Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bet odds balloon for Pacquiao

CEBU CITY — A respected boxing promoter said Manny Pacquiao could end up being the first fighter to knock Joshua Clottey out, a probability backed by the Filipino ring icon’s continued rise as the bookmakers’ choice for the March 13 bout in Arlington, Texas.

Cebuano promoter Rex “Wakee” Salud, a long-time member of Pacquiao’s exclusive inner circle, said Clottey could end up on the canvas this time, but warned the reigning pound-for-pound king that he will be facing his toughest fight yet when he faces Clottey at the spanking Cowboys Stadium.

Salud said the 33-year-old Clottey is hungrier and tougher than Cotto, whom Pacquiao stopped in the 11th round last November to capture the WBO welterweight crown to become the first fighter in history to win world titles in seven different weight classes.

“There’s no one out there who can provide Pacquiao an exciting fight [except] Clottey,” said Salud.

Salud cited the fact that Clottey has never been knocked out and his three losses—capped by a narrow split decision setback to Cotto last June 13—were all disputable.

Pacquiao, Salud said, could change that. And online bookies seemed to agree, pegging Pacquiao a minus-400 (4-1) favorite against Clottey, who is listed a plus-280 underdog.

In money terms, a $400 bet on Pacquiao would earn a $100 payout. On the other hand, a $100 wager on Clottey could fetch $280 for the bettor.

Pacquiao is set to leave for Los Angeles on Sunday, in time for a kickoff press conference in Dallas on Jan. 19 and another press conference at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

Clottey, a natural welterweight, will head south to train in warmer conditions and sweat it out as he has reported to have struggled at making the welterweight limit of 147 pounds in the past.

“We’re probably going out to either Las Vegas or South Florida,” Clottey manager Vincent Scolpino told’s Michael Marley.

Scolpino also said that Clottey is hoping to sign up a trainer from Ghana.

“Joshua has a guy who I think used to work with Azumah Nelson,” he said.

Pacquiao settled on facing Clottey after negotiations for a superfight with undefeated American superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. bogged down due to disagreements over drug-testing protocols.


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