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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pacquiao- Clottey's Undercard

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Bob Arum is no fool. Arum knows there is exactly one reason people will be buying Satuday night's Pacquiao-Clottey PPV. They want to see if that little magician can perform another incredible trick and make the bigger man disappear. It's all about Pacquiao.

Knowing this, Arum has provided us with yet another underwhelming undercard. Let's take a look at the thin gruel.

John Duddy - Michael Medina: The opener will present two rising middleweights. The key figure here is Duddy, who I like to call the "Irish Chavez Jr." Arum throws Duddy on cards to draw interest among Irish fans in much the same way he uses Julio Caesar Chavez Junior. You might be wondering to yourself why Chavez Jr. isn't filling this spot and the answer is that he was suspended for using drugs in his last fight. It was a horrendous affair on the undercard of Pacquiao-Cotto which even the announcers stopped paying attention to after the first few rounds.

I expect no better this time. Duddy is vaguely more entertaining than Chavez in that he gets hit more often and they set him up with a slightly higher level of mediocrities, but he's nothing to get excited about. I don't know much about Michael Medina. He has an impressive record at 23-1, but no wins over recognizable opposition. I expect Duddy will win, because otherwise they wouldn't have made this fight. Really, that's about all I can say.

Alfonso Gomez - Jose Luis Castillo: Now this is such a strange pairing I can almost get behind it. A few years ago Castillo was one of the finest fighters in the sport and Gomez was a lovable underdog from the television show The Contender. Things fell apart quickly for Castillo after his legendary fights against the late Diego Corrales, and he has looked a shell of himself in recent fights. He now campaigns at welterweight but he has the tragic air of a great fighter just looking for a paycheck.

Gomez is a fraction of the fighter that Castillo used to be, but he should probably be the favorite here. He went through a bit of a "post-Contender" malaise before putting Arturo Gatti's career to an ignominious end. He was on a bit of a streak before running into a brick wall in Miguel Cotto, one of the most one-sided fights I've ever seen. He's had some good results since, including a nice win over Jesus Soto Karass. Part of me thinks that the old warhorse, Castillo, has one last go left in him, but then I recall his dismal defeat to Sebastian Lujan and I just can't see it. I think Castillo will land his share, but I think Gomez will swamp him with activity. Prediction: Gomez UD Castillo.

Humberto Soto - David Diaz: The co-main event, and I use that term very loosely, pits super featherweight title holder Soto against former lightweight champion David Diaz for a vacant lightweight belt. Interestingly, both fighters are coming off a victory over the same opponent, Jesus Chavez. Soto swept every round against Chavez while Diaz scraped out a split decision.

Soto is a good fighter, he kind of reminds me of a smaller Antonio Margarito if you like that sort of thing. He doesn't have much science to his game, and can be outboxed - as he was against Joan Guzman a couple years ago - but if you stand in front of him he will find and outwork you.

David Diaz is best known for taking an awful beating from Manny Pacquiao. That fight had probably the greatest difference in handspeed I've ever seen in a championship level bout. It looked as though Diaz was fighting underwater and he took unbelievable amounts of punishment, lasting longer and taking more than the bigger opponents who would later face Pacquiao. Diaz has struggled with injuries since that defeat.

Fortunately for Diaz, Soto doesn't have close to Pacquioa's handspeed, but I don't know how much that will help him. We know that Diaz can take a shot, and he'll take a ton here. I expect Diaz to be game, but I think Soto is a level above him and will prove that on Saturday. You're not going to be seeing much of the sweet science here, but I have a feeling this could be some exciting, caveman-style action while it lasts.

If Soto defeats Diaz I would love to see him face another fighter from Bob Arum's stable, Edwin Valero. Soto TKO 9 Corner Retirement Diaz.


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