HBO PPV - Mar. 13, 2010

Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey

Boxing returns to Cowboys Stadium for a championship bout.

Bert Sugar's Pre-fight Breakdown

Mar 9, 2010

Strengths Of Both Fighters

Manny Pacquiao

- Pacquiao possesses faster hand speed--the frequency of his punches registering pinball machine-like numbers on the CompuBox punch meter--along with greater foot speed and lateral movement.

- Pacquiao's ability to throw punches in bunches, almost asfastasyoucanread this, will challenge Clottey's defensive skills.

- With one-punch knockout power as illustrated by his devastating two-round destruction of Ricky Hatton and attested to by his "slugging" average of .717, with 38 knockouts in 53 fights--a higher percentage than several other great knockout punchers of the past, like Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Rocky Graziano--Pacquiao hits harder than Clottey and will present a test for Clottey's supposedly "iron" chin.

- Pacquiao gets stronger as the rounds progress, registering later-round stoppages of De La Hoya and Cotto, having worn both down in the earlier rounds.

Joshua Clottey

- Clottey is a naturally heavier, physically stronger fighter than Pacquiao and could enter the ring at least 10-12 pounds heavier than the smaller Pacquiao.

- Clottey has an excellent defense, one he himself says is "not easy to crack."  With his elbows in close and his hands held high, almost as if he were hiding behind a wall, he reminds boxing experts of Winky Wright.

- Clottey possesses an excellent jab.  And with a 3-inch reach advantage, should be able to reach Pacquiao.

- Clottey is a determined fighter who, in the words of one reporter, has "indefatigable will power.'  Like his fellow countrymen, Azuma Nelson, Ike Quartey, and Ben Tackie, Clottey will be there, in front of Pacquiao, pressuring him for most of the fight.

- Clottey possesses good chin whiskers, having never been stopped and put down only once--that by Cotto on a jab he walked into in the first round of their fight.

Weaknesses Of Both Fighters

Manny Pacquiao

- Pacquiao's amazing ability to leap divisions in a single bounce will be put to a test against the bigger and stronger Clottey, who looks a if he were born at 147 pounds.

- Although Pacquiao has rarely had to move backwards in his previous fights, he will now have to adapt to Clottey's constant forward movement and pressure, needing to give ground before coming forward, a change in style for him.

- Pacquiao's style is one built of offense, offense, and more offense, not one built on defense.  He tends to come charging in, with his hands held low and his chin raised after he punches, giving Clottey an inviting target.
- When Pacquiao misses, he is sometimes off-balance, his body moving faster than his feet can carry him, leaving him susceptible to Clottey's counters.

- In previous fights there has been a question of Pacquiao's focus.  Now, with Manny having declared for political office in the Philippines and the election just eight weeks away, the question of his focus on this fight surfaces once again.

Joshua Clottey

- Clottey is a one-dimensional fighter, fighting in a straight line with little or no side-to-side or head movement.

- Like all forward-moving pressure fighters Clottey takes his share of incoming punches, something he is more than willing to accept, almost as if feeding off of them.

- Clottey has a passive defense, taking his time blocking shots on his gloves and elbows before countering which, if done too often, will put him at a decided disadvantage against the far more active Pacquiao.

- While stamina doesn't seem to be a question for Clottey, his "killer Instinct" may be questionable as witnessed by his performance against Miguel Cotto where he grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory by merely pawing at the half-blinded Cotto in the closing rounds in a game of cat and mouse as Cotto ran away with a split-decision win.

What Each Must Do To Win

Manny Pacquiao

- Pacquiao must throw his 1-2 or 1-2-3, or 1-2-3-4 combinations, then move to his right and to Clottey's left to stay away from Clottey's left.

- Manny must not get overly anxious.  His mistakes are covered up by his blinding speed and power.  However, he cannot afford to get up in exchanges with Clottey, especially on the inside.

- Pacquiao cannot drop his hands after throwing punches, but must anticipate Clottey's counter-punching ability.

Joshua Clottey

- Clottey must use his jab consistently to make Pacquiao spend his time blocking them and backing up rather than allowing him to dart in behind five-and six-punch combinations.

- Clottey must employ some head movement, rolling his head to the side to make Pacquiao miss, then counter, not wait until Pacquiao delivers his payload and gets away.

- Clottey cannot spend the majority of his time just blocking Pacquiao's incoming but must be aggressive and get off first, making Pacquiao go backwards where he tends to run in circles rather than attacking.

(With additional reporting by Steve Small)

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