51,000 fight fans jammed into Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on Saturday night, eager to see if Ghanian Joshua Clottey, advertised as a full fledged welterweight, could use a strength and poundage advantage to end Manny Pacquiao's streak of pugilistic superiority.
It became apparent from minute one that Clottey owned no edge on the Filipino Fury. Pacquiao's movement, and hand speed, and stamina are simply on another level, and no one other than Floyd Mayweather, at this juncture, can test him seriously. Manny was as relaxed and effective as he is during sparring, and frankly, he's been tested more by some sparring mates, who took more chances and pressed him more than the ultra-defensive Clottey. The fight, dubbed "The Event," went the distance, and there was a total absence of drama as Michael Buffer read the cards. The judges saw it for Pacquiao, UD12, by scores of 120-108, 119-109, 119-109. TSS-EM didn't give Clottey a round. The showing left us thinking that there's no one out there between 130-154 who can really test Manny, save Mayweather.
Floyd, drop the unilateral testing demands, and prove your worth as an all-time great. Take care of Mosley, and give Manny a go.
Pacquiao (age 31; 145 3/4 pounds Friday; from the Philippines; seven division champion; 50-3-2 with 38 kos entering) and Clottey (age 32; 147 pounds; from Ghana, living in NY; 35-3 with 25 kos entering; ex welter champion) were not weighed on an unofficial scale prior to the match, so we don't know how much heavier Clottey was.
Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title was on the line, and Rafel Ramos was the referee.
In the first, Clottey just had his guard up at first. Manny looked fluid, as he worked the body with both hands. He tried to bring Josh's guard down, it looked like. Clottey did land, both with the jab, and the straight right. In the second round, Manny moved adeptly, mostly to his right. He threw scoring blows, no haymakers, but won just about every second of every round. Manny threw 96 to Clottey's 27 in the second, for the record, according to CompuBox. In the third, we heard Emanule Steward, who said Clottey was landing the more effective blows, almost blow up at Max Kellerman and Jim Lampley, who liked Manny's work. A hard right hit Manny clean with a minute to go. "It's easy, just like in the gym," said Freddie Roach after the round. This was some of the best, most concerted body work we'd ever seen from Pacquiao.
In the fourth, the marvelously mobile Pacquiao used his angles like a maestro. He clanged Clottey with both hands at the same time, and Pacman grinned as the ref warned him. Clottey was flinching at feints by the end of the round. Clottey'd head trainer Lenny DeJesus said nothing to Clottey when the Ghanian sat down, for at least ten seconds. Clottey threw just 21 punches in the round, and DeJesus needed to tell him to move his hands. Yikes. In the fifth, it looked like sparring. Manny stepped it up late in the round; he advanced rapidly on Clottey, and put more combos together. "Baby, you gotta take chances," said DeJesus said after. In the sixth, Manny gave Freddie a mini heart attack hanging on the ropes early on. Then he went back to being the mobile sharpshooter...Manny would throw a combo, and finish up with a left to the bellybutton.
"The guy (Clottey) is fighting a scared fight," said HBO scorer Harold Lederman after the sixth. In the seventh, Clottey had some success. He was busier early, but then reverted to form. "Let's be creative, let's throw punches now," was the best DeJesus had to offer post-round. No offense intended, but lordie, in one corner is Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, and inn the other corner is...someone with a lot less to offer. In the eighth, Clottey threw a right that strayed low, and Manny took a few seconds to recuperate. Manny stepped on the gas, and looked for a stop by the end of the round. Remember, Roach said he'd get a kayo within nine. "We're losing every round," said DeJesus, rightfully, after the frame.
Clottey tagged Manny and Pacquiao clapped for him, with 1:30 to go. But the whole round was Manny. More of the same. "You're taking a whipping, baby, what's going on," Clottey's trainer said. Max talked to Lenny during the tenth, and the trainer said Clottey was feeling Manny's power. Manny looked fresh as can be in the 11th, but hey now, Clottey landed a couple Lotierzo specials, uppercuts, which scored. But Manny kept up the effective aggression, while staying smart, and won the round. In the 12th, Manny kept the distance he preferred, didn't load up recklessly, and owned the round. Same as in every previous round. We'd go to the cards.
After, Pacquiao chatted with Max Kellerman. He lauded Clottey as a tough fighter. He said his strategy was to jab tons. Pacman said he felt Clottey's power early. Pacman, who had a tiny mouse under his right eye, said he knew that Clottey was looking to not get stopped. Clottey weighed in, "He has speed. This is the first time I lost a fight," to Kellerman. Pacman said if Mayweather beats Mosley, "I want that fight, the people want that fight, it's up to him if he wants the fight." Pacman said maybe he'd fight Mosley, if Shane wins. Roach addressed Mayweather, telling him to let the commission dictate testing terms: "Get in the ring and fight us!" Pacman said, "I think Mayweather's style is not difficult like Clottey."
SPEEDBAG Three Cowboys cheerleaders sang the US anthem. These were not just gals in skimpy suits, people. The ladies harmonized skillfully, and quite obviously worked looong and hard on this rendition. Look out, Dixie Chicks!
---LOL Max Kellerman prepared Pacquiao to MSNBC's RACHEL MADDOW, for his superior preparation coming into battle. LOL! Fire breathing liberals, lemme hear from ya!
--Manny strolled to the ring as "Thunderstruck" and "Eye of the Tiger" blared. Can't pick two better ones. At least he didn't choose "Sometimes When We Touch." LOL.
---For those scoring at home, Manny Steward said pre main event that Clottey was a "live underdog," and that we could possibly have "another Douglas-Tyson type situation." He then backtracked, citing Clottey's mental makeup, and untested cornermen. Jim Lampley said when a fighter has been ignored in a promotion as Clottey has been, he'd like to see a chip on his shoulder, and he doesn't see it, and that worries him.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?