With a little less than a fortnight before Manny Pacquiao fights Joshua Clottey, the Filipino ring icon’s American chief trainer Freddie Roach declared his ward to be in great shape as to deal his Ghanaian challenger his first knockout defeat.
“Manny is in great shape. He is getting better all the time and he still wants to improve, “ the three-time ‘Trainer of the Year’ awardee of the American Boxing Writers Association told media men.
The ‘Pacman’ sparred for 12 rounds last Saturday following an 11-round session Friday against four different sparring partners.
“He is looking rally good and he’s got the game plan. He was so sharp, I almost wanted to five him a day off, but Manny won’t take a day off,” he said.
“We are getting better at making the moves. We have watched a lot of tape on Clottey. We know his characteristics, we know his mistakes and we know his habits,” Roach added. “I do feel that the way Manny is training for this fight, the game plan and how to beat Clottey is in place. “
“ I know Clottey is a big strong guy and a great fighter and we respect him and he’s a really tough guy but with Manny, I feel that he’s going to overwhelm him with his speed and combination and I do believe he will be the first person to stop him before the 12th round,” Pacquiao’s handler for the last 10 years predicted.
Pacquiao himself expressed confidence of successfully defending his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown, saying,” I am good. Training camp is good. Everything is great. I know Clottey is taller and bigger than me. I know I can’t underestimate him because he is a former world champion also.”
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, who was also in attendance at the media call, agreed, saying, “Manny Pacquiao is having a great training camp, as Freddie will tell you. There is excitement is Dallas. We have less than 8,000 tickets to go and I am fully confident we will have a sellout for the fight. It is very exciting for us and it should be a great, great show.”
When asked of his game plan, Roach said: I don’t want (Pacquiao) to be on the ropes as much as we were in the Cotto fight. Clottey is very effective on the ropes and will throw uppercuts from that position. We are working on not being there when he is trying to counter-punch. Clottey likes to lay on the ropes and counter when we are finished a combination, but we’re not going to be there – he’s not going to find us.”
“He is what he is. Let’s face it. He fights the same way in every tape I watch. Whether he fights southpaws or right-handers, he is predictable,” he continued. “Clottey’s best punch is the uppercut, but we will not fall into that pocket too often to let him use that shot. I have a lot of confidence in my fighter and the reason why is the way he has been sparring. We have big strong guys that fight a lot like Clottey.”
Roach assured the Filipino champ will definitely make 147 and “will go into the ring at 149, 150 max. I am not worried about his size. Size doesn’t win fights, skill does and it won’t be a problem.