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Friday, March 12, 2010

Pacquiao, Clottey will tangle for title belt

Pacquiao vs Clottey, Pacquiao vs Clottey News, Pacquiao vs Clottey Online Live Streaming, Pacquiao vs Clottey Updates, Pacquiao vs Clottey Weigh In
By JOHN WHISLER San Antonio Express-News

ARLINGTON — His campaign for political office in the Philippines will begin soon. He has hinted that this could be his last fight.

And then there is the lingering hangover from the whole Floyd Mayweather Jr. mess.

Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) has ample reason to be distracted when he steps into the ring tonight against Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs) in boxing's debut at Cowboys Stadium.

But don't bet on it.

“I know he's bigger and stronger than me,” said Pacquiao, who hasn't lost in five years. “So I can't underestimate him because he is a former world champion also.”

A sellout crowd of 45,000 is expected for the 12-round bout for Pacquiao's World Boxing Organization welterweight title, the main event on an HBO pay-per-view card that starts at 8 p.m.
Heavenly bout

On paper, it's a match made in boxing heaven: Pacquiao, the world's greatest fighter, competing in perhaps the world's greatest sports venue.

Maybe that's why promoters dubbed it “The Event.”

“The Fight,” the one fans wanted to see, is Pacquiao-Mayweather. But it died a slow and painful death after negotiations broke down over Mayweather's camp demanded random, Olympic-style blood tests.

Pacquiao and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum walked away from the bout and decided on Clottey, another fighter from the Top Rank stable.

Clottey, 32, is no Mayweather. His best hope for victory might be a distracted Pacquiao. A native of Accra, Ghana, now living in the Bronx, Clottey is coming off a 12-round split-decision loss to Miguel Cotto in June, a fight some say Clottey won. He owns wins over Zab Judah and Diego Corrales, but lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Antonio Margarito in 2006.

Pacquiao dominated Cotto in November in his last fight, winning by 12th-round TKO.

A durable fighter with underrated hand speed whose forte is blocking punches, Clottey has never been stopped or knocked out in 38 pro bouts.

But Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, predicts that will change.

“We've watched a lot of tape on Clottey,” Roach said. “Manny will overwhelm him with his speed and I do believe he will be the first person to (knock him out).”

Pacquiao is a 5-1 favorite in the scheduled 12-round fight.

Pacquiao weighed in at 145¾ pounds for the fight; Clottey weighed in at 147 pounds Friday.

Pacquiao, 31, maintains he is focused on this fight and nothing else.

He plans to return to the Philippines by March 22 to begin his campaign for a congressional seat. He ran for office in 2007 and was defeated.

“This is my last fight before the election,” Pacquiao said. “I am not saying I am going to retire.”
Strong denial

Pacquiao maintains he has never taken steroids and has declined to discuss the blood-testing issue in recent days.

It won't be a problem for this fight because Texas only requires urine testing after a fight.

Rafael Ramos of San Antonio will referee the bout.

San Antonio featherweight Joe Morales (20-13, four KOs) is scheduled to appear in a non-televised bout on the undercard.


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