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Friday, March 12, 2010

Manny Pacquiao got push to star status

Pacquiao vs Clottey, Pacquiao vs Clottey News, Pacquiao vs Clottey Online Live Streaming, Pacquiao vs Clottey Updates, Pacquiao vs Clottey Weigh In
By George Kimball
Saturday, March 13, 2010

ARLINGTON, Texas - With announcer Michael Buffer repeatedly describing the venue as “the Eighth Wonder of the World,” Cowboys Stadium hosted a dry run last night, as the world’s top boxer, World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and his Ghanaian challenger, Joshua Clottey, weighed in atop a stage erected on the concourse fronting the venue.

Just before Pacquiao and Clottey emerged from their dressing rooms, the massive floor-to-ceiling glass doors were winched open, leaving the end of the stadium fully exposed. With a beaming host and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and promoter Bob Arum looking on, first Clottey (147 pounds) and then Pacquiao (145) mounted the scale under the supervision of Texas boxing official Dickie Cole.

Pacquiao’s appearance was greeted by a thunderous ovation from what seemed to be thousands of Filipino supporters (as well as by one man carrying a sign whose allegiance proclaimed “Irish for Pacquiao”).

Clottey was met with polite applause.

According to Arum, one man is more responsible than any other for the fact that Pacquiao and Clottey will mix it up before a sold-out crowd of 45,000-plus, not to mention a pay-per-view audience that could top 750,000 buys and a worldwide television audience that will number in the millions.

And no, Arum wasn’t talking about himself, his partner Jones or even Floyd Mayweather Jr., although all of the above certainly bear some responsibility. Rather, the guy Arum had in mind was David Diaz, who in June 2008 put his World Boxing Council lightweight title on the line in agreeing to face Pacquiao.

“He didn’t have to do it,” noted Arum.

At the time Pacquiao had 50 professional bouts, but since he had never weighed more than 130 pounds, his credentials as a lightweight were nonexistent. There were those who felt Diaz might be too big for him and that the talented Filipino southpaw might be overreaching with the step up in weight.

But Pacquiao stopped Diaz in nine rounds that night to set in motion a remarkable journey that has taken him from a widely admired boxer to a veritable superstar legitimately compared to the very best who have ever worn gloves.

A guy who had never fought as a lightweight until he met Diaz will be fighting for the third time as a welterweight. In the interim he has fought and disposed of some of the sport’s biggest names: Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, none of whom survived to hear the final bell.

Win, lose or draw tonight against Clottey, Pacquiao will be in New York come June to pick up his third consecutive Fighter of the Year award from the Boxing Writers Association of America.

“But if the Diaz fight doesn’t happen, neither does the De La Hoya fight,” said Arum. “He might not have fought Hatton or Cotto, and he might not be fighting Clottey (tonight).”

Diaz’ reward is a berth against Humberto Soto in the televised portion of the 10-bout card, a fight in which he will attempt to regain the same championship he lost to Pacquiao 21 months earlier.

It is a bout that could well be the swan song for Diaz (35-2-1). The 33-year-old Chicagoan, who has fought only once since a majority decision over Jesus Chavez last September, is a 5-1 underdog against Soto, who brings a career mark of 50-7-2 to Dallas.


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