Fight day arrives for Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey
It's a can't-miss mismatch, the disparity in bonding that exists between world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and his longtime trainer, Freddie Roach, and that of challenger Joshua Clottey and his replacement trainer, Lenny DeJesus.
DeJesus says one of the reasons Miguel Cotto lost to Pacquiao in November was because Cotto’s corner was “unprofessional, not prepared to motivate the kid; they panicked.”
Yet, DeJesus warns of the tenuous hold he has over Clottey. He’s serving as trainer for this fight only because Clottey’s trainer in Ghana had visa problems and couldn’t make it to the U.S.
“A corner that hollers and yells too much is no good,” DeJesus said.
Someone asked whether chaos was possible. “Yes. [Clottey] has his group; they like to yell. I told them, ‘You holler, you’re out.’ ”
Then, DeJesus added a stunning caveat to his relationship with Clottey.
“If he listens, I’ve got a winner,” DeJesus said.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao is preparing for his 22nd fight with his nine-year trainer Roach.
“Six weeks isn’t enough to get to know somebody,” Roach said of the Clottey-DeJesus team. “How can they know each other in such a short period of time? I’ve known Manny for nine years. Lenny doesn’t have that comfort zone. Clottey could be very disappointed with who’s in his corner.”
Something to prove: Pacquiao didn’t accept the theory that Clottey has an edge in motivation because he’s in the fight of his life, and that Pacquiao is conversely dealing with a consolation of sorts given the failure to make his super-fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Clottey is "not going to be able to take the fight,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao was asked what fight in his past felt like the fight of his life, when he had the most to prove.
“My last three fights,” he said. “[Oscar] De La Hoya, they said I couldn’t beat him. [Ricky] Hatton was too tough. [Miguel] Cotto was too big.”
Cowboy up: Cowboys Stadium owner Jerry Jones guaranteed $25 million to stage a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout that never happened. He said he bid “$7 million with conditions,” i.e., $8 million, according to fight sources, for Pacquiao-Clottey.
The guest list will be impressive, as Jones said the bout is expected to bring in the largest Cowboys alumni gathering in history, including Roger Staubach. Several current Cowboys will also attend, along with New York Giants owner Steve Tisch, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and Coach Rex Ryan, and perhaps former President George W. Bush.
Quotable: “If you’ve got enough credit, you can go crazy. And that’s what I did with this [$1.2-billion] stadium.” -- Jones.
“We’ll stay out of the way so Texas can shine.” -- Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation official Brian Francis, whose commission did not subject Pacquiao or Clottey to any pre-fight drug tests.
“I asked Manny, yes, and he said no. I said, ‘Do you know what steroids are?’ He knows less than I do.” -- Roach.
“I want the fight to be quick and easy for Manny Pacquiao.” -- DeJesus.
“Compared to who? Compared to [Oscar] De La Hoya, he sings like Caruso.” -- Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum when asked whether he thought the boxer was a good singer.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Manny Pacquiao, left, and Joshua Clottey strike their poses after Friday's weigh-in at Cowboys Stadium. Credit: Larry W. Smith / EPA