Manny Mania has taken over Big D
Story by Jeff Zimmerman
Photography by Robert Hughes
Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2 38 KOs) created Manny Mania at his media and public workout in front of a throng of adoring fans and media types today at the Gaylord Texan Hotel, the home base for The Event: Pacquiao vs. Clottey, Saturday March 13th at Cowboys Stadium.
Dallas Cowboy Owner Jerry Jones has even been swept away by Manny Mania and all the hoopla around the fight held at his new palace.
“It has exceeded expectations, it has everything to do with Pacquiao’s credibility and excitement and I think it has a lot to do with having this fight in a venue that’s got some things, there’s a little ambiguity on how’s it going to workout. I’m anxious to see how this fight looks when their 72 feet and 50 feet above us,” Jones expressed.
Like a true rock star that Pacquiao has become, he kept everyone waiting for his arrival well after the scheduled 1:30 CST start time. But when he laced them up, he showed everyone quickly, how he became a 7-time world champion with his pure speed and power and a megastar in the process. While hitting the mitts held by his legendary trainer, Freddie Roach, he would glance over at the standing room only fans and acknowledge them with a wide smile. It seemed the harder he worked, the more fun he was having. At one point at the end of one of the sessions you could hear this exchange between the pupil and the student:
Roach – “I quit.”
Pacquiao – “One More.”
Roach – “No.”
For Pacquiao and Roach it was like another day at the office, one that consisted of a hard, fast paced workout with lots of joking and laughter.
Both Pacquiao and Roach respect the size and durability of Clottey, although they are not worried.
Pacquiao stated, “He’s bigger and stronger than me, but I’m quick and I’ll be waiting.”
Roach agreed, “He might be a little stronger inside, he might hit a little harder, I think our speed will nullify that.”
As far as Clottey’s strong defense, Roach is not too concerned.
“Defense doesn’t win fights, so I mean if he’s not going to throw punches you know– he’s a got a characteristic where if you throw a combination at him, he’ll wait for you to finish your combination then he’ll throw back. If you stand in front of him, you’re an idiot, I mean, we’re not going to do that. He’s not going to be able to find us.”
When told that Clottey was practicing in camp to throw his hands more, Roach had this to say.
“It’s hard to change of course but if he’s trying to do then that would be something I would teach him also. You know hopefully he has had the success in sparring doing it that would be an improvement for him – I mean then we’ll have to deal with that.”
On whether Clottey is a dirty fighter, Roach quickly responded, “Well he uses his head sometimes but the thing is if you fall in the pocket with him, his best punch is the upper cut and his second best punch is the head butt. We are not going in there – we are going to fight him at a distance and we are going to keep him at our distance. So Manny knows this, he knows distance very well.”
Roach is a firm believer in studying an opponents tendencies and watching tape over and over to find an advantage, “Like reading a book twice,” as he put it. It has been well documented that Clottey’s trainer Lenny De Jesus doesn’t watch tape of fighters and will instead use his experience of working Pacquiao’s corner for 5 fights previously.
Roach found that hard to believe. “If you can watch tape and take advantage of it, if you don’t do that – you’re either lying or an idiot. And let’s face it, like you can learn things and again style makes fights, there is habits and characteristics of people you can take advantage of, you know, you can see speed but you don’t really know until you get in there of course you know. Like when I fought Camacho one time and I got fast sparring partners and when we went in there with Camacho those fast sparring partners were fucking so slow compared to him – I was overwhelmed – so it was a long night but you know – speed is hard to deal with,” Roach explained.
Roach also provided the key to Pacquiao’s success.
He is very unpredictable and that is the key to what we do – because you don’t know when he is coming or going – you know what – Manny doesn’t know either. It’s not designed like that, he’ll break in at the right moment when he sees the opening or it’s more instinct than seeing actually.
Although Clottey is a worthy opponent and a likeable guy the elephant in the room was clearly Floyd Mayweather. While most people may refuse to discuss another fighter a few days before an already tough task ahead, both Pacquiao and Roach shared their thoughts.
Pacquiao stated, “I will give him a chance to fight me.”
Roach was a little more direct, “We will take care of business on Saturday and hopefully Floyd will stop being scared and fight us.”
In attendance to catch a glimpse of the workout were Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin, former middleweight contender Big Sugar Ray Phillips, Boxing Commissioner Dickie Cole and his son Referee Laurence Cole who will be the ref for the semi-main event Soto vs. Diaz.