Big Apple Boxing Thoughts 01.21.09: Pacquiao-Clottey Anxious for March 13
Photo by Chris Farina / Top Rank
Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey concluded their two-day, two-city press conference on Wednesday afternoon in New York at Madison Square Garden. Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), boxing’s No.1 pound for pound fighter, will make the first defense of his WBO welterweight title when he faces off against the WBO’s number 1 contender, Joshua Clottey(35-3, 20 KOs).
The fight will take place on March 13th and televised on HBO PPV. It will take place at Cowboys stadium in Dallas, Texas. This fight marks the biggest world championship fight to be held in a major U.S. sports stadium since the Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton World Heavyweight championship fight in Yankee stadium in 1976.
The March 13th date was originally set for Pacquiao vs. Mayweather but negotiations broke off. The stumbling block of a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao mega fight was the scheduling of blood testing. Mayweather said he believes Pacquiao has used performance-enhancing drugs. Pacquiao said he felt insulted to be accused of taking PEDs. So while boxing fans are the big losers in the failed attempt for the super fight, Joshua Clottey became the only winner in the fiasco. To no surprise, Clottey is more than excited to have the chance to fight the best in the world.
“This is a miracle opportunity for me,”said Clottey. To share a ring with Manny Pacquiao is something I want to do because he is the best fighter pound for pound. He beat everyone in front of him, but I promise you that we are coming to fight and we will please the people.”
In his last fight, Clottey lost a controversial split decision to Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden. Clottey put on a tremendous performance against Cotto but faded in the later rounds. Despite the loss, Clottey showed that he belongs among the elite in the exciting welterweight division and bigger fights will come. There is no bigger one than this one.
“This is a very big fight. He’s one of the best fighters out there, and he’s beaten everyone they’ve given him. But we’re going to fight,” Clottey said. “I know it’s not an easy fight for me and it’s not an easy fight for him.”
Many boxing experts feel that Clottey has a decent chance of scoring the upset and he concurs with that thought when asked about his chances.
“I have everything needed to beat Pacquiao,” Clottey said. ” He throws a lot of punches but I block a lot of punches. We will see what happens. I have never lost to a southpaw in my career. When I fought Judah, he was quicker than me and threw a lot of punches. But my blocking had him confused and I took advantage.”
Clottey and his thoughts on the size advantage he will have over Pacquiao.
“Cotto had no respect for Manny’s power because he felt he was the bigger man, Clottey said.” That will not happen to me. It does not matter how small he is. All it takes is one solid punch to the chin to knock you down and that is what happened with Cotto. It will not happen to me.”
Manny Pacquiao will try to further cement his legacy as he faces a tough challenge in Clottey. During the press conference, Pacquiao made it known that he wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. He doesn’t think the feeling was mutual.
“He didn’t want to fight me,” Pacquiao said. “I think maybe Mayweather is scared to lose. But I am not that disappointed on not fighting Floyd. It’s no big deal because I have to fight Clottey.
Manny needs to put the Mayweather fiasco behind him quickly as the fight is only less than 8 weeks away and has to put in a quicker training camp than usual. Pacquiao’s super trainer, Freddie Roach, admits they are not on schedule but says there are no worries.
“We are little behind schedule,” Roach said. ” We are going forward with a six week training camp instead of the standard eight. He is doing plenty of running and playing plenty of basketball to keep him in shape. Manny is a great athlete and he will be more than ready for March 13th.”
Pacquiao was asked during the conference on his feelings about Clottey as an opponent.
“Joshua Clottey’s style is different from styles I have fought,” Pacquiao said. Clottey is bigger and taller than Miguel Cotto. I thought his fight with Cotto was very close. I have to prepare and train hard for this fight because Clottey is a strong fighter and a former champion. I won’t promise that I’ll win, but I promise a good fight.”
While it may not be the fight we all wanted, this fight has the makings of being a classic and probably more entertaining battle than a Mayweather-Pacquiao would be. The undercard will be announced next week and rumor has it that Antonio Margarito may make his comeback that night but that remains to be seen.