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Monday, March 15, 2010

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

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