It's just past midnight on Sunday, March 7, which means we're starting Big Fight Week here at Bad Left Hook for the March 13 showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey. Leading us off for seven days of coverage is Ted "The Bull" Sares with a breakdown and prediction of the fight.
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People have started doubting if I am ready for this deadly fighter but I keep telling them if he is good, I am better. If Pacquiao beats me, it won't be news but if I beat him, the whole world's attention would be on me.
Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey will fight at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on March 13 in what promises to be a competitive fight between two stars with the WBO welterweight title on the line. Joshua "Grand Master" Clottey is 35-3 with 20 KOs while Pacquiao is 50-3-2 with an impressive KO percentage of 68.5.
These two are skilled, have great heart, are great sportsmen, and represent their respective homelands with dignity and class, but enough of the niceties, let's cut to the chase.
Quality of Opposition
Manny has fought 10 fights against 5 guys who arguably have a shot at being inducted into the Hall of Fame. But he also fought and beat many other outstanding fighters with great records coming in. If you throw a dart at his list of opponents, you might, for example, hit South Korean Seung-Kon Chae (23-0), Mexican Oscar Larios (56-4-1), Thai Wethya Sakmuangklang (41-3), Thai Fashan 3K Battery (44-7-1), Thai Chatchai Sasakul (33-1), or Colombian Jorge Eliecer Julio (44-3).
Clottey's list of opponents, while impressive, does not begin to compare. It includes name like Miguel Cotto, Zab Judah, an aging Diego Corrales, and Antonio Margarito. He is coming off a split decision loss to Cotto, a fight in which he showed he can snatch defeat from victory as he failed to press his backtracking opponent.
Big edge to Manny here.
Miguel Cotto is their only common opponent, and he was destroyed by Manny but let off the hook by Clottey. If Clottey was unable to force his will on Cotto, it's difficult to see how he can do it against Pac Man.
Clear edge to Manny.
Pacquiao now possesses a full arsenal of weapons the qualitative content to which only Floyd Mayweather Jr. can stake claim. With his in-and-out whirlwind movement (reminicient of Aaron Pryor), effective jabs, fight-ending hooks from both hands, solid stamina, and a sound defense, there is little to criticize. As for speed, Pacquiao is flat out faster than Clottey in every way, particularly with his foot movement. Manny has more power as well, but the Ghanian's chin and all-around strength should offset that.
Clottey is the type of fighter who needs to be set before he can throw. Thus, Pacquiao's foot speed and movement are going to create big problems as he'll have a hard time planting his feet to mount any type of sustained offense. As well, Clottey is a strong defensive-minded fighter who is prone to take rounds off and maintain a low punch volume. Against the always active "Pac Man," this could prove fatal.
Manny has been hurt badly, but it occurred too far back to be meaningful in my view. Clottey has an almost impenetrable defense and an iron chin, but lacks one-punch knockout power.
Both are savvy and experienced fighters, but Pacquiao has the edge as he can adapt to different situations faster. Clottey, on the other hand, showed an inability to adopt against Cotto--as he held back for some inexplicable reason and did not press the action? If a similar situation develops in this fight, Pacquiao will not be reticent and will jump on Clottey faster than you can say "Pinoy." Also, in his first step-up fight against Carlos Baldomir in 1999, he was disqualified for continual head butts. Clottey was winning the fight until the 10th round, where he was penalized two points for an intentional head butt. He was warned for leading with his head but did it again resulting in the referee stopping the fight and disqualifying Clottey. Not smart.
1) Momentum: Pac Man gets the clear nod. He is on a great streak of big wins (Cotto, Hatton, De La Hoya, Diaz, Marquez, Barrera, Solis, Morales, and Larios). Clottey, however, is coming off a close SD loss, a TD over Judah, and wins over Jose Louis Cruz, Shamone Alvarez and Felix Flores. His 2006 UD loss to Antonio Margarito may well have provided all the blueprint Freddie Roach needs
2) Cuts: Manny is more prone to cuts, so the effectiveness of their respective cut men could play a key role here. Moreover, Clottey has been known to use the head as a third weapon so Pacquiao must be alert here.
3) Trainers and Camp: Freddie Roach vs. Clottey's somewhat unknown corner. The clear nod goes to Roach. Look, you don't argue with his kind of success. And to make matters worse, Clottey's coach is having US visa problems.
5) Weight: Pacquiao fighting at welterweight favors Clottey, though Pacquiao seems to take his strength with him as he moves up in weight. Edge to Clottey
6) Dimensions: Clottey has a naturally bigger frame, is taller and has the reach advantage. Edge to Clottey.
I see "Pac Man" beating the "Grand Master" in a medium-paced fight in which Manny will exploit Clotteys weakness beginning in the mid rounds (but I don't see it happening the other way around). This exploitation will be enhanced by Pacquio's incredibly fast in-and-out movement accompanied by just about every punch in the manual-- and each thrown with malice aforethought-as he befuddles the Ghanaian and slows down his already slow stalk.
However, despite his superb performances against Cotto, Hatton and De La Hoya, I don't see him winning within the distance. Clottey is just too strong in my view. After a competitive start - maybe the first five rounds - I see Manny reaching cruising speed and begin to dominate, In the end, Clottey's trademark pressure and counter-punching will not be able to overcome Pacquiao's foot speed and quick-handed, sharp-punching attacks. Speed will be the decisive factor here and speed is what Manny Pacquiao is all about
I envision Pacquiao outworking Clottey and building an early lead, although possibly without landing a whole lot of hard, clean punches through Clottey's excellent guard. I'm going with Pacquiao by solid UD.