Commentary: Bitter lessons for Team Pacquiao
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (16 March) -- It was ironic that the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey match was billed "The Event" when it turned out a non-event.
Let us face this: the Pacman has been looked up to, admired, and respected worldwide because of his ability to fight like crazy, and any paying viewer expects no less than that.
For Team Pacquaio, this high level of standard can be assured, for even if he losses, he will loss fighting a good fight, blood and sweat oozing from his battle-scarred face, an image of spartan endurance right to the very end, even a defeating end.
But Team Pacquiao must understand, and realize, that much of the expectation in any Pacquiao fight was also to see this rags-to-riches man demolish the enemy in no less a dramatic fashion than a knockout, or at the very least, a knockdown.
This was the reason Pacquiao now is a hot potato in the boxing world, where promoters leave no stone unturned just to have him in.
This was the rationale why only Pacquiao can assemble millions of warm bodies, and millions more glued to their television sets, because he exudes humble confidence, and can set the stage for an exciting bout in a serious business as a contest of brains and brawl.
Coach Freddie Roach was right, though, when he said it was hard to engage a fighter who was in "survival mode," a phrase that will now be a part of boxing vocabulary.
In the same breath, that was also a challenge: how to pummel into submission a boxer who willingly submits himself to become a punching bag, literally.
Of course, a knockdown cannot be squeezed just like that by a magic wand; it has to be built-up, an opening must be created, a lot of combinations must be employed simultaneously with lightning speed and classical footwork.
Pacquiao did it all in his ring assignment with Clottey -- except the one on creating an opening on Clottey's face, which was fortified by a brick wall of gloves.
So now the lesson was clear, and it has to be taken in like a bitter pill: how to work a strategy to ignite passion for a reluctant fighter. Or how to fight a boxer who refused to box.
Yet, inasmuch as its difficult to know the boxer's performance until he climbs the ring, there must be a condition stipulated in the fight contract, stressing that any Pacquaio foe who would do a Clottey henceforth must be considered in default and disqualified outright after the fourth round.
Either Maywether or Mosley must agree with this. If not, the match should be called off.
LOCAL FRONT: Despite the apparent disappointment at the Maasin city gym of the Pacman-Clottey bout, boxing fans cheered when it was announced that the city and provincial government will air live and for free the upcoming fight between Maywether and Mosley on May 2. Let us see how these two will perform in the ring, with hopes that anyone would not do a Clottey once any of them would cross path with the Pacman. Our heartfelt thanks to our leaders for this extra mile privilege and opportunity.
ODDLY YOURS: "This is the first time I lost a fight," Joshua Clottey, the boxer who refused to box, the fighter who refused to fight, said after the scorecards were read. Actually, Clottey had lost three times before: by disqualification to Carlo Baldomir, a unanimous decision to Antonio Margarito, and a split decision to Miguel Cotto. Commented David Greisman of boxingscene.com: "Pacquiao is a gladiator of immeasurable machismo, the owner of a fighter's version of that kind of insanity that drives a man to run a marathon, to put his body through pain just to see if he can do it. For Pacquiao, fighting is about both pride and glory, about winning and giving everything he has to get the victory. Clottey opted not to go for the glory, settling for survival, for whatever pride that comes with not getting run over the way Hatton and Cotto had. Clottey didn't go down. But he didn't go down fighting either." So, Clottey's claim that he lost a fight was wrong. He lost the fight because he did not fight. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]