Clottey: “I’ll wear him [Pacquiao] down for sure”
By Jason Kim: Former International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20 KO’s) outlined his fight strategy that he plans on using against WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao on March 13th. In article at Reuters, Clottey, 32, says “We all know Manny Pacquiao. When he comes, he starts throwing. I’m just ready. My body can take it. When he [Pacquiao] throws on my, I will block him and then confuse him. He’ll throw 30, and I’ll throw four. The four will connect. The 30, I’ll block most. I will wear him down for sure.”
So essentially Clottey plans on doing what he normally does in his fights – by covering up with his high guard, letting his opponents expend their energy and firing back after they’ve gotten their shots in. The problem is that doesn’t seem to have worked the majority of times for Clottey when he’s fought class A opposition. During Clottey’s entire 15 year pro career, he’s only fought four fighters that you could consider top tier opponents – Diego Corrales, Antonio Margarito, Zab Judah and Miguel Cotto – and Clottey has been beaten by two of them.
Corrales, a lightweight, moved up in weight two divisions to fight Clottey in April 2007, and the fight is hard to really count because of how much smaller Corrales was compared to Clottey. Covering up works some of the time but when Clottey has faced opponents like Margarito and Cotto who didn’t get tired of throwing punches, Clottey found himself in trouble and ended up losing both fights by decision.
Clottey feels that he’s ready for the Pacquiao fight, saying “I’m in the best shape of my life.” However, Clottey also said similar things before his fights with Margarito and Clottey, and in both cases, Clottey looked exhausted during the last four rounds of the fight. He looked in superb condition physically with no fat and a lot of muscle. However, Clottey tired out like a fighter in poor condition in both of those fights and struggled badly.
If Clottey merely covers up waiting for Pacquiao to exhaust himself by punching on his gloves, he may be mistaken. Pacquiao doesn’t have to just stand and work needlessly. He’s going to be jumping in and jumping out, and won’t be wasting energy by throwing nonstop punches. While on the outside, Pacquiao will rest and recoup his energy while Clottey slowly plods forward trying to land his shots.
It’s hard to tell how Clottey got this gig against Pacquiao. He lost his last fight to Miguel Cotto, and before that he’s taken mostly a bunch of safe fights against non-dangerous fighters. Zab Judah was one of his opponents during this time, but he hasn’t looked good in the past three years and seems too small for a welterweight.
The WBO still kept Clottey ranked at number #1 despite his loss to Cotto in his last fight. It would seem that another fighter should have been given the number #1 ranking rather than Clottey considering his loss. However, the talent is thin in the WBO top 15, so Clottey might be the best of what the WBO has got in terms of rankings. The number #2 fighter is Antonin Decaire, and number #3 Cotto. Both of those fights would be horrible. Pacquiao already beat Cotto, and Decarie, a Canadian, has no experience against top tier opposition.
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