Pacquiao too fast for Clottey

The boxing world was either surprised or frustrated with the outcome of the Pacquiao-Clottey encounter.

Although the outcome of the bout was expected, 51,000 spectators and millions around the world wanted a more exciting match.  Clottey refused to engage for the whole duration of the fight while Pacquiao, eager to give the fans what they paid for, clearly tried his best to knock Clottey out.

It turned out to be another work out day for Pacquiao.  It was simply a 12 round bag work routine.  Clottey stood in front of him, taking the champion’s punches like a heavy bag would in the gym. 

Admittedly, it was frustrating to watch.  Many pro-Pacquiao scribes have described Clottey’s performance to be cowardice or worst is that he wanted to simply make money and not even try to win.  This may be all true  but I would like to give Clottey the benefit of the doubt and look at the fight this way.

Clottey has always fought with this defensive stance..  Those who have not seen his style will react negatively to how fought Pacquiao but this is how the Ghanian really fights.  Look back even as far as his bout with Zab Judah all the way to the Cotto fight.  Clottey will stand in front of his opponent , his extraordinarily long forearms covering his upper body from the neck down to his waist, and his gloves right in front of his face.  In fact, he throwns his punches from this defensive position.

Clottey is a counterpuncher, throwing either a left upper-cut, left hook or a right straight as his lead punch to start his flurry after the other fighter throws a punch.  He did this so many times against Cotto and Margarito, both fights , though he lost , ended via close decisions.  Even against the faster Zab Judah, Clottey was able to connect with these punches even if Judah used his speed and fought from a distance.

Clottey’s strategy in the first few rounds of the fight seemed to be the right one against a fighter like Pacquiao.  Clottey stood in front of the Filipino and allowed him to throw punches.  Pacquiao on the other hand, is a fighter who loves to throw flurries clearly obliged and showcased his speed and versatility as he kept on looking for an opening.  On hindshight,  and even Pacquiao himself acknowledged, he continued to throw his combinations as he wanted to open up Clottey’s defense but also he was motivated by the fact that the crowd did come to watch his performance.

The tempo of the fight continued on till the middle rounds and it seemed that Pacquiao was getting frustrated and apparently was breathing much harder than norma.  At the 7th round mark, he has been doing all the work.

This is where I give Clottey the benefit of the doubt.  This was where I would think Clottey was thinking of being more aggressive and start throwing punches.  Notice also, that at this point,  although only a handful of punches connected on the pound for pound king, his face was swolen- an indication of how heavy Clottey’s punches are, him being the natural welterweight.

The rest of the fight continued and Clottey was unable to  turn things around.  Two things come to mind:

Pacquiao was the same in round 12 as he was in round 1

He was still moving, he was still as strong and he was still as fast.  Something that Clottey hoped was not going to happen.

It was not that Clottey was afraid to engage, he was just simply outboxed.

At the post fight interview,  Clottey claiming not to be hurt at all (that I can believe as there were not many  clean decisive connections from the smaller Pacquiao), also gave credit to Manny saying that even if he wanted to counter, Pacquiao was so fast that he could not react in time.  Though he knew that he needed to throw more punches, he just could not as Pacquiao never allowed him to.

 I would like to assume that both  boxers came to this fight to win, Clottey most specially.  He won’t get to this level in the boxing world if he ever showed fear or cowardice in his previous fights.  I think that just like all the other fighters who have faced Pacquiao,  their strategies never worked. 

Pacquiao is at his prime,  at this point, one needs a good strategy and the ability to implement what is needed when facing the champion.  The problem is , Pacquiao always comes in with something new and he can adapt to whatever challenge he faces on top of the ring.

Pacquiao was just simply too fast for Clottey.