Does Pacquiao get your vote?
Saturday night sees Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao take on Ghanaian Joshua Clottey for the WBO world welterweight belt, though boxing may not be the only thing on Pacquiao’s mind at the moment, something that opponent Clottey has seized on to talk up his chances of scoring a massive upset when they clash at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
Clottey warnd Pacquino gently
“Pacquiao has three things on his mind : Me, Floyd Mayweather and an election he wants to win.” Stated Clottey, implying that Pacquiao’s sole focus wasn’t on their impending fight, but also on his postponed fight with undefeated Floyd Mayweather, which was due to take place on the same day but which fell through due to arguments between the camps over random drug testing.
Also the fact that Pacquiao is seeking to gain a seat in congress for the Philippine province of Sarangani and will begin his electioneering for that after the Clottey fight.
Clottey’s meaning being that Pacquiao will pay for his perceived lack of focus.
Pacquiao however rebutted such claims insisting. “Joshua Clottey is a very dangerous fighter, I cannot underestimate him. I have to remain focused.”
Januarys press conference…Feel the love!
The tone was a little more confrontational from the press conference in January, where Clottey seemed to be effusive in his praise and respect for Pacquiao, stating;
“I want to think Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach for giving me the opportunity. This is going to be a great fight. I can’t think Manny Pacquiao enough. He’s the best guy. This fight is going to be a hell of a fight. I love Manny Pacquiao. He’s one of my favorite fighters.”
While the ever respectful Pacquiao would only counter with butterfly kisses of his own;
“Clottey is a good fighter and a top fighter. He is bigger than me so I have to prepare hard for this fight and train hard for this fight. We will do our best to give a good fight and make people happy on March 13th.”
As press conferences go, it was hardly spiky. Indeed many boxing commentators lambasted the fighters for showing each other so much respect and it didn’t go any way towards dampening the feeling that the fight everyone really wanted to see on this date, Pacquiao v Mayweather, would have been a far more enticing prospect.
Fast forward a couple of months and there was more raw aggression in the cheerleaders that pranced behind the two boxers during the ‘showdown’ ahead of the fight on Wednesday evening.
Clottey’s plan of attack criticised by Roach
Clottey divulged that he intends to take all that Pacquiao can throw at him, stating “If he’s going to throw a thousand punches, then I’ll block a thousand punches and that will get him thinking I’m not going to back down. I’m not going to go backward. I’m going to stay there. I’ll make him fight.”
Pacquiao’s response was simply that Clottey was a “very nice person”, so it was left to Pacquiao’s trainer Dennis Roach to try and add some spice to the event stating “Blocking punches doesn’t win fights, I think we can stop him in the late rounds. The accumulation of punches he’ll be taking in this fight he’s never seen before. I don’t think he’ll be able to handle it.”
One does wonder if when the bell goes on Saturday night, the fighters will move into the centre of the ring and give each other a cuddle.
A quick check with any of the betting exchanges reveals that Pacquiao is the odds on favourite at 2/11, with Clottey an 11/2 shot. However most boxing experts feel the fight will go the distance with 6/4 against a stoppage in the 1st-8th rounds and 8/15 on the fight going more than 8 rounds.
Indeed the popular conception is that the Philippine congressman in waiting will take the fight on points with depressingly short odds of 85/40 on that outcome.
However, most boxing experts and critics tend to agree that once the pleasantries have been dispensed with and the fight stars, it will be Pacquiao who once again earns their vote as the eventual victor.