Team Clottey has no quarrel with the classy Manny Pacquiao as the moment of truth on March 13 fast approaches. However the words of Freddie Roach have prickled the pride of Joshua Clottey.
Manager Vinny Scolpino, like his former IBF Welterweight champion, respects Pacquiao as a person and a fighter. “I met him a few times at the Top Rank office. He’s a very nice guy, simple, humble.”
While Scolpino has no bad words to say about the Filipino Destroyer, he did add, “Josh wants to beat Freddie Roach. That’s his motivation. Because he wants to put him in his place. If he beats Pacquiao, he puts Freddie in his place too.”
It turns out that the man from Ghana, Africa, was rubbed the wrong way by some of Roach’s comments made to the media. “Roach said Pacquiao is gonna knock Josh out,” said Scolpino. “Josh said, He ain’t gonna knock me out.”
Scolpino is confident in the defensive abilities of Clottey and says Josh has never really been staggered or knocked down in sparring or his 38 pro fights, aside from the off-balance jab against Miguel Cotto last June. “Pacquiao ain’t gonna crack his defense. His defense is one of the best in the game. I ain’t worried about that.”
Evander Holyfield once stated he purposefully never spoke negatively of an opponent so as not to give him any extra motication or incentive. Scolpino agrees that Roach has become an extra motivational source for Clottey. “He did. And it worked well. We read it on the Internet. Josh told me, I’m gonna teach him a lesson. Don’t make these statements.”
Clottey certainly looked like a man possessed at his media workout on Thursday. He performed all his exercises with a serious, confident intensity that was so impressive I would not rule out an upset victory by the mighty African warrior.
Some fighters merely go through the motions for these little media workouts but Clottey went all out: he jogged on the running machine while doing interviews, never once losing his breath. I have never seen a figher simultaneously speak with the media while running. Then Clottey hit the mitts for about six rounds with an assistant trainer while chewing gum. Next it was punching the speed bag and then double-end bag. Stretching and abdominal exercises followed, mixed in with Clottey confident pacing the floor at high speed.
“This fight is like a miracle,” said Clottey. “I never expected to fight pay-per-view.”
“It’s gonna be a great fight,” promises Scolpino. “Fans are gonna get a great fight. I mean, I can’t wait.”