By Daved Lahr: Freddie Roach, the trainer of Manny Pacquiao, sees the March 13th match-up between former IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey and current WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao as being the better fight for fans compared to a bout between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., which was going to take place on the same date. That fight didn’t happen because Mayweather and Pacquiao couldn’t agree on the random blood testing for the fight. In an article at Fight Hype, Roach says “This is a much better fight for the fans, I think, and for the people…He [Clottey] is the number one contender, he’s completely the opposite of what Mayweather brings to the table.”
You can say that again, Freddie. Mayweather would have likely been huge problems for Pacquiao because of his speed, movement and counter punching ability. In contrast, Clottey is a stationary fighter who covers up much of the time and moves little. I don’t know that I agree with Roach about this being a better fight for boxing fans than the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. It depends on if you’re interested in seeing a mismatch or not.
Mayweather wouldn’t just stand in front of Pacquiao all night long covering up and throwing combinations every once in awhile. Mayweather would be blasting Pacquiao and taking advantage of Pacquiao’s mistakes as he presses the fight. I think it would be interesting to watch how Pacquiao tries to deal with Mayweather’s movement and counter punching.
Pacquiao looked awful in his two fights with Juan Manuel Marquez, taking a lot of shots and appearing to lose both fights in the minds of many boxing fans. I had Marquez winning both of those bouts. Some people think that Pacquiao has gotten better in the past two years since his controversial 12 round split decision over Marquez in 2008. However, Pacquiao looks like the same fighter to me, only bigger.
I don’t think a fight where Pacquiao is drilling a stationary and/or plodding Clottey as more interesting than a fight against Mayweather. That sounds silly. I don’t know how Roach can honestly believe that boxing fans would rather see Pacquiao face someone who either stands in one place with his gloves glued to his head of plods forward at as snail’s pace.
To me, that seems more like the last few opponents that have been matched against Pacquiao. Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto all stood right in front of Pacquiao using very little movement and they were all eaten alive. Cotto did try moving in the 2nd part of his fight with Pacquiao and had some limited success.
But Cotto isn’t a mover and he didn’t do a good job of punching on the move like Mayweather would have done in the same situation. I could see the Pacquiao-Clottey fight being better than a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao if Manny chose to stand right in front of Clottey all night and slug with him.
But Pacquiao will use his in and out movement to beat Clottey. Pacquiao won’t really attack hard until Clottey becomes completely tired out and immobile late in the fight. But I don’t see that as more interesting than Mayweather-Pacquiao. It just seems like Pacquiao’s team have found another stationary fighter for Pacquiao to look good against. I would much prefer to see Mayweather-Pacquiao or at least Pacquiao matched against someone like Marquez or Paul Williams.