The Breakdown of Manny Pacquiao vs Joshua Clottey

The Breakdown of Manny Pacquiao vs Joshua Clottey
By Bobby Mac
March 8, 2010
http://www.ringnews24.com/news/index.php/ring-news-staff/writers-columns/70-bobby-mac/268-bobby-mac.html

Come March 13 this Saturday, yet another chapter in fistic history will be etched in stone, but some of us of the sweet science persuasion cannot wait for results. Perhaps some day scientists will isolate the pugilistic gene that defines our lot’s behavioral characteristics, but for the here and the now six days before history is made in Cowboy Stadium, we want to know NOW.

How do these guys match up and what is the outcome?

There are a thousand and one internet boxing sites quoting a hundred and one “experts” already stating the obvious, that Manny is too fast, too elusive, too aggressive, and too busy before the first bell sounds. When added together, however, it all becomes too true, a conclusion that is greater than the possible sum of the figures.

Poor Joshua Clottey seems to have never won a fight given the sum of his plodding, ear muff style figures.

If boxing was only about adding numbers or filling out standard forms for perfect grades, there would be no need for the actual fighting and fight fans would be left withering on the vine. Fortunately, the fighters have to prove it in the ring, and there are bigger underdogs that have upset the favorite than Joshua Clottey.

This bout is more than boxing, it’s also about opportunity which is big. “The Event” is an apt promotional moniker given the growing buzz coupled with a near capacity gate of 45,000 in the shiniest, newest venue in the world, Cowboy Stadium.

The winner moves to the $JACKPOT$, the winner of the May 1st bout between Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather if the fans have their say. Though Pacquiao is the big star already commanding the lion’s share of this purse, they are both financially motivated to win, not to mention the accolades the winner would receive.

So the current ledger reads natural talent and ability mostly on Pacquiao’s side, but Clottey will have size and strength on his side and it must be said that durability also favors Clottey who has never been stopped. Some may poopah the Clottey advantage, but they could play a role in the outcome.

With financial incentive and pride near equal, what of other incentives?

Both are well known in their native countries which also happen to be of the 3rd world and both are on board with making improvements in the lives of their families and countrymen with Pacquiao actually running for office, so both near equal there. Pacquiao might even be distracted from the fight because of politics.

Oddsmakers are a sharp lot and like to look at recent performances as part of setting odds for every fight, so what of recent performances against what kind of fighter and style?

Pacquiao has looked like a flamethrower the way he’s been burning up established contenders and champions with 4 straight Kos, and he also boxed quite well. Have to go back 2-3 yrs ago to find old featherweight rivals, Marquez and Barrera who went the distance. They survived largely by neglecting their offense to box defensively, but they still lost.

Clottey, however, lost his last bout to the fighter Pacquiao last knocked out, Miguel Cotto. It was a tough bloody battle that Clottey lost, and some claim he should’ve been granted the win. He did win the previous five, so for Clottey’s last six bouts, he’s 5-1, 1 KO, but only 3 of those fighters were contender/champion types.

Moreover, only one of Clottey’s six remains relevant in current ranking whereas four of Pacquiao’s last six remain highly ranked so Manny has a big edge not only in recent performance, but against a stiffer grade of competition.

Pacquiao has moved up from super featherweight, so what about the size and strength of recent competition? That would be an advantage in Clottey’s favor, him being the natural welter.

What about the advantage of Pacquiao’s natural southpaw style? Clottey has faced lefties Shamone Alvarez and Zab Judah and won decisions, so while he might be at some disadvantage, he has shown he can win against southpaws.

What other factors are there to influence a fight?

Both signed to the same promoter, Bob Arum, so that’s a wash. Only Manny has ever fought in Texas, 2 big KOs scored in San Antonio against Marco Antonio Barrera and Jorge Solis. The venue might be a small advantage for him, but they will be fighting in metropolitan Dallas/Fort Worth this time.

How about rest versus rust? Pacquaio last fought 4 months ago and sustained a busted eardrum from a Cotto left hook. Rumors were floated that he may have injured a leg in training. Was he recovered from the Cotto fight before rushed into training for this bout?

Clotty had more rest with 9 months off from his own tough bout against Cotto. When does rest turn to rust and when does rust turn to flab? Is there enough time for Clottey to regain his form in good health and condition?

Looks like no particular advantages there since they look ripped and ready. Most fighters go into bouts with nagging injuries anyway, and those things are usually hush-hush.

Most advantages still point in Pacquiao’s favor, but can Clottey leverage his advantage of size, strength, and durability? Style will play a key role in that if Joshua is to upset the odds.

How about the dirt factor?

Manny is generally known as a clean fighter, but he has a busy, buzzing in and out lefty style that leads to unintentional headbutts that often plague lefty bouts. Clottey has a long reputation of leading with his head and often receives warnings in his bouts, even being disqualified 11 yrs ago and winning a technical decision just 2 yrs ago. Headbutts could be a factor.

What can never be measured is when a key point comes in an athlete’s career where he has to either perform above his proven capabilities or be beaten and lose. Well?

Pacquiao has beaten as good or better fighters than Clottey, so is less likely to need to exceed himself. Pacquiao is the best fighter Clottey is likely to ever fight, so, unless Clottey can elevate his performance or land the lucky punch, he seems likely to lose. Pacquiao has to regress in form badly or get careless to lose, possible, but less likely.

It could be hard for both, or it could be easy for Manny, but one thing for sure, this is likely to be a fun fight for fans as long as Josh keeps his noggin to himself.

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