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No Match for Manny Pacquiao: Joshua Clottey Elects Not to Fight

By Geoff “The Professor” Poundes

Well, it promised much – but in the end it was nothing but a sham.

At the glitzy Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Manny Pacquiao, 51-3, 38 KO’s,  took every round in a 12 round shutout victory over Joshua Clottey, 35-4, 20 KO’s, thereby setting up his side of a bargain that should see him share a ring with Floyd Mayweather, JR., before the year is out.

Clearly, Clottey is one of those fight fans who doesn’t want to miss the Pacquiao/Mayweather matchup, since he did little in the fight to upset those plans, preferring instead to sleepwalk through the contest offering little more than target practice for the lauded Pacman.

For his part Manny did everything that was asked of him, but he’s increasingly looking like a pawn in a game of financial brinkmanship that is clearly being played out behind the scenes, designed to eke maximum profit from his encounter with Mayweather when it finally, inevitably, happens.

So complete was Pacquiao’s dominance over Clottey that at one point in the middle of the fight he threw a double punch, effectively clapping his Ghanaian opponent on both sides of his head.

This scribe has never seen such a thing in a professional ring, and not only did Pacquiao get away with it (how could he not, since Clottey spent the vast majority of the fight cowering behind a high guard offering no offensive threat whatsoever), but the fact that he tried the move at all demonstrated just how easy he was finding matters, and also that he himself was bored and frustrated by Clottey’s persistent lack of ambition.

The truth was that Clottey made no effort to win the fight at all. He peeked through his guard as Pacquiao teed off, and every so often prodded out an uppercut, but he had clearly decided he was not in the fight to win it, so that when he returned to his corner at the end of the seventh round and was told by his equally disinterested handlers “you’ve lost every round”, it was no real surprise when his work rate remained pedestrian for the remainder of the fight. He rallied in the eleventh to throw three successive half-hearted uppercuts, which Manny took almost willingly, as if to remind himself that he was still in a fight, but then the familiar pattern returned until the final bell.

Doubtless Joshua won’t care what the people think as he counts his money in the aftermath of the fight; he’s played his part dutifully in the Pacquiao/Mayweather soap opera and been paid handsomely for not fluffing his lines in a supporting role as the financiers seek to ratchet up the marketing effort for the “big one”.

Mayweather’s episode, of course, runs on May 1st, when doubtless Sugar Shane Mosley will pick up a similar paycheck at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, for being the fall guy on that side of the equation. Expect Mayweather to come through that “test” as comfortably as Pacquiao came through his.

Clearly the script, which included all the nonsense about Pacquiao’s alleged steroid abuse and Mayweather’s accusations and proclamations, is resolutely on message, and is being developed in the dark and shadowy halls of boxing’s political cliques.

As ever, when there are such vast amounts of cash to be made, nothing can be allowed to upset the apple-cart, and the power-brokers will stop at nothing to ensure a commercial killing.

Don’t expect either that there will be too many dissenting voices amongst the cognoscenti. The media are being manipulated too, but they love it, and you will see miles of column inches in the coming months dedicated to propagating the Pacquiao legend, fuelled of course by manic support in his homeland (which translated in Arlington to an astonishing 50,000 fans packing into the stadium for the Clottey affair).

I’m not sure that those 50,000 would complain even about the pantomime they witnessed Saturday night. Big audiences attend the grotesque spectacle that is professional wrestling, which is itself woven around soap opera story-lines, so that the Mayweather/Pacquiao narrative is nothing new to them.

They’ll have followed along open-mouthed at the steroid shenanigans, gazed in wonderment at the half-hearted lawsuit Pacquiao has brought against his tormentors, and cheered wildly as Manny whaled away at Joshua Clottey’s clam-like arms and elbows for 12 rounds.

There will be more twists and turns in the plot before the first bell rings, all of them coldly and calculatingly designed to separate the unsuspecting layman from
his pay-per-view dollar. HBO’s 24/7 spectacle, hitherto a decent document of each fighter’s internal workings in the build-up to a major fight, will doubtless be hijacked and converted into televisual tripe.

That won’t matter to Joshua Clottey, who got a little exercise in Dallas on Saturday night, and laughed all the way to the bank Sunday morning.

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