x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Target practice for Pacquiao

Joshua Clottey, the American-based Ghanaian, did not even give himself a puncher's chance against Manny Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao on the attack in the 11th round against Ghana's Joshua Clottey.
Manny Pacquiao on the attack in the 11th round against Ghana's Joshua Clottey.

In game shows, points win prizes. In boxing, punches win fights. Unfortunately for Joshua Clottey and the 51,000 in attendance at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas, yesterday morning, the American-based Ghanaian did not even give himself a puncher's chance against Manny Pacquiao, instead preferring to let his arms act as target practice for the WBO Welterweight champion, who recorded his 51st career win with a unanimous points decision.

Most of the questions fired Pacquiao's way in the ring after the bout were more direct than any shots Clottey threw in it, with a showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr, who tackles "Sugar" Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in May, the inevitable subject matter. "I want that fight, the people want to see it," said Pacquiao. "But it is up to him. I am ready to fight him any time. He should win against Mosley. If he doesn't beat Mosley I will fight him." Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, echoed his fighter's call to make the most anticipated fight of the year happen. "Come on Floyd. The world wants to see this fight. Come on Floyd, come and fight us - his style is not difficult, easy to study. But he needs to attend to business in his next fight [against Mosley]." Pacquiao's victory lacked the brutality of his three previous wins, over Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, but the "Pac-Man" will not find many easier ways to earn US$12million (Dh44m) for a night's work than the shift he put in against Clottey, with the ringside judges awarding him the fight 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109 on their scorecards. "He's a very tough opponent," said a gracious Filipino. He was looking for a big shot. He's a very good defensive fighter. I was looking for a strategy to beat that defence, like body shots, uppercuts. It worked." Clottey, who suffered his fourth defeat in 39 bouts, said: "He has speed, but at the same time, I lost the fight. He is fast, he tried to open me, but I was taking my time. But I lost this fight." Pacquiao, in stark contrast to Clottey's "peek-a-boo" defence, launched his usual fireball of punches, throwing a phenomenal 1,231 punches to Clottey's miserly 399. lottey's thrown-to-connect ratio was slightly higher than Pacquiao's; he landed with 108 (23 per cent) compared with the champion's 246 (20 per cent). The tone for the fight was set from the first bell as a raucous crowd, the third highest for a boxing match in America, cheered on Pacquiao, 30, as he danced in and out firing his trademark quick combinations as Clottey stayed back, unwilling to drop his high guard. Clottey, 32, offered a hint of menace in the third round, connecting with seven heavy shots to the Filipino's head, but Pacquiao's jaw stood up to the test. As the fight entered the closing rounds it became clear that Clottey's main focus was to preserve his record of having never been stopped, rather than trying to shock the world by halting the Pacquiao juggernaut. Pacquiao may not have landed many heavy shots, but his phenomenal work rate showed only one boxer was trying to win the fight. Even the most hard-nosed Pacquiao fan would have been willing Clottey to abandon caution in the final round; to leave every last ounce of blood and sweat in the ring in pursuit of the most prized scalp in boxing. It did not happen and would have been an abomination if it had. sluckings@thenational.ae