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Clottey's grand openings

Story by Chris Cozzone
Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank

Joshua Clottey is not bragging about scoring a touchdown when he faces Manny Pacquiao, March 13 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium - the 5-to-1 underdog from Ghana says he knows what he’s up against.

“I know who I’m gonna fight and I know it’s not gonna be easy,” Clottey admitted Thursday via teleconference.

“But I am coming all-out. I’m coming to be my best and to show my power in the ring.”

In what will be his 40th pro fight, Clottey, 35-3, 20 KOs, will be taking on the man most consider the best fighter on the planet. Pacquiao, 50-3-2, 38 KOs, undefeated in five years and the most dominating fighter of the decade, will have all but two advantages over his Ghanan opponent: size and reach.

But even that is not the focus of Clottey’s design to win.

“I know I’m big and strong, but I’m not thinking of that,” he says.

What, then, gives Joshua Clottey any hope of pulling off an upset?

Of everything said on Thursday, between the heaping platefuls of respect Clottey has for Pacquiao, one thing stood out as specific strategy:

“I always see my openings.”

Asked a variety of ways on how he would cope with Pacquiao’s blazing speed, Clottey talked about his defense – and his counterpunching.

“I throw punches to cause damage,” he said. “I know he throws a lot of punches. I know he is sometimes more aggressive. But I throw punches that will connect. I throw punches that can land, that cause damage.”

If picking his shots and having a height/reach advantage may help to level the playing field, Clottey still recognizes that he is the virtual underdog.

“No matter what people talk about, he is the best right now . . . I know the way he do his thing. It’s not going to be easy.”

What was surprisingly easy, says Clottey, was getting the opportunity.

“I was not thinking about it all,” said Clottey. “But it was good for me. It was a blessing from God.”

After negotiations failed in matching up Pacquiao with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., the Pacquiao-Clottey fight came like a bolt from above to many. The subject of steroid testing, however, – the bane of previous dialogue – was, and is dismissed by Clottey.

“I did not want to do that,” Clottey said, about demanding that Pacquiao undergo stringent tests for steroids. “I respect him too much. He’s a nice guy and I feel comfortable around him. I don’t think that Manny Pacquiao do that thing.”

“Let the commissions do their job and implement stricter testing if they want to,” said Vinny Scolpino, Clottey’s manager.

“If the commission finds something in their drug testing, they find it. That’s the way it is.”


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