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Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey Fight Preview and Pick

Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey Fight Preview and Pick
Date: Saturday, March 13, 2010
Location: Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas
TV: HBO PPV at 11:00PM EST
Weight Class: WBO Welterweight Championship
By Scotty L of

Manny Pacquiao, 50-3-2 (38 KOs), General Santos City, Philippines vs. Joshua Clottey, 35-3 (20 KOs), Accra, Ghana/Bronx, NY.

Betting Odds: Pacquiao (-600), Clottey (+400)

Fight Analysis:  Maybe it’s not the fight the boxing world was clamoring for. Fans were almost convinced that the two best fighters in the game—Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather would square off only to have negotiations collapse at the last minute. Still, Pacquiao-Clottey is a compelling match-up. Not only is the best pound-for fighter in the sport taking on a capable contender, but also it marks the return of boxing to a stadium setting. This bout will be held at Cowboys Stadium, adding a little extra flair to the event.

For those unfamiliar with Joshua Clottey, he is a longtime contender who has had some up-and-down moments in his career. He holds wins over ex-champions Diego Corrales and Zab Judah, but came up a bit short in his two biggest fights, against Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto.

A lot of people forget that 2 years ago, Manny was fighting as a junior lightweight. If you had said back then that Pacquiao would blow away a big welterweight like Josh Clottey, very few would have taken you seriously. But it’s what has happened in the last two years that sets Pacquiao apart. He was a juggernaut at the lower weights, but since he moved up, he has shown an even better form.

Gone is the reckless approach and the left-hand-happy offense. Pacquiao now displays an advanced vision of the fight, able to glide in and out of range, with his opponents always one step behind. His offense now features more of a two-fisted attack. His right hand is now a weapon opponents need to worry about. These improvements have added extra dimensions to an already-great fighter and helped make him the mega-superstar he is today.

In his last bout, Pacquiao battered Miguel Cotto in a 12th round stoppage win. Ironically, Cotto was also Clottey’s last opponent, as he lost to Cotto by split decision before Pacquiao beat him. Clottey could have won. Some say he should have won. They have a point. After a slow start, Clottey appeared to be nosing ahead in the middle rounds. He slowed up considerably over the final two rounds, allowing Cotto to sneak home a winner.

Clottey was in an imminently winnable situation. He was in the biggest fight of his life at Madison Square Garden on HBO in a big event. There seemed to be a gap between what he was capable of and what he actually did, and not in a good way. He underachieved. This is a much bigger event and the possibility always exists that a skilled warrior like Clottey could rise to the occasion. But if he were destined to make the big time, wouldn’t it have happened before now? With a gigantic win over Cotto within his grasps, he couldn’t get the job done. Now he’s in an exponentially more difficult spot. What would suggest he could win this fight?

Power? Well, he’s a strong guy, but with only 1 stoppage in his last 11 fights, it seems improbable that he could find the sudden power surge to KO Manny. Could he out-hustle Manny somehow? His activity rate is not his forte. What he does bring to the table is a certain overall solidness accompanied with world-class durability. In a long career, no one has ever really walked over the guy. And he has reasonable excuses for all his losses, a hastily rendered disqualification loss to Carlos Baldomir, a broken hand in the Margarito fight suffered when he was ahead, and a halfway-decent claim that he deserved the decision in the Cotto fight.

Those gunning for a major upset pick have some things to like about Clottey. He has enough power and technique to get to Pacquiao. If you look at the two standing next to each other, Clottey looks significantly bigger. The size difference in the ring might surprise some people.

However, I suspect Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach will choreograph a moving strategy to confound the unimaginative Clottey. The Bronx-based Ghanaian will drive some shots to the body and time Pacquiao with some good shots during the bout. As the late-rounds approach, Clottey will be fighting an uphill battle. Tiring and behind, he will only have his shell defense and iron chin to keep him from getting blown out.

I think Clottey has the resilience and is robust enough to last the distance, though a late-rounds stoppage would not be surprising.

Prediction: Lay the –600 on Manny Pacquiao to win..

Note: The odds on Clottey seem tantalizing enough to draw enough action to potentially drive Pacquiao’s number down a bit over the coming weeks before the fight. You might want to wait for a bit to secure the best possible odds.

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Each week, Big Scotty L makes picks on upcoming boxing matches in an attempt to make a punching bag out of his bookie. Scotty is a GREAT boxing handicapper who offers tremendous insight on the fights and his knowledge isn't just limited to boxing matches in the USA. He has a broad knowledge of international fights as well.

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