Can Clottey beat Pacquiao?

The question many are asking is: Does Joshua Clottey truly have the right to be in the same ring as the world’s best pound for pound boxer Manny Pacquiao?

Since Pacquiao’s first win over Marco Antonio Barrera, he has been lined up against marquee personalities in the boxing world like Morales, Marquez, Cotto, Hatton and de la Hoya.  All of whom are not only considered future hall of famers but provide the marketing pull that is integral to make mega bucks fights.

Everyone knows about the failed negotiations with Floyd Mayweather Jr. That fight without a doubt would rightfully stake its claim as the fight of the century.  It was already being compared, even before the deal was inked, to  the Ali-Frazier “Thrilla in Manila,”  Leonard- Duran encounters or the Tyson-Holyfield meeting in terms of popularity, its money-making potential and of course the quality of the bout.  It is of no surprise that many were disappointed that this fight did not push through.

Joshua Clottey, a much lesser known boxer was chosen to take the place of Pretty Boy Floyd.  Some already see him as an easy opponent for Pacquiao, one that the latter will simply dispose of.  He is simply regarded as a fighter not in the level of Mayweather.

Those in the know will say that boxing is a sport where anything can happen.

Joshua Clottey- Boxing History

Clottey may not be popular in most parts of the world, but he certainly has the numbers to face the reigning WBO welterweight champion.

Originally from Ghana, Africa, but now fighting from the Bronx ,New York,  Joshua Clottey boasts of a 35 win, 3 loss and 1 draw record. 

He earned the right for his first big championship fight against Carlos Baldomir after stringing up 20 straight wins.  A lot of scribes say that Clottey was way ahead on points in that fight which unfortunately ended in a disqualification because of Clottey’s continued head butting.

Undaunted by this setback, Clottey forged on to get his first big chance for a world title, this time against Antonio Margarito.   Margarito won a majority decision but the fight was much closer than the story told by the scores.  Clottey was apparently fighting with a broken hand in this fight and the validity of Margarito’s win was questioned after the hand wrap issue was exposed. 

Clottey’s third loss came from the hands of Miguel Angel Cotto.  This fight was very controversial as it ended with a very close split decision going in favor of the more bloodied and visibly hurt Cotto.  Clottey continuously outboxed Cotto using his speed and varied punch combinations. Many thought that Clottey won that fight.

Joshua Clottey has never been beaten via a knock out.  He has only been on the canvas once and that was from a jab courtesy of Cotto.  However, he immediately got up after the flash knockdown and almost did enough to force the round to be scored even.  He is strong and powerful and has taken the best punches from natural welterweights.  It must be noted that he has campaigned in this weight class practically throughout his boxing career.

Clottey’s Strengths

Clottey is best known for his wins over Zab Judah and Diego Corrales.  Two of the most feared welterweights in the most recent past.   Zab Judah’s speed and agility are his most potent weapon s but Clottey had the answer for that. 

Diego Corrales’ distance fighting style succumbed to Clottey’s aggressive attacks.  Corrales’ strategy changed because Clottey was hurting him with punishing body shots.  Corrales had to fight close quarters as he was evidently running out of breath.  Clottey took advantage and disposed of him in spectacular fashion.

Clottey is one of the fastest welterweights around today.  He is able to release punches much faster than any other natural welterweight.  This coupled with his durable jaw provides him with an arsenal that just might surprise Pacquiao.

Pacquiao undeniably is the best boxer, puncher and tactician in the world of boxing today.  His speed is the one thing that all his opponents have not been able to solve.  It is his blinding movements that allow him to connect with so many decisive blows.  But, not so many have taken into consideration the fact that his speed also protects him from getting hit by his opponents.   No one in the recent past has been able to touch him much more hurt him.

It was only Juan Manuel Marquez who has been able to solve the Pacquiao riddle.  One of the best counterpunchers in boxing today, Marquez used speed, intelligence and his uncanny ability to take Pacquiao’s punches that allowed him to truly challenge the Filipino.

Clottey’s Fight Plan

Clottey, it seems, has the athleticism and ability that might allow him to pull a fast one on Pacquiao.

It is impossible for Clottey not to get hit when he faces Pacquiao.  His durability and stone jaw will be put to the test and might just be enough to extend the fight.  If he gets through 4 rounds, his chances will definitely get better.  Clottey needs to be able to add more leg movement to his fight plan.  His upper body weaving and bobbing should be complimented by step backs and pivots just to keep the champion at bay.

His goal is to stay close to Pacquiao hopefully to lessen the impact of the Pacman’s power and to give himself a chance to connect.

More importantly, Clottey must train to throw more punches in succession if he wants to slow down Pacquiao.  If Clottey is used to throw 4 punch combinations he must practice for 6.  If he is used to throw 6, he must train for 8.  He will not get a lot of opportunities to get inside Pacquiao’s defense so he is expected to throw everything he has in these instances.

Pacquiao is the best boxer in the world today.  However, let’s not forget that he was unknown when he faced Barrera for the first time.   His stunning win over the Mexican champion was the start of Pacquiao’s rise to stardom- and Barrera’s downfall.

Anything can happen in boxing.