Big money fight falls through after sides fail to resolve drug testing dispute.
|Pacquiao’s coach Freddie Roach is talking down Clottey’s size advantage [AFP]|
WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao has acknowledged he will need to be on his toes when he meets Ghanaian opponent Joshua Clottey at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on Saturday night.
Widely considered to be the best pound for pound fighter, Filipino favourite Pacquiao is focusing on speed to counter Clottey’s size advantage in the near sell-out bout.
“My quickness will be the key, my speed,” the seven-time world champion said.
“You cannot underestimate Joshua Clottey,”
“He’s a good fighter, and he’s bigger than me, and I have to be very focused in the fight.”
About 41,000 tickets have been sold for the fight at the Cowboys Stadium.
That’s around 4,000 away from a sell-out for the first boxing match at the $1.2 billion stadium in Dallas and Pacquiao said he was looking forward to the opportunity to showcase his skills in front of such a large audience at a new venue.
“I’m very excited to fight in Cowboys Stadium, especially because this is the first fight there,” said Pacquiao, 50-3-2 (38 KOs), who enjoyed a training session in front of several hundred fans.
“It’s an honour to fight in Dallas. I can’t wait until Saturday. This is for the fans. This is my chance to show them what I can do.”
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach was confident that the Filipino’s skill would triumph over Clottey’s strength.
Roach acknowledged that former IBF title holder Clottey, a natural welterweight, has a size advantage over the champion, who began his career forty pounds lighter.
“But I don’t think size wins fights,” he said.
“I think skill does. He may be a little stronger than Manny on the inside, he might hit a little harder, but I think our speed will nullify that.”
|Roach, left, with seven-time World Champion Pacquiao [EPA]|
“He’ll wait for you to throw a combination and then, when you’ve stopped, he’ll throw back,” said Roach.
“So if you stand in front of him, you’re an idiot,” said Roach, who has studied footage of Clottey fighting.
“We’re not going to do that.
“He’s not going to be able to find us.
“Sometimes he uses his head,” Roach said of Clottey, 35-3 (20 KOs), whose first defeat came when he was disqualified for head butts.
“If you fall into the pocket with him, his best punch is an uppercut and his second best punch is a head butt. So we’re not going to go in there. We’re going to fight him at distance.”
The venue promoter Bob Arum said he was eager to hold more fights at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, hoping that Kelly Pavlik, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and other boxers will be at the fight in hopes of getting to become headliners there.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his stadium becoming a top destination would boost the sport of boxing.