DALLAS, Texas (AFP) – Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao puts his on the line Saturday against as they headline the first fight card at Cowboys Stadium.
The 31-year-old Pacquiao will be making the first defence of his WBO welterweight belt but it could also be his last fight as he prepares to embark on a political career in his native Philippines.
Pacquiao, who will run for a congressional seat in May after failing to get elected three years ago, said Filipinos are now more accepting of his political goals.
"Before they don't want me to enter politics because I am still fighting," Pacquiao said. "They didn't want to lose Manny Pacquiao in boxing. But now my time in boxing is really short. I have to think about the future and helping my people."
But first the three-time fighter of the year Pacquiao has to get past the much bigger Clottey who is fighting at his natural weight (147 pounds) unlike Pacquiao who is moving up in weight class.
Pacquiao (50-3-2, 28 KOs) has looked unstoppable in his last three fights and he isn't showing any signs of losing power as he fights bigger and stronger opponents.
Pacquiao has won 11 consecutive fights, eight by knockout, since losing to in March 2005.
His plan is to wear the 32-year-old Clottey down on Saturday so he can finish him off in the later rounds.
"Joshua will bring out the best in Manny," said Pacquiao's , who wants to see his champion fight one more time - against - then retire. "Manny will go out there and fight another perfect fight."
Promoters are expecting a sellout of 45,000 for the first at the 1.2 billion dollar Cowboys Stadium which was opened last year.
The home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys is an unusual venue for a world championship fight because of its location and size. The majority of world title fights these days are held in much smaller venues in Las Vegas.
This will be the largest crowd Pacquiao has fought in front of and he is looking forward to showing what he can do.
"This is very important fight for me," Pacquiao said. "This is my first time here in Dallas.
"It is going to be worldwide and it is a good example to other places that also want to promote boxing."
Pacquiao had been expected to fight Mayweather on the same date in a pound-for-pound mega-fight.
But when that bout fell through over a drug-testing dispute, former IBF champion Clottey (35-3, 21 KOs) came into the picture.
Both fighters fought former champion in their most recent fights - southpaw Pacquiao winning by a 12th round TKO four months ago and Clottey losing a close decision to Cotto nine months ago.
Clottey, who has never been knocked down, comes into the fight without his long-time trainer Godwin Kotey, who is back in Ghana because he couldn't get a visa to come to the US.
Kotey's replacement is former cutman Lenny DeJesus, 64, who was promoted to head trainer just seven weeks ago.
DeJesus says his boxer is more than just a fill-in fighter for Mayweather.
"It is a hurting game," said DeJesus, who worked a half dozen fights in Pacquiao's corner as a cut man. "If my guy can put a hurt on Pacquiao that will change the fight.
"I got a stronger and bigger guy. I have created some different movements so he won't be a target."
This is Pacquiao's second fight as a true welterweight. He weighed just 106 pounds for his first professional fight in 1995 and won his first title in the 112 pound flyweight division
His major titles have come in weight classes ranging from 112 pounds to 147 pounds and he is the first Asian to win four or more major belts.
Before systematically dismantling Cotto in 12 rounds, he sent into retirement in December 2008 and demolished in just two rounds in May 2009.
"I want to give a good fight and make people happy," Pacquiao said. "We have a plan. We have some strategy and whatever happens in the ring we will adjust to.
"We based our training on our opponent's style. We trained perfectly to the style of the opponent so I think our team work for this fight is very good."
Author: Greg Heakes