Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey: The Event Plus Undercard Predictions

The Franchise says...

It took a long, winding path to get to this point, but Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey will do battle in front of roughly 50,000 fans at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday. It's not the fight everyone expected to see, but it's got the potential to offer its own kind of intrigue.

Not much needs to be said about Pacquiao, the choice of many observers as the top pound-for-pound boxer in the world and winner of his last 11 bouts. His explosive offense and ever-improving movement and ring awareness combine with the wisdom of trainer Freddie Roach to form a package that has simply overwhelmed most of his recent foes.

But if Pacquiao is the proverbial unstoppable force, Clottey may be the immovable object. The Ghana native uses an airtight guard to blunt his foes' attacks before responding with his own array of accurate punches.

Clottey also should be the biggest man Pacquiao has ever faced once both boxers rehydrate for fight night. Though Manny has carried the extra weight well as he's risen through the weight classes, Clottey is a true welterweight that could easily outweigh him by 10 pounds or more when they hit the ring.

Manny will have the advantage in speed and raw power, but those don't count for much if his punches don't find their mark. Clottey's challenge will be to ensure he doesn't give away early rounds on activity level alone as he looks for his opening.

There is some danger in this fight for Pacquiao, and not just the kind that is manufactured to sell the pay-per-view broadcast. If he allows Clottey to hang around in a close fight, the difference in bulk could show up in the championship rounds.

The guess here is that it won't go down like that. Clottey will block many, possibly most of the incoming fire, but some shots will be delivered at speeds and angles that surprise even him.

Expect Clottey to earn the respect of many viewers who never heard of him before he took this fight. But also look for Pacquiao to continue his winning ways, with the cumulative effect of his punches earning Manny a late-round TKO.

The undercard is anchored by an interesting if not spectacular lightweight title fight between Humberto Soto and David Diaz. Both fighters come in off victories over the same man (Jesus Chavez), but Soto had a much easier time in his win.

Diaz is a solid, disciplined boxer with a strong amateur background. His problem is when he runs into opponents who simply have too much for him physically, as was the case in his lopsided eight-round TKO loss to Pacquiao in the summer of 2008.

While it won't be to the same degree, Soto has some of those same troublesome qualities. Watch for him to display the faster hands and more damaging power punches as Humberto pounds out a unanimous decision.

Also on the undercard, look for Jose Luis Castillo to have just enough left to get past Alfonso Gomez and John Duddy to slug his way by Michael Medina.

Uatu says...

Manny by UD. I see Manny being much more active and banging away at the guard of Clottey, while Josh goes into the shell and fires back infrequently.

Posted by The Franchise

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