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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey: The Prefight Breakdown

Pacquiao vs Clottey, Pacquiao vs Clottey News, Pacquiao vs Clottey Online Live Streaming, Pacquiao vs Clottey Updates
Pacquiao vs Clottey
This Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao will put his streak of brilliance on the line in one of the world’s most remarkable buildings. Four months ago the Dallas Cowboys’ brand new billion dollar stadium was poised to hold the long awaited showdown between Pacquiao and Mayweather, but it was not to be. While boxing fans from all four corners of the globe were dejected when the fight was scrapped, Joshua Clottey was gleaming from ear to ear. The Ghana native steps into an opportunity of a lifetime on one of the biggest stages imaginable, and presents Manny Pacquiao with what some say will be his most demanding physical challenge to date.

Manny Pacquiao

Record: 50-3-2 (38 KO’s)

Former Flyweight, Super Bantamweight, Featherweight, Junior Lightweight, Lightweight, Junior Welterweight and current WBO Welterweight champion. Currently recognized as the number one fighter in the world pound for pound.

Age: 31

Home: General Santos City, Philippines

Notable wins: Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera

Notable losses: Erik Morales

Joshua Clottey

Record: 35-3 (20 KO’s)

Former WBO Welterweight champion

Home: Bronx, NY via Accra, Ghana

Age: 32

Notable wins: Diego Corrales, Zab Judah

Notable losses: Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto, Carlos Baldomir


Weighing the athleticism variable in a Pacquiao fight is almost a formality. There is only one man in boxing that can match the Pac Man’s athleticism and that’s Floyd Mayweather. Clottey is a strong, formidable opponent but as far as speed and athleticism will go this will be a mismatch. If Clottey is going to beat Manny Pacquiao it’s going to have to be by doing something other than trying to outwork the Pac Man. Pacquiao is in a different stratosphere and I see his athletic skill set as the gamebreaker in this fight.

Advantage: Pacquiao

Matt’s Take: Pacquiao has tremendous athleticism and in terms of putting combinations together, his hand speed is second to none. They are essentially his bread and butter. Clottey has decent athleticism and average speed at best, but doesn’t heavily rely on either to help him emerge victorious. Many of the shots he landed in his fight against Miguel Cotto were due to terrific timing, not quick hands.

Advantage: Pacquiao


This one is a bit trickier. Do you look at knock out percentages or brute strength? One would imagine Clottey is the stronger man, but Pacquiao has knocked more welterweights lately than Clottey, who has recorded one stoppage since 2004. I’d lean with Pacquiao here as well. I firmly believe the brunt of Pacquiao’s power is in his killer instinct. It was hard to find a those instincts in the Joshua Clottey that fought Cotto, and that could be his downfall in this bout. Where Clottey slips up, Pacquiao will capitalize.

Advantage: Pacquiao

Matt’s Take: It’s no secret that Manny Pacquiao has true pound for pound punching power ala Thomas Hearns; just ask naturally bigger opponents in Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya. In his two fights at welterweight (where he meets Clottey), Pacquiao has used fast, hard combinations to batter the aforementioned Cotto and De La Hoya, making him a heavy handed fighter even as an undersized 147 pounder.

Clottey’s power has always been underrated in my book. Clottey, easily the biggest active welterweight, has tremendous physical strength and the ability to throw noteworthy punches at any given time. He hurt former world champion Zab Judah and also made things quite uncomfortable for Cotto in their June 2009 match up. He possesses a unique punching style, which I have always been a fan of, which includes body-head combinations and double hooks up top. While the man known as “Hitter” can definitely do damage if he connects, Pac Man’s other alias is “The Destroyer” for a reason.

Advantage: Pacquiao


If Clottey has a shot at knocking off Pacquiao it lies in his defense. Clottey survived twelve rounds with Antonio Margarito, and I hate to go there, but who knows what was in Margarito’s gloves at that time. Clottey’s defensive success may be a testament to his refusal to take risks, but that flaw nudges him ahead of Pacquiao in this category.

Pacquiao hasn’t hit the canvas in years, but he has hit the canvas nonetheless. If I see one scenario that has Clottey winning this bout it’s a product of him using his strength and defense to control the pace of the bout. Clottey won’t make himself as presentable a target like Pacquiao’s most recent opponents and that may be the one thing that could propel him to a decision victory.

Advantage: Clottey

Matt’s Take: Pacquiao has had a good chin since day one. Although he was twice knocked out as a severely weight drained youngster, he has consistently shown the ability to take a punch. The best proof of his proficient chin is something he once was; a poor defensive fighter. The old, lighter Pacquiao had no problem trading punches with anybody at any time, but the 140-147 lb version boxes and moves a lot more effectively. Moving up in weight gave him the opportunity to build up his legs, thus he avoids punches far better than in years prior. On the contrary, he had trouble avoiding Cotto’s jab in their November super fight and against a strong fighter like Clottey that could be a problem.

Like many African fighters, Clottey has an effective high guard defense and a good beard. His defensive style is very effective and he rarely gets hit with flush shots. Basic or not, Clottey’s defensive abilities are frustrating for opponents. His chin isn’t an easy target to find, but even when he was hit, Clottey weathered the storm. The rugged Ghanaian has never been seriously hurt and his only trip to the canvas (against Cotto) was due to him being off balance.

Advantage: Clottey


Yet another category that is hard to pick against Manny in. On top of being arguably the fighter of the decade, Pac Man has taken part in several fight of the decade candidates. Surprisingly, I saw more heart from Manny in his first bout with Marquez than I have seen in a long time. After putting his man down three times in the first round only to have him claw back into the fight, Manny stayed with it despite giving up the draw.

Clottey will come into Cowboy’s stadium with a world of desire behind him, but heart is something that either you have or you don’t. I believe Joshua Clottey does to an extent, but anyone who lets a defeated Miguel Cotto survive, and throw enough punches to steal the bout from him will have trouble matching the heart, desire and killer instinct of Manny Pacquiao.

Advantage: Pacquiao

Matt’s Take: Pacquiao is as gutsy as they come. He’s a number of times and never had any issue adopting to take on a bigger fighter (see above). His willingness to exclusively mix it up when he fought the world’s best in lower weight classes simply can not be overlooked, even if he has changed his style a bit. Manny has also taken the heart of many of his opponents, such as De La Hoya, Hatton, Cotto and Barrera.

Manny may very well take exactly that from Clottey, since this is perhaps his biggest weakness. The late, great Arturo Gatti and even a more fragile fighter like Floyd Mayweather have fought multiple times with hand injuries and other distractions, proving when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for former WBO Welterweight champion.

Clottey went into a shell after injuring his hand against Margarito in 06, squandering a good start en route to losing a decision. Against Cotto, he didn’t fare much better, electing to cover up on the ropes rather than throw back consistent combinations when the rugged Puerto Rican applied heavy pressure. Unless his questionable antics change, he is in for a rough night against an opponent who has snatched the heart out of some of boxing’s best.

Advantage: Clottey


Joshua Clottey will take part in a fight that draws the eyes of the sports world onto him, and it will be the first time that he has done so. Pacquiao meanwhile has been to this dance before. Pac Man has captured titles at a number of weight classes, stared down boxing legends, and had the morale of an entire country on his shoulders.

Clottey is by no means a wide eyed kid in over his head, the 32 year old has fought all over the world against different breeds of boxers, but it’s hard to find a resume` that measures up to Pacquiao’s. It’s been reported that ticket sales are around 45,000, a far bigger audience than either fighter is accustomed too. I don’t know that either man has a case of stage fright but on a scale this big I’d have to give the edge to Pacquiao.

Advantage: Pacquiao

Matt’s Take: When I say Pacquiao has fought everyone, I mean Pacquiao has fought everyone. Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera (twice each) and Erik Morales (three times) among others, there are very few noteworthy opponents he missed along the way. In addition, Pacquiao fought all of the aforementioned opponents on pay per view and has delivered masterpieces when the most eyes were on him.

Whether it is an asset to how dangerous of an opponent he is or the fact his inability to capitalize under the bright lights, Clottey is lacking in experience compared to Pacquiao. His most notable opponents were Cotto, Margarito, Judah, the late, great Diego Corrales and Carlos Baldomir. Outside of those five, three of whom have beaten him, Clottey’s fought mostly gate keeper type opponents.

Advantage: Pacquiao

The Verdict:

I have a shot for shot screenplay of this bout playing out in my head. It’s of an aggressive Manny Pacquiao overwhelming Joshua Clottey with a high volume of punches. Clottey is game, but careful. He knows that taking a risk of any kind will land him into deep trouble so he finishes the fight by kicking it into safety mode. Pacquiao doesn’t walk through Clottey the way he did Hatton and Cotto, but walks away with an impressive decision.

Verdict: Pacquiao UD

Matt’s Take: Clottey is regularly criticized for not throwing enough punches. His loss to Cotto serves perfect example of why he is a fighter that can do far more on the offensive end, but for one reason or another, chooses not to. Rather than going to take the title from the champion by making sure his hands were consistently busy, Clottey had too many Punchless spurts and cost himself the fight; as he did against Margarito.

Pacquiao throws terrific combinations and moves well enough to avoid return shots from his much slower opponent on Saturday night. The Filipino icon’s busy hands and Clottey’s inability to get going on a steady basis will spell trouble for the latter. Clottey’s natural size advantage, good chin and defense will likely help him make it to the final bell, albeit as a loser in the majority of the rounds.


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