Clottey savors 'miracle opportunity'
NEW YORK -- When the March megafight between
Everyone, that is, except
With Mayweather out of the picture, Pacquiao was committed to finding another opponent for March since he's plotting a congressional run in the Philippines in May. When initial plans for a match with 154-pound alphabet titleholder
They'll fight for Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title on Mar. 13 at Cowboys Stadium on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Flanked by Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders at Wednesday's introductory press conference at Madison Square Garden, the 32-year-old Ghana transplant and Bronx native called it a "miracle opportunity." He wasn't exaggerating.
When Clottey pushed then-titleholder
That never happened. Instead, Cotto fought and ceded the welterweight belt to Pacquiao in 2009's highest-grossing pay-per-view fight.
Clottey is a talented if not transcendent fighter, the classic hard-hitting and harder-headed West African puncher. But as one of the less glamorous names in boxing's prestige division, he's become an easy opponent to dodge. His near miss against Cotto -- which came
So Clottey "couldn't believe it" when he heard rumors of Pacquiao's interest last week while on vacation in Accra. He flew back to New York one day early, hashed out the details alongside manager
"We want to fight the best guys out there because Manny likes challenges and this guy will challenge us." said
The specter of Mayweather loomed over Wednesday's presser -- and Roach was more than happy to acknowledge it.
The three-time Trainer of the Year rejected the notion that both fighters shared responsibility for the collapse.
"The commissions and the sanctioning bodies run these shows, not the fighters," Roach said. "We go by the commission rules. Let's face it, they've been doing it for a long time. They know what they're doing. Nevada, great commission. Same with California, New York. Why aren't their rules good enough for Mayweather?"
Roach was happy to offer a response to the many people who think Pacquiao's reluctance to accept random blood testing is an indication of guilt.
"Some people think we're hiding something and they won't understand why we won't give blood, because giving blood to some people is just a walk in the park," Roach said. "But when you're getting ready for a big fight -- a title fight -- there's more to that."
When asked whether Mayweather was scared of Pacquiao, Roach paused and considered the question.
"He doesn't seem like a person that gets scared," Roach said. "He's very cocky. I think he's just unsure of himself. When you see Pacquiao destroying guys that he's had trouble with, it's got to play with his mind a little bit."
Roach thinks Pacquiao's history-making run -- a record seven titles in seven different weight classes -- has invited unjustified criticism from his rivals.
"Whenever you have success, everybody's looking for a different reason," Roach said. "I've known my fighter well. We've been together a long time. We have five protein shakes a day to keep the weight on him, because he's really not a '47-pounder, he's a little smaller than that. I have trouble getting him to take protein shakes, never mind steroids."
Arum said the undercard will be announced next week and dropped a not-so-thinly-veiled hint about the inclusion of
Margarito, 31, has been inactive since getting caught with illegal plaster hand wraps before a January 2009 loss to
Arum said he's traveling with Cowboys owner
"There's tremendous interest in the fight in Mexico and it will be even enhanced when we announce the undercard," Arum said.
Margarito can apply for a license with the Texas commission this week. He'd be permitted to fight on the Pacquiao-Clottey undercard if it's granted.