Grapevine, Texas - He absorbed volumes of punches from both Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito and weathered them all.
Though he lost to both, Ghanaian Joshua Clottey believes Pacquiao will emerge the winner when they fight for the World Boxing Council super welterweight crown on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila) at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington City.
�I know it�s going to be a good fight, but I know for sure Pacman is going to win,� Clottey told the website Boxing News. "(It�s) not just because he beat me before but because he has more speed and he hits a bit harder than Margarito.�
Of the 25 boxing experts polled by Boxing News that included WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto and International Boxing Federation cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham, an overwhelming 23 picked Pacquiao to win, 10 by decision and nine by either knockout or stoppage.
Only two trainers picked Margarito, reflecting the betting trend that puts Pacquiao at minus 550 and Margarito at plus 350.
That means that a US$550 bet on Pacquiao will net just $100, while a $100 wager on Margarito will earn $350.
Trainer Freddie Roach has decided to turn Pacquiao�s penchant for getting hit deliberately while testing his rival�s strength into an opportunity to launch a counterattack against Margarito.
If Pacquiao does the rope-a-dope, which Muhammad Ali masterfully employed to tire out and clobber the then unbeaten George Foreman in Zaire on Oct 30, 1974, Roach said there�s enough justification for it.
�Instead of asking him to stay out of the ropes, I put him on the ropes and put up a plan to counter his (Margarito�s) attacks,� Roach said. �So if he goes to the ropes it�s for a reason this time.�
�I feel we can knock him out with a counter shot,� Roach added.
If Margarito doesn�t take the bait and stays outside, Roach said Pacquiao will pounce on him.
�When he (Margarito) steps out with his left foot, he�s going to throw a right uppercut, and when he goes the other way, he�s going to throw a left uppercut,� said Roach. �We know him well, we know his habits well and we�re ready to take advantage of all those habits.�
Although Margarito unleashed a computer box record of 1,675 punches when they tangled on December 2, 2006, Clottey isn�t convinced the Mexican three-time world champion beat him that time.
Clottey considers his loss to Pacquiao, who peppered him with 1,231 punches last March at the same venue, as his only legitimate setback out of four defeats in his resum�, which also includes 35 victories and one no-contest.
The 34-year-old Clottey also believes that Margarito doesn�t possess the defensive skills to foil Pacquiao�s assault.
�Margarito doesn�t have a good defence, either,� Clottey said. �He�s going to fight like �do-or-die,' and as a result, he�ll get hit a lot.
�You have to understand how good Pacquiao is, and he has the power because he�s fought and beaten bigger guys. If Margarito can understand that, it will be a good fight, but if he goes in there thinking it�s do-or-die, I think he�ll lose and Pacquiao might stop him.�
Roach said he�s not impressed with Margarito as a fighter based on his ring stance and manners.
�Fundamentally, I don�t rate him as a good fighter. Skills-wise, he�s a very good kid, a strong guy. But fundamentally, he crosses his feet.�
While Pacquiao has mastered the game plan and is 100-per cent ready, Roach said he let his prized ward do a light workout Thursday (Friday in Manila) just to loosen him up.
�Just going through the motions. He wants to work out a little bit, go four rounds in the mitts, finalise the game plan,� said Roach, who predicted that Margarito would be �an easy fight�.
On Wednesday, at a prefight press conference, Roach hinted the fight might be over quickly, saying: �Don�t be surprised if the fight ends in the first round.�
Roach noted that Pacquiao is 100 per cent better than when he was in Baguio City during the early part of their training in camp.
�He�s very good, very relaxed. I know he can beat this guy,� Roach said.
Pacquiao will be aiming to enhance his place among boxing�s elite.
�I don�t need to prove anything more in boxing,� Pacquiao told Reuters during the buildup to a bout scheduled for 12 rounds. �I have already achieved what I wanted in boxing.
�What I want right now is to maintain my greatness in boxing and to entertain people who can be satisfied by my performance.�
Pacquiao likes the look of his match-up with Margarito.
�This is the fight I have been waiting for,� the 31-year-old said. �I believe we can give a good fight on Saturday. Margarito is a very aggressive fighter and throws a lot of punches.�
Initially known for his lightning hand speed and lethal left hook, Pacquiao has become a genuine two-fisted fighter.
Reposted From ANN (Asian News Network)