Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao
Born: Bukidnon, Philippines
Resides: General Santos City, Philippines
Height: 5' 6 1/2"
Current World Titles Held: WBO Welterweight (147 lbs.), Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight (140 lbs.)
Former World Titles Held: WBC Lightweight (135 lbs.), Ring Magazine, WBC Super Featherweight (130 lbs.), Ring Magazine Featherweight (126 lbs.), IBF Super Bantamweight (122 lbs.), WBC Flyweight (112 lbs.)
Professional Record: 50-3-2, 38 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 10-1-2, 9 KOs
Record at Welterweight: 2-0, 2 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 3-1-1
Notable Wins: TKO12 Miguel Cotto, TKO2 Ricky Hatton, TKO8 Oscar De La Hoya
Notable Losses: UD12 Erik Morales I, KO3 Medgoen Singsurat
Joshua "Grand Master" Clottey
Born: Accra, Ghana
Resides: Bronx, New York, United States
Height: 5' 8"
Current World Titles Held: None
Former World Titles Held: IBF Welterweight
Professional Record: 35-3, 20 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 1-2
Record at Welterweight: 10-3, 1 No Contest
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 2-2
Notable Wins: TD9 Zab Judah, UD10 Diego Corrales, MD12 Richard Gutierrez
Notable Losses: SD12 Miguel Cotto, UD12 Antonio Margarito, DQ11 Carlos Baldomir
Boxing fans worldwide had March 13, 2010 circled on their calendars as the night when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather would do battle to determine supremacy of the ring and the box office. The former fell apart, leaving the first part of the latter to proceed on the same date with a much different opponent in the form of Joshua Clottey.
You can excuse some observers for comparing Clottey to someone hitting the lottery, because in some ways, he really did hit the jackpot by landing this fight. Coming off a loss to Miguel Cotto, albeit a narrow one that went to the scorecards, there was no logical reason to think the man known as Grand Master would end up facing the top draw in the sport.
Clottey is well respected in the boxing community but a relative unknown to the mainstream sports world. His profile will get a huge boost if he manages to find a way to upset Pacquiao, but that could be easier said than done since the Filipino fireball hasn't tasted defeat in almost five years.
Pacquiao took some hits to his image for his unwillingness to submit to Mayweather's drug testing demands, and there are legitimate questions about whether his mind may be more focused on Floyd or his political ambitions than Clottey. But even if his mental game isn't at 100 percent, he has the widest safety net of any boxer alive thanks to his natural talent, extensive world title fight experience and the savvy planning of trainer Freddie Roach.
The venue almost deserves mention as a third personality for this fight as it happens to be Cowboys Stadium, Jerry Jones' billion-dollar sports palace. Over 45,000 fans are expected to be on hand to watch the action unfold, most of whom will be pulling for Pacquiao to add another win to his ever-growing total.
Pacquiao's Winning Strategy: Push the Pedal Down and Keep It There
With his victories over Oscar De La Hoya and Cotto, Pacquiao provided definitive answers to anyone who doubted whether he'd be able to handle himself at welterweight after campaigning at much lower weight classes for most of his career. Even so, he's going to be facing an opponent who has height and reach advantages and is naturally bigger to boot.
Manny has been able to neutralize similar edges in the past by utilizing his superior hand speed and movement, dictating the tempo and the range of the action. Pacquiao will want to do that right from the opening bell against Clottey, as Cotto proved it's easier to get to the Grand Master early before he has time to get settled in.
That doesn't mean it should always be a race to see who gets off first for the Pac Man. Clottey can be susceptible to counters when he tries to set up his shots, and Pacquiao can deliver them from times and places that no one else can manage.
Regardless if he's taking the lead or countering, Pacquiao should push the pace high and not let up. When he combines the power of a true welterweight with the activity level of a smaller guy, it poses a problem that no one has been able to solve.
Clottey's Winning Strategy: Cover Up, Then Muscle Up
Mayweather's elusiveness may have given Pacquiao fits, but Clottey may present an equally tough defensive challenge thanks to his high, tight guard. He is very effective at picking off punches with his arms, causing opponents to waste energy on shots that never reach their target.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that Clottey should use his longer arms to jab and keep the fight on the outside, but standard operating procedure can pretty much be thrown out when it comes to a boxer like Pacquiao. Instead, Clottey should use the jab to move closer, as his uppercut is one of his more impressive weapons.
The Grand Master isn't known as a vicious knockout puncher, but he is strong and accurate and can really wear opponents down over time. He's got to pick his spots carefully against Pacquiao, but he seems heady enough to stay patient and look for his openings.
Weathering an early storm and going for the win later isn't easy against a whirlwind like Pacquiao. But it beats the alternative, which is trying to match Manny punch for punch and having the referee say he's seen enough.
Posted by The Franchise