Saturday, February 27, 2010

Joshua Clottey in best shape against Pacquiao

A native of Ghana who is preparing for a March 13 challenge for the WBO welterweight (147 pounds) crown held by seven-division champion, Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), of the Philippines, Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20 knockouts), of The Bronx, N.Y., spoke to FanHouse on Friday from his sleeping quarters near his training facility at Fort Lauderdale's Contender Gym in Fla.

This is the second of four diaries translated from Clottey that is appearing regularly on FanHouse as the 32-year-old fighter enters the most lucrative and biggest fight of his career.

Joshua Clottey wept, openly, earlier this month when a work Visa to the U.S. was denied to his preferred chief second, Godwin Nii Dzanie Kotey.

Kotey is perceived by many in their native Ghana as legendary and a father figure, having been the trainer for former welterweight star, Ike Quartey, of Ghana. Kotey was to be in Clottey's corner for the first time against Manny Pacquiao.

Kotey's presence was sought after Clottey had split with Kwame Asante in a reported disagreement over money -- this after Asante had served as Clottey's chief second for June's 12-round split-decision loss to then-WBO king, Miguel Cotto.

But now, with the biggest fight of his life on the horizon, Clottey was trainer-less.

Enter Lenny DeJesus (pictured above, left, with Clottey), a man Clottey had known of prior to employing DeJeus as the cutman for the Cotto fight.

A resident of the Bronx, the 32-year-old Clottey had seen DeJesus working with other fighters at the John's Gym, a venue he, himself, frequents that is located not too far from Yankees Stadium.

"I knew of DeJeus, but I didn't talk to him. Vinnie introduced me to him," said Clottey, referring to his manager, Vinnie Scolpino. "So he was used as a cut man in my fight with Miguel Cotto because he's been around for a long time. He seemed like a good choice."

Clottey said that DeJesus turned out to be even more of an asset during the fight with Cotto,

"When he was my cut man against Miguel Cotto, he pushed me. He sort of wakes you up, tells me some good things. We established a good relationship during the Cotto fight, so I chose him" to be primary trainer for the Pacquiao fight, said Clottey. "It was an easy transition. He motivates you."

Another advantage, said Clottey, is the fact that DeJesus knows a little bit about Pacquiao, having worked as the Filipino superstar's cut man throughout much the early part of his career.

DeJesus was last in Pacquiao's corner for the latter's March, 2005 loss to Erik Morales at super featherweight (130 pounds), after which Pacquiao won his next 11 bouts, eight of them by knockout.

A southpaw, Pacquiao has gotten more-and-more powerful as his weight has risen, having stopped his past four opponents, David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and, Miguel Cotto, respectively, while weighing 134, 142, 138, and, 144 pounds.

"Does DeJesus know a little bit about Manny Pacquiao? Yes," said Scolpino. "But we also know that Manny Pacquiao is a different fighter now than he once was. We're prepared, but we're preparing for the Manny Pacquiao of today."

Clottey said that his respect for Pacquiao's power is among the reasons he will dethrone him.

"I have more confidence this time around because I'm taking this fight like if I win, I have bigger things ahead. I have so much respect for Manny, so that gives me more confidence because I respect the guy," said Clottey. "I respect the guy because, if he has the chance, he can stop me. So I respect him because of that, and because of that, I'm more confident."

Conversely, said Clottey, it was his lack of respect for Cotto that led to his demise.

"When I went to fight Cotto, I knew, within me, or at least my thinking was, 'I could beat Cotto because I knew Cotto had not faced a guy like me before.' That was my thinking," said Clottey.

"I didn't respect him like he was going to cause any damage," said Clottey. "So, compared to that, I respect this guy, Manny Pacquiao, because he's stopped a lot of good guys. So, I'm giving him respect, and the respect will carry me through the fight."

Clottey, who weighed out at 154 pounds on Thursday, claims to be in the best shape of his life, and punching with more power than ever.

"We're two weeks from the fight, and that's where I want to be right now. I don't want to come down too much or too fast from sparring because that might hurt you," said Clottey.

"I eat a lot of chicken and a lot of fish. It's African food. I don't eat any other meat," said Clottey. "Sometimes, I have salads -- things that make me strong and to wake up in the morning and go jogging, or which can make me go to the gym and work out. I drink a lot of water and I'm very strong in the gym at work."

In photos, the challenger (pictured above) appears to have a more muscular upper body than ever.

"This is the best shape that I've ever been in. Because, I know that I've got a really tough fight with Manny, Pacquiao. All that you've seen from my photos is from the hard work of training," said Clottey, who a week ago, already was sparring 10, four-minute rounds with a 30 second rest in between and little if any fatigue.

"You know, I'm always in shape. I train even when I'm not fighting," said Clottey. "I play soccer. So when I start training, it doesn't take long. After a three weeks or a month, I'm strong."

And that, for Clottey, has meant more energy during sparring sessions, and, throughout his training overall.

"I've been trainig to do what I have to do. When the opening's there, I'm going to find them. When he's running, and he's moving around, I'll be able to cut off the ring," said Clottey. "When he stops running, I'll throw punches. And when I throw a punch, and he's there, I will be able to land it."

There are some who have questioned Pacquiao's ability to rise from one weight class to another with power, believing that he is on steroids or some other performance-enhancing drug.

Clottey, however, said that he is not among those who believes Pacquiao is dirty.

"Manny is a good man. He prays a lot. God gave him his power. He is a great champion, and this is going to be a difficult fight," said Clottey. "However, I have a plan: Hard punching, back him up, don't let him take charge. I will pressure him."


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails