Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pacquiao to start training next week for Clottey

By Jason Kim: WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is reportedly going to start training next week for his fight against former International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Joshua Clottey. Pacquiao was supposed to be facing Floyd Mayweather Jr. on March 13th, but that fight was unable to be saved because of the random blood tests that Mayweather wanted for the fight. Mayweather and his management still have hopes to save the Pacquiao fight.

However, it’s looking like a lost cause unless Mayweather accepts Pacquiao’s wishes to have the random blood tests discontinue 24 days before the fight. The choice of Clottey, who was recently beaten by Miguel Cotto in his last fight in June 2009, might seem disappointing to some boxing fans. However, it works well Pacquiao’s promotional company Top Rank, who also promote Clottey.

Before that, there was talk of Pacquiao fighting World Boxing Association junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman, another Top Rank fighter. Clottey was chosen instead. It might work out to be an easier fight for Pacquiao, because Clottey is a come forward type of fighter in the Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto mold, and best of all, he’s a Top Rank fighter, so this is a plus in putting the fight together. It also gives Top Rank a chance to showcase Clottey in front of a large audience. Even if Clottey gets dominated, it will still get his name out there for other fights in the future. Foreman, 5’11”, would have likely been a problem for Pacquiao because of his height and constant movement.

Clottey has beaten some good fighters during his career, defeating Zab Judah, Richard Gutierrez and Diego Corrales. Those are easily Clottey’s biggest wins of his career. The fight against Corrales was the last fight of Diego’s career, as he died shortly after that from an automobile accident. However, when Clottey has stepped it up against top level opposition like Cotto, Antonio Margarito and Carlos Baldomir, he’s been beaten. Clottey is currently ranked number #1 in the WBA and WBO.

If I was to rank Clottey against the other top welterweights in the division, I’d put him at number #8 behind Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Carlos Quintana, Shane Mosley, Andre Berto, Antonio Margarito and Cotto. Clottey is a good fighter, but he has for some reason struggled when taking on tough opponents like Margarito and Cotto.

The fight could take place at the Dallas Cowboy stadium in Arlington, Texas. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum is meeting with the Cowboy owner Jerry Jones to see if he can work out a deal to have the Pacquiao-Clottey bout take place in the large stadium. The stadium has a seating capacity of over 100,000, but it’s hard to imagine that it will be able to sell out for this fight.

Clottey is a good replacement opponent for Mayweather, but he’s not a huge star as of yet in boxing. It might be hard to promote the fight with Clottey’s last bout being a loss to Cotto. If Clottey had wiped out all of his previous opponents, then I could see this fight being a huge event. But it looks like Clottey will be just another one of Pacquiao’s victims. Pacquiao is a huge star, but it will likely take a big opposing name to sell out a huge stadium like the Cowboy stadium.

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