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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Opinion: Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey Predictions

Pacquiao is once again facing a formidable opponent who posses an obvious size and strength advantage, yet he is an overwhelming favorite. Does Clottey have a real chance to win?
When the negotiations for a fight against Mayweather fell through, the camp of Pacquiao quickly turned their attention to Joshua Clottey, a fighter that was arguably the best and most dangerous opponent available at the time.
Shane Mosley was set to face Andre Berto and Yuri Foreman, another fighter considered to be a legitimate opponent was taken out of consideration since he was fighting in a higher weight class and thus enjoyed an even more size and height advantage than Clottey. As a result, Team Pacquiao turned their attention on Clottey.
Clottey has an impressive record of 35 wins against only three loses, and most of those loses have come from controversial decisions. Many observers thought he won the fight against Cotto and he was disqualified in his fight against Baldomir for a low blow in a fight that he was winning on the scorecards, despite not being given any warning first.
Now he is set to fight Pacquiao, a boxer/puncher, whose combination of speed, power and unorthodox style has so far overpowered his opponents in his ascension to the upper weight classes.
Clottey certainly has a chance to beat Pacquiao but it's slim to none since he will need to change his style and that's difficult at this stage of his career.
Sure, he has a significant size advantage as he often weighs in around 170 lbs. during the day of the fight, but one thing that should be noted is the fact that Pacquiao has been sparring against much bigger guys since his fight against Oscar such as junior middleweight Shawn Porter.
Also Pacquiao has now proven that he is a legitimate welterweight. Pacquiao must seem like the smaller fighter when looking at both fighters upper body, but Pacquiao probably enjoys an advantage as far as lower body strength is concerned. In an interview with Fighthype.com when asked about Pacquiao's bodybuilder legs and how it has allowed him to carry his punches in the higher weight class, Shane Mosley stated, "I think so, I mean that's just genetics. He carries his weight in his legs, which is beneficial to him to be able to generate all that power off that back leg. The way he throws punches, it's harder than what it seems. It looks like he's just throwing a lot of shots, but he uses his legs very well to push off the ground and get proper leverage on the shots."
Secondly, Clottey's tendency to focus too much on defense will not work against Pacquiao, who is a punching machine and comes to fight all twelve rounds. Clottey's tendency to hold punches was his main downfall against Cotto and can easily be the main factor in his fight against Pacquiao. He needs to be more aggressive in order to disrupt Pacquiao's rhythm specially in the first few rounds where he needs to survive the early onslaught from the Filipino icon.
Also, Pacquiao's movement and ability to throw punches from angles, while moving at any direction will be too much for Clottey who does not have great lateral movement. A fighter needs to be light on his feet and be quick in order to beat Pacquiao. It's not just his ability to throw punches from all angles that makes the Filipino icon dangerous, but his ability to close the gap quickly because of the explosiveness he generates from his legs.
In addition, his high guard might work well against an orthodox fighter, but it will be less effective against Pacquiao who can still land punches behind his high guard because he can jump and throw punches simultaneously while moving side to side.
Another factor against Clottey is Pacquiao's ability to take a punch. Miguel Cotto is arguably a harder puncher than Clottey and Pacquiao was able to stand some solid blows from the Puerto Rican star. He was hurt a few times by Cotto, but was never in serious trouble. if he can walk through Clottey's stiff jabs and get close, he can punish Clottey with body shots which will force the the latter to open up his high guard. Once Clottey opens up, Pacquiao will have a field day landing his straight left and his new weapon the right hook.
Joshua Clottey is certainly a solid fighter, but Pacquiao is on a whole another level and even though the former is known for having a granite chin and has never been knocked down, I won't be surprised if Pacquiao stops him in the later rounds. Clottey might provide more competitive rounds than Cotto did in his fight against Pacquiao, but just like Cotto, he is destined to suffer the same fate. A late round TKO stoppage probably around the 10th round.
Below are the opinions of some of the most respected boxing analysts in the sports
Kieran Mulvaney, ESPN
“I actually think Pacquiao-Clottey is a pretty good fight. If you'd told me 15 months ago that Manny would be fighting Clottey, I'd have been pretty excited. It's only disappointing when viewed in the context of what we wanted to see. Clottey, as we all know, is big and tough and he has a strong jab. The problem, of course, is that especially as a fight wears on, he just doesn't throw enough. That will likely be his undoing against Pacquiao. Clottey may cause Pacquiao some trouble early, a little like Cotto did, but once Pacquiao finds his timing and rhythm; Clottey will have a hard time keeping him off. I think Pacman will dominate the second half of the fight and wind up a comfortable points winner.”
Michael Marley, Boxingconfidential.com
Tough fight for both but they will be paid handsomely so they can't expect something easy...... I see a fight with some good exchanges but Clottey fades, as he did against Cotto, down the stretch, late stoppage or wide UD 12 for Manny. Believe it or not, Manny is still coming to his peak.
Marc Abrams, 15rounds.com
"Could be a very interesting fight. People thought that Clottey, won the Cotto fight so maybe he deserved this fight before. Could be a very difficult fight considering I do believe that a Mayweather fight is possible for the fall."

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