Boxing’s inauguration into Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas was a success, as a paid attendance of 50,994 fans would indicate. The collaboration between the owner of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, and Top Rank boss Bob Arum to stage ‘The Event’ was pleasant and profitable. Unfortunately, the product didn’t deliver.
“It was electric in there, most people were just walking around soaking it in,” said life-long boxing fan and one of those nearly 51,000 in attendance, Kareem Hoover. “It became more of a social event because the fights were
While true that ‘The Event’ may have been more aptly titled ‘The Social Event’, Manny Pacquiao, 51-3-2 (38), turned it into ‘The Sparring Session’.
Pacquiao, the Philippines answer to Justin Timberlake, Al Pacino, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt, Eminem and any other transcendent megastar you can name, easily disposed of a timid Joshua ‘Grand Master’ Clottey, over twelve one-sided and painfully similar rounds.
Clottey, 35-4 (20) with one no-contest, has now lost his last two fights, and has whiffed on his third opportunity on the grandest stage in boxing. There seemed to be nothing he could do with the tenacious ‘Pac Man’ and as it turned out, nothing is exactly what he did.
“He’s too fast, and he was waiting for me to open so he could counter me,” said Clottey when asked why he was so reluctant to throw anything of consequence, or any punches at all.
Boxing is still a man’s sport and any combatant that makes it to the top level, let alone decides to step into the squared circle, deserves nothing but the utmost respect. That being said, it was hard to find anything positive in Clottey’s performance in the biggest fight of his life. Already notoriously reserved in his activity, Clottey only managed to throw 399 punches over the course of the fight or about 33 punches per round. Pacquiao, in contrast, threw over 100 punches per round for a total of 1231, a new personal best for him.
Pacquiao, who weighed in at a career high 145 ¾ lbs. and didn’t appear to be as ripped as he was for his fight with Miguel Cotto late last year, deserves a large chunk of the credit for Clottey’s lack of a performance. As noted by HBO commentator Jim Lampley many years ago, “Usually, when a fighter stops letting his hands go, it’s because he doesn’t like what’s coming back.”
Though not always landing clean upstairs, Pac Man ripped off lightning fast, powerful combinations all night and appeared to hurt Clottey a time or two with some of his best bodywork in years. Adding a more sustained body attack to the arsenal of an already complete package of a fighter will make him that much tougher to handle going forward. Judges for the bout, Nelson Vasquez and Levi Martinez, found one round to give to Clottey, scoring it 119-109, while Duane Ford had it a 120-108 shutout.
UNDERCARD NOT MUCH BETTER
The televised undercard of ‘The Event’ was not much better. Highlighted by the retirement of Mexican great Jose Luis Castillo, who promptly announced his decision to quit the sport after being punished for six rounds by former Contender star Alfonso Gomez, John Duddy scored an uninspiring split-decision points victory over unheralded Michael Medina. The lone bright spot on the card was the decent scrap between overachiever Humberto Soto and former lightweight champion David Diaz. Soto won a clear decision, scoring two knockdowns in the process, and is rumored to be fighting Anthony Peterson in June on the Miguel Cotto-Yuri Foreman undercard.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
This one is a toss-up between Pacquiao’s Emanuel Augustus-like ‘double-punch’ in round six, and Lampley’s instant classic ‘BANG’ tirade at the end of the eighth round. Lampley, apparently frustrated with the lack of resistance put up by Clottey, spent thirty seconds yelling BANG at every punch Pacquiao threw, all the while mockingly trash-talking Joshua. Odd and cringe worthy as it was, it may have been the most memorable moment of ‘The Event’.
For Manny Pacquiao, a congressional seat in his native Philippines is tempting enough to lure him from his violent, welterweight campaign, into a political campaign. To put it bluntly, whether or not he’s successful in his bid for election this May is of little concern unless politics lure him away from the ring altogether. All the boxing universe cares about is him meeting up with the winner of the fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley on May 1 in Las Vegas. While a fight with veteran warrior Mosley may potentially be the more aesthetically pleasing slugfest, a fight with Mayweather may be the biggest in the history of boxing and the one the world is calling for. After the highly-publicized fallout of the first round of negotiations for that fight fell through over Olympic Style drug-testing, after allegations of Pacquiao using performance enhancing drugs were made by Team Mayweather, Manny’s legion of fans have clamored for him to have an opportunity to make Floyd pay for his words. Whether or not the two parties can clear the drug-testing hurdle, or Mayweather can get by Mosley, remains to be seen.
Joshua Clottey is a talented fighter whose performance last night didn’t do him any justice. He isn’t a top-flight elite, championship level fighter, but he is a solid, world-class welterweight. In many ways, he’s the 2010 reincarnation of fellow countrymen, Ike Quartey.
His options at welterweight might include the winner of next month’s Andre Berto-Carlos Quintana matchup, but don’t be surprised if a rematch with Miguel Cotto for a Jr. Middleweight championship happens at the end of the year. Their first encounter ended in a close split-decision win for Cotto that some thought should’ve gone the other way. Not only is a rematch warranted, but with both men being promoted by Arum, it shouldn’t be hard to get done. Granted, Cotto must first take care of business against Yuri Foreman at Yankee Stadium this June in order for this bout to become a possibility. Cotto has publicly stated that he will not fight past 2010 and closing his career with a championship at a third weight class, and a second crack at proving his superiority over Clottey would be an excellent way to close out a memorable career.