March 13th will feature the return of one of boxing's two current claimants to the mythical pound for pound title. Philipino sensation, Manny Pacquiao (145 3/4) will square off against the durable Joshua Clottey, a native of Ghana now fighting out of the boxing hotbed of Bronx, New York.
Both fighters find themselves in the rare situation of sharing their last common opponent. Clottey lost a very close, controversial decision to Puerto Rican star, Miguel Cotto, just months before Pacquiao annihilated Cotto in 12 rounds at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao has been involved in controversy ever since that November 14th bout, as negotiations between Pacquiao and rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr. fell through after an inability to agree on drug testing procedures. After the Mayweather/Pacquaio fight was nixed, Clottey was able to step into the picture as a replacement dance partner for Manny Pacquiao's March 13th date at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Clottey is a 15 year pro who brings an impressive record of 35 wins and 3 losses into his bout with Pacquaio (50-3). Clottey has faced a murderer's row in terms of this era's best welterweights, but has often come up just short in his biggest fights. Clottey suffered the first lost of his career against former world champion, Carlos Baldomir back in 1999 by disqualification for excessive head-butts. He then ran off a string of victories against B-level competition before losing a unanimous decision against the since-disgraced Mexican star, Antonio Margarito. He then splattered a blown-up lightweight in Diego "Chico" Corrales before scoring the best win of his career in a lopsided victory over Zab Judah in 2008. Clottey capitalized on his strong performance to secure a fight against Miguel Cotto in the venerable Madison Square Garden. Despite a very strong performance, Cotto was the man with his hands raised at the end, despite the angry protestations of an irate Clottey. Clottey has earned a reputation for being good enough to give any fighter a tough night, but not quite good enough mentally to come away with a victory over the division's elite.
He may be in over his head tomorrow night against the whirlwind that is Manny Pacquiao. While he is a very strong and durable fighter at 147 pounds, Clottey will be facing an absolutely horrible stylistic matchup for him in the southpaw Pacquiao. Clottey employs a very straight up defensive posture, putting his gloves up in front of his face in an "earmuff" style of defense, while letting opponents beat on his arms and gloves. It works well against orthodox fighters and orthodox punches, and Clottey rarely gets hit clean. Against Pacquaio, who emphasizes the use of punches from strange angles and a non-stop, relentless attack, Clottey is going to get beaten to the punch all night. While Clottey's high guard works well against the straight right hand and left hook, favorite weapons from orthodox fighters, he will be there to be hit by the overhand left and right uppercuts of Philipino's favorite son.
If Clottey sees the last bell, it will be scored a wide Unanimous Decision for Pacquiao. More likely, this fight will end in the late rounds by referee stoppage as Clottey takes a huge amount of punishment both in the center of the ring and against the ropes.