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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pacquiao – Clottey: Keys to Victory + Predictions

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Pacquiao vs Clottey
We are now just a few days away from one of the biggest fights this year and the boxing world is buzzing once again. After a very quiet couple of months with nothing much happening, we find ourselves on the edge of our seats once more eagerly anticipating an all-out war between Pound for Pound king Manny Pacquiao and rough and rugged Ghanaian, Joshua Clottey. Coming into the fight, most observers didn’t give Clottey much of a chance to upstage Pacquiao, even going so far as to dub Clottey the equivalent of a “Miguel Cotto Lite”. And rightfully so in my opinion, Joshua Clottey though easily the largest fighter Pacquiao will have ever fought to date is a perfect opponent to showcase the Filipino’s extremely aggressive style. For those of you that don’t know, Clottey is a safety-first fighter and tends to cover up during attacks. He employs a shell defense that though can be very effective in deflecting shots, is not the ideal way to combat Pacquiao’s ultimate offense. Anyone who knows boxing, knows that the only way to beat Pacquiao is by counter-punching, a department Clottey lacks talent in. The result is lopsided betting odds in favor of the Philippine’s finest.

Manny Pacquiao’s Keys to Victory:

Already expected to win, Pacquiao is the overwhelming favorite. What’s left to discover about him? We all know how explosive he is, how his blinding speed suffocates and hits you from all these unconventional angles. In his last fight with Miguel Cotto we discovered how durable he really is in the Welterweight division. All Pacquiao has to do is be himself, and that is the two-fisted beast that Freddie Roach created. Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza pointed it out that the blueprint to defeating Clottey would be the same as when they fought Cotto, and he was right. Clottey is Miguel Cotto minus the mobility but with better defense. And just like what happened in his last fight, Pacquiao’s offense will throw Clottey off his game and completely frustrate the guy. Pacquiao’s foot speed and volume punching is key here. He will have to dart in and unleash his combinations, then dart back out before the retaliation comes in, just like he has done so brilliantly in the past. He will have to make Clottey work every minute of every round, constantly on the offensive, beating Clottey to the punch. Another tactic that he and Roach had perfected is when he throws a right hook and simultaneously slips a counter-punch by stepping to the side, spinning his opponent and out of harm’s way, a sequence that shows unbelievable coordination. This should be very effective against a plodder like Clottey. Will we see a knockout? That may be difficult but Pacquiao is notorious for trumping the odds and defying the logical. I don’t see Clottey being knocked out cold, but a referee stoppage would not be surprising if he isn’t able to defend well against Pacquiao’s crazy angles.

Joshua Clottey’s Keys to Victory:

Clottey has to use his size advantage. He simply has to. I know Pacquiao’s previous opponents all tried but failed, but for Clottey to have any chance at beating Pacquiao, he will have to be the first to effectively rough Pacquiao up and win the fight on the inside. Clottey needs to use his strong Welterweight jab to keep Manny off balance and rush in quickly to close the gap. Once he is in position he has to score clean shots, preferably to the body in the early going to slow down Pacquiao. Easier said than done as Manny is a quick little guy and is very hard to catch. Most importantly however, Clottey cannot be content with just covering up. He has to counter-punch, which is a tall task, since he is not a counter-puncher by nature. Everytime Pacquiao launches himself forward for an attack, Clottey will have to catch him with his strong jab. He needs to make use of his 3 inch reach advantage to do some damage. If Pacquiao tries his rope-a-dope on Clottey the way he did against Cotto, Clottey will have to take that as a sign from god to move in for the kill. That is a golden opportunity to deal out some real hurt. Make every opportunity count and we could be seeing Pacquiao in a real fight since his battle with Marquez.


I foresee a very exciting match with great back and forth action. Clottey is a tough customer and will not bow down easily. I go for a referee stoppage by the 10th round in favor of Pacquiao. I believe Clottey will be tired from all the defense he’d be playing up until that time and against a guy with boundless energy like Pacquiao, it will be his downfall. He will take too much damage without dishing out his own that the referee will have no choice but to stop the fight. Score another TKO for the Pacman. Pacquiao by TKO 10.

I went around and asked a couple of my boxing friends what their predictions are and here’s what they had to say. Fight fans from all the way over here in the Philippines!

“Of course Manny Pacquiao will win, but I hope Clottey lasts more than 4 rounds. Clottey is a hard and tough fighter, but we are only human, if you get hit multiple times on the chin you’re going down.” –Adz Garcia, Computer Expert/Pro Gamer

“I see Pacquiao winning by ref stoppage in the 9th, if Paquiao catches Clottey clean on the chin, we could see a real knockout but I doubt it. What we’ll be is seeing speed, speed and more speed, bunches of punches against a guy who stops throwing punches after the 6th round. I do think that Clottey’s chance to get Pacquiao is if he hits him hard to the body. I think Clottey is a harder body puncher than Cotto. Pacquiao has to stay off the ropes.” –Hans Visitacion, Call Center Trainer/Athlete/Boxing Enthusiast

“Contrary to popular belief, I think Pacquiao is stronger than Clottey. Speed and more importantly strength will be in favor of Pacquiao. I do think Clottey is a tougher fight than Cotto, but Pacquiao should catch him with something he doesn’t see in and around rounds 10-12. Clottey’s only chance is to land a lucky punch. Pacquiao by stone cold knockout.” –Elijah Ortiz, Tech Support Agent/Pacquiao Fan

“I think either Pacquiao wins by late round stoppage or on points. There is absolutely no chance that Clottey can win on points, his punch output is way too low and he only fights for half a round as opposed to Pacquiao, who fights the full 3 minutes. People, even judges nowadays want to see offense. We are tired of seeing ‘impressive defense’. We have enough of that with Floyd Mayweather. Look for Pacquiao and Clottey to redefine what throwback fighters are all about, expect a war on the most impressive stage of them all, the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, with Pacquiao staking his claim as Boxing’s biggest and brightest star!” –Marco Garcia, Long time boxing fan


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