Pacquiao cruises in cakewalk over Clottey
Cowboys Stadium a big winner, too at 'The Event'
Ringside by Jeff Zimmerman and David Finger
Photos by Chris Cozzone
In "The Event" at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 K’s) cruised to an easy 12-round unanimous decision over the strong-but-overly defensive Joshua Clottey (35-4, 21 KO’s). Pacquiao nearly scored a shutout, winning 120-108 and 119-109 twice.
By all account, "The Event" and the stadium experience exceeded the hype with the third largest crowd to witness an indoor sporting event with 50,994 in attendance.
But if a classic battle was the hope, this fight missed by a mile.
And should anyone really be surprised as each performed in typical fashion – Pacquiao threw punches in bunches and Clottey held up his guard to avoid them. Pacquiao out punched Clottey by a 3:1 ratio, so much for Clottey working on letting his hands go more in camp, as his manager Vinny Scolpino said leading up to the fight.
Clottey seemed more pleased for the opportunity he had and the biggest payday of his career instead of mixing it up with the Filipino sensation. It was probably a wise move for the Ghanaian, but took some of the luster out of the evening
Clottey did have his moments at times, with some powerful upper cuts in rounds 2, 3, 10, 11 and 12 that would snap the head back of Pacquiao, but this only seemed to energize the relentless Pacquiao as he would counter with a flurry of combinations from every possible angle.
Pacquiao always felt in control of the fight although he did feel Clottey’s power at times.
“He’s strong, he’s strong. I felt some of his punches,” said Pacquiao. I felt I was in control after the 1st round. He took a lot of punches, he is incredibly tough,” added Pacquiao.
Clottey was very impressed by the speed of Pacquiao and again showed his great respect for him.
“He has good movement and great speed. He’s very fast. I tried to catch him too. He’s strong too. He’s the best pound for pound fighter,” said Clottey. “He never hurt me, he’s fast, but he never hurt me,” continued Clottey.
Pacquiao tried everything in his power to open up the defensive Clottey with clean shots to the body, followed by left hooks and lead rights upstairs. Clottey was hearing it from his corner all night to throw more punches and his trainer Lenny De Jesus was not too pleased in the outcome.
“Joshua had the power to knock Pacquiao out but was reluctant to punch. We clearly got beat; I don’t think we won a round,” stated De Jesus.
Pacquiao’s legendary trainer, Freddie Roach, was also in agreement with De Jesus, perhaps for the first time in a long time. “I thought we won every round,” said Roach. “Clottey’s got a good defense but not enough to win a fight. I am happy with his [Pacquiao] performance. We were in there with a strong fighter, I give him an A+,” added Roach.
Roach was still hoping for the knockout, even if it meant taking a few chances at the end.
“I never take it easy. No, I don’t work like that. I always go for the kill. I was looking for a KO in the last round. Clottey was more in survival mode, where a guy is trying to survive, it’s hard to knock him out,” explained Roach.
Leading up to the fight, both trainers took subtle shots at each other from watching tape of fighters, something De Jesus claims he doesn’t do and something Roach is religious about, plus the reasons for De Jesus departure from Team Pacquiao years ago. After the final bell, Roach and De Jesus exchanged a few words and a quick embrace that finally seemed to put their differences aside.
Although the fight itself may not have become an instant classic, such as the Hagler vs. Hearns or Arguello vs. Pryor, that were prominently displayed throughout the stadium with other classics prior to their entrance, Jerry Jones could not have been happier with the outcome. He sees this fight as just the beginning of bigger and better things. And a June date is already being discussed.
“In terms of attendance, beyond my expectation, the crowd could be special to boxing,” said Jones. I think we could have a fight here that could be beat the NBA All Star Game of 108,000,” added Jones.
Top Rank Chief Bob Arum has called Jerry Jones the greatest promoter in the world, was also impressed by the experience that this stadium provided.
“I have been in boxing 45 years and have never seen boxing presented in this fashion, with all the music, lighting, etc,” stated Arum.
As far as what’s in store for Pacquiao now, only time will tell, with his pending election in his native Philippines. Both Pacquiao and Roach know what they want.
“I want that fight [Mayweather], it’s up to him,” stated Pacquiao.
“Get in the ring and fight us. His style is not difficult. He needs to do his business in his next fight,” added Roach. - JZ
Soto wins lightweight title
In the co main event former WBC lightweight champion David Diaz attempted to regain the title he held for over nearly two years from 2006-2008. All that was standing in his way was former super featherweight champion Humberto Soto.
As soon as the fighters stepped into the ring there was little questioning that Soto was the fan favorite. But many insiders felt this fight had the makings of an interesting contrast of styles. However, the opening round seemed to indicate that Diaz simply had not recovered from the beating he received from Manny Pacquiao back in 2008. Diaz and Soto had a clash of heads midway through the round, but while Diaz tried to jump in from the outside, the counterpunching Soto seemed to be timing him perfectly throughout the round.
Two minutes into the round a short counter right left combination dropped the southpaw Diaz as he jumped in. Although Diaz was up quickly, it was increasingly looking like Diaz simply had a style that was tailor made for Soto. Each time he came in he seemed to eat a hard counter punch.
Although Diaz started to find more of a rhythm in the third, he still seemed to be eating a lot of hard counter shots as he stepped in. Still, it was the first round in which he won on two of the judges scorecards. Soto would go on to sweep the next three rounds on all three of the judges scorecards however, finding an interesting strategy of countering well throughout the round and closing each round in explosive fashion in the final ten seconds.
Diaz knew he had dug himself a deep hole as the seventh round began, and as Soto slowed down Diaz attempted to capitalize. A looping right hand landed for Diaz in the final minute of the round, and Soto was unable to explode in the final seconds of the round like he had earlier in the fight. Soto’s pace continued to slow in the eighth as Diaz continued his effective boxing and moving, and briefly catching Soto on the ropes.
The ninth round saw Soto come back but most ringsiders still thought Diaz won the round as he had Soto backing up and covering up in the round.
Soto came back strong in the tenth to make the scoring tough, but the overall trend appeared to be that Soto swept the early rounds while Diaz was winning the later rounds.
When Diaz won the eleventh round on all three judges’ scorecards, it appeared that Diaz might just have dug himself out of the rather deep hole he was in after the opening rounds. Perhaps recognizing his desperation, Soto refused to concede the final round, and for the first two minutes it proved to be an entertaining affair as Soto and Diaz traded hard shots and refusing to allow the other fighter to capture the advantage.
As the round came to a close both fighters tried to go out with a bang, trading bombs willingly. But as the final bell rang it was Soto who proved more effective, dropping Diaz a second time. Diaz jumped up quickly, but the knockdown would solidify the Soto win on the scorecards.
Judge Gale Van Hoy scored the fight 115-111 for Soto while judges David Sutherland and Hubert Minn both scored the fight 117-109 for Soto.
Fightnews scored the fight 115-111 for Soto as well, whose record improves to 51-7-2, 32 KO’s while Diaz drops to 35-3-1, 17 KO’s. The referee was Laurence Cole. - DF
Gomez retires Castillo
In the second televised fight of the night, former world champion Jose Luis Castillo looked to turn around his career with a win over former “Contender” TV-star Alfonso Gomez, who was looking to position himself for one more run at a world title fight.
But although many wondered if there would be any long term impact of the loss Gomez suffered against Miguel Cotto back in 2008, it became clear that Gomez was still a world ranked contender while Castillo’s best days were long behind him.
The first round started slowly, with Alfonso Gomez throwing the jab while Castillo waited for his opportunity to come in. Although Gomez finished the round strong, it was a rather slow and uneventful round.
Perhaps recognizing that Castillo was there to be hit, Gomez began to put more power behind his punches in the second round. Although Castillo caught Gomez with a short left hook in the closing twenty seconds of the round, it was a very dominant round for the younger man.
Castillo began to close the gap a bit in the third, but the punishment from Gomez from the outside still continued, and a two punch combination to the chin for Castillo proved to be the only major highlight for Castillo in the round.
By round four it appeared that Gomez began to abandon his strategy, and was allowing himself to stand inside with Castillo more. He allowed Castillo to walk in, but responded with punishing combination to the head and body of the former champion.
By round five Gomez seemed to reconsider his strategy, deciding to move a bit more again and using his underrated jab. Although Gomez was without a doubt winning the fight after five rounds, Castillo never appeared hurt, and did have his moments. But it proved enough to confirm for Castillo that his career had come to a close.
Castillo elected to retire on his stool after the fifth round, bringing to an end the fight and a career that spanned nearly 20 years and seventy-one fights.
Gomez, who seems poised to fight for another world title in the near future, improves to 22-4-2, 11 KO’s.
Castillo sees his final career tally now stand at 60-10-1, 52 KO’s. - DF
Duddy wins lackluster 10-round split decision over Medina
Popular Irishman John Duddy, wearing green gloves and green short, won a lackluster 10 round split decision over Mexican Michael Medina in the 1st TV bout of the evening. Judges Mike Mitchell and Charles Phillips had the score 96-93 for Duddy while Judge Arturo Velasquez saw it 96-93 for Medina.
Duddy should be glad that his fight with Kelly Pavlik, who was ringside, never materialized. He just doesn’t seem to have the power to take out top tier opponents. Therefore a proposed fight in June against the son of a legend, Julio Caesar Chavez, should make for a good fight.
Neither fighter was able to take command of the fight, although both tried to push the action at times. In round two, Duddy tried to establish the jab and had a good left hook to the body of Medina. Each exchanged combos in the center of the ring.
During a round four exchange, Medina was warned by Referee Robert Chapa, which eventually led to a point deduction in the 8th round for a repeated offense.
The final 10 seconds of the last and final 10th round provided the most action in the fight as both fighters went for a fight ending knockout. - JZ
Sonsona KO’s Pastrana
Eden Sonsona (19-5, 6KO’s) KO’d the former mini-flyweight and super flyweight champion Mauricio Pastrana (35-13-2, 24KO’s) in dramatic fashion at 1:33 of the 8th and final round in the first fight of the evening.
Sonsona went after Pastrana right from the opening bell and staggered Pastrana with a straight right.
In the third round, Sonsona sent Pastrana to the canvas with a right, left combination in the final seconds. Pastrana got to his feet and the bell sounded.
As Sonsona was a cruising to an easy victory, he decided he wasn’t going to wait for the judges to decide this one.
First, he dropped Pastrana for the 2nd time in the fight with a solid overhand right, but after Pastrana made it to his feet; Sonsona went in for the kill and ended the fight with a devastating KO.
Pastrana appeared out on his feet for a couple of seconds before he fell on his back to end the fight. -- JZ
Marroquin mauls Sanchez
Local favorite and hot Top Rank prospect, Roberto Marroquin (13-0, 10 KOs) made quick work of the tough but outclassed Sammy Sanchez (4-2-1) with a TKO stoppage at 1:36 of round two.
Marroquin, a former 4-time U.S. amateur champ was declared a Dallas Cowboy fighter by Jerry Jones and Bob Arum at the kickoff press conference for The Event. Sporting the blue and silver color of the Cowboys on his trunks, he hit like former Cowboy Randy White used to hit quarterbacks, when he landed two overhand rights to start the fight that sent Sanchez up against the ropes.
A head butt by Sanchez drew a warning by Referee Kenny Bayless and caused a small cut on the left of Marroquin. This apparently got the attention of Marroquin who aptly threw a beautiful left hook that put Sanchez on his butt.
In the second round, two overhand rights again rocked Sanchez that put him down and out as Bayless waived the fight off.
Look for Marroquin to step it up in class as this talented and marketable young fighter could be fighting for a title in the near future. - JZ
Farenas-Morales a no-contest
In an eight round featherweight bout, Filipino bomber Michael Farenas (27-2-3, 24 KOs) and tough San Antonio journeyman Joe Morales (20-13, 4 KOs) saw their fight end in a no contest when a clash of heads in the second round opened an ugly cut over the right eye of Morales.
It seemed a tough break for Farenas, who up to the time of the stoppage was in complete control. The Filipino came out aggressively in the first round, pressuring Morales behind a stinging southpaw jab. Although Morales was never badly hurt, and did squeak in a strong counter hand right to the temple, it was a solid round for Farinas. The second saw more of the same as Farenas pressured the San Antonio native. But a clash of heads after the two minute mark opened up an ugly gash over the right eye of Morales. It was an ugly cut, and the stoppage was academic as referee Robert Chapa stopped the bout on the advice of the ringside physician. Due to the fact that the cut was the result of an accidental head butt the bout was declared a no-decision. Official time was 2:25 of the second round. - DF
Sanchez KOs Villa
In an attractive undercard fight, popular Mexican featherweight prospect Salvador Sanchez scored a dominant knockout over tough Texan Jamie Villa.
Villa came out aggressively in the first round while Sanchez tried to jab and establish some distance. But the pressure of Villa seemed to create a great deal of trouble for Sanchez, who won the opening round but didn’t dominate. However, it would be late in the first that Sanchez would discover his key to victory, upping pressure to the body in the final minute of the round.
The second saw Villa continue his pressure while Sanchez now attacked the body with greater regularity. By the third round the aggression of Villa seemed to be tapering off as the body attack began to show its first sign of taking a toll. Although Villa briefly caught Sanchez on the ropes, Villa spun him off quickly and had Villa tangled in the ropes.
The fourth round saw the aggression of Villa come to a complete halt as Sanchez peppered the backpedaling Texan. A three punch combination to the face of Villa in the closing twenty seconds sealed a decisive round for Sanchez in the fourth.
Midway through the fifth the body attack finally paid dividends for Sanchez as Villa dropped to his knees. Villa rose wearily, but Sanchez punished his body relentlessly for the remainder of the round. As the sixth round started it became obvious that it was only a matter of time. Another body shot sent Villa to the canvas for the count of nine, and although he rose at the count of nine, he clearly was a spent fighter. Another body shot dropped Villa moments later, and Villa failed to beat the count, giving Sanchez the KO victory at 1:09 of the sixth.
Sanchez improved to 19-3-2, 9 KO’s with the win while Villa drops 8-8-2, 3 KOs. - DF
Garcia TKOs Pitts
In an exciting performance, California born super welterweight prospect Rodrigio Garcia scored an impressive second round TKO over local boy Calvin Pitts at 2:40 of the second round.
Pitts came out impressively and caught Garcia with a solid left in the opening minute, but the pressure of Garcia soon changed the tempo of the fight. By the midway point of the opening round Garcia had Pitts backpedaling and a four punch combination upstairs rattled Pitts as the round came to an end.
The second saw Pitts coming out strong again, but the pressure of Garcia was clearly taking a toll as Pitts slipped to the canvas in the opening minute of the round. A seemingly glancing blow then dropped Pitts to his knee at the one minute mark.
Garcia smelled blood and began to tee off on the rapidly fading Texan, dropping him to a knee at the two minute mark. Pitts rose to his feet but was again dropped with a short left hook moments later, prompting referee Robert Chapa to stop the fight at 2:21 of the second.
With the win Garcia improves to 6-0, 5 KO’s while Pitts drops to 5-12-1, 1 KO.- DF
Trevino draws with Hidalgo
In a fight that started off horribly but quickly recovered to entertain fans, Fort Worth’s own Arthur Trevino fought to a four-round draw with Tucson Arizona’s Isaac Hidalgo.
The first round started slowly with Hidalgo avoiding Trevino like the plague and Trevino doing little to press the action. The fans almost immediately began to boo loudly and it appeared as if the fight was on pace to be a ‘stinker’. But the action slowly started to heat up midway through the round and when Hidalgo landed a hard counter shot in the closing seconds of the opening round it became clear that Hidalgo did indeed come to fight.
By the second round a phone booth war began to emerge as Trevino pounded away at Hidalgo on the inside, while Hidalgo fired back with hard counter shots of his own. Few of the shots landed cleanly and it became apparent that this was going to be a classic scoring nightmare. Both continued to brawl on the inside in the third, with Hidalgo seeming to carry a slight edge going into the fourth.
With both fighters knowing they needed to win the final round to win the fight, the came out strong to close things out. Hidalgo moved around the ring behind a jab while Trevino pushed forward. But a solid two punch combination to the body landed for Hidalgo, prompting Trevinio to fire back with an overhand right several seconds later. Hidalgo then seemed to back off, moving away from Trevino in the final minute of the round. Although the Arizonan fought well in the early part of the round it seemed enough to give the round to Trevino. But the fight proved to be difficult to score, as the three ringside judges only agreed on one round. Although Hidalgo swept the opening round on all scorecards (incidentally Fightnews had Trevino winning that round), the fight ended in a majority draw as judges Arturo Velasquez and Don Griffin scored the fight 38-38. Judge Mike Mitchell scored the fight 40-36 for Hidalgo. Fightnews scored the fight 38-38 as well.
Trevino’s record now stands at 5-3-3, 2 KO’s, while Hidalgo sees his record now stand at 6-5-2, 1 KO. - DF