All of the festivities leading up to what were going to be the biggest night in professional boxing to start off 2010, surfaced recently. If you were in the Dallas area at the beginning of the week of March 9th, you witnessed a great build-up to a welterweight fight between 7-Time World Champion Manny Pacquiao versus former World Champion Joshua Clottey. This fight had all the ingredients to be one for the books.
This event brought in media from all over the world. HBO opened this act with a 30 minute special called “The Road to Dallas.” This special was a lot like 24/7, but I don’t remember them it calling that. The show checked in on both fighters during training camp. At the beginning it showed footage of Joshua Clottey in his homeland Ghana, Africa.
Afterwards, it showed Clottey leaving his Brooklyn, New York, apartment where he now resides, going for a jog before daybreak in the a.m. It then, switches to Manny Pacquiao’s homeland in the Philippines. Then, you see Pacquiao at The Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles where he trains. He and Hall of Fame Trainer Freddie Roach go through some boxing techniques.
These scenes quickly change to both fighters walking on the field of Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Both fighters were surrounded by the Famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and media. Owner of the Cowboy Stadium, Jerry Jones grabs both fighters by the arms and raise them up high to let fights fans all over the world know “this bout is official”, the fight is on…
Jerry Jones seemed to really enjoy having a boxing event take place at his stadium. He and Top Rank Promoter, Bob Arum seemed to have established a really good relationship. They both seems to be two shrewd businessmen “who knows how to make a buck” during these challenging economic times.
A couple of days leading up to the fight in Dallas were electrifying. The buzz around most sporting venues regarding this event was loud. What seemed to be just an average fight from the beginning, turned into something spectacular. This boxing event created excitement all around Big-D and around the world.
With the combination of boxing icon; Manny Pacquiao and Jerry Jones with his new billion dollar toy; The Cowboy Stadium, we all knew that the end results would be big. I must admit in my opinion, if this same fight is fought in Las Vegas or Atlantic City this fight probably would not have come close to the PPV numbers it put up this weekend, especially the gate.
Leading up to the weigh-in on Friday afternoon the excitement level soared for fight fans. Manny Pacquaio weighed in at 145 ¾ pounds, and Joshua Clottey came in at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. At weigh-in these two fighters tried to be serious, but they could not! There was NO bad blood between these two. They seemed more like best friends than opponents; getting ready to fight in a boxing match of this magnitude.
The crowds came in from all over to see what was suppose to be the big showdown, to start the year off for professional boxing.
Jerry Jones was expecting around 45,000 to show up for this event. But, after all was said and done, there were just over 50,000 in attendance. That was a lot more than anyone imagined, being that very few knew who Joshua Clottey was, going into this fight. This was great marketing on the behalf of Jerry Jones and Bob Arum to turn the volume up on this event.
The undercards to start this event were very boring. I thought watching 2-Time World Champion, Jose Luis Castillo against top 10 contender, Alfonso Gomez would light up some fireworks before the main event. It never happened! The only excitement so far was the arena itself. The lights and the big screen standing about forty-feet above the ring was the attraction, not the fighters.
While watching the fight, I had a gentlemen sitting next to me who was a professional bowler. He told me that he was in town for the weekend, participating in a bowling tournament. He had just finished bowling that afternoon and decided to stay in town to watch the fight.
What was funny to me was when Manny Pacquiao began his ring entrance; he walked out to the theme song, “Eye Of The Tiger” from the movie “Rocky III.” The guy sitting next me yelled out, very loud, “You can’t do that,” you can’t come out on that song, “that song is for an American.” No way, he yelled…over and over again. Only one person can do that, and that person is “Rocky”, he screamed at the top of his voice. The guy looked at me and said “Can you believe this S#@*?”
Well… I thought to myself “here is the excitement I’ve been looking for,” not knowing that it wouldn’t get much better than that.
When the first bell rang for round one, I could see the level of excitement throughout the arena. Manny Pacquiao came in as usual, but somewhat cautious. He threw punches and Joshua Clottey did what he does best, and that’s cover up. Pacquiao showed no fear of Clottey’s size advantage.
Round two was more of the same. Clottey fought from the same shell he usually fights from. I noticed he was more cautious in this fight than ever before. I predicted Clottey would fight from a shell for the first three rounds, just to evaluate Pacquaio’s power. Then he would open up and go to war with the smaller man. However, to my surprise Clottey fought from that defensive shell for the entire fight.
Whenever Clottey threw punches they seemed to land clean on Pacquiao, but there were too few thrown. My prediction of this fight was the worse prediction I’ve made for any fight. Not to brag, I’ve always been close in my prediction of most boxing matches, if not right on the money. This one left me hanging in the “Twilight Zone.”
Pacquiao brought the fight to Clottey as best he could; throwing some 1200 punches, but it takes two to make a good fight. Any fighter that depends on defense alone to win a fight is crazy and delusional. I must say a fighter of Joshua Clottey’s caliber, who gets the opportunity of a lifetime and let it slips right through his hands gets very little respect from me.
Unless somehow there were more millions poured on top of his original purse, to put up a “defense only” fight to protect boxing cash cow (Pacquiao), and what lies ahead for him down the road. I’m not saying that happened, but the right amount of money usually changes the mind of most!
I just recently read an article from someone who interviewed Joshua Clottey right before the fight and quoted him as saying; “In the end, it’s all about the money.” I guess there is some truth to that. It’s been said by many in this sport that, “if it don’t make money, it don’t make sense.”
I walked away hoping I would have witnessed a showdown between these two fighters, but in the end it was mostly hype. I must admit I’ve seen better fights on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights for free.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather, JR., and “Sugar” Shane Mosley will meet up May 1st at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for what is suppose to be the biggest fight of 2010. Maybe this fight will bring all the goods, we the fight fans desire in a big mega fight.
Until then, Manny Pacquiao can set back and relax, because he has earned his spot at the top. There can only be great things ahead for him, because the welterweight division is the division to be in these days. Mayweather, Mosley and Pacquiao are the true faces of the welterweight division. In my opinion, they are carrying this division very well.