BOB ARUM: We are a little over two weeks away and we are very excited about the full house we are going to have at Cowboys Stadium with Manny Pacquiao, who is the most exciting fighter in the world today and we couldn’t find a more competitive opponent that Joshua Clottey. Clottey has a heart like a lion and he is a terrifically balanced fighter who comes and gives it everything. We think that whoever wins this fight, at the end of the night, they will be saying that this is the best fight that Manny has ever, ever been in. This is the toughest fighter that Manny Pacquiao, the Fighter of the Decade, has been in the ring with. There are many experts saying they wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua Clottey won this fight.
VINNY SCALPINO: Joshua has been training very hard and his team around has been reporting wonderful things. So we are ready to rumble.
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: I would like everybody to know that I have been training very hard and that the owner of the Cowboys and Bob Arum will be very happy and I want to make everyone happy, that’s what I am doing now. I am training to do my best and to bring my best to the ring.
Can you talk about your confidence level going into this fight?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: Like I always said, Manny’s a good fighter, he’s the best now. This is my 40th fight in the professional ranks and it is the most special and I’m taking it a special way. I think this is the third time going for the WBO title and my fourth world title overall. I have had a fight with Cotto and now Manny Pacquiao. I was so surprised that I had this opportunity to fight against Manny Pacquiao and when Bob Arum and Top Rank called me about this opportunity to fight Manny Pacquiao, I was so happy and I want to win this fight in a big way.
I think you are right. He does throw a lot of punches. He throws a lot of punches to people when he sees the openings. He won’t see the openings with me. When I block the punches it will always make him think. You see, I have my game plan. I know what is going to happen in the ring. I always come to fight and I always see my openings. My game plan is to chase him, but if he is going to be there, fine.
Do you think you need to throw more punches to win the fight? Against Cotto it seemed as if you needed to throw more…
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: I think you are right. You know, I’m not a flyweight. I am not a bantamweight. I am a welterweight and welterweights only throw punches that connect. I can throw shots which connect and land and cause damage. Not throw a lot of punches that he is deflecting and blocking. If you look at the last fight, I won the last round. He threw punches and I blocked them and I threw punches and they connected. I will throw punches that cause damage.
My training is going to show when I get in the ring, but with Manny Pacquiao you don’t have to miss with him. When he is throwing you have to let him do it. Like you said, they come from many angles. I have my plan.
Manny has made tremendous improvement as he has moved up in weight, which has caused suspicion. Do you have any reason to believe he is doing anything illegal and why aren’t you requiring to take additional tests?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: I don’t want him to do that because I respect him too much. He is a very nice guy to be honest with you and I feel comfortable around him. He is nice and respects everybody and I know where he is from. I don’t think Manny Pacquiao is doing that thing. If he is doing that thing, he is killing the sport. Between he and God, it is going to some day be a problem. I wouldn’t make him do that steroid thing because I believe in him. I know he throws a pot of punches. I respect him for that so I couldn’t ask him to do that.
What would a victory mean to you?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: A victory would mean very, very more than a lot to me. That’s why I am so happy about this opportunity. And second, if I beat Manny Pacquiao I am going to be very much happy, because he is the best fighter out there. He is the man now and he’s giving me a chance to fight him and if I beat him, I’m going to be on top of the world. It will be very important to the people in my country and that is very important in life.
What was it like growing up?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: When I was a young boy growing up I saw the boys in the area and I
said I wanted to fight them. I fought one and then I wanted to fight again like a revenge. I beat him and I became a boxer. My life was not easy for me at all. I had to go all over the world to become champion. I came to America after fighting in England where things were very wrong. Then I came here and things were moving along with Top Rank and Bob Arum and I have to give thanks to them.
These are both your fighters and it must be difficult for you…how do you see this fight playing out?
BOB ARUM: Of course I have and the more I play it over in my head I realize how competitive this fight is going to be. Nobody, with any real certainty, can predict this fight. Everybody knows how Manny Pacquiao fights. Everybody knows the angles that he throws punches from. Everybody knows that Joshua Clottey is a tremendous defensive fighter and can put a real hurting on an opponent. Everybody knows that Clottey is the bigger man and Manny is the smaller man. People talk about how much Manny has gone up in weight, but he really hasn’t gone up much. He couldn’t make 130 so he fought at 135 pounds. He was 138 when he fought Ricky Hatton. If he gets on the scale now at the weigh-in weighing 142 or 143 that’s because he ate breakfast and lunch on the day of the weigh-in, so if he had to he could still make 135 pounds. The idea that suddenly Manny Pacquiao has become a big man is just not true. Joshua has the size and he is a natural welterweight…Manny Pacquiao isn’t and that makes intrigue in the fight. Even Joshua would admit that Manny is the favorite in the fight because he has such a great resume but I can go either way.
What do you think Manny’s weak spots are?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: No matter what people are going to talk about him, he is the best now. When he beats guys, like in the Cotto fight, he beats guys that don’t have a good defense. I have a defense. I will never say anything bad about the guy because he is the best now. When I walk in the ring with Manny Pacquiao and I lost, I will tell everybody I lost the fight. But I keep telling people I didn’t lose the Cotto fight because I don’t feel that I did. When I walk into the ring, I do what I want to do to win the fight, to do my best.
When I walk into the ring I will know what I need to do to win the fight.
What areas do you need to improve to become great?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: I trained a lot for this fight. I trained really hard for this fight. I trained when I was in Africa. I run to the beach from my house here and I do everything I can. That is good for me because I am going to be fighting the best guy out there and if I don’t prepare correctly and he is hitting me with the punches he throws, he is going to hurt me so I am protecting myself at the gym. So when I get to the ring I will be fine. I promise everybody a good fight, that’s what I’m telling you.
How surprised were you when this fight came about?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: I wasn’t really thinking about this fight at all. But I know I can fight anybody and I know I can beat any boxer. It looked like somebody didn’t want to fight. All the guys were talking about Pacquiao vs. Mayweather and it looks like he didn’t want to do it and it’s good for me. If they didn’t do it, I get in. I feel like it was a blessing from God.
Bob, can you talk about the venue?
BOB ARUM: As you will see on March 13, there is no stadium or arena in the world like Cowboys Stadium. It is an architectural marvel – just the paintings alone. But that is not what makes an exciting event. What makes the event super exciting is that screen that goes from one 20 yard line to the other and is super high definition. The screen will be 30 feet above the ring. Every replay and every punch in the fight will be seen in really high definition. Indeed, as pretty as the Cowboy Cheerleaders are, wait until you see them on that big screen, it is something really special. Until you see it and until you’re there, it is very difficult to describe the experience. I know that they just had the NBA All Star Game and the players were on the bench waiting to get in as the game was going on and many of them were watching the game on the screen rather than right in front of them on the floor.
When I saw the Cowboys-Eagles game sitting in Jerry Jones’ box, I found myself half the time watching the game on the screen than watching the field just because just because the picture is so incredible. I think that’s what helps make it. It has lounges, the Patrón Lounge, the concession stands. Yankee Stadium has a lot of that but it is really an experience to be in the huge arena and watch an event.
What about Margarito, was it a disappointment he not being on the card?
BOB ARUM: We are disappointed. The Texas Commission said they would have to hold a hearing and if they did we realized we wouldn’t get a result until it was too late. So instead we did the Humberto Soto/David Diaz lightweight championship in its place.
Did steroid testing come up in the negotiations for this fight?
BOB ARUM: My view is that is not a topic for negotiation. That is something for the commission to decide. If a boxer would like more stringent testing than is applicable in that state, he should go before the commission, present his case and let the commission decide. It is not for a bunch of amateurs to start talking about and start making demands – that is what’s called chaos. That’s what you have to do and that’s what you have commissions for. You go before the commission and you tell them I want such-and-such done and you let the commissioners decide – that’s what they are getting paid for – to handle those kind of questions.
VINNY SCOLPINO: I couldn’t agree with Bob more. If the commission wants to implement other drug testing rules, let them implement them. We abide by the rules that are set for us then we move forward. Manny is a super champion and we all hope he is doing the right thing. If the commission finds it in their drug testing – they find it. We were going to abide by the rules set by the state. W are professionals in the sport, Joshua is a professional and if that commission in that state says to do this, we do it.
Is 40,00 people still a target?
BOB ARUM: We didn’t set the stadium up for 40,000, we set it up for 45,000 and we are on our way to selling out.
There are a lot of Hispanics in Dallas. We are selling a lot of tickets to Hispanics. On the principal undercard bouts we have Hispanics. We have Jose Luis Castillo fighting Alfonso Gomez, John Duddy, who is Irish, fighting Michael Medina, a Mexican from Monterey, middleweight, and David Diaz against Humberto Soto for the WBC lightweight title. On the non-televised portion of the card, it is loaded with Hispanics like Roberto Marroquin of Dallas – the Hispanics and Mexicans will be well-represented. Manny Pacquiao has fought many Mexicans and when I was down in Mexico identified Manny as a Filipino/Mexican and the Mexicans in California feel that Manny is one of them.
When did you feel it was a reality to be having a fight at Cowboys Stadium?
BOB ARUM: Well, you remember back when we were involved in the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, Jerry had called me at home. I knew Jerry, he had come to a couple of fights and he said, ‘Bob, we want the fight in Cowboys Stadium.’ We set up a meeting and Mayweather’s guy, Richard Schaefer, canceled the meeting the day before and it was kind of embarrassing for us. I knew in my mind that Cowboys Stadium would be a great venue for this fight. When the Mayweather fight fell out and the fight was made with Joshua Clottey, the first call I made was to Jerry Jones. I told him I want to come out and make a deal with Cowboys Stadium. He invited me out and it was in conjunction with the Cowboys-Eagles game. I was there that night and the next day, Jerry, Todd [duBoef] and myself and Jerry’s staff and Steve Jones had a meeting and we made a deal.
Could you get more than 45,000?
BOB ARUM: That’s up to Jerry. Right now everyone would have a tremendous view of the fight. We could expand but right now we are on target to sell the 45,000 tickets and we’d be very happy doing that. I know yesterday we sold 350 tickets and we are on course to do that again today. By the time the fighters get into town, we would have sold well over 40,000 tickets. We would then have 3,000 or 4,000 tickets to go and it would be up to Jerry to expand.
Are you worried about the training situation?
VINNY SCOLPINO: I think Lenny [DeJesus] brings a lot of experience, probably over 40 years and he was with Pacquiao during many of his fights. Lenny has always been more than just a cut-man, he also trains a lot of fighters. He brings a wealth of experience, he knows the business, he knows what to do in the ring whether he’s a cut man or whether he’s a trainer. So we are comfortable. Joshua is comfortable with him and we are ready to rumble. We feel comfortable coming out of that rind with a victory with what we are doing. Josh was training in Ghana with another trainer and we tried to get that trainer in but we weren’t sitting on the sidelines hoping and praying that that trainer would get in. We had plans. If the trainer joined us from Ghana we would love it. Right now we are comfortable with what we have and Josh is a true professional. Josh is so excited to get in that ring with Manny. We are ready to rumble. When that bell rings, everything changes. Right now they are respectful of each other and are true professionals, but when that bell rings, those hats come off. Fists are going to fly.
Are you disappointed your trainer could not get to the States, there were reports you brodke down and wept, is that true?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: It is true. We have been together for a very long time. If he could get his visa, I would fly him here. They are not going to give him his visa and I can’t wait for him because I have to get ready to fight and my life is on the line. When I get in the ring my trainer will give me motivation. I had him in Ghana for weeks and that matters. In other fights, my cut man, Lenny, was pushing me a lot so I thought I would use him as my trainer.
Are you ready for Manny Pacquiao and how do you plan on beating Manny Pacquiao?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: I am very much ready for Manny Pacquiao. I keep telling people that I am going to fight and I know it’s not easy. It’s not going to be easy for me and it’s not going to be easy for Manny Pacquiao because I am going to fight the guy who the people think is the best.
I have never watched his tapes. I never sit down and watch him and I never sit down and talk about him. The only thing I think about is me and what I have to do when I come into the ring. I have been training very hard for myself to get to the ring and do my best. When I get to the ring, the fight will start and that’s what I’ll do.
Will your size make a difference in the fight like it did in the Cotto fight?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: I am not talking about whether I am bigger or stronger than Manny Pacquiao. I don’t want to talk like that because little guys beat the big guys out there. I am not thinking about that. The writers make the story so good. I know I’m big and I’m strong but I’m not thinking about that. I just train to get in the ring to do my best. I just know what kind of a fighter he is. I just have to be me. That is most important to me.
I have known Lenny and he is a very good man. He was my cut man with Cotto. So my trainer could not get a visa and I picked him to be my trainer for this fight. Miguel Diaz used to be my cut man but he will be with Manny Pacquiao for this fight.
Do you feel Pacquiao-Mayweather could be made in the future?
BOB ARUM: Life goes on, that what these boys fight for. If Joshua beats Manny, who knows? If Mosley beats Mayweather then we do a Mosley-Clottey fight. That’s what makes boxing interesting. If I did a walkover fight, for example, Pacquiao and Malignaggi, which was at one point bandied about, people would say I was just keeping Pacquiao busy and they would have been right. But there is danger in Manny losing this fight. Clottey is a very dangerous fight. There is also the chance that Mosley goes back to the fountain of youth, which he got for the Margarito fight and if he gets in the ring with Mayweather could very well beat Mayweather – the Mosley that fought Margarito. If these were walk-over fights, nobody would give a damn. The fight that everyone wanted to see didn’t happen for one reason or another and I’m not here on this call to cast blame on the other side, but on March 13 we have a really good fight, a competitive fight, a fight that could go either way and a fight that will be Manny Pacquiao’s toughest fight.
Did you say you haven’t watched tape of Manny’s fights?
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: That is right. I never watch tapes of people. I don’t like watching tapes but I know how he fights. When I get to the ring I know how he is going to be.
Negotiations to get to this fight?
BOB ARUM: In all the fights that I’ve done, this whole series of fights, the Hatton fight, the De La Hoya fight, the Cotto fight…it was never any kind of serious problems in the negotiations. There were a couple of problems that went back and forth and the Mayweather negotiations threw me for a loop because they became so acrimonious and so in a lot of ways nonsensical, that it led me to believe rightly or wrongly that the Mayweather side never wanted to do the fight. Now the negotiations for the Clottey fight took about 24 hours. They contacted Clottey in Africa and I spoke to Vinny and Pat English the lawyer and we put it together quite promptly. But that has been that way with every fight, that we can put it together without much back and forth. Whether it was the presence of Al Haymon because we had problems with the Williams fight with Kelly Pavlik, I don’t really know. I just know that the Mayweather negotiations were extremely difficult and extremely acrimonious and kept the fight from happening.
If we believe, and I certainly believe that boxing is a big-time sport, boxing is on a crest and boxing isn’t a niche sport or a dying sport, but it’s a big-time sport and putting it in big stadiums like Cowboy Stadium, like Yankees Stadium, like the new stadium in the Meadowlands, proves that point. Because when you put your product in venues like that, what you’re saying to the world that boxing is a big-time sport and can hold its own past any other sport. We know what’s happening in Mexico…boxing is getting higher ratings than soccer and certainly any other sport going on regularly on terrestrial TV on a Saturday night. We know it from Germany where arenas are constantly sold out and the ratings are through the roof, we know if from England and the Philippines and Japan. We don’t know it yet from the United States but I’m telling you, it’s like the sleeping giant that is there. Boxing in the U.S. will takes its place the same way that it is doing it in the rest of the world like a big-time sport. Putting these events in these stadiums will prove that and demonstrate that.
JOSHUA CLOTTEY: I would like to thank the media and all the questions that they ask me and the answers that I put through. I want to thank God and Bob Arum and the Top Rank crew. I am very happy that this fight is coming up on the 13th of March and I’m going to do the best that I can.
BOB ARUM: I am really looking forward to March 13 and this great event in Cowboys Stadium. The telecast is $49.95. I have explained the undercard and it will be a great night of boxing. Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders all over the place, fireworks. It will be a real event and that’s why we have named it THE EVENT. More importantly this will be the best fight you have seen. This will be the toughest for many Pacquiao. You’ve heard today how determined Joshua Clottey is and you’re going to see fireworks in the ring and that’s what boxing is all about. Thanks for being on this call and we’ll see you on March 13th.
Video from Clottey’s training camp taken on Thursday.
Clottey Pre-Dawn Beach Run
Clottey Pounds the Mitts
Clottey hits the bags
Stretching and sit ups…
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with the Dallas Cowboys, Tecate and MP Promotions, THE EVENT: PACQUIAO vs. CLOTTEY will take place Saturday, March 13, in Cowboys Stadium, where over 30,000 tickets have already been sold. The $1.2 billion stadium is the largest, most technologically advanced entertainment venue in the world. Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), boxing’s only seven-division world champion, of General Santos City, Philippines, will be defending the World Boxing Organization welterweight title against Clottey (35-3, 21 KOs), of Accra, Ghana. THE EVENT will be produced and distributed Live on HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.