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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Despite being miles away, Manny Pacquiao’s presence is still felt in Las Vegas

Pacquiao vs Clottey, Pacquiao vs Clottey News, Pacquiao vs Clottey Online Live Streaming, Pacquiao vs Clottey Updates
Pacquiao vs Clottey
Las Vegas Boxing Examiner | Chris Robinson

It is the Wednesday before a Manny Pacquiao fight and typically around this point in time the streets of Las Vegas began heating up with a certain kind of buzz in relation to the Filipino icon’s upcoming fight. Having fought eight of his last eleven fights in the Vegas valley, Pacquiao has helped in keeping the city relevant during these hard economic times but this week there is a different kind of feel in the area as Pacquiao is actually over 1200 miles away getting ready to do battle with Joshua Clottey at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

Immediately following Pacquiao’s 12th round stoppage of Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand, the Filipino’s supporters began eyeing a contest with former pound for pound King Floyd Mayweather. The fight appeared to have a real chance of becoming a reality and one man who was desperate to try to land the contest was Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones. Despite losing out to Las Vegas in the potential Pacquiao-Mayweather scuffle, Jones resurfaced to make a huge play for Pacquiao-Clottey and the ending result now finds Pacquiao well away from the bright lights of Sin City.

Despite all of the developments people in Las Vegas are still looking forward to this weekend’s fight with a vested interest. When talking to people in the sport of boxing in particular it is obvious that many people still have their eyes on Manny.

“I’m going to be watching,” Lightweight prospect Rynell Griffin said recently following his training at Richard Steele Boxing Club. “I think Clottey is too defensive for Pacquiao. Pacquiao has that hand speed. He also has the will to win and it’s just his endurance. What I admire about him is his faith in himself. He believes in himself.”

Another man who has grown a tremendous amount of respect for Pacquiao in recent years is the Operations Director for Steele Boxing, Alonzo Jones. Speaking candidly, Jones stopped to gather his thoughts before fully giving Pacquiao his praise.

“He’s an incredible athlete,” Jones states. “He’s just a phenomenon right now. I think anybody in boxing who competes against him is going to have problems.”

While the vibe inside of Steele’s seemed to be that Pacquiao had the contest in the bag, there was a completely different feel inside of Barry's Boxing off of Highland Drive. For trainer Don House, who has guided the likes of Joan Guzman, former champion Jorge Linares, and Zahir Raheem in recent years, this seems to be nearly a pick em’ fight.

“To be honest with you I really think that is a dangerous fight for Pacquiao," House stated. "I wouldn’t overlook Clottey at all. To me I think he is one of the strongest guys that he could have faced. He’s not your typical handpicked guy. Don’t get me wrong I still lean towards Pacquiao because of what he has proven but he has a tough opponent in front of him.”

18-1 Heavyweight Bermane Stiverne seems to share the same sentiments of his trainer. While having obvious respect what Clottey brings into the ring, Stiverne still believes that Pacquiao should find a way to emerge victorious on the 13th.

“I really don’t know," Stiverne admitted. "I don’t think it’s an easy fight for Pacquiao. I believe people are underestimating Clottey. This is boxing you know? All it takes is one shot. Boxing is full of surprises. I think it’s a hard fight but after seeing Pacquiao fight I think that he should find a way to win.”

Aaron Williams, a Cruiserweight with a 19-2 record, seems to be on the fence a bit regarding the fight. Williams is currently helping prepare John Ruiz for his upcoming April 3rd fight with WBA Heavyweight champion David Haye but took some time to give his thoughts.

“In my opinion it’s going to be a great fight,” Williams stated. “I really can’t pick a winner. Clottey can take a puncher and he is durable. He fought Zab, he fought Cotto, and he wants to win. I just can’t decide a winner.”

Despite many feeling that Clottey has a realistic chance of winning, I haven’t come across anybody who can fully commit towards predicting a victory for the Ghanaian fighter. Gym owner Pat Barry seems to have a great rationale when looking at the contest, as he simply sees Pacquiao as having too much momentum on his side going into the fight.

“I think it’s going to be a great fight,” Barry said. “They are both supreme athletes but I can’t see anybody going against Pacquiao at this time. He’s on the top of his game and he’s a workhorse. Seems like he enjoys every minute that he is in the ring. I think Pacquiao will stop him, maybe between the 8th and 10th rounds.”

All around Las Vegas people are definitely still talking about the contest, from tellers at the local Citibank, to partisans at the nearby Los Mochis Mexican restaurant, to even the casual fan on the street. There still is much anticipation towards the contest but for now the real buzz is in the city of Dallas. Perhaps summing it up best is Fight Hype’s Sabrina Montez, who has been covering the sport in the city for the past ten years. Also known as the ‘Verbal Vixen’, Montez points out that the fight involving Pacquiao that everyone wants to see would be down the road a bit.

“It's quite strange to not see Pacquiao in Las Vegas as he has become very successful fighting here,” Montez closes out. “He brings an exciting energy to the city and his absence is surely missed. Pacquiao is one of the best fighters of this era and his previous fights created major buzz on the Vegas strip. Locals will definitely be interested and watch but would much rather see Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. That's the talk of Vegas right now. For now Dallas can eat up the attention, but Vegas will have their shine once again in May when Mayweather and Mosley fight.”


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