good things. I chose him to be primary trainer for the Pacquiao fight. It was an easy transition. He motivates you.”

De Jesus will share his knowledge of Pacquiao’s secrets with Clottey but will the tips make a difference? After all, it was six years ago when De Jesus worked his last fight with Pacquiao and the Filipino has since won four more world titles to bring his unprecedented collection to seven.


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