Monday, January 18, 2010

Joshua Clottey: Pacquiao is His Moment

Let it be known that Joshua Clottey is no inferior opponent for just about everyone, even for Manny Pacquiao. He may have three losses in 39 bouts, but two of them were close decisions and one was a disqualification call. The elite welterweight from Ghana is no pushover and has taken on the top contenders in his division, including then much-feared Antonio Margarito and the tough Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.

And for Manny Pacquiao, the world’s consensus top fighter pound for pound, taking on Clottey is a real risk with little rewards. Clottey seriously poses a legitimate threat to Pacquiao’s reign and he can likely stop the Filipino’s meteoric rise through the boxing ranks. But this bout with Clottey proves to be a decisive move for Pacquaio, as he has certainly stepped up to the plate against a more dangerous opposition than Floyd Mayweather.

For Clottey, this bout could be the break he has been waiting for. A ring date with today’s world’s best boxer presents what could be perhaps the greatest challenge of his boxing career. Pacquiao was able to dismantle the man many thought Clottey could have beaten. Heck, Clottey could have easily dispatched Cotto considering the problems caused by the wide gash over the Cotto’s left eye. Clottey did not rise to the occasion and instead coasted through the latter part of the fight, costing him a major win and one step higher in the welterweight rankings.

But to say that Pacquiao, who has easily trashed Cotto who has edged Clottey in a decision, can effortlessly coast through the Ghana native is a false declaration. Clottey possesses an iron jaw that seems to absorb any punch his opponents throw at him. Second, Clottey applies tight defense that it is so hard for any skilled boxer to land a clear and clean shot at him. Third, Clottey is the bigger and taller man than Pacquiao, although the Filipino welterweight champion has proven that he can take on guys who are bigger, taller, and are deemed stronger. However, Clottey can use all three attributes – iron chin, impregnable defense, and bigger and taller physique – to his advantage against Pacquiao.

Of course, Pacquiao’s speed, tremendous mobility, and excessive volume punching from uncommon angles, will cause problems for Clottey. Cotto, who conquered Clottey in the latter’s last outing, was not able to hurdle over Pacquiao’s obvious advantages. But that does not mean Clottey won’t be able to overcome the obstacles and gain a victory over the Filipino champ.

For Clottey, he must understand that this is his moment to shine and he must give it all to gain a win if he wants the respect he longs for and rightfully deserves. Or at the very least, give Pacquiao a hell of a fight that would fit nice and comfy in the boxing record books.


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