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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Face-Off" with Max Kellerman

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Pacquiao vs Clottey
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Posted By Anthony Wilson 1:00 PM

HBO's third installment of its fight hype series "Face-Off" with Max Kellerman is now On Demand. It features, of course, Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey, who will fight March 13 in the new Dallas Stadium in a welterweight fight to be aired on HBO pay-per-view. This one is the funniest yet: I found myself laughing on several occasions. It was silly. They smiled a lot. They shared giggles. They rarely seemed like two men who are getting prepared to step into a boxing ring and attempt to beat the living hell out of each other.

Pacquiao and Clottey might be the two nicest boxers around. As Shoelfy pointed out, Clottey is just not a very angry guy, and we all know Pacquiao is a happy-go-lucky fellow. The difference, I think, is that Pacquiao is more competitive than Clottey. Whereas Clottey seems unwilling to push himself in the ring, Pac has always been inclined to fully engage in the pursuit of victory. Pac's got that dog in him that the greatest competitors possess, that dog that Clottey doesn't.

Anyways, some of my favorite parts:

- Max asks Manny if he gets "a special satisfaction" out of beating fighters from all over the world:

"It's not my intention to beat them all, but it's my job," Pac says, smiling.

- Manny talks about one of the things that he says makes boxing "easier" - studying your opponent and training for his style:

"Some fighters, if they have a fight, just go to the gym and train for what's their style, just doing what's their style. It's wrong. Before I start training, I watch the style of my opponent first. There's my strategy. And when I start training, I know what I'm going to do because I studied the style of my opponent. The strategy that I'm doing everyday, it's very accurate to the style of my opponent."

I think this speaks to the fact that Manny has become a much more cerebral fighter. He alluded to the same thing in the post-fight presser for the Cotto fight, and Freddie Roach has talked about how underrated Manny's intelligence is. The young, wild, uninhibited slugger has been replaced by the veteran, smart, aggressive boxer-puncher. It has been quite a transformation to witness.

- Max turns to Clottey, and asks him if he has seen anything about Manny that he thinks he can exploit. Clottey calls that his "secrets," and says that he doesn't want to reveal it because Manny is very a smart person with a very smart trainer. However, he does indulge us a bit, saying that the double-guard (Clottey's trademark defense) is the best thing thing to combat Manny's offense.

"But that's not a secret from you, right?" Max says.

Manny (smirking at Clottey the whole time he is revealing something that is not really revealing) interrupts.

"No, I know," Pac says, as the three men share a laugh. "No, I know."

- Max asks Manny what Clottey does well. "Good defense, strong back...Good defense, can punch."

"What are his weaknesses?" Max asks.

Manny looks at Max.

"Secret," Pac says, before letting out a laugh. Clottey nods, smiling.

- Max points out the obvious: these two like each other. He asks them if they'll need to work up some kind of comptempt for each other before the fight.

Pacquiao: "I think we're just doing our job in the ring. We have to do our best to entertain the audience and give the people what they want to see."

Clottey: "I show respect to any opponent I fight. But I know boxing is this: When you put on the gloves, the gloves is like a spirit. As soon as you put on the gloves, you're gonna defend yourself. And defending, you have to attack. When we get in, we're gonna do our job. I know he's coming to win, and he's the best. I want to play the best, because I know if I beat Manny Pacquiao today, I'll be the number one out there. Because he's the best."

Clottey continues.

"This is boxing. It's not an easy job at all. For you to get into the ring and beat the best out there is not easy at all. The way I'm going to train, I'll make sure that I do everything to win.

"When we get to the ring, we're going to be more than serious."

Manny shoots him a fierce look.

And with that, suddenly March 13 can't get here fast enough.

P.S. Pacquiao appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight. He did the same prior to the Cotto fight and it was an entertaining appearance. He and Kimmel have good chemistry. Set your TiVo's.


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