HBO drops gun-shy Clottey

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

▶ Click Here for Full AFCON Coverage ◀

HBO, the giant TV cable network and a partner of boxing promoter Bob Arum, will no longer tap the services of Joshua Clottey, the unimpressive challenger from Ghana who escaped a knockout loss to defending champion Manny Pacquiao in their recent title fight at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Covering his face from bell to bell and seldom throwing his reputed knockout punches, Clottey lasted the distance, leaving Pacquiao with a lopsided—albeit dull—12-round unanimous decision in retaining his World Boxing Organization welterweight title before a crowd of 50,994, recorded as the biggest boxing crowd in the United States in 17 years.

“He (Clottey) was satisfied with going the distance with Manny Pacquiao,” said a visibly disgusted Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s American trainer. “And he did. But HBO will never use him again.”

“They told me that if you fight for a world title, you don’t go on a survival mode. You try to win the title because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“Clottey will never get another title shot in his life,” added Roach, a four-time Trainer of the Year.

Many sports fans shared Roach’s anger. They felt Clottey, who has never been knocked out in more than 50 fights, was simply afraid of suffering his first KO loss against Pacquiao.

“That’s why Clottey came into the fight with that kind of defensive strategy,” the fans explained. “At least Clottey succeeded, escaping a similar disaster that had earlier befallen David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto—all of whom lost by stoppage to the Filipino boxing idol.”

* * *

Against the heavily favored Filipino champion, the challenger from Ghana was clearly outboxed: Pacquiao threw 1,231 punches to Clottey’s 399, connecting on 232 power blows to the Ghanaian’s 82.

“It looked like Pacquiao was simply sparring,” the aficionados noted, adding “that while Pacquiao was delivering the blows in reckless abandon, Clottey—who was expected to be the more aggressive being the challenger—was merely receiving them.”

“For sure, it was not Pacquiao’s best fight,” said another boxing diehard from my hometown in Marilao, Bulacan.

But despite all these critical comments, Pacquiao, who is due to arrive on Monday from the US, would be getting a guaranteed purse of $12 million apart from the pay-per-view income and gate receipts. Clottey was assured of $1.5 million—his biggest paycheck ever as a boxer.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer