By Jeff Zimmerman
Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20ko’s) looked like he’s been here before, as he strolled around the ring and posed for the Dallas Fort Worth media today at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in preparation for the biggest fight of his life against 7-time world champion Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2 38ko’s) in The Event this Saturday, March 13th at Cowboys Stadium. Although he has never been on a stage quite this big, he has fought some of the biggest names of the last decade, including Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. And if today was any indication, he appeared ever so ready to take on his greatest challenge, even catching Cowboy Owner Jerry Jones by surprise as he reached outside the ring to shake his hand. Clottey declared, “Nothing stresses me, no matter what.”
Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank
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Clottey’s manager, Vinny Scolpino, believes the large crowd will not distract Clottey either. “No, I don’t think so, he is very cool, calm and the crowd doesn’t really get him nervous. You know, he’s focused, he knows what he had to do and you’ll see when he walks out, he’ll probably start dancing, everything will be good,” stated Scolpino.
Or perhaps it was all the training on the beach in Africa and in Florida that has prepared him mentally.
“This is the best I felt (before a fight) – it started when I went to Africa – I was training at the beach. I came to America, went to Florida with Lenny and my other guy – we went to the beach all the time, so I was training a lot,” explained Clottey.
Scolpino added, “Things changed up at camp, you know, as you can see he is throwing more shots and combinations, he knows he has to let his hands loose in there. They have been practicing that in camp. I think you can see it just this little pad work he is doing, it’s different than what we used to do before he trained for Cotto – so we’re happy.
Clottey is known for his toughness and his ability to take a punch, which could be the deciding factor come Saturday.
“I have a good chin, we (African fighters) take a lot of punches, but I have a good chin! I never expect myself to get in the ring to get knocked out, I never expect that, no,” Clottey expressed.
Clottey plans to use his size to handle the naturally smaller Pacquiao, but understands that size alone will not be enough.
“I am going to fight Manny Pacquiao and we’re going to see whose going to win and it’s going to be a tough fight for both of us. I will be stronger than him, because after the weigh-in I am going to eat and I am going to blow-up,” said Clottey.
Scolpino concurred, “Well, if I was him that’s what I would do, clean punch, get on the inside, just rip, he’s got to throw his hands, that’s going to be his benefit. Manny’s got quick speed, you know, but Clottey will be big when he gets in the ring, hopefully that will give us a little edge, even though everybody says being bigger isn’t the winning key and I agree. You still got to let your hands go and he’s got a defense that is impeccable so guys throw punches in all the fights we have had, Margarito, Cotto, he comes out of that ring clean. No nothing on him, no blemishes on him, which is amazing. Look at his opponents, loot at Cotto at the end of the fight, look at Clottey. Who got beat up?”