Pound-for-Pound King Manny Pacquiao Amped Up For Cowboy Stadium Showdown

Manny Pacquiao ran roughshod through
four different sparring partners earlier this week, and boxing's
pound-for-pound king churned through just as many on Saturday.

He's been peppering the speed bag,
pounding the heavy bag and doing enough running to make Usain Bolt fall
over in a heap. Under the watchful eye of trainer Freddie Roach,
Pacquiao is putting himself in position to knock out Joshua Clottey when they fight March 13 in Dallas.

"Manny is getting better all the
time," Roach marveled after a training session Friday at the Wild Card
Gym in Los Angeles. "I know Clottey is a big, strong guy. I respect
him, he's a great fighter. But Manny I feel is going to overwhelm him
with his speed and combinations, and I do believe we will be the first
one to stop him in 12 rounds."

If it sounds simple, that's because
Pacquiao has little trouble when fights are decided in the ring. Things
aren't so easy when the fight is contested with words.

That continues to be the case with
Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., after their proposed blockbuster
fell through because of drug testing protocol. Mayweather and his
relatives have accused Pacquiao of using performance-enhancing drugs,
either directly or by innuendo, while the Filipino champion has balked
at taking a blood test within 14 days of a fight.

Pacquiao will instead fight Clottey
at Cowboys Stadium, while Mayweather is headed for a showdown May 1
against welterweight champion Shane Mosley. Along with the verbal jabs,
Pacquiao and Mayweather can also fight over who generates bigger
pay-per-view numbers.

"We're not happy with his remarks and
Manny really wants to fight him in the future because of the remarks he
made," Roach said. "Manny, sometimes when he's shadowboxing, he shows
me how Mayweather fights and how he'll take care of the problem, and
I've never seen that before.

"He's trying to ruin our reputations and so forth," Roach added, "but we want to fight him and we'll knock him out."

Promoter Bob Arum still believes that
Mayweather never wanted to fight Pacquiao, and his strict adherence to
blood testing – which is far more extensive than urine analysis
required by the Nevada Athletic Commission — was his way of getting out
of it.

"We don't have to be geniuses to
know what they were trying to do. They were trying to get into Manny's
head so he'd be discombobulated," Arum said. "Mayweather against Manny
is a no-contest, no contest. Manny would wipe the ring with Floyd
Mayweather."

If that's ever to happen, he'll first have to wipe the ring with Clottey.

The fight appears to be a mismatch
on paper, especially considering the rugged fighter from Ghana lost to
Miguel Cotto — the same guy Pacquiao dominated last fall. But just like
fights aren't decided with words, they aren't decided on paper, either.

"Joshua Clottey I know is taller and
bigger than me, and you cannot underestimate him," Pacquiao said,
"because he's a former world champion also."

Clottey has been training in Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., for the first seven-figure payday of his career. It
would go a long way toward helping his family back home in the dusty
city of Accra, where Clottey acknowledges that poverty is a way of
life.

"I'm coming to do my best," he said
by phone earlier this week. "He is a good fighter. He is the best now.
This is the test and I am going for the WBO title. I'm going all out. I
have my game plan and I always come to fight."

It's a difficult fight to market
because it's not the fight demanded by the public, but that doesn't
mean there isn't significant interest. Pacquiao is making an encore
appearance on Jimmy Kimmel next week and will soon have a profile in
Time Magazine, while Clottey was the subject of a lengthy expose in
ESPN The Magazine.

And of course, Pacquiao is running for Congress in the Philippines.

More than 30,000 tickets have
already been sold for the fight, and Arum expects the $1.2 billion
football stadium just outside Dallas to be filled with about 45,000
fans on March 13.

It may not be Mayweather, but it's something to tide fans over.

"People were looking forward to a
Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, that's clear. But Manny has a huge, huge fan
base," Arum said. "Every sports fan knows Manny Pacquiao. Our job is to
present Joshua Clottey as he is, a bigger guy, a stronger guy probably,
a guy who has never been off his feet — a real test for Manny Pacquiao.
That's what will sell this fight.

"I think the public gets it, and I think the pay-per-view is going to do extremely well."

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