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Notebook: DeJesus hire surprised Roach

13
Mar

DALLAS – Freddie Roach and Lenny DeJesus, the trainers of Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey, are quite familiar with one another.

DeJesus, a longtime cornerman from the Bronx, worked as Pacquiao’s cut man for six fights. And, by all accounts, he’s pretty good at it.

What Roach didn’t know is that DeJesus has had some experience as a lead trainer. Thus, he was surprised when he heard that his fighter’s former cut man would train Joshua Clottey for their fight on Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.

“He worked as our cut man for a while when we were with (promoter) Murad Muhammad,” Roach said. “When we got rid of Muhammad, we got rid of him also because he was part of Muhammad’s camp. He wasn’t too happy about that. He made some statements about me back then. Maybe I hurt his feelings or something like that. I didn’t take it personally.



“Lenny’s not a bad guy. I know him more as a cut man than as a trainer. I don’t know him as a trainer at all. ÔǪ He’s been around the game a lot, a cut man for a lot of big fights. He’s been around fighters. I’m sure he hears things. But does he really know boxing? I don’t know.”

Did Roach think it was weird when he heard DeJesus would be working the opposite corner.

“Uh ÔǪ yeah,” he said.

DeJesus didn’t have much to say about Roach, other than to demonstrate that he’s been in the game – in a variety of capacities – a lot longer than the world’s top trainer.

“When Freddie Roach was working with Eddie Futch, I was already a 10-round cornerman,” DeJesus said. “I had a kid from Puerto Rico, Alberto Mercado, fighting in Las Vegas. That was more than 20 years ago. Freddie was a bucket boy for that fight.”

Roach has come a long way. And so has DeJesus, apparently. The former amateur boxer has worked in some big fights as an assistant trainer but he has never been the lead man in a fight this big.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “I know if we beat him, if we upset Manny Pacquiao, I’ll get a lot of calls from people interested in my services. That’s very good at this stage, at my age.”

DeJesus is 64.

Trouble brewing?: DeJesus said his fighter should do fine against Pacquiao if two things happen: Clottey listens to DeJesus in the corner and the Ghanian fighter’s other handlers keep their mouths shut.

Those are strange ifs going into the biggest fight of Clottey’s career.

DeJesus was a late replacement as Clottey’s main cornerman because his first choice, former trainer Godwin Kotey, couldn’t get a visa to enter the United States. Still, one would think that DeJesus would have full control in the corner.

On the first point, DeJesus is confident his fighter will follow his instructions even though he was the one who brought it into question.

“When you have a good, motivating corner, your individual will listen,” he said.

He didn’t sound as convincing in regard to whether he could control the cornermen Clottey brought with him from New York, who seem to be friends as much as they are boxing people.

“He has his group,” DeJesus said of the men. “In this case, there aren’t too many people there. I told them, ‘You holler and you’re out. I’m the one who calls the shots.'”

For Clottey’s sake, he’d better be.

Numbers game: If punch output decides fights, Pacquiao has a significant edge on Clottey.

Pacquiao has thrown an average of 67.8 punches per round in his last three fights, which have lifted him to superstar status. The average number of punches thrown per round by a welterweight is 58.0.

And he has landed a remarkable 53.7 percent of the power punches he’s thrown, or 24.4 per round. The average number of power punches landed by a welterweight is 13.3 per round.

Clottey has thrown an average of 42.7 punchers per round – about 25 fewer than Pacquiao – in his last nine fights. And he has landed 41.0 percent of his power punches, almost 16 fewer than Pacquiao.

The Ghanian, known as a very good defensive fighter, has been able to avoid 78.8 percent of the punches his opponents have thrown.

Party passes: Top Rank Boxing and Cowboys Stadium have announced the sale of standing-room-only tickets for $35. They’re available through TicketMaster.

Party-pass ticket holders will have access to pre-fight festivities in the plazas outside the stadium and six party decks in the end zones of the building.

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