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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pacquiao-Clottey Fight Prediction

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Pacquiao vs Clottey
By Geoffrey Ciani

Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium, pound for pound King Manny Pacquiao is set to square off against highly regarded welterweight contender Joshua Clottey. This starts a long stretch of good fights already scheduled for the coming months which should represent a very exciting time for boxing fans. With so many good fights on the near horizon, it feels as if 2010 is now finally underway. Here is my take on some of the action we will see unfold in the near future.

Jean Pascal vs. Chad Dawson (for the WBC light heavyweight title)
August 14, 2010
The Bell Centre—Montreal, Canada
Jean Pascal’s title will be on the line in this one and it should be a good one. Pascal is a live underdog especially since he will be fighting on his home turf. He has exhibited tremendous heart and skill in recent bouts and should provide a tough test for Dawson. In fact, aside from Bernard Hopkins and possibly Tavoris Cloud, there is not a fighter south of cruiserweight I would give a better chance at beating Dawson. Unfortunately for Pascal, Dawson really seems to be coming into his own as an elite level fighter.
Prediction: Dawson by unanimous decision

Yuri Foreman vs. Miguel Cotto (for the WBA junior middleweight title)
June 5, 2010
Yankee Stadium—Bronx, New York
This could be a tougher fight for Cotto than most people are expecting. Many observers questioned whether Cotto had ever recovered mentally from the beating he suffered at the hands of Antonio Margarito. Since then he scored a razor-thin victory against Joshua Clottey in a fight that many people (myself included) thought Clottey deserved to win. After that, he suffered an even worse beating at the hands of Manny Pacquiao. Cotto’s father also passed away earlier this year after suffering a heart attack. Will Cotto be mentally strong for this fight? Only time will tell, but it is also important to remember that Cotto will be making his debut appearance in the 154 pound weight class. On paper, Yuri Foreman might seem like safe opponent but given Cotto’s recent circumstances this could be a tough contest. At the end of the day, I think Cotto’s superior skills and home crowd advantage will ultimately see him pull out a close one.
Prediction: Cotto by split decision

Nate Campbell vs. Victor Ortiz
May 15, 2010
Madison Square Garden—New York, New York
Victor Ortiz has not been the same fighter since losing to Marcos Maidana. Yes, he has won two fights since then, both inside the distance, but he no longer resembles the relentless fighter we previously saw working his way up through the rankings. He has become more reluctant to engage and it appears as if his confidence level is way down. This is bad news against a skilled veteran like Nate Campbell.
Prediction Campbell via 6th round TKO

Amir Khan vs. Paulie Malignaggi (for the WBA junior welterweight title)
May 15, 2010
Madison Square Garden—New York, New York
This will be Amir Khan’s first fight in America and it will take place in Malignaggi’s own back yard. This is a very intriguing match-up that should tell us a lot about where both fighters stand in the talented-rich 140 pound weight class. On one hand, Khan is a bit of an unknown mystery, and on the other, Malignaggi is very inconsistent in his performance. Khan was once stopped in a single round by Breidis Prescott, but he seems to have improved since pairing up with trainer Freddie Roach and Malignaggi is not known as a big puncher. That makes this seem like a relatively safe match-up for Khan. Malignaggi, however, is a very good boxer when he stays focused. He is the naturally bigger guy, he has more experience in the division, and he has made noticeable improvement himself since pairing up with his new trainer, Sharif Younan. If Malignaggi can remain focused for a full twelve rounds without resorting to any clowning tactics, he can (and should) win. Unfortunately for Malignaggi, I don’t think he can help himself—he loves clowning around inside the ring too much and this time, I think it will cost him.
Prediction Khan via controversial split decision

Sugar Shane Mosley vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (for the WBA welterweight title)
May 1, 2010
The MGM Grand—Las Vegas, Nevada
I am in the minority on this one—I believe Mosley will beat Mayweather. Not only do I believe Mosley will be victorious, but I also believe he will win in dominant fashion. Many of you reading this will be surprised by Mosley’s performance come fight night, but not me. I will get into all of this in greater detail in a future article. For now, I will simply state that Nazim Richardson is the x-factor. Not only is he a world class trainer who will undoubtedly derive a quality fight plan but he has also helped rejuvenate Shane’s career.
Prediction Mosley by sixth round stoppage

Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler (for the WBC super middleweight title)
April 24, 2010
MCH Messecenter Center—Herning, Denmark
This is probably the most interesting match-up in round two of the Super Six Tournament. Kessler is coming off of a humbling loss at the hands of Andre Ward and Froch is coming off of a close, somewhat controversial victory against Andre Dirrell. Kessler’s confidence has to be way down after that fight. Many perceived him as the best super middleweight in the world before he was thoroughly outclassed by Andre Ward in every facet of the game. Froch is one of the most confident fighters out there and this in itself could cause Kessler some problems. Froch, however, is not as slick as Ward and not as good as Calzaghe. Once Kessler settles in and finds his groove, he will soon realize this is a very favorable clash of styles—so long as the Ward loss did not leave him doubting his abilities.
Prediction Mikkel Kessler by unanimous decision

Andre Ward vs. Allan Green (for the WBA super middleweight title)
April 24, 2010
Oakland, California
Allan Green enters this tournament as the replacement for Jermain Taylor. This means he is coming in with a nothing-to-lose attitude and this could make him a dangerous opponent for Ward. Green felt disrespected that he was not included as part of this tournament from the onset and will most likely enter this contest with a strong desire to prove his worth. Unfortunately for Green, he is going up against the best super middleweight in the world and no amount of determination will overcome that.
Prediction Ward by unanimous decision

Tomasz Adamek vs. Chris Arreola
April 24, 2010
Citizens Business Bank Arena—Ontario, California
This is another interesting match-up. Adamek is a fighter whose heart cannot be questioned. He is determined, focused, and always gives his best. Arreola, on the other hand, rarely gives it his best—as evidenced by his poor conditioning practices which are on full display whenever he enters the ring. Adamek is a former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion. In his last fight, he beat Jason Estrada but it never looked easy. Estrada was competitive and even appeared to hurt Adamek once late in the fight. Adamek has also since parted ways with his trainer Andrew Gmitruk due to health issues. Adamek is now being trained by Ronnie Shields. Although Adamek is the much more talented fighter—the bottom line is he is not quite big enough to compete against the top dogs at heavyweight—especially without Gmitruk in his corner. Then again, if anyone has the heart to overcome these physical disadvantages—it’s Adamek.
Prediction Arreola by 10th round TKO

Kelly Pavlik vs. Sergio Martinez (for the WBC & WBO middleweight titles)
April 17, 2010
Boardwalk Hall—Atlantic City, New Jersey
Sergio Martinez has had a couple of tough outcomes in recent bouts. For starters, his fight with Kermit Cintron was inexplicably ruled a draw. This was a fight Sergio deserved to win three different times during the course of the same fight. After that, he lost a very close decision against Paul Williams in a bout where viewers seemed evenly split. When I first heard about this fight being made, I was leaning towards Pavlik—but after giving it more thought, I now believe Martinez will pull it off. Pavlik has not seemed like the same fighter since suffering a one-sided loss at the hands of Bernard Hopkins. Martinez is not on the same level as Hopkins, but he is a slick fighter with good movement who can counter-punch. I believe he can emulate the Hopkins blue print and execute just well enough to squeak by with a narrow victory.
Prediction Martinez by close decision, possibly split

Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones Jr. Rematch
April 3, 2010
The Mandalay Bay Casino—Las Vegas, Nevada
When Jones and Hopkins first fought back in 1993 who would have thought they would be having a rematch seventeen years later? That this fight is even happening is a bit baffling considering Jones was stopped in a single round last time out by the unheralded Danny Green. Even forgetting the Green fight, this match-up still seems peculiar. Hopkins has continued fighting at an elite level whereas Jones has been fading and feeding on hand-picked opponents. Every time Jones has stepped up in class over the past six years, he has lost—and he is going to lose to Hopkins. Although this fight has some significance in terms of legacy, it means little in terms of the current boxing landscape. Hopkins is still a major player, Jones isn’t—it’s that simple.
Prediction Hopkins by tenth round stoppage

David Haye vs. John Ruiz (for the WBA heavyweight title)
April 3, 2010
The M.E.N. Arena—Manchester, England
It is kind of amazing that John Ruiz is once again the WBA #1 mandatory. It almost seems as if he is a permanent fixture when it comes to having that distinction. This will be Haye’s first title defense since winning the crown from Nicolay Valuev in a fight that was very close and could have gone either way. Ruiz is probably a bit better than Valuev who has aged very poorly in recent years. This is a fight that Ruiz could win and it might even wind up being a fight that he should win, but he will not win. Expect Ruiz to keep this one both ugly and competitive.
Prediction Haye by a controversial unanimous decision

Arthur Abraham vs. Andre Dirrell
March 27, 2010
The Joe Louis Arena—Detroit, Michigan
A lot of people (myself included) feel that Dirrell deserved the decision against Carl Froch. However, Dirrell did not help his own cause too much by throwing too few punches. Now Dirrell is facing off against one of the Super Six favorites, Arthur Abraham, who is coming off an impressive stoppage victory over Jermain Taylor. Abraham is the safe pick here. It is reasonable to assume that he will land a big shot somewhere along the line and that will be all she wrote. Dirrell, however, has the style to out box Abraham. He is slick, quick, and knows how to use the ring to his advantage. I do not expect him to make the same types of mistakes he made with Froch. If he can remain focused for twelve full rounds and neutralize the explosive power of Abraham, he should win this. It is also worth noting that this will be the first time Abraham has faced a true super middle.
Prediction Dirrell by unanimous decision

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Eddie Chambers (for the IBF & WBO heavyweight titles)
March 20, 2010
The Espirit Arena—Dusseldorf, Germany
If anyone has earned a title shot against Klitschko, surely it is Eddie Chambers. He worked his way into title contention by taking out a pair of top ten contenders in Sam Peter and Alexander Dimitrenko. Chambers is slick. He has speed, good counter-punching technique, and he possesses more heart than any of Klitschko’s recent opponents. Regardless, he is going to be thoroughly outclassed by a superior fighter. Chambers may cause Wladimir some confusion in the early going but once Wladimir establishes his rhythm it will only be a matter of time. Expect this one to look similar to Klitschko’s victory against Calvin Brock.
Prediction Klitschko by seventh round stoppage

David Diaz vs. Humberto Soto (for the WBC lightweight title)
March 13, 2010
Cowboys Stadium—Dallas, Texas
This is a solid match-up on the under card of Pacquiao-Clottey. Diaz and Soto are both skilled fighters who have a lot of heart. This fight should be a very competitive. Diaz is the naturally bigger fighter with more experience at the weight class, but going on 34 years old, he is also the older fighter. This one is going to probably come down to who wants it more and at the end of the day, I think Diaz will regain the title he once lost to Pacquiao.
Prediction Diaz by close unanimous decision

Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey (for the WBO welterweight title)
March 13, 2010
Cowboys Stadium—Dallas, Texas
Not many people are giving Clottey a fair shake in this one, and not without good reason. After all, Pacquiao has been on one of the most amazing runs in boxing history. As such, it is no surprise that everyone is writing Clottey off. The irony in all of this is that Clottey may well be the best fighter Pacquiao has ever faced. At the very least he is certainly Pacquiao’s biggest foe and this could play a factor in the fight. Clottey has a good chin and an outstanding turtle shell defense. This will be difficult for Pacquiao to penetrate. Ultimately, however, I believe Pacquiao will begin finding the mark with more and more frequency as the fight progresses. Clottey is not an especially active puncher which will provide Pacquiao with ample opportunity to test him for weaknesses—and I believe Manny will find some.. Clottey is a strong guy who will definitely be a test, however. He may even manage to hurt Pacquiao at some point during the fight, but when the championship rounds come along—this is when Pacquiao will shine his brightest. Clottey has a bad habit of slowing down a great deal during the championship rounds and if he stays true to character against Pacquiao, it will be his undoing.


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