This Saturday seven time world champion and a pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao will defend his welterweight crown against a tough challenger, Joshua Clottey at the newly built Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas in front of 40,000 plus fans. The event will be televised by HBO Pay per View. Strong, fast and skilful Joshua Clottey is a very formidable opponent who poses danger to the throne of Pacquiao, but he is not the opponent public demanded to see.
Earlier this year, just when it looked as though the boxing public would get to witness the biggest fight of the twenty first century between two of the pound for pound best fighters, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, something happened… Mayweather Sr. made a public accusation that Pacquiao is using steroids and advised his son not to fight him. Mayweather Jr. requested an Olympic style drug testing instead of regular test provided by Nevada State Athletic Commission. Pacquiao and his camp refused and the fight fell apart.
“It has never been in boxing before that a fighter changed the rules,” said Pacquaio:”It is the fighter’s job to fight in the ring and is the promoter’s job and the commission’s job to make the rules for the fight.”
With each fighter guaranteed twenty five million dollars, no one in their right mind could imagine that the agreement between these two could not be reached, but the cold war of huge egos began and the most anticipated bout in years was off.
“When it comes to performance enhancement drugs,” said Mayweather:” I stepped up the plate. I want to show the world that my sport is clean.”
Whatever his motivation was for the request of Olympic style drug testing, it created a huge doubt in the minds of countless fans, especially since Pacquiao refused to comply. But the war was on with the first real damage caused by Mayweather. Pacquiao and his camp filed a law suit for defamation of character, but that did little to erase the doubts in the minds of casual boxing spectators. “We will knock him out in court also, “said Bob Arum, a hall of fame promoter, who transformed Pacman into a superstar that he is today:” That lawsuit continues on and justice will prevail.”
We are not happy with his [Floyd Mayweather Jr.] remarks,” said Pacquiao’s chief trainer Freddie Roach:” Manny wants to fight him in the future because of the remarks he made. Sometimes when Manny is shadowboxing, he will show me how Mayweather fights and how he will take care of the problem. I’ve never seen Manny do that before. He was trying to ruin our reputation with those allegations but we do want to fight him and we do want to knock him out.”
“Why not just take the test and erase all doubts?’ was a common question among numerous fans that I have talked to.
“I don’t want to talk about or think about blood testing, “said Pacquiao last week during media day in Los Angeles:” I didn’t think I would fight Mayweather because people know Mayweather was not ready to fight me.”
As soon as it was obvious that Mayweather fight was dead, Manny Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum threw a huge counter by signing a fight with Joshua Clottey in Dallas.
“I wasn’t really thinking about this fight at all,” said Clottey during a teleconference:” But I know I can fight anybody and I know I can beat any boxer. It looked like somebody didn’t want to fight. All the guys were talking about Pacquiao vs. Mayweather and it looks like he didn’t want to do it and its good for me. If they didn’t do it, I get in. I feel like it was a blessing from God. “
Clottey is not a superstar, but he is a very dangerous opponent, who is capable of causing damage to a much smaller Pacman. All of a sudden, Mayweather’s back was against the ropes; he could not get away with fighting a smaller hand picked opponent. He needed to make a bold move and that is exactly what he did by signing to fight Sugar Shane Mosley, a boxer many believed Mayweather would never face.
“I want to change this sport,” said Mayweather during Los Angeles press conference to announce the fight with Mosley:” I want to make sure it is clean that is why Shane and I are both taking random urine and blood tests leading up to the fight. I just want to work hard and be the best I can be. May 1 is going to be a blockbuster event.”
The ball is back in court of Philippine superstar.” I don’t really need Floyd Mayweather,” said Pacquiao:” Because what I have achieved in boxing is good enough for me and people know that by comparing my achievements in boxing to his achievements.” Would a cold war with Mayweather and an upcoming election in Philippines be a huge distraction for the Pacman prior to his fight with Clottey? Multitasker by nature Manny Pacquiao thrives on chaos and should have no problems getting ready for a fight with Clottey, because no matter what happens outside the ring when Pacman enters the boxing gym it’s as if he enters a place of worship and everything else disappears.
This Saturday Pacquiao faces a big, tough welterweight from Africa, who is known for his strong chin. If Pacquiao is the first man to knock him out as predicted by his coach Freddie Roach, would that add more fuel to the fire of insinuations against him? Or would it prove that Pacman is a very special fighter?
“As far as I am concerned, he is the best fighter I have ever seen some people may or may not agree, ”said Bob Arum :” If he decides to retire after the Clottey fight and I would hope that he wins the election and I would give him a big party to commemorate his career in the US. If he continues to fight and then retires later I would still give him a big party. To me he is the best fighter I have ever seen. You have to understand, I’m an old guy but I’ve never seen Marciano or Robinson fight in person and I can’t tell very much from watching the film. But that includes fighter like Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler.”
Stay tuned for “The Event” this Saturday as the cold war between Pacman and a man called Money continues. Would the battle outside the ring ever result in them facing each other in the squared circle?