MANILA, Philippines –Manny Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach, believe that the 7-division world champion’s speed will compensate for his size when he goes up against the bigger Joshua Clottey of Ghana on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“My quickness will be the key, my speed,” Pacquiao told Reuters, adding that Clottey cannot be underestimated.
“He's a good fighter, and he's bigger than me, and I have to be very focused in the fight,” stated the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion.
Roach, for his part, noted that skill still rules over size.
“But I don't think size wins fights… I think skill does. He may be a little stronger than Manny on the inside, he might hit a little harder, but I think our speed will nullify that,” the American trainer said.
Pacquiao, who has a record of 50-3-2 (with 38 knockouts), will defend his belt against the Ghanaian who has 35 wins (with 30 KOs) and 3 losses.
The pound-for-pound king already arrived in Texas just days ahead of his title defense at the “The Event” fight card.
Curfew, leg problem
Pacquiao’s training camp for the Clottey fight was marred by a reported leg injury. The Filipino boxing sensation already assured that his leg is fine and ready for Saturday.
According to Michael Leahy's article on The Washington Post, Pacquiao felt the pain in his leg three weeks before the Clottey bout.
“Listen, son, we gotta take care of this leg problem now,” Roach was quoted by The Washington Post as saying.
Pacquiao, however, still wanted to jog despite the leg pain. Roach just allowed him to do so on grass or a soft track, not on the roads.
The four-time Trainer of the Year recipient also reminded Pacquiao about his curfew.
He was quoted as telling his ward: “You seem tired today. You are getting up late again. When people keep you up late, it affects your workouts… I'll enforce the curfew if I have to. If you have to come to my house, you'll sleep on my floor.”
“You're the boss,” the three-time Fighter of the Year and Fighter of the Decade replied.
Two more fights
Roach has always been vocal that he wants Pacquiao to fight one or two bouts and then retire while on top of his game.
He said that after Clottey, Pacquiao will most likely face his supposed March 13 opponent, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
“Manny says things to me like: ‘I will knock him out; I will crush him.’ He's never talked like that about another fighter,” said Roach.
He went on to say that it does not matter if the posters say Pacquiao-Mayweather or Mayweather-Pacquiao.
“Mayweather can be first on the posters. He can act like the champion. I'll go into the ring first, I'll do whatever he wants. . . . He can run from me just so he fights in these four corners,” Pacquiao’s trainer added.
Negotiations for the Pacquiao-Mayweather bout fell apart after the fighters’ camps disagreed on the Olympic-style drug testing protocol.