They say everything is bigger in Texas, but Joshua Clottey’s gloves were not big enough to block all of Manny Pacquiao’s overwhelming punches.
Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) showed Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs), the 50,994 in attendance at Dallas’ Cowboy Stadium, and folks like us watching on pay-per-view on March 13 that the virtue of patience would prove of no value against the most aggressive fight of his career. Clottey’s strategy of keeping his gloves up and only throwing occasional counter punches simply delayed Pacquiao’s successful defense of his welterweight title.
The fight was not as thrilling as his stoppages of boxers like Oscar De La Hoya on Dec. 6, 2008 and Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14, 2009 and definitely not as electrifying as his vicious knockout against Ricky Hatton on the night of May 2, 2009. Despite winning by unanimous decision however, Pacquiao showed the same tenacity with seemingly improved mechanics to cement his status as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
“My fans were expecting me there and I did not want to disappoint them,” Pacquiao said to HBO ringside commentator Max Kellerman. And disappoint them he did not. Clottey’s refusal to give an aggressive fight did not stop Pacquiao from throwing punches in bunches.
So how much faster was Pacquiao against Clottey during the lopsided victory? It could be comparable to a Ferrari racing a Geo Metro, or Olympian gold-medalist sprinter Usain Bolt against every other human being on the planet. The “Pac man” landed about 20 percent of his punches, with a total of 246 of 1,231 punches and threw an average of 102.5 a round. Clottey’s percentage of connected punches was higher with 27 percent, but only threw an average of 33.25 punches a round and landed only 108 of 399.
Despite the Pacman landing just 14 of 549 jabs, he went 232 of 682 in power punches that landed mostly to the body of his opponent. Pacquiao set the tone early, throwing a career-high 57 jabs in the first round.
“He had a good defense, but defense isn’t enough to win a fight,” Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said to Kellerman. Clottey, despite fighting in his peek-a-boo stance all night, landed clean straights and uppercuts that bruised his opponent’s right cheek.
In the final five rounds, however, Pacquiao proved his intensity by accelerating his assault rather than cruising to the victory. During that span, Pac man landed 124 punches against Clottey’s 44. By that point, the Ghana native’s corner had grown weary.
“You’ve got to take a chance,” Clottey’s trainer, Lenny DeJesus, begged after the sixth round. “We haven’t won a round and you’ve got to take a chance.”
The Ghanaian stayed the course however, and found himself on the losing end of a lopsided unanimous victory. All three judges ruled a win for Pacquiao in all 12 rounds but the third.
The resounding win only puts pressure on Pacquiao’s counterpart, Floyd Mayweather Jr., to also deliver a dominant performance against Shane Mosley on May 1. When asked about the blockbuster fight that could have been, Pacquiao did not shy away from the truth. “I want that fight, the world wants that fight, but it’s up to him. I’m ready to fight anytime.”