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Tuesday, March 9, 2010


GRAPEVINE, TX - Veteran Top Rank publicist Lee Samuels has heard all the stories, tales and fables over the past 30 years regarding fighters.

Still he was visibly moved by the story Joshua Clottey told a group of Dallas- Fort Worth media as they observed him in an open workout at the enormous Gaylord Texan Resort in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine early this rainy Monday afternoon.

"His story is amazing and I have heard it before, maybe several times and I still can't believe it," said Samuels. "He and his family have had to overcome a lot in Ghana to be here today and compete at the world - class level. It's very inspirational."

Clottey's trainer Lenny DeJesus said the flight to DFW was nice and smooth and the Gaylord Texan is a magnificent hotel / resort.

If the Gaylord were a stadium, it would be Cowboys Stadium. It's that opulent.

DeJesus remembered almost 25 years ago he was in nearby Fort Worth working the corner of undefeated (23-0) Roger Arevalo, who was facing hometown hero and World Boxing Association Featherweight Champion Stevie Cruz in a non-title fight at Billy Bobs Texas Night Club and thinking they had won the fight and shocked the boxing world only to lose it moments later on a rumored hometown 10 - round decision.

DeJesus is hoping history doesn't repeat itself 25 miles and 25 years later.

Clottey started his workout about 15 minutes before the 1:30 scheduled start time. I thought some late-arriving media would be out of luck, but that was not the case.

In fact most of the media watched in disbelief as Clottey ran wind sprints throughout the cavernous building and the long hall way that led to the gigantic ballroom that housed credentialing, media center, refreshments and a 22 - foot ring with room to spare.

The 35-3 (21 KO's) former welterweight champion also stretched against a wall in a high - traffic area of the hotel to the confusion of other hotel guests that didn't know him or know what was going on.

Clottey has not fought since losing a split decision to Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden last June.

He calmly slipped inside the ring that will later be broken down and moved to another ballroom upstairs for the upcoming Friday Night Fights featuring heavyweights Samuel Peter and Nagy Aguilera.

Before Clottey really hit his stride, the media, and every network affiliate was there, suddenly left Clottey and surrounded a late - arriving visitor in the form of Dallas Cowboys owner and co-promoter of the fight Jerry Jones.

Clottey went about his business, although being upstaged by his own promoter! Similar to most Don King fighters.

The cameras surrounded Jones as he spoke to boxing promoter Bob Arum. No doubt they were talking about several fights that could possibly find their way to Cowboys Stadium.

Clottey shadow boxed and I immediately saw the difference in hand speed and quickness disadvantage he is up against as I witnessed Pacquiao in person last week at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, CA.

I can only imagine that Clottey, being the bigger and heavier fighter, can turn that into an advantage or at least negate Pacquiao's speed advantage. otherwise he has no chance against Pacquiao.

After shadow boxing Clottey jumped rope in the ring and the media cameras were aware that this was time to focus on Pacquiao's opponent.

A steady rap music tune filled the ballroom. Clottey had worked up a big sweat and he then did mitt work for several rounds.

A stool was brought into the ring and as Clottey toweled dry at ease as the media entered the ring and asked many questions and took many pictures that you will no doubt be seeing later tonight and in the days ahead.

Tuesday Pacquiao has his open workout day and it will be a zoo.

Local Univision affiliate sports director Mario Montez was on the scene as he has been for 30 years.

"The closest buzz to this fight was in 1991 in Dallas when Orlando Canizales defended his bantamweight title at the Longhorn Ballroom (once owned by Jack Ruby) and just a couple of weeks after Julio Cesar Chavez KO'd Meldrick Taylor with two seconds left and Chavez was our guest analyst and it was a mad house," said Montez. "This maybe the first of many big fights here but the next step up of course is Pacquiao vs. Mayweather."

Author: Matt Stolow

Source: examiner.com

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