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THE EVENT: Will Pacquiao be the first to stop Clottey?


PhilBoxing.com




When Manny Pacquiao fought British Ricky Hatton last year, the then reigning world junior-welterweight champion had never been knocked down fighting in the 140pound division.

The Filipino sensation sent Hatton to the canvas, not only once but thrice, the first two right in the opening bell on the way to a sensational second round dethroning of the bigger and heavier British to capture the sixth of his historic seven world titles in as many weight classes.

Today the 31-year-old Pacquiao stakes his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown against former champion Joshua Clottey of Ghana, who boasts of a distinction of not having kissed the floor in his previous 38 bouts of a rather roller-coaster career, winning 35, 20 of which via knockouts.
Can Pacquiao do to Clottey, definitely a taller, heavier and heftier slugger what he did to Hatton and become the first man to deal the Ghanaian his first loss via stoppage?
Or can Clottey cut short the Filipino?s winning streak to 50, 38 of them via KOs, deal Pacquiao his fourth loss and stash away with the title in addition to his biggest earning ever?

The fight will be held at the spanking $1.2 million Dallas Cowboys? Stadium built for the NHL but will start venturing on big time boxing in this biggest event in sweet science this year fittingly titled ?The Event.?
?The Event? actually got underway Friday (Saturday in Manila) with the weigh-in ceremony held before a jampacked crowd, including members of Team Pacquiao and Team Clottey.
Pacquiao checked in at a chiseled 145 ? lbs, while the finely-tuned Clottey weighed in at the division limit of 147 lbs..

At stake is the WBO welterweight title Pacquiao took from Puerto Rican Miguel, whom he dethroned via a violent 12th round stoppage TKO last November.
On the strength of his four-straight stoppage victories the past two years that earned for him the mythical pound-for-pound king over Juan Diaz ((9th round), Oscar De La Hoya (9th round), Hatton (2nd) and Clotto (12th), Pacquiao has been installed heavy favorite to keep the title and go home to start campaigning for a congressional he is seeking in Sarangani province this May 10.

That triumphant march following a split decision verdict over Juan Manual Marquez that, likewise, gave him the moniker ?the Mexican Assassin?, led the Filipino southpaw to his third ?Fighter of the Year? award in 2009 by the Boxing Writers Association of America besides establishing himself, too, as the biggest draw in the sport today.

After romping off with a piece of the 140-lb title at the expense of Zab Judah August of 2008, Clottey, on the other hand lost his lasts fight to Cotto via a controversial 12-round decision nine months ago.
Clottey will be playing plays the role of a happy accidental challenger hoping to cash in on this lifetime opportunity to earn his biggest purse ever coming on the heels of a nine-month layoff.
Clottey?s luck came about after plans for a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr.showdown fell through due to an unresolved dispute over the handling of drug tests. Clottey could be, as he promised, determined to burn, but how long he can against Pacquiao?s master of the challenger's limited skills and straightforward approach, only chief trainer Freddie Roach knows.
Roach, for instance has already spotted all of Clottey?s bad habits like his tendency to remain stationary while covering his face with his gloves and leaving the body open defensively.

That could spell trouble against a busy fighter like Pacquiao who fires punches from so many angles and blurs the line between offense and defense so effectively. The challenger can eat leather all night, but it's Pacquiao's work downstairs that will set the stage for the first stoppage of Clottey's career.
No additional drug testing beyond what?s required by the Texas Boxing Commission has been demanded by either the Pacquiao or Clottey camp.

A crowd of 45,000 is expected to file in to the newly renovated state of the art Cowboys Stadium, a testament to Pacquiao?s drawing power alone. This because of the fact, except for features written about him in the course of the matchup, Clottey is only known in hardcore boxing circles.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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