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By Eddie Alinea

Thoughts on Pacquiao-Clottey
Wed, 10 Mar 2010

Come Sunday, Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, the reigning pound-for-pound king, will be defending his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown against Ghanaian contender Joshua Clottey.

But more than staking the 147-pound title he has been at helm only since last November, his 12-round date with who could be his heaviest and biggest opponent could mean many things.
As in last year when he crossed mitts with British Ricky Hatton, this weekend encounter represents the first major event of 2010 in the sweet science that fittingly, it will be held at the multi-billion dollar giant of an arena named Dallas Cowboys, which, significantly, will be hosting a boxing brawl for the first time since its completion.

Having been named fighter of the year the third time in the last four years, the ?Pacman?, as he is otherwise known, is undoubtedly the face of boxing today what with the prestigious

Time Magazine honoring him with a cover besides naming him one of the richest and most influential athlete in the world.
With an incredible record 23-win, 1-draw,2-loss (20KOs) from 2001, highlighted by six of his unprecedented seven in as many weight divisions, this former ?pandesal? vendor now-based in General Santos City in far south Mindanao is, unquestionably, the hottest contender for the ?fighter of the Decade? honours.

An award he, certainly, would want to be added to his resume when he retires, perhaps by the end of the year or earlier, defending on the outcome of his second bid for a congressional seat in his wife Jinkee?s province Saranggani.
Meaning his hopes of attaining the accolade starts this Sunday against Clottey whose 35-3, (20Ko?s), betrays talks he would be an easy prey to the Filipino?s speed and punching power.

The same weapon he used in sensational victories over the bigger and heftier past victims in legendary Oscar De La Hoya, Hatton and, lately, Miguel Cotto, from whom he took the WBO welterweight belt.

Clottey is as tough as can be, notwithstanding his unfortunate reputation of not being able to win the big one. In the past ten years, his only losses have come at the absolute highest level, dropping decisions to top welterweights Cotto and Antonio Margarito.

Though favored, Pacquiao is in fact in the toughest challenge of his career. Despite having fought only twice as welterweight, this will be the first where both he and his opponent have the potential to maximum 147 lb. Limit.

It?s still unclear whether he?ll return to the sport after the May 10 elections, but whatever the plans are, this fight against the guy from the Bronx can easily come as the best tune up for a date with undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr., a fight that should have been scheduled instead on Sunday before it was aborted. Never mind the proclamation that he doesn?t need the bad-mouthed Mayweather, fact is its realization is still open and that this appointment with Clottey points to that.

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