Manny Pacquiao is aiming for a fifth straight knockout victory when he puts his World Boxing Organization welterweight title on the line against Joshua Clottey on March 13 at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, believes the Ghanian opponent, who has never been knocked out, will be a difficult assignment. But he is confident the Filipino boxing sensation can dispose of him within the distance.
“I think we’re going to get him (Clottey) in 12 easily, but he’s definitely a tough guy to knock out,” said Roach. “That’s our goal, to knock him out and be the first one to do that.”
“It’s a hard fight, of course, because he’s a true welterweight and a big, strong kid, so Pacquiao is going to have to really fight smart with his speed,” added Roach.
To ensure a knockout win, Roach said his ward has to box, in and out, side to side, and be very tactical because Clottey is a strong and big puncher with an iron chin.
Pacquiao, the undisputed pound-for-pound king, stopped his last four opponents — David Diaz, Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. Pacquiao carries a 50-3-2 record, with 38 knockouts.
The 32-year-old Clottey is coming off a controversial split-decision loss to Cotto last June, a fight many thought Clottey won. He has a 35-3 record, with 20 KOs.
Their bout will be fought at the 147-pound welterweight limit. Pacquiao weighed at 144 pounds when battled Cotto. Clottey, a big welterweight known to have trouble making the weight limit at times, has weighed more than 147 pounds in 11 bouts, including twice at 154 pounds.
Pacquiao left for Los Angeles on Jan. 17 to begin training at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
Roach has lined up 154 and 160-pounders to spar with Pacquiao, including German Felix Sturm, the WBA middleweight champion, and Mexican Roberto Garcia, who fights at 154 and boasts a 29-2 record.
Pacquiao started out a 3-1 favorite for the March 13 bout, Examiner.com reported. Bettors need to wager $300 to win $100 on Pacquiao. Clottey will start at plus-270, meaning a $100 bet on him will earn $270.
The Pacquiao-Clottey bout replaced a previously scheduled highly-lucrative match-up between Pacquiao and five-time champ Floyd Mayweather fell through in early January over the issue of pre-fight anti-doping blood tests. Mayweather originally insisted they be conducted right up to the fight, while Pacquiao wanted a 30-day cut off before the bout. They were unable to reach a compromise.
The title fight will be held at the Cowboys Stadium, the billion-dollar state-of-the-art home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had put the facility forward as a venue for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
Promoter Bob Arum is pleased with the choice of venue. “Jerry Jones knows exactly how big and important this event is, which is why it was so easy to put this deal together,” Arum said. “If Jerry could sell me on Cowboys Stadium and the North Texas market, you know he is going to have no problems selling out Cowboys Stadium on March 13.”
Jones said he was thrilled to host a bout involving a fighter of Pacquiao’s stature, regardless of his opponent, and even if the fight with Clottey won’t be the mega money-spinner that Pacquiao-Mayweather promised to be.
“Manny defending his title against Joshua Clottey is not just a great fight, it’s a great event, and one we can showcase to the fullest in Cowboys Stadium,” Jones said. “We’re going to promote this like it was the Super Bowl.”
The stadium won’t be configured for maximum 100,000 seating capacity. They’ll start out planning in the 40,000 seat range, but can increase that capacity if needed.