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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Joshua Clottey: the fighter behind the record

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Pacquiao vs Clottey
Pittsburgh Fight Sports Examiner | Scott Heritage

Many people are questioning whether Joshua Clottey is a good enough opponent for Manny Pacquiao. While he is ranked in the top ten, most of the fans have not heard much about Clottey if they have heard about him at all.

Those who do know him will probably remember the tough Ghanaian most for his losing efforts in clashes with Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. The main argument of the nay sayers is that Pacquiao destroyed Cotto and Clottey lost to Cotto, so surely pairing him with Pacquiao is a mismatch.

In actual fact though looking a little closer at Clottey's record and fighting style, he might just be more difficult for Pacquiao than Cotto was. At the very least he should prove to be more difficult to solve than the all out attacking of Cotto and Hatton or the time ravaged efforts of Oscar De La Hoya. Clottey personally considers himself to be unbeaten, although his record indicates that he has 3 losses.

In his early years, Clottey split his fights between Ghana and London England, taking on a mixed bag of lower level opponents without much difficulty. His first loss came against Carlos Baldomir for the WBC title in 1999. By all accounts he was controlling the bout fairly well until the later rounds, where perhaps fatigue lead him to headbutt Baldomir several times in the 10th and 11th rounds, eventually getting him disqualified. Disappointing behavior from an aspiring champion, but when you consider his next opponent had a losing record, it was hardly surprising that Clottey struggled at the time.

Clottey's next loss came against the high flying Antonio Margarito, who returns to action in the next few months following a ban for using loaded gloves. During their bout loaded gloves were not the issue, but instead an injured hand that Clottey sustained in the fourth round. Despite the hand not being broken as he initially suspected, Clottey proceeded to lose the rest of the fight, although had been getting the better of the early rounds. Many experts think Clottey would have won if not for the injury, although Margarito was reportedly sporting shoulder and ankle injuries from the offset, making the most likely outcome a little more ambiguous.

Clottey's most recent loss was a split decision against Miguel Cotto last year. The fight itself was another close one, with Clottey slowing down significantly in the later rounds, probably costing him the victory. Cotto was also cut early in the fight, which probably affected his performance.

Clottey might not have the pedigree one might expect to face off against the pound for pound best fighter in the sport today, but not through fault of his own necessarily. Like Paul Williams, not that many people want to fight Clottey. He's beatable, but you might not look good doing it. A win over him does nothing for your record and won't sell a lot of tickets in most cases. Despite this though Clottey now finds himself in his biggest fight to date with as usual nothing to prove and few people backing him. This time pitting frantic Filipino pace against rugged Ghanain determination.

Steve Wilson, Pittsburgh PA: "Clottey is still an unknown quantity to me. His only big wins are over an aging Chico Corrales and Zab Judah, and his only losses have been close and unlucky"

Victor Massa, Pittsburgh PA: "Pacquiao has been talking a lot about Mayweather recently and might be looking past Clottey. His training is going the same as usual, but mentally if he isn't focused on Clottey he might be in for a shock"

Bernie Walker, Pittsburgh PA: "Clottey is too slow and bulky to land anything on Pacquiao. He might do ok in the early rounds but in the end he'll run out of steam as usual and Pacquiao will pick him apart. The only one who can, and will beat Pacquiao at the moment is Floyd Mayweather"


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