Sunday, January 24, 2010

Get to know Joshua Clottey … soon

Filed Under: Pacquiao, Boxing
So we’re not getting the fight we wanted.
Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. just isn’t going to happen—yet—as neither camp was willing to give in to each side’s stand regarding urine and blood testing.
Despite failing to stage some choice pairings in the past, boxing can still spring a few surprises and give fans a Pacquiao-Mayweather show in the future. There’s just too much money and pride involved for the fight not to happen.
Abangan (wait for it) as the telenovelas would say.
* * *
As alternative, we’ve got bull-strong Joshua Clottey, a 5-foot-8 welterweight to wage war against Pacquiao.
Experts and ardent followers of the fight game know Clottey’s achievements and near wins: a 35-win, 3-loss and no-draw record; never been knocked out; a close, some say controversial, loss to Miguel Cotto.
Clottey goes by the sobriquet “Grand Master,” a calm moniker that feels like a departure from the tough, macho-man nicknames of fighters today.
* * *
And yet chat with the ordinary Pacquiao fan in the streets and you’ll find out that despite Clottey’s high-profile fights and skill and tenacity, he is still an unknown to many Filipinos.
We’re not talking about the passionate fight fans that send comments to the boxing forums or come up to me in coffee shops to talk about the scoring of a close fight. They know who Clottey is.
We’re talking about the Pacquiao fans who latched on to big time boxing simply because the Filipino pound-for-pound king has done what no other fighter has achieved: winning titles in seven different weight categories and becoming a certified headliner of the sport.
Many of them are not fans who can recite fight records with their eyes closed or replay fight highlights with both arms. They follow Pacquiao.
* * *
These are fans who know Mayweather because he’s had fight extravaganzas with Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton.
There would have been no problem knowing Mayweather, who is also great TV material because he gives the media the sound bites they need.
But enough of Mayweather for now. He didn’t want Pacquiao that badly and so he will have to wait for another time.
* * *
But don’t worry. In time, when the usual media run-up to the March 13 fight night gets going, we’ll know so much more about Clottey.
That’s just the way it is with Pacquiao opponents, save for Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, De La Hoya and Hatton who were already known to Filipinos.
To name a few, we’ve gotten to know Oscar Larios, Jorge Solis, David Diaz and Cotto a little better because Pacquiao battled against them.
With his superstar status across the globe, Pacquiao’s spotlight rubs off nicely on not-so-popular opponents.
* * *
Get to know Joshua Clottey in the next two months. We’ll learn everything about his background, training, fight views and plans if he gets by Pacquiao.
He’s due for quite a payday but Clottey knows that the road could just be opening up for bigger fights if he snaps Pacquiao’s 11-victory streak since 2005, when he lost the first Erik Morales fight.
After March 13, we won’t be saying “Clottey, who?” that much.


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