Friday, January 29, 2010

What happens if Clottey beats Pacquiao?

By Chris Williams: Not much has been discussed about what happens if Joshua Clottey beats World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao on March 13th. Maybe Clottey doesn’t have the greatest of chances to beat Pacquiao, that’s a given. But if Clottey does pull of a shocking win, especially a knockout victory, he’s going to send the Pacquiao express to a crashing stop. Can you imagine the news that would be generated if Clottey ends up beating Pacquiao?

This would make Clottey an immediate star and set up a huge money rematch for later in the year. I could see now less than two more fights between Clottey and Pacquiao if Clottey were able to beat him. It wouldn’t matter if Pacquiao beats Clottey in a rematch, there would be a lot of pressure on Pacquiao to prove that he can beat him twice to dispel that the win wasn’t a fluke.

You can forget about a fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the remainder of 2010 if Clottey beats Pacquiao. Who would want to see that fight if Pacquiao can’t beat a fighter like Clottey? It could still, I guess. After all, Pacquiao is fighting Clottey, who was just beaten by Miguel Cotto (a recent Pacquiao victim) in his last fight. This why, perhaps, some people don’t understand why Clottey was selected to fight Pacquiao in the first place with Joshua coming off of a loss to Cotto.

Pacquiao would probably still remain hugely popular with some fans regardless of how bad Clottey beats him. That’s just the way it is. Pacquiao would probably have to lose a ton of fights before some of his fans lose interest in him. However, I think a loss to Clottey would be a big blow for Pacquiao’s career. This isn’t a fight that is considered to be all that competitive going in, and if Pacquiao is beaten by someone that has failed in some of his biggest fights against Antonio Margarito and Cotto, it would cause some people to re-think how they see Pacquiao.

I could certainly see Pacquiao losing to Clottey. Let’s look at who Pacquiao has beaten recently. In the past year, Pacquiao has beaten Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. Of those three, I would say that Cotto was the best fighter at the time that Pacquiao fought him. However, many boxing fans feel that Cotto hasn’t been the same fighter since he was stopped by Antonio Margarito a year earlier in 2008.

There’s no denying that Cotto took a vicious beating in the Margarito fight, and didn’t look good at all in his subsequent bout against Clottey in 2009. Cotto looked like he was on the verge of quitting at one point in the fight. He didn’t quit, but he looked really shaky for a few moments there late in the fight.

Cotto didn’t look like the same fighter he once was before the Margarito loss. And Pacquiao’s win over De La Hoya came at the end of Oscar’s career when he was losing as often as he was winning in past few years leading up to the Pacquiao fight. De La Hoya had lost three out of his last six fights coming into his December 2008 fight with Pacquiao, and Oscar’s only wins during this time was against little Steve Forbes, Ricardo Mayorga and a questionable win over Felix Sturm.

You might as well have taken away the wins over Forbes and Sturm. Forbes was too small, and the Sturm fight looked to be another loss for De La Hoya. To make matters worse, De La Hoya had to drop a lot of weight to fight Pacquiao at 147, and Oscar looked weight drained for the fight.

I think Oscar would have lost even if the fight had taken place at 154, because he wasn’t the same fighter by this point, but the weight loss certainly didn’t help him much. Ricky Hatton just looked shot. I don’t believe his punch resistance had been lessened by his earlier knockout loss to Mayweather in 2007, like some people think.

But I do think that Hatton wasn’t the same fighter when he met Pacquiao because of his tendency to eat and drink too much between fights. Hatton looked like a blimp before he started training for his fight with Pacquiao and he had to have taken off at least 20 or more pounds of fat to get in fighting shape for his bout against Pacquiao.

I’m being conservative with my estimate. Hatton might well have been as much as 30 pounds overweight before he started training for the Pacquiao fight. The eating and drinking obviously didn’t help Hatton, and neither did him having to adjust to a new trainer during training camp. Hatton looked like he over-trained for the fight and wasn’t there mentally or physically.

But ideally, I would have liked to have seen Pacquiao face someone like Timothy Bradley if Pacquiao was interested in fighting a light welterweight. I don’t think Hatton was the same fighter for a variety of reasons by the time that Pacquiao fought him.


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