Supposed Mega-Fight Packs No Punch
It sent everyone into a Googling frenzy trying to find out where the crowd ranked on the all-time list of attendance at a fight. Was it the fourth biggest? Was it the third biggest, as Arum boasted? Had any fight ever packed in so many into an indoor arena?
I don't know what the answer is and at this point I really don't care.
But I do know this: Never had so many paid so much to see so little. This was a Shakespeare special -- much ado about nothing.
Pacquiao-Clottey turned out to be a glorified middle-of-the-week sparring match at any gym in America. Even worse, it sucked quite a bit of air out of the rising hot balloon that was carrying the proposed super-fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
Arum wasn't real happy that the MGM Grand in Las Vegas turned down his client, Pacquiao, after the negotiations with Mayweather fell apart, and chose a Mayweather-Shane Mosley bill to fill the date Pacquiao-Mayweather deserted. But it looked Saturday night as if the folks at the MGM Grand knew what they were doing.
There is absolutely no way that Mayweather-Mosley can be as boring as the first fight in Jerry World.
It wasn't the fault of Jones. He did it big, as we know people in Texas always do.
It wasn't the fault of Pacquiao. He seemed as energized as always.
All the cold water thrown on the marquee bout of the evening was dumped by Clottey.
Clottey should be ashamed of the show he didn't put on. It was almost as if he wasn't trying.
He's always been a defensive fighter. He's never been a guy to jump rip-roaring out of the corner or to take many chances later on. But this time he outdid himself and did virtually nothing except impersonate a heavy bag.
After all the buzz about this evening and all the lights and sound and music and Texas sports celebrities -- that would be Dallas Cowboys -- who Jones plugged into his stadium, Clottey short-circuited everything. The biggest roars of the evening came on the last undercard when the crowd broke into a wave. This is a football state, of course.
Clottey came out in a peek-a-boo style and rarely got to the boo part. To his credit, he did manage to ruffle Pacquiao's feathers. His pacifism, which has no place in pugilism, so frustrated Pacquiao in the fourth round that Pacquiao reached around Clottey's fists and forearms and punched him in the ears with both hands simultaneously. It at least elicited a giggle from the crowd. There was nothing funny or entertaining about anything else.
One judge had Clottey losing every single round. Arum could've picked a guy off Interstate 30, off which Cowboys Stadium sits, who could've done the same thing and for a lot less that Clottey's purse.
Pacquiao threw 1,231 punches and Clottey stuck out a fist with success 399 times.
Clottey didn't say afterward that he was scared, but at least that would've been plausible. Pacquiao, after all, hammered himself into even the casual fight fan's psyche over the past year and a half with a stunning knockout of Ricky Hatton and a masterful dismantling of a solid champion like Miguel Cotto. It was enough to make Mayweather's camp suggest that Pacquiao was running on steroids. Pacquiao objected, having never tested positive for any banned substance, and sued Mayweather for slander. As a result, their much-anticipated fight fell apart and the clamor that was growing for their matchup began to wane.
This was the first time in recent memory that Pacquiao was less than spectacular. He didn't look anything like the Fighter of the Year that he became last year. He didn't look anything like the biggest draw in his sport. Thanks to Clottey's inactivity, Pacquiao looked almost pedestrian.
He tried to make it a fight. He pounded his chest at times. He imitated Clottey at times in hope that Clottey would take a few shots at him and he could engage him as a counter-puncher. Clottey took none of that bait.
It was one of the more curious plans I remember seeing in the ring in a long time. At least Hector Camacho, near the end of his career, had a plan when he got into the ring against Oscar De La Hoya after badgering the Golden Boy for years. It was to remain upright at the end, and he did. I foolishly thought that Clottey was fighting Pacquiao for more than a payday. He was a natural welterweight who'd never been knocked out. But he didn't take a chance.
"I did my best," Clottey said later in English that was as careful as his fighting. "I think I lost a fight for the first time. I lost to Pacquiao. He's very, very fast. I respect him."
Clottey was very, very slow, and hardly game Saturday night. For all that Pacquiao had done for boxing the past year or so, Clottey squandered much of it. It's up to Mayweather now to rebuild the excitement that was surrounding his mega-bout with Pacquiao.