Saturday, April 01, 2023  |


Weekend Review: Pacquiao’s big night

Fighters Network

Manny Pacquiao was bigger than life on the enormous JumboTron screen at Cowboys Stadium before his fight against Joshua Clottey on Saturday. Of course, Pacquaio already was bigger than life. Photo / Naoki Fukuda


Manny Pacquiao: Joshua Clottey’s sadly passive performance cheated Manny Pacquiao out of an opportunity to give the fans another spectacular performance. Still, his utter dominance over a much bigger, elite foe rates with his sensational knockout victories over Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. He continues to dominate the sport. Now, after what turned out to be a gimmie, he needs a real challenge to build excitement and continue to grow as a legend of the sport. And, of course, that challenge is the winner of the May 1 Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosley fight. We can only hope the principals are able to come to terms on what could turn out to be the biggest fight ever.


Joshua Clottey: Clottey said he did his best. If that was his best, he didn’t deserve to fight Pacquiao for what could turn out to be a $2.5 million payday. He proved to be as good as billed defensively but defense alone doesn’t make for a competitive fight. You also have to throw punches, which Clottey failed to do. He averaged a disgraceful 30 per round. His first-time trainer, Lenny DeJesus, demanded between rounds that he let his hands go but the fighter wouldn’t listen. Said DeJesus: “(Clottey) had the power to knock him out but he was reluctant to punch. We clearly lost the fight. I don’t think we won a round.” Who’s going to want to watch Clottey again after that performance? Not me.


Pacquiao fighting the Mayweather-Mosley winner: Nothing is a slam dunk, as we’ve learned. First, Pacquiao has his run for congress in May. If he wins, there’s no telling how that will affect his boxing career. And if Mayweather beats Mosley, as most experts expect, it might not be possible to get past the blood-testing obstacle that scuttled the original negotiations. The most-promising prospect, from a boxing standpoint, is a loss in the election and a Mosley victory. Pacquiao-Mosley isn’t as big as Pacquiao-Mayweather but it probably would be more fun to watch. Only one thing is certain: Pacquiao must find a way to fight the winner.


Humberto Soto: The tough, skillful Mexican easily outpointed David Diaz to a major title in a second weight class and probably will enter THE RING lightweight ratings for the first time. He deserves a great deal of respect. At the same time, a quick scan of his record reveals that he has no victories that truly stand out, except perhaps his decision over Rocky Juarez. One could come soon. Soto probably will face the No. 1 contender for his new belt, undefeated Anthony Peterson, in an intriguing matchup. Peterson is rated THE RING’s No. 6-rated 135-pounder.


Cowboys Stadium: Jerry Jones put together a wonder of the world in Arlington, Texas. The futuristic edifice with the world’s biggest JumboTron screen — 53 yards wide — is a remarkable achievement and a wonderful setting for a big fight. Stadium officials curtained off the top level, cleverly leaving just enough room for the 50,994 fans who attended the fight. Thus, it had the feel and energy of a packed house. The unfortunate fact that the fight didn’t live up the hype took nothing away from the venue and the atmosphere on fight night. No one who was there will forget the experience. And, happily, there are more to come there.


Pacquiao-Clottey: The undercard had some potential, with Soto and Diaz fighting for a lightweight title in the co-feature. However, that matchup didn’t evolve into the war some expected and the other televised fights were duds. Jose Luis Castillo quit against Alfonso Gomez after John Duddy narrowly outpointed Michael Medina in a mostly dull middleweight bout. Promoter Bob Arum has enough fighters in his stable to provide at least one compelling fight to go with the main event. He obviously didn’t want to spend the money this time. Thus, when the main event became a disappointment, the entire card turned out to be unsatisfying.


Jose Luis Castillo: The former two-time lightweight titleholder had hopes of reviving his career but showed nothing in his loss to Alfonso Gomez, perhaps signaling the end of his fine career. Gomez, a former Contender star, seemed to have taken firm control of the fight when a spent Castillo quit on his stool after the fifth round. Castillo will be remembered for giving Floyd Mayweather Jr. trouble in their two-fight series, engaging in an epic fight with Diego Castillo and beating a series of well-regarded opponents. If Castillo quits, Gomez will have retired two potential hall of famers — Arturo Gatti and now Castillo.


A planned card this summer: Arum said he wants to feature big-name Mexicans Antonio Margarito, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Jorge Arce on a Latin Fury pay-per-view card this summer at Cowboys Stadium. Chavez is expected to fight John Duddy, who outpointed Michael Medina on Saturday night. Arum said he expects the stadium to be configured for 45,000, which seems to be optimistic without a major fight. However, Arum said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told him that a large percentage of fans who attend Cowboys games are Mexican-American, which would be the target audience.


Samuel Peter: The former heavyweight titleholder, who suffered back-to-back losses in 2008-09 and seemed to be in decline, looked terrific in his second-round knockout of Nagy Aguilera on Friday. And it’s no wonder. The Nigerian trained hard in the mountains of Southern California and came in at 237¾, his lightest in nine years. Aguilera is a competent fighter but no great test. Still, Peter showed signs that he could become a factor again in the heavyweight division if he remains focused and continues to work diligently. He certainly seems to have regained the fire that led to his success.


Freddie Roach: “We will crush him.” Pacquiao’s trainer was referring to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]