So begins our marathon coverage of one of the biggest fights of 2010, Manny Pacquiao versus Joshua Clottey on March 13, culminating in a live blog on fight night. Today: Why and how Pacquiao-Clottey matters. Next: How good is Clottey?
It's always a good thing when the world's best boxer, who doubles as its most electrifying performer, is fighting. It's all the better when he's fighting a quality opponent. Those are the circumstances Saturday night on HBO pay-per-view when the pound-for-pound king, Manny Pacquiao, locks horns with dangerous Joshua Clottey, ranked #5 by Ring magazine in the top-heavy welterweight division.
Yet despite those conditions... despite the good match-up, which likely will produce nice action... despite the sui generis backdrop of a Cowboys Stadium that will host 45,000 screaming fans... despite the likelihood that Pacquiao-Clottey will be a pay-per-view smash... it feels a touch anticlimatic. It's because March 13 was originally the date booked for what would have been the biggest fight in 20 years or more, Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather.
And you can say all you want, "Why don't we all just move on, already?" Ring magazine's Mike Rosenthal suggested the same thing in a recent column, then twice more mentioned Mayweather-Pacquiao in that same column. Fans of Pacquiao are constantly saying in comments on this blog, "Who cares about Mayweather?" But Pacland, the all-Pacquiao-all-the-time news hub, still lights up with Mayweather-centric articles. And some Filipino news outlets recently had a dust-up with Mayweather's flak over whether they could interview Mayweather about the drug-testing feud that derailed Mayweather-Pacquiao.
So let's consider what Pacquiao-Clottey is, and what it isn't.