LOS ANGELES – Freddie Roach is now giving Joshua Clottey a shorter shelf-life against Manny Pacquiao on the evening of March 13.
“Six or seven rounds,” said Roach, who had previously predicted a ninth-round knockout victory by the Filipino fighter at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
After presiding over Pacquiao’s penultimate day of sparring inside the Wild Card on a rainy Saturday afternoon, Roach was compelled to alter his forecast a week before the scheduled 12-round world welterweight title fight.
“Manny looked very, very sharp today,” said Roach, stressing that “there’s not much that he (Clottey) can do” against a fighter who is going to “overwhelm him with punches from all angles.”
Roach said he expects Clottey to be in the thick of the fight only in the first four rounds but Pacquiao will take charge soon after, paving the way for another smashing win by the fighter many consider as the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound.
Pacquiao picked up apart Abdullai Amidu, his Ghana sparmate, and the regular guy David Rodela, for a total of six rounds in another dazzling display of power and speed.
On Monday, Pacquiao will have his last sparring session – this time for only four rounds – before he hops on a chartered flight en route to the venue for next week’s fight.
Joining him on the three-hour trip on a jumbo jet leased by Pacquiao are members of his huge entourage and select individuals with legitimate business to take care of going into the final days before the fight.
Pacquiao is a huge favorite although Clottey is a livewire underdog owing to his being a natural welterweight, somebody who should be much bigger than his foe by the time they get it on around 10 p.m. Dallas time (12 noon of March 14 in the Philippines).
Team Pacquiao will be billeted at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in the city of Grapevine, which will put up a makeshift gym on its basement for the sole purpose of hosting Pacquiao’s final workouts.
Meanwhile, Clottey admitted that he’s longing for the attention that Pacquiao is getting from almost everybody.
Almost two years ago – after crowning himself the International Boxing Federation welterweight king – Clottey arrived to a rousing welcome in his native Ghana.
Clottey said in the documentary The Road to Dallas, which is being aired on US television, that he is craving to experience the same thing all over again.
“I want it to happen again,” said Clottey, who has a stab at stardom on March 13 versus Manny Pacquiao at Cowboys Stadium.
Clottey, who has been living in New York the last seven years, has a huge following in his native land but is unknown in America and when people say he doesn’t stand a chance against the pound-for-pound king, the boxer doesn’t feel insulted.
“It doesn’t make me upset,” said Clottey “(but) it makes me stronger.”
Former Pacquiao cutman Lenny De Jesus, who has assumed the role of Clottey’s chief trainer, summed it all up with a curt message.
“If we hit him right, we’ll knock him out,” said De Jesus, who was in the corner of Pacquiao in at least four fights, including the landmark victory over Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003.
Author: NICK GIONGCO