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Friday, March 12, 2010

Manny Pacquiao plays head games with Joshua Clottey

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Boxing Examiner | Michael Marley


GRAPEVINE, TEXAS--Don't let his Smiling Jack, giggling public persona fool you. Manny Pacquiao loves to play psychological games with his opponents.

Muscular Joshua Clottey, who could climb into the Cowbooys Stadium ring late Saturday night as heavy as 164 pounds (or so manager Vinny Scolpino told me seconds ago as our hotel rooms are adjacent at the Gaylord Texan Hotel here), is no exception to Manny's penchant for trying to infect the mind of his foes.

A source who witnessed it told me that, upon their very first face to face meeting in the initial press conference hosted by Cowboys owner and billionaire Jerry Jones, Pacquiao shook hands with the study Ghanaian and leaned in close as if to share a special secret.

I'm reminded of the O'Jays song about "Smiling Faces..." (Top Rank, Chris Farina Photo) as Joshua Clottey made the welterweight limit of 1467 while Pacman was 145 3/4 at Friday afternoon outside the front gates of Cowboys Stadium

"I did you a favor," Pacman said to the African fighter. "I beat up Miguel Cotto for you."

Nudge, nudge and wink, wink. It was Pacman's obvious mental jab, his way to say I beat the rugged Puerto Rican and he beat you.

Pacquiao was at ringside in Madison Square Garden last June when Cotto pulled out a split decison over Clottey.

Did Clottey take Manny's bait?

According to the eyewitness, Clottey just kept grinning.

On the HBO telecast, look for lead announcer Jim Lampley to mention accurately how Pacman tries to "befriend" all his foes, never badmouthing them and then inviting some over to the Philippines as his personal guest...after he gives them a thorough beating.

Will Clottey be the next guy to get a free roundtrip to Manila? David Diaz, who fights on the undercard here, coould tell him how much fun and how lucrative it can be being a beaten down Pacman foe who lost graciously.


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