It's no secret that I like Joshua Clottey. My fear for the fight is that he simply won't be busy enough. It's conceivable that Clottey won't be hurt once, will face no danger, will deflect all of pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao's best punches, hit Pac Man with some memorable shots, and still lose every round.
Judges don't like Clottey's methodical style. He is one of the best defensive fighters in the game. Even if you manage to penetrate his guard, his chin is rock solid. Only one flash knockdown in the first round against Miguel Cotto has sent him to the canvass during his career. The punches that he manages to launch often find their target with authority. He just doesn't throw enough.
Besides his unpopular- however effective- style, Clottey has another disadvantage. He's facing disarray in his corner. He recently parted with his longtime trainer. His preferred replacement is stuck in Ghana due to visa issues. Meanwhile, Pacquiao has the best in the game on his side.
If Pacquiao stops Clottey, I'll be shocked. Margarito couldn't hurt him. Neither could Cotto, Judah, nor Corrales. It would be Pacquiao's best performance to date, if he gets the stoppage. More likely is a knockout the other way. If Clottey can place his punches effectively, especially to the body, he can negate Pacquiao's onslaught. In that case, the smaller, slowed-down, Pacquiao would be open season. But Clottey would have to throw punches to finish the deal.
Whatever happens, I have respect for Pacquiao for fighting a dangerous guy without much name recognition. I'm happy Clottey is getting a chance to show himself on a big stage. I wish both guys well.