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Report card: Pacquiao-Clottey

Fighters Network

Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey
March 13, 2010, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas

The main event
Grade: C-
Comment: The fight doesn’t get a “D” or worse only because we’d pay to see Pacquiao hit a heavy bag, which is what Joshua Clottey turned out to be. The world’s No. 1 fighter, showing his usual fire, did everything he could to break down the challenger but there’s only so much you can do with an opponent who has almost no desire to fight. The crowd at Cowboys Stadium had a good time because the atmosphere was special but the fight was a colossal disappointment.

Grade: A-
Comment: The only flaw in Pacquiao’s game — and we’re reaching here — was his inability to avoid a handful of Clottey’s uppercuts, the loser’s most-meaningful punches of the fight. However, in his defense, Pacquiao probably took some risks he normally wouldn’t have in an effort to make Clottey fight. Pacquiao said he felt Clottey’s power but never was hurt.

Grade: D-
Comment: Fighters should try to win fights. And to win fights, you must throw punches. It’s not too complicated. The only good thing to say about Clottey is that he absorbed many crushing body blows that probably would’ve stopped a weaker man. And, to be fair, he landed a few hard shots here and there. A few doesn’t cut it, though.

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer
Grade: B+
Comment: Pacquaio went into the fight with a good game plan — jab, pound to the body, try to split Clottey’s cocoon, anything to create openings. It wasn’t his fault that Clottey chose to stay covered up rather than fight back. I thought Roach and Pacquiao would adjust a bit more quickly to avoid Clottey’s uppercut.

Lenny DeJesus, Clottey’s trainer
Grade: B
Comment: If nothing else, the loser’s first-time trainer apparently said the right things in the corner. He believed the loser had the power to hurt — or even knock out Pacquiao — and pleaded with hi to throw more punches. In the end, he was as frustrated as everyone else.

The Judges
Grade: A
Comment: No complaints about 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109. Pacquiao outpunched Clottey by a 4-1 ratio.

Grade: A
Comment: The only time I remember noticing Rafael Ramos, out of San Antonio, was when he gave Pacquiao a warning for that goofy double-fisted punch he threw in Round 4. The ref is supposed to be invisible.

The crowd
Grade: A
Comment: The fans, all 50,994 of them, created a memorable night with their energy and enthusiasm even if the main event was a dud. I think the wave is a little outdated but, heck, they were having fun. And I heard of no problems on Saturday night. Everyone seemed to be well behaved.

The undercard
Grade: D
Comment: The Humberto Soto-David Diaz co-feature had a few interesting moments but neither that fight nor the other two televised undercard fights were particularly compelling. Promoters in general need to pull out all stops to give the fans at least one entertaining undercard bout.

Note: This is a new feature at We will be putting together report cards regularly after selected big fights to give readers an idea how various players performed.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]