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Friday, March 5, 2010

Pacquiao vs. Clottey: Keys to Victory Part2

When Joshua Clottey fought the faster southpaw in the character of Zab Judah, although Clottey doesn't throw many punches as Zab Judah, Judah for the most part could only hit Clottey's elbows, forearms and gloves. Most of Zab's punches were blocked by the high-guard defensive style. Also notice how Zab Judah most of the time, was able to evade Clottey's punches when Joshua initiates the attack first. See how effective the high guard defense when Zab was lured to attack Clottey, and then Joshua would take advantage of the time when Zab was open for an attack, by surging forward with a straight right to the head and a lounging left hook to the body. Then again, Zab Judah is no Manny Pacquiao. Zab Judah is indeed fast, but Manny Pacquiao is faster and packs a lot of power.

Now let's look at Manny Pacquiao's style from this sample clip

The thing about Manny Pacquiao, is that he improves in every fight. He gets better and better. So, reviewing Pacquiao's video when he fought Erik Morales compared to the Pacman of present would be two very different Manny Pacquiao's fighting style. All this because of the brilliant work Coach Freddie Roach has done with Manny. Back then, Manny goes in and take some to give some more. But now, his defense has improved using his footwork, bobbing and weaving, as well as blocking in his defensive techniques. Back then he was just a left handed bomber. He would bomb his opponents with a right jab followed by a sledge-hammer left straight, which in most cases is good enough, as it knocks many opponents out of the fights. But now, Manny Pacquiao is a two fisted tornado, throwing punches from all directions coming from both left and right hands. As Miguel Cotto said "I couldn't see the punches, I couldn't defend myself". Mix those combinations punching with power and very fast feet, you got yourself a killer.

Manny Pacquiao's style is something that the public has never seen before. He was said to be the incarnation of the Tasmanian Devil inside the ring. Relentless aggression, plenty of punches and unwavering stamina.

Although Joshua Clottey is the bigger, stronger fighter of the two, but against a Manny Pacquiao, size and strength is not a factor. As Manny Pacquiao has dismantled many bigger opponents before. Speed kills size.

What Manny Pacquiao needs to do to win this fight is to be Manny Pacquiao at 100%.

The Pacman needs to keep his feet in motion going side to side, round and round, while searching for an opening to penetrate Clottey's high guard defense. And when Manny sees an opening, he needs to take the shots and disrupts Clottey's defense which will open Joshua for more combinations. To lower Clottey's defense, Manny needs to go to the mid-section, pound it hard and eventually the rest of the body would then fall. After the Cotto fight, Pacquiao proved that he can take a full-welterweight punch pretty well. Still, he needs to be careful and realize that he is the smaller man in this fight. Although most people under-rate Clottey's power, Joshua’s punches do packs some explosives and is evident with his record of 20 out of his 35 wins are by way of knockout. A flush shot at the right place and with perfect timing, from a bigger and stronger man can knock even a Manny Pacquiao out.

What Joshua Clottey needs do to win this fight, is to change his fighting style dramatically. He can't rely solely on in high-guard defense against Manny Pacquiao, as Pacquiao is too fast for him to block the rain of punches coming his way. He needs to improve his footwork by 400% and his stamina by another 200%. As Pacquiao rears to attack, Joshua needs to disrupt that attack by throwing stiff jabs, while move to the side, then follow them up with combination. He needs to be faster than Pacquiao to be able to do something like that. And he needs to keep throwing those combinations to keep Pacquiao at bay for the whole fight. If he can't do that, he'll be sitting duck against Manny.

But what if Manny's speed is neutralized by Clottey's defense? Manny Pacquiao may throw 15punch combinations in 2seconds but what if, and it’s a big IF, Joshua Clottey could block them all? What would Freddie Roach and Manny do? And how the heck could Clottey mount an offense if he'd be kept on the defensive by Pacquiao's relentless attacks?

All these questions can only be answered on March 13 in Las Vegas by Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey.

My prediction: I don't see Clottey changing his style in just one training camp, especially with a trainer he just acquired. If Joshua Clottey doesn't change his fighting style, even if he's as tough as granite, I don't see this fight lasting the full 12rounds. He could be standing but if Manny Pacquiao reconfigures his face, the referee would stop the fight by TKO.

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