MANILA, Philippines – It will be tough and it will be close.
World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao said he expects his March 13 date with challenger Joshua Clottey to turn out just like the Ghanaian boxer’s match against Miguel Cotto.
“Sa tingin ko pa nga, close ang labang iyon at puwede ring si Ginoong Clottey ang nanalo,” Pacquiao said, referring to the June 2009 fight between Clottey and Cotto.
Cotto got a split-decision win, but many fans felt it could have been gone either way.
“Ganyan din ang dapat kong asahan sa laban namin sa Marso 13,” he added.
Pacquiao said the size and ability of Clottey, who has won 35 fights against 3 losses, makes the Ghanaian fighter a very dangerous foe.
Pacquiao has 50 wins against 3 losses.
Clottey stands 5-feet-8 and is a full welterweight, while Pacquiao, the only boxer to win 7 world titles, is 5-feet-6.5 and last fought at a 145-pound catch weight.
“Naniniwala akong isa siyang mapanganib na kalaban,” said Pacquiao, who has started training at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California.
Still in good condition
Pacquiao’s physical conditioning expert, Alex Ariza, meanwhile, said Pacquiao is still in good shape two months after his 12th round TKO victory over Cotto last November.
“He is looking sharp already,” Ariza said in a report by InsideSports.ph.
Trainer Freddie Roach agreed that the Filipino boxer is in “pretty good shape” at 148 lbs.
“We’re gonna start sparring one day earlier than normal and get the rounds in,” Roach said. “We'll have the game plan down by next week.”
Not giving up on Pacman-Floyd
Meanwhile, boxing promoter Oscar de la Hoya said that despite the bitter feud with the Pacquiao camp, he hasn't given up on trying to convince Pacquiao to fight his client Floyd Mayweather.
"That fight has to happen," De la Hoya said Tuesday of the proposed bout, which fell apart earlier this month over a drug-testing procedure dispute. "It's too big not to happen. We just have to cross one hurdle."
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday to promote a non-title junior welterweight fight, de la Hoya said Mayweather and Pacquiao will fight sooner than people think.
Pacquiao, boxing's pound-for-pound king, was already scheduled to square off against Mayweather on March 13, but they couldn't agree on a 10-day gap in the timing of the pre-fight drug tests.
"The public will hopefully make him change his mind," de la Hoya said. "Why would you not want to earn 40 million dollars? Why would you not want to show the public that all this speculation is nonsense? Be the one to stand up and say it."
De la Hoya also said Mayweather and Shane Mosley are in talks for a possible bout on May 1 which will likely be in Las Vegas. With a report from Agence France-Presse