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Monday, March 15, 2010

How, why Pacquiao failed fans

Manny Pacquiao on Sunday made a classic demonstration of why he’s the greatest boxer in the world, but there’s the danger of his unanimous decision victory over Ghanaian Joshua Clottey in Texas being junked from a collection of his finest fights.

Majority of sulking Filipino fans did not want to have anything to do with what they called a boring, tasteless bout.

In fact, fight fanatics out there in Metro Manila’s wet markets were unanimous in rating Pacquiao’s points win—his first after four successive knockouts—a great letdown.
Not a few also left viewing venues in a huff, feeling shortchanged, if not totally cheated.
They came expecting another sensational stoppage.

They failed to get what they wanted.

These innocent fans were, of course, being unfair to themselves.

How and why?

Pacquiao did not deliver another perfect performance, as trainer Freddie Roach would admit.
But the Clottey conquest fell only a few punches short of becoming another prizefight masterpiece.

If Pacquiao failed, it was in not being able to live up to his comics-book superman image, as he was peddled by jaded American boxing merchants.

Truth is that he rose nobly above Yankee automatons that would mangle and stop foes at a drop of an American coin.

In passing a very grim test, Pacquiao relied not solely on superior speed, power and skills.
He also rode on courage, patience, maturity and unassailable gallantry.

From a feared Pacific storm, the Clottey challenge turned Pacquiao into a pure Filipino warrior who was forged in fire.

There was nothing fancy, nothing borrowed.

Yes, the quiet, well-rounded win over Clottey may yet go down as Pacquiao’s most relevant fight.

So what if he failed to score another knockout?

The degree of difficulty alone should readily install that fight among the top three in the Pacquiao classics, worthy of a double-10 score if it were in gymnastics.

Now, this is not to say that the initial poor review and refusal of the Pacquiao-Clottey bout by fans was shallow and myopic.

But, just like tourists who would first study a little art before going to the top museums in Europe disappointed local fight fanatics might have to start brushing up on boxing basics.
“Pacquiao was a blur, a meteor that hurtled from the slums all the way up to all-time greatness following that Clottey conquest,” wrote one American fight critic in the league of the great Michael Marley of

It’s not exactly a case of Filipinos failing to fully enjoy and appreciate a gem of a feat delivered by the greatest RP boxer out of sheer ignorance.

But isn’t Pacquiao also to blame for having spoiled his ever-hoping countrymen with a knockout after knockout after another knockout?

By: Recah Trinidad

Roach: Clottey blew his chance

HOLLYWOOD – On the road to Dallas, Joshua Clottey described his date with Manny Pacquiao as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

He got it but blew it.

“I would rather get knocked out trying to win than going the distance,” said Freddie Roach Sunday, the day after the fight, the day after Clottey played hard to get and unanimously lost to Pacquiao.

Clottey kept his gloves glued to his face all night to avoid getting hurt. But by doing so, he also threw away any chance to win the fight and be first fighter to beat Manny Pacquiao in nearly five years.

Roach, who flew with Pacquiao on a chartered plane from Dallas to Los Angeles Sunday, said Clottey will pay the price.

“He was satisfied with going the distance with Manny Pacquiao. And he did. But HBO will never use him again. They told me,” said the American trainer, who was more frustrated than disappointed that Clottey chose to cover up the whole time.

“Manny fought a very good fight and it’s hard to knock somebody who doesn’t want to win a fight, just trying to survive and that’s what the guy was doing,” said Roach, who would have thrown the stool at Clottey, in front of nearly 51,000 fans, if he were his trainer.

“If I was his trainer, I would have told him to engage a lot more because that’s the only way to win fights. He had some success because he hit Manny with more right hands that I anticipated,” he said.

But Roach was on the other side of the fence, and in there with the 33-year-old Ghanaian was Lenny de Jesus, a former Pacquiao cutman, who after the fight admitted that Clottey would have done better if he threw more punches.

De Jesus said he felt they lost every round even if two of the three judges gave him the third round.

Roach can’t tell what really went through the mind of Clottey inside the ring that he decided against engaging Pacquiao head-on when he said in the days leading to the fight he would be there “all the time” and make Pacquiao “fight.”

“He is a nice man but if you fight for a world title, it comes once in a lifetime and I expected him to try to win the fight but he was happy with just surviving. Overall, I am very happy with our win. He won overall,” said Roach.

Clottey did get away with some good punches, and throughout the fight, The STAR, almost an arm’s length away from Roach in the corner, noticed that he looked a little worried, hand on chin.
He said he wasn’t.

“I was never worried. I was frustrated trying to figure out how to open this guy up. It could have been a more dangerous fight trying to open him up. But he just wouldn’t do it. The only time that we could hurt him was when he was punching,” he said.

“That’s the only time he was available to get hit. But he wouldn’t fall for the traps we set.
Roach felt that in the seventh round Pacquiao’s punches, most of them to the body, were taking their toll on Clottey.

“If you fight for a world title, you don’t go on a survival mode. You try to win the title because you know one it’s a once in a lifetime. He’ll never get another title shot in his life,” Roach said.
He was asked if there was any time during the fight where he thought they would knock Clottey out.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Or (there were times) he could have knocked us out, too.”

Too bad for Clottey, he never wanted to.

By: Abac Cordero
Source: The Philippine Star
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Pacquiao-Cotto rematch?

LOS ANGELES — Fight fans might end up seeing a rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto this year.

In the event, talks for a megabuck matchup between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. remain in the freezer, another marquee name might be tapped to step up the plate and challenge the Filipino pound-for-pound king.

Pacquiao had dealt Cotto a terrible beating when they fought at welterweight (147 lbs) late last year but the Puerto Rican is not hanging his gloves since he is booked to face Yuri Foreman for the world super-welterweight (154 lbs) in June at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Should Cotto prevail over Foreman, who stands 5-11 and rangy, Top Rank might be enticed to pit Pacquiao and Cotto for the second time. Cotto, Foreman, and Pacquiao are under the promotional of Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.

When Cotto fought Pacquiao, the agreed weight limit was 145 lbs, making it intriguing for fight fans to know what would happen if the two slug it out in a new and heavier division.

During a chance encounter with the Bulletin at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas over the weekend, Cotto said he would seriously consider a second meeting with Pacquiao at a higher division.
Cotto, joined by his PR man Bryan Perez and counsel Gaby Penagaricano, were at ringside when Pacquiao beat Joshua Clottey.

“Yeah,” said Cotto when told about the what ifs.

Pacquiao has been credited for winning seven world titles in as many weight classes and it is not unforeseen for him to be given a crack at an eighth world title if the much-anticipated clash with Mayweather doesn’t happen.


Pacquiao marches on as true star of boxing

ARLINGTON, Texas — The fight was long over and most of the biggest crowd to see a fight in the U.S. in 17 years had found their way out of massive Cowboys Stadium.
Manny Pacquiao had easily disposed of a timid Joshua Clottey, and now he had a concert to perform.

There was only a few minutes to talk about Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his run for congress in the Philippines in May. The postfight party awaited, and once more the star was ready to perform.

"The first song I'm going to sing is "La Bamba,"' Pacquiao said.

It's a good time to be Manny Pacquiao, and Texas proved to be a good host to the hottest fighter around. Nearly 51,000 made their way into the edifice built by Jerry Jones to watch him fight Saturday night and few seemed to leave disappointed, even if Clottey's reluctance to mix it up deprived them of a spectacular fight.

Pacquiao won every round on one judge's scorecard and all but one on the other two. By the time they count all the pay-per-view receipts he'll probably head home at least $15 million richer, and he didn't have to put up with Mayweather's antics to make another huge payday.

The fight that never was may still happen, perhaps in November, perhaps at Cowboys Stadium. Pacquiao made it clear he still wants it, and both his trainer and promoter seem to want it even more badly than the fighter himself.

"We will crush him," trainer Freddie Roach said.

It wasn't an idle boast, and it wasn't a way to hype the fight because it doesn't need hyping. Before it fell apart over Mayweather's insistence on blood testing, the bout was supposed to have taken place Saturday night and likely would have been the richest ever in boxing.

But Mayweather must first now get past a fight of his own, a May 1 bout against Shane Mosley that may be his toughest yet. And promoter Bob Arum made it clear that there will be no negotiations this time around about any sort of blood testing no matter how much Mayweather might try to raise the point.

There clearly isn't any need for Pacquiao's camp to bend on the issue. Any thought that Mayweather diminished his popularity when he insinuated Pacquiao must be juiced to have won titles from 112 to 147 pounds evaporated when they opened the doors at Cowboys Stadium and throngs of people poured in hours early for the party.

Pacquiao did the best he could to force the issue, throwing punch after punch after punch -- more than 1,200 in all.

Someone who managed to get a microphone at the postfight news conference congratulated Clottey for making it through 12 rounds, and asked him what his secret for success was.
"Manny Pacquiao is beating everybody," Clottey said. "He's knocking them out. I have to do what I can and I think I did my best."

Arum didn't seem to mind that he had just paid someone $2 million to go into a shell.
"What was he supposed to do?" Arum said. "If he played offense he'd get knocked out."
This was a freebie for Pacquiao, and one he had probably earned. It's hard to blame him for having an opponent just trying to stay upright, not after what he did to Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto in his previous three fights.

This, apparently, is what it has come to with Pacman. No longer just content to beat fighters he's now a 145 3/4 pounds of sheer intimidation, kind of a junior Mike Tyson who takes on his business with a smile instead of a scowl.

He's so good that a very good and veteran practicer of the sweet science decided that it was better to survive intact than go down in a blaze of glory. So good that there wouldn't be any question about his place on boxing's hierarchy if there wasn't this annoyance named Floyd Mayweather.

So good that the only worry in his camp is that he will actually win a seat in congress back home and not fight anymore.

The glow of his latest win had even his tough guy trainer speaking fondly about the fighter he has helped transform a tough sport.

"I'm just happy to be a part of Manny Pacquiao's life," Roach said.

By: Tim Dahlberg, AP Sports Columnist

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pacquiao first southpaw to beat Clottey

ARLINGTON, Texas—Lenny DeJesus, a 64-year-old multi-skilled ring craftsman, always says things as he sees it.

He was disappointed that his ward Ghanaian Joshua Clottey, was readily beaten by the smaller, lighter Manny Pacquiao on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

“Joshua had the power to knock him out, but he was reluctant to punch,” said DeJesus during the post-fight press conference. “He clearly got beaten.”

Fact is, DeJesus, who has worked with Pacquiao’s corner from 2003 to 2005, believes the three judges were thoroughly fair handing Pacquiao a unanimous decision verdict.

“I think we lost all rounds,” said DeJesus, who served as Pacquiao’s cutman against Emmanuel Lucero, Marco Antonio Barrera, Fahsan 3K Battery and Erik Morales.

The first four matches ended up in victories, but Morales thwarted a bloodied Pacquiao on March 19, 2005.

Though Pacquiao was mainly a left-fisted knockout artist then, DeJesus, who had also worked as stool boy, bucket boy and trainer, already knew that he was a “special fighter, a throwback from the old days when fighters were true fighters.”

Before he was named as Clottey’s head trainer, DeJesus was even quoted in some reports as saying that “the only guy who can beat Pacquiao is Pacquiao himself.”

Well, DeJesus’ words turned out to be prophetic.

Pacquiao dominated Clottey from the opening bell and many of Clottey’s connections occurred when Pacquiao tried to prove to the Ghanaian that he can also take punches from a big, legitimate welterweight.

DeJesus was even cautious in his pre-fight predictions, saying that they only have 75 percent chances to win.

As I turned out, it was virtually nil.

By: Roy Luarca
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Pacquiao throws 1,231 punches; Clottey 399

ARLINGTON, TEXAS—Boxing pundits were right after all. Manny Pacquiao will overwhelm Joshua Clottey with the sheer volume of punches.

Pacquiao, his fists working like pistons, unleashed a staggering 1,231 punches to retain his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown by unanimous decision at the Cowboys Stadium here.
The Ghanaian was clearly outgunned as he managed to throw 399, less than one-third of the Filipino icon’s total.

Pacquiao landed 232 power punches, almost three times the number Clottey managed (82). No surprise there, considering Pacquiao had 682 attempts as against Clottey’s 237.

Pacquiao threw 549 jabs, connecting on only 14, for a miserable conversion rate of three percent. In contrast, Clottey jabbed 162 times and landed 26 for 16 percent.

Against David Diaz, from whom Pacquiao wrested the World Boxing Council lightweight title in 2008 by stoppage in the night round, the Filipino unloaded 788 punches and connected on 230 for a 29-percent accuracy.

Against Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, from whom he wrested the WBO title, Pacquiao threw 780 punches and connected on 336 for a lofty 43-percent accuracy.

In his two-round demolition of Ricky Hatton last May, Pacquiao sent home 73 of 127 shots for an amazing 57-percent rate.

The Filipino superstar was also impressive in his eighth-round stoppage of Oscar De La Hoya on Dec. 6 as he landed 274 of 575 punches.

By: Roy Luarca
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

'Speed decided fight's outcome'

ARLINGTON, TEXAS—Manny Pacquiao’s speed was the single factor that spelled defeat for Joshua Clottey Saturday night (Sunday in Manila) at the Cowboys Stadium here.

“He’s very, very fast,” explained Clottey during the post-fight press conference. “I tried to catch him, but he always manages to move out. He’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.”
Unlike his previous three losses to Carlos Baldomir, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto, which he deemed disputable, Clottey admitted that Pacquiao did beat him.

“I lost a fight for the first time,” said the 32-year-old Clottey. “I’m ready to face all the big names in the (welterweight) division.

“I’m ready to move on. I’ll be back,” said Clottey, who admitted that he had to reduce a lot going into the final week to make the weight.

“But 147 is where the people are.”
Clottey, however, insisted that he never felt Pacquiao’s power and that he only leaned on the ropes sometimes to relax.

“He never hurt me. He’s fast that’s why I’m taking all his punches.”

According to Clottey, he did his best but fell short due to Pacquiao’s ability to slip out when he tried to cut off the Filipino icon.

If given another crack at Pacquiao by Bob Arum, who promotes him and Pacquiao, Clottey said he’d take it.

“Yes, of course. I’m from a faraway place. It’s been a long journey. I will fight anybody.”
For now, however, Pacquiao has got all his respect.

By: Roy Luarca
Photo Credit : Chris Farina - Top Rank

Floyd needs to get past Mosley first - Pacquiao

ARLINGTON, Texas—Mission accomplished, Manny Pacquiao is now calling out on Floyd Mayweather Jr. to do his part against Shane Mosley so that their aborted megabuck showdown would push through.

Pacquiao came out firing on all cylinders to trounce Joshua Clottey by unanimous decision Saturday night and keep his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown before a packed Cowboys Stadium here.

But then again, Mayweather has to get past fellow American Mosley first on their battle for the World Boxing Association welterweight crown on May 1.

“I want that fight,” said Pacquiao, to the roar of the 50, 944 crowds that trooped to the $1.2 billion facility. “The people want that fight.”

It was the third biggest attendance in modern day boxing, surpassed only by the 72, 000 that watched Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks at the Superdome and the 60, 000 that witnessed the Julio Cesar Chavez-Pernell Whitaker tiff at the Alamodome in San Antonio, texas.

Pacquiao, named Fighter of the Decade, added it was up to Mayweather to accept the challenge that would settle the score on who’s the greatest fighter of this generation. The seven-time, seven-division champion Pacquiao or the unbeaten Mayweather from whom Pacquiao took over the pound-for-pound king label.

“Its up to him (Mayweather),” said Pacquiao. “to us there’s no problem. We’re ready to fight anytime. Maybe he’s not ready to fight yet. Maybe some other time.”

Pacquiao, however, hinted that he would not wait forever as there are other opponents being lined up by his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank like former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito. There’s also Mosley, who has been dying for a shot at Pacquiao.

“He should win against Mosley. If not, Mosley and I will fight,” said Pacquiao.

Later, during the post-fight press conference, Pacquiao reiterated his desire to tangle with Mayweather, who was supposed to be his opponent Saturday but was substituted by Clottey when negotiations fell apart due to Mayweather’s demand for random drug testing.

Wearing dark sunglasses to cover a lump on his right cheek, said he doesn’t think Mayweather (40-0) is impregnable.

“I think he’s style is not difficult. It’s not difficult to study.” said Pacquiao, who analyzes an opponent’s style with chief trainer Freddie Roach.If Pacquiao-Mayweather pushes through, it is projected to be the biggest ever in the history of the sport, with both fighters assured of a payday of $30 million upwards.

By: Roy Luarca

Clottey's trainer is to blame for his defeat - Azumah Nelson

Ghanaian Boxing Legend Azumah Nelson says the trainer of Joshua Clottey is to blame for the Former IBF Welterweight Champion’s defeat to Manny Pacquiao in their welterweight bout Saturday morning.

The 32 year old lost by a unanimous decision to the Philipino having fought on the defensive almost throughout the bout.

The Ghanaian pugilist showed promise on a few occasions as he sent powerful body shots to the body of Pacquiao, but failed to vary his tactics in order to knock down his opponent.

Speaking to Citi News, Azumah Nelson said Clottey’s trainer, Lenny de Jesus, failed to send out clear cut instructions to Clottey on how to beat his opponent.

“The corner has to tell him what he is supposed to do...he had to tell him you are losing the fight, you are losing all the rounds, go in and fight...I believe if Joshua had such a thing the fight would have changed.” He said

Lenny de Jesus, who used to work as cut man for Pacquiao, was only given the job after Clottey’s Ghanaian trainer was initially denied an American Visa ahead of the bout at the Cow Boys Stadium.

Meanwhile sources say Clottey earned $1.2 million dollars for facing Pacquiao. It is his highest pay check in his career while Pacquiao stands to gain more than $12 million dollars.

The three judges all scored in favour of Pacquiao. Duane Ford had it 120-108, Levi Martinez, 119-109, and, Nelson Vazquez, 119-109, all for Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision.

Who's next for Pacman?

DALLAS, Texas — The identity of Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent would be known after the May elections in the Philippines.

“I will decide who to fight next after the elections,” said Pacquiao moments after beating Joshua Clottey of Ghana in a 12-round lopsided decision Saturday at the Cowboys Stadium.

Pacquiao is running for the lone congressional seat of Sarangani province against a scion of a wealthy and influential clan in Roy Chiongbian in May.

Top Rank chief Bob Arum, who holds the promotional rights over Pacquiao, went to the reporters at ringside and told them “it’s Pacquiao’s call when to fight next.”

Still, Arum is eyeing a return to the ring for the Filipino star in November.

And if it happens in November, the leading candidate would not necessarily be Floyd Mayweather, who has a May 1 date with Shane Mosley.


Manny Pacquiao vs Joshua Clottey Fight Pictures

PHOTOS BY: (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pacquiao beats Clottey to keep WBO welterweight crown

DALLAS, Texas — Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao easily defeated Joshua Clottey by unanimous 12-round decision to retain his World Boxing Organization welterweight title at Cowboys Stadium.

Pacquiao, recently named Fighter of the Decade, ran his win streak to 12 straight fights with a dominating performance in front of a crowd of more than 50,000 at the 1.2 billion-dollar home of American football's Dallas Cowboys.

Pacquiao's punishing assault was reflected on all three judges scorecards as he won by totals of 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109.

"This fight is dedicated to all of you, especially to the people in the Philippines," Pacquiao told the crowd from the center of the ring.

This marked the second consecutive true welterweight fight for Pacquiao, who was the heavy favourite despite giving away a 10-pound advantage to Clottey.

Clottey, who barely threw a punch through the first few rounds, proved to be an easy target for Pacquiao, who was the more aggressive fighter through all 12 rounds.

Pacquiao was frustrated by Clottey's defense and the challenger's decision to cover up and not throw more punches than he did.

"Clottey is not an easy opponent he is very strong," Pacquiao said. "He took a lot of punches and was never hurt."

In the fourth round, Pacquiao tried to get Clottey to come out of his defensive shell and at one point tapped both of Clottey's gloves in a failed attempt to get him to trade blows.

Pacquiao, 51-3 with two drawn and 38 knockouts, has looked unstoppable in his previous three fights against opponents who were willing to engage him in the middle of the ring.

Clottey, who fell to 35-4, lasted all 12 rounds with a game plan that included counter-punching and covering up. By the middle rounds it was apparent Pacquiao had a victory sewn up.

Pacquiao, who last lost to Erik Morales in March of 2005, defended his title on the same date he was to face unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather before negotiations broke off over a drug-testing dispute.

With Clottey out the way, Saturday's victory could set the stage to reopen talks between Pacquiao and Mayweather's camp.

"I want that fight because the people want to see that fight," Pacquiao said.

"Right now I am so happy because of the support I have from my fans. This is the first fight in my career where there is a lot people coming."

But first, Pacquiao plans to try his luck at politics and run for a congressional seat in the Philippine national election in May. He ran for Congress in 2007 but failed to get elected.

The fight, part of the first boxing card at the stadium, was watched by one of the largest crowds in US boxing history at the state-of-the art facility which opened last year.

By: Greg Heakes
Source: AFP

Live blog of Pacquiao-Clottey

Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey are battling in Texas. Steve Bien-Aime is blogging all the action.

Clottey makes his way to the ring. He looks composed, but he doesn't look entirely relaxed. A question that needs to be answered is how does Clottey handle the big stage?

Pacquiao is next. He looks a little more serious than in his previous fights, but he again has a giant smile on his face. He slaps hands with a few fans. Cowboys Stadium is definitely the right venue for Pacquiao.

Round 1

Very cautious start. Clottey is fighting a very defensive fight. He's landing the jab — when he decides to throw it, which is infrequently. Pacquiao is struggling to break Clottey's guard. Pacquiao is dedicated to hitting Clottey's body. Pacquiao is the initiator so far.

Round 2

Pacquiao continues to press Clottey, who's really not doing too much. Clottey is landing some stiff shots, but neither fighter is making a big impression yet. However, Pacquiao's aggressiveness is the story of the fight.

Round 3

Both fighters are starting to land a little bit more. If Clottey thinks he'll finish Pacquiao with one big shot, he's wrong. Pacquiao's body work could pay big dividends later. Clottey's just not doing enough.

Round 4

Clottey went through a minute stretch where he didn't throw any punches. Pacquiao continues to pound away, but he's not landing much cleanly. Clottey finishes the round with a big flourish, but he appears to be falling far behind on the scorecards.

Round 5

It's not looking good for Clottey. Pacquiao took his foot off the gas and he still looks like he won the round. Clottey is landing crisp punches, but one or two at every 30 seconds won't beat Pacquiao. Clottey has got to let his hands go.

Round 6

Clottey is fighting his fight and is losing badly. He's not hurt, but Pacquiao is dominating with his whirlwind style. In this round, Clottey didn't land anything of value.

Round 7

Pacquiao again looks like he took the round off and dominated. Clottey needs to bull Pacquiao against the ropes and let his hands go. The crowd of 51,000 has been pretty quiet. I can't blame them. One guy is fighting, the other one wants to just go the distance.

Round 8

A headbutt and a low blow were the most eventful action. Pacquiao chased Clottey around the ring, breaking his guard a bit. Clottey looked like he threw two punches in the final 45 seconds. Does he know this is the biggest opportunity of his life?

Round 9

Pacquiao is fighting in bursts and even that's impressive. I think he knows a knockout won't come, but he's giving the fans a show with some nice combinations. It looks like Clottey knows he won't win either.

Round 10

All the credibility Clottey got from his June fight with Miguel Cotto is out the window. He's not doing anything. Pacquiao is continuing to swarm Clottey and his accuracy is improving. Pacquiao must be in phenomeonal condition. He's still going strong.

Round 11

What a display by Pacquiao! Clottey tried to step it up and Pacquiao showed him why's the best the in the world. The combinations and aggression are too much for Clottey.

Round 12

Clottey might have done enough to avoid a shutout. There's only one fight we want to see and this wasn't it.

Duane Ford had it 120-108, Levi Martinez, 119-109, and, Nelson Vazquez, 119-109, all for Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision.

Soto edges Diaz; Duddy wins

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Humberto Soto, a reigning junior lightweight titleholder, moved up from 130 to 135 pounds to outslug and outbox former titleholder David Diaz to claim a vacant lightweight title via unanimous decision on Saturday night.

The fight was the co-feature on the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey undercard before an excited crowd of 50,994 Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium.

Soto (51-7-2, 32 KOs), 33, of Mexico, bookended the victory with knockdowns in the first and 12th rounds.

The fight started with a bang as they clashed heads in the opening round. Soto was shaken up and Diaz was cut, but later in the round, Soto knocked Diaz down with a counter left hand.

Soto fired combinations throughout the fight while the slower Diaz (35-3-1, 17 KOs), 33, of Chicago, tried to get out of the way and little success landing anything meaningful in return.

Soto, who will likely vacate his 130-pound title, also scored a knockdown on a flurry in the final seconds of the fight to punctuate his victory.

Two judges had it 117-109 for Soto and the third had it 115-111 for Diaz.

"I think Diaz being left-handed was a little more difficult than I thought it would be, but I was able to control the fight," Soto said. "I just couldn't hit him as hard as I wanted. He's a real tough guy."

Diaz was fighting for only the second time since losing his lightweight belt to Pacquiao via lopsided ninth-round knockout in June 2008. In his next fight, Diaz scored a majority decision against former titleholder Jesus Chavez in September 2009, a win that hardly should have qualified him to fight for that belt again.

"I'm very disappointed," Diaz said. "It wasn't supposed to be this way. In the last round, that was no knockdown. I missed the punch [and went down]."

Gomez makes Castillo quit

Welterweight Alfonso Gomez (22-4-2, 11 KOs), younger, quicker and fresher, beat Mexican countryman Jose Luis Castillo (60-10-1, 52 KOs) to the punch all night until he quit after the fifth round.

Castillo then announced his retirement.

"I want to apologize to the public and I am definitely announcing my retirement because I don't have it anymore," said Castillo, the former two-time lightweight champ whose 2005 10th-round knockout loss to Diego Corrales is considered perhaps the greatest fight in boxing history.

Castillo, 36 and years past his prime, couldn't get off as Gomez, who starred in the first season of "The Contender," peppered him nearly at will. Castillo's right eye began to swell in the third round and his nose was also bloody.

Gomez kept him on the outside and moved just enough to prevent Castillo from landing anything serious. When the fifth round was over, Castillo returned to his corner with a look of resignation before referee Kenny Bayless waived it off at the request of the corner.

"I just don't have it anymore," Castillo said. "This guy is hitting me with both hands and there was nothing I could do. I can't hit him back. It's frustrating."

Gomez, 29, won his fourth in a row following his fifth-round knockout loss to then-welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto in 2008 and put himself in position for a bigger fight.

"I practiced a lot with [prospect] Brandon Rios and he pushed me hard like we thought Castillo would try to do," Gomez said. "I respect Castillo a lot. He has given us all entertaining fights. We thought he would pressure us, but he couldn't because I was hitting him with good shots."

• Middleweight John Duddy (29-1, 18 KOs) took a split decision from Mexico's Michael Medina (23-2-2, 18 KOs) to set up a possible return to Cowboys Stadium.

Duddy, an Ireland native living in New York, and Medina, who was making his United States debut, mixed up throughout the fight but Duddy got the better of the exchanges, including landing numerous hard right hands.

Medina didn't help himself when he was warned multiple times for low blows before referee Robert Chapa docked him a point for the infraction in the eighth round.

Two judges had it 96-93 for Duddy and the third had it 96-93 for Medina.

Duddy won his third in a row since an upset loss to Billy Lyell 11 months ago.

Top Rank put Duddy on the card to expose him to the considerable Hispanic community because it has designs on matching him with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. later this year. That's a fight Top Rank's Bob Arum and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have discussed as a headliner for a future card at Cowboys Stadium.

Before that Duddy will fight on Top Rank's June 5 card at Yankee Stadium with the fight against Chavez tentatively slated for the fall.

• Junior featherweight Roberto Marroquin (13-0, 10 KOs) showcased himself in front of his hometown fans as he blew out Samuel Sanchez (4-2-1, 0 KOs) for a knockout at 1:36 of the second round.

Marroquin, one of Top Rank's most important prospects, entered wearing Dallas Cowboys colors and exited after dropping Sanchez twice times for the knockout. He knocked Sanchez down in the first round with a left and finished him in the second with a pair of overhand rights that badly buckled Sanchez before he fell to the canvas as referee Bayless called it off without a count.

• Featherweight Salvador Sanchez (19-3-2, 9 KOs), the nephew of the Hall of Famer and former featherweight champ with the same name, knocked out Jaime Villa (8-8-2, 3 KOs) using a heavy body attack in the sixth round.

Mexico's Sanchez, 24, dominated Villa and knocked him down in the fifth round. In the sixth round, Sanchez's withering body attack took its toll. He scored a knocked and Villa barely beat the count. Moments later another left to the body knocked him down to a knee for the full 10 count as the fight ended at 1 minute, 9 seconds.

• Junior featherweight Eden Sonsona (19-5, 6 KOs) of the Philippines dominated former junior flyweight titlist Mauricio Pastrana (35-13-2, 24 KOs) of Colombia en route to a brutal eighth-round knockout in the scheduled eight-rounder. Sonsona, who had dropped the smaller Pastrana earlier in the fight, sent him crashing to the canvas in the a minute or so into the eighth round. A shaky Pastrana survived but Sonsona connected with a flush left to the head and Pastrana fell almost in slow motion before smashing his head on the canvas as the fight was immediately called off at 1 minute, 33 seconds.

By: Dan Rafael

ARLINGTON, Texas -Greetings, Boxing Blog fans. The Blog is here at the awe inspiring Cowboys Stadium, where at about 11:30 ET Manny Pacquiao will defend his WBO welterweight title against former 147-pound champion Joshua Clottey. If you can't buy the fight on Pay Per View, don't worry: The Blog will fill you in on everything that's happening here in Texas.

Couple of things before we get started:

• Cowboys Stadium truly is an industrial work of art, a Picasso if Pablo's tool of choice was a jackhammer and not a paintbrush. The white bubble can be seen off of Industrial Rd. from miles away and, as so many reporters have noted this week, the 160-by-72 foot screen hanging from the rafters is a jaw-dropping spectacle. They expect close to 45,000 fans to pack in here for this fight and I don't see any possibility that the venue won't be a smashing success.

• I've spoken to Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, several times this week and each time I've come away with the feeling that Roach isn't too concerned about Clottey.

"[Clottey] could come out and tries to impose his size and strength," Roach told "That's what I would do. Or he could go to the ropes and try and get Manny to tire himself out. And that's not going to happen. Manny is in great shape. If he does come forward in straight lines, doesn't use a lot of lateral movement and starts reaching for us, Manny's counterpunching is going to be a big part of this fight. [Clottey] doesn't throw with you. You throw your combination and stand in front of him, he'll hit you back. But we're not going to stand in front of him. Our game plan is pretty simple actually. When his feet are square, he's resting and you can attack. When his feet are planted, he's setting you up. We know when to attack that and when not to. It's about turning the fighter and keeping him off balance.

"There are holes there. His passive defense is not hard to break. The body attack is essential in this fight because he doesn't protect his body that well. I know he has a good chin but I think we can break him down with the body shots. We worked on that quite a bit. We're not going to stand in and take swings at him. We're a little smarter than that.

"His habits are that he doesn't chase punches, he just puts the earmuffs on," Roach continued. "If you go with the hook a little deeper, you get him to block that and open his chin up. That shot through the center is open and that's Manny's best punch. That's Manny's favorite punch. Clottey waits for the flurry to end before he throws because he's coming up. That's good amateur defense but it's not going to work in the pro's with a good fighter. A passive defense like that with no counterpunches is not a way to win a fight."

"I think we can stop this guy. I don't think we can knock him down. I think we can overwhelm him. He's been in with some big punchers and been pretty solid. But I think we can stop him. The punch that will get you is the one you don't see coming. When you work from angles its much more effective than being right in front of the guy."

• Not a lot of people are giving Clottey much of a chance. I chatted with a friend of Shane Mosley earlier this week, and Mosley is convinced that Clottey will be little more than a sparring partner. I also have a lot of doubts about Clottey because he doesn't seem convinced he can win this fight. There's been a lot of "if I win's" out of his mouth this week, and that's a warning sign for me.

We'll be back closer to the start of the main event to bring you some atmosphere from the fight and then bring you detailed, round-by-round coverage of the fight.


The Event Live Streaming

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Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao vs Joshua "The Grandmaster" Clottey is dubbed as The Event. The fight will happen on March 13, 2010 at Jerry Jones' Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas. This fight is promoted by Bob Arum of Top Rank and available live at HBO Pay Per View.