Pacquiao dominates Clottey for decision

Fighting on the star, Manny Pacquiao showed once again why he is

such a star.

With the biggest fight crowd in the U.S. in 17 years cheering

him on at Cowboys Stadium, Pacquiao dominated a strangely passive

Joshua Clottey from the opening bell Saturday night to retain his

welterweight title and cement his status as the best

pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

The fight wasn’t close, and it was never in doubt. It was so

one-sided that even those in the cheap seats among the crowd of

50,994 could tell without looking at the giant video screens over

the ring that Pacquiao was in total command.

One ringside judge gave Pacquiao every round, while the two

others gave him all but one. The Associated Press scored it a

shutout for the Filipino sensation.

It wasn’t as flashy as his knockout of Ricky Hatton or as savage

as the beating he gave Oscar De La Hoya, but there was no doubt

Pacquiao was in command the entire way against a fighter who kept

his gloves up high in front of his face and chose to engage him

only in spurts. Clottey’s strategy worked to keep him upright, but

he was never competitive in the biggest fight of his career.

“He’s a very tough opponent,” Pacquiao said. “He was looking

for a big shot.”

Pacquiao was supposed to have been fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr.

instead of Clottey, but the megafight fell apart over a dispute

over blood testing. He took out any frustrations over losing the

biggest fight of his career by beating up Clottey on the biggest

stage of his career.

“I want that fight, the world wants that fight, but it’s up to

him,” Pacquiao said. “I’m ready to fight any time.”

That time won’t come soon. Mayweather is fighting Shane Mosley

on May 1, and the earliest the two could get together would be in

the fall and only if Mayweather backs off his demands for blood

testing.

The fight this night was more of an event than a real

competition, bringing in the biggest crowd in the U.S. for a fight

since Julio Cesar Chavez fought Pernell Whitaker at the Alamodome

in 1993. It paid off handsomely for Pacquiao, though, who earned at

least $12 million and built on the reputation he has gained as one

of the greatest fighters of his time.

Promoters not only sold out the 45,000 seats available for the

bout, but added thousands more standing room only “party passes”

for fans who could get a glimpse of the action and see every drop

of sweat on the huge overhead screens.

“It’s one of the most incredible stories not just in boxing but

anywhere,” promoter Bob Arum said. “Fourteen years ago he was

sleeping in a cardboard shack in the Philippines and tonight he

puts 51,000 people in this palace in Dallas.”

The tone of the fight was set early, with Pacquiao advancing

against his taller opponent and throwing punches with both hands

from all angles. It was the same style that gave him spectacular

wins in his last three fights and, though Clottey was clearly the

bigger fighter, he fought back only sparingly.

“Everything’s working now,” trainer Freddie Roach told

Pacquiao after the third round. “It’s easy.”

It was easy, too, much to the delight of the crowd and much to

the delight of an entire country back in Pacquiao’s homeland.

There, traffic came to a halt and huge numbers of Filipinos,

including army troops and allied American soldiers, jammed theatres

in shopping malls and military camps nationwide to root for

Pacquiao. In what has now become a familiar scene, Filipinos

repeatedly yelled his name and threw punches in the air after the

country’s boxing hero was declared the winner.

Unlike most of Pacquiao’s fights, this one lacked suspense from

the opening seconds of the fight, when Clottey assumed the

peek-a-boo position he would remain in except for brief spurts the

entire bout.

“He has speed, I lost the fight,” Clottey said. “He’s fast,

that’s why I was taking my time.”

Arum said he wasn’t disappointed in the effort put out by

Clottey, who was guaranteed to make at least $1.25 million.

“What was he supposed to do? If he played offense he’d get

knocked out,” Arum said. “I can’t blame the kid for trying to

wear him down.”

Clottey seemed content to hold his hands high in a peek-a-boo

style through much of the early rounds, trying to pick off

Pacquiao’s punches and perhaps rally late. But he gave away round

after round, despite landing some clean punches on the rare

occasions when he would throw a combination.

“You gotta take a chance,” Clottey’s trainer, Lenny DeJesus,

implored him after the sixth round. “You’re in a fight and you

gotta start taking chances.”

Clottey didn’t, though, and his prize was that he was the first

fighter in Pacquiao’s last six fights to make it to the final bell.

The only suspense when it came time to announce the decision was

whether the three ringside judges would give Clottey any of the

rounds.

Pacquiao threw three times as many punches as Clottey, an

average of 100 a round, and landed as many power shots as Clottey

threw. Final punch stats showed Pacquiao landing 246 of 1,231

punches to 108 of 399 for Clottey.

Clottey had gotten the fight off a good performance in his last

bout against Miguel Cotto, but he was clearly more concerned with

surviving the all-out assault that Pacquiao is noted for than

winning the fight.

“Joshua Clottey had the power to knock him out but was

reluctant to punch,” DeJesus said. “We clearly got beat. I don’t

think he won a round.”

Roach agreed, saying he saw nothing in Clottey to win.

“He had a good defense, but defense isn’t enough to win a

fight,” Roach said.