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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Joshua Clottey's Keys To... Effectiveness

Pacquiao vs Clottey Online Live Streaming, Pacquiao vs Clottey, Pacquiao vs Clottey News, Pacquiao vs Clottey Updates
Pacquiao vs Clottey
by John Chavez

The chatter leading up to a big fight can tend to sway one's opinion as the fight draws nearer. This seems to be the case for boxing pundits leading up the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey battle coming up this Saturday night.

When the bout was initially announced, there were many fight fans stating that it would undoubtedly be the toughest fight of the "Pacman's" career being that it'd be the first time he'd be fighting a legitimate welterweight on even terms meaning... no excuses of weight-drain for his opponent. They also stated that Clottey's professionalism in the ring which would include his virtually impenetrable high-guard and short crisp punches would give the Filipino superstar all he could handle and much more.

Now as the fight draws nearer, it seems as though those sentiments have changed.

Boxing fans can definitely tend to be a fickle bunch at times.

Out of all the active welterweights out there today, it is my belief that Joshua Clottey presents the most stylistic problems for Manny outside of Floyd Mayweather Jr.

After having reviewed Pacquiao's last six opponents in chronological order: Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, David Diaz, Oscar De la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto... it's obviously quite clear that the most effective opponent out of the bunch was Marquez. Yes... I know, not exactly ground-breaking stuff.

It is of my opinion that the second most effective fighter out of that particular bunch was a defensive-minded Marco Antonio Barrera.

When I use the word "effective", I'm referring to the fact that a faded Barrera survived the distance with the "Pacman" and had a few... keyword "few" moments of effectiveness against the hard-punching southpaw.

The key aspect that both Marquez and Barrera implemented against Pacquiao to not only go the distance with the man but also remain somewhat effective against him (Marquez much moreso than Marco) was the fact that both men had absolutely no desire to play the role of aggressor in the fight. In essence, they were quite content to let Manny "make the fight".

Both Mexican fighters weren't under any sort of delusional mind-frame that the most famous man in the Phillippines was a smaller, weaker opponent that could be bullied.

This was undoubtedly an extremely faulty mindset by Diaz, De la Hoya, Hatton, and Cotto.

Just like Erik Morales had a glimpse of what Pacquiao was capable of back pre-2005 in his destruction of Barrera and shocking early performance against Marquez, Joshua Clottey should have a relatively good idea that Manny is not a fighter to be taken lightly at 147 pounds. "El Terrible" watched tapes of Pacquiao-Marquez over and over and over leading up to their initial encounter as well as starting off the fight as trying to get a sense of Manny's power and punch delivery prior to opening up completely.

So now we've set the pre-fight stage assuming that Team Clottey has studied the tapes and understands that playing the role of counter-puncher against the dynamic lefty might suit them best to start off the fight initially. Opening up offensively should be a secondary concern to first being able to gauge Manny's movement, punching range, ability to close the distance, and punch delivery before it's too late and you find yourself stunned or on the canvas.

It's alot easier said than done when squaring off against such an unorthodox fighter but it's exactly what Floyd Mayweather Jr. implemented in his bout with a determined Zab Judah. It was necessary to give a couple early rounds away in order to see the openings more clearly and adjust as need be.

Here's a short list of what Clottey should do in order to be effective against Pacquiao:

1. Keep the closed guard very high and very tight while moving backwards in order to force Manny to press the action, possibly frustrate him and eventually force him to focus on the body.

2. Instead of relying on the jab to touch Pacquiao from the outside, vary the attack and shoot the straight right hand fast and hard right down the middle consistently (at least 12-15 times per round) when the opportunity presents itself.

3. After throwing the right hand lead, roll out and under to the side to avoid being countered easily and quickly.

4. Lure Pacquiao in to throw body shots using the tight, high guard by backing up and leaning against the ropes and possibly close to corners to limit his dynamic movement. If Clottey backs himself into the side of a corner, he has a better idea of what angle and range Pacquiao will attack from.

5. Use the ropes to gain leverage on punches when countering off the back foot. This is much easier and more effective than attempting to back away from the "Pacman", stopping on a dime and throwing hard counters which takes too much energy and athleticism to pull off consistently.

6. Force Pacquiao to reach around with his left hand and right hands when throwing body punches by crouching over slightly and keeping the guard up which will create openings for short uppercuts that Clottey is very adept at throwing. Manny is open to those uppercuts right down the middle when he throws to the body as you can see in these two videos... Morales bout & De la Hoya bout.

7. Throw the uppercuts with precision and accuracy rather than power but follow them up with heavy left hooks to get the damage done.

Here's a short list of big bozo No No's when it comes to what Joshua Clottey should not do from the initial bell:

1. Do not press forward following Pacquiao around the ring.
2. Do not attempt to match Pacquiao's speed and quick movements as this will tire you before he does. Use the boxing fundamentals that you've acquired.
3. Do not think a shotgun jab will be strong enough to deter Manny from attacking. You don't roll under and to the side after throwing the jab which leaves you open to counter attacks from the lefty.
4. Do not engage in a brawl with the "Pacman" but do engage in controlled and calculated exchanges.
5. Do not load up on any punches.

Joshua Clottey cannot afford to make many mistakes in order to possibly pull off the potential upset of the year.

He has the punch delivery and the defensive professionalism to give Manny Pacquiao all sorts of problems come Saturday night. I like the fact that the Ghanaian relies on a very tight guard as a defensive tactic to avoid punches as this isn't as physically draining as relying on constant body and head movement to avoid the Filipino's onslaught. Being that Manny tends to throw punches to the head directly down the middle, this bodes well for Clottey being that he has a better idea of where to place his hands.

Usually against a southpaw, the orthodox fighter is told to circle to his left in order to avoid the left hand of his opponent. However, it's been quite clear that highly esteemed trainer Freddie Roach has been working with Manny on a 1-2 combination comprising of a right hook followed by a left uppercut which works quite well on orthodox fighters circling to their left. Instead of circling right or left, I'd advise Clottey to simply work off that guard and place his counters carefully sometimes throwing one-shot counters and sometimes throwing two-shot. Anything more than two shots against Pacquiao is possibly dangerous due to his quick hand release and unorthodox punches from various angles.

Can Joshua Clottey win this fight if he follows all of the above suggestions?

It's so hard to say when you're squaring off against one of the most gifted professional boxers to have crossed our paths in quite some time. I know that stylistically it will be a very intriguing and explosive fight that is for damn sure.

It's up to all you hardcore fight fans to actively push your non-hardcore friends to purchase this fight as it is these types of bouts that make boxing special.

A relatively unknown guy in Joshua Clottey who will without a doubt give Pacquiao a run for his money and maybe more...

The Boxing Truth cannot wait until Saturday night as we will be running a special post-fight live radio show immediately preceding this megabout.


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