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Friday, March 5, 2010

Roach: It’ll be over in nine; Arum disagrees

HOLLYWOOD—Master trainer Freddie Roach believes Joshua Clottey will fall in nine, but topnotch promoter Bob Arum says he expects Manny Pacquiao’s foe to go the distance.

Roach, who had earlier predicted that his prized ward would hand the Ghanaian challenger his first-ever knockout loss, said the end will come in the ninth round of the 12-round bout.

Arum, the head honcho of Top Rank which promotes both Pacquiao and Clottey, offered a different scenario, however.

The 77-year-old Harvard-educated lawyer said Pacquiao’s defense of his World Boxing Organization welterweight title on March 13 against Clottey will be “a distance fight.”

Arum said he’d be surprised if Pacquiao carves out an abbreviated win over Clottey, who has been knocked down only once in 38 fights (35-3).

He said Clottey is a very dangerous welterweight who is capable of bucking the odds and clipping Pacquiao’s 11-game winning streak, the last four by knockout.

If Clottey wins, Arum said he’d see to it that there would be a rematch, although that is not stipulated in the fight contract.

While Roach agrees that Clottey is a tough, durable fighter, the four-time Trainer of the Year insists Pacquiao (50-3-2 with 38 knockouts) is going to add the Ghanaian to his list of vanquished opponents.

“We know his pluses and his mistakes,” said Roach. “He has a good defense but is very predictable. If his chin holds, we’ll destroy him downstairs.”

Roach added that Clottey can’t afford to coast against Pacquiao in the late rounds because the three-time Fighter of the Year will “finish him off if he does that.”

While Roach is happy with the way training camp has turned out, Arum is ecstatic that paying fight fans have vigorously responded to the showdown between Pacquiao and Clottey.

Praising Pacquiao’s drawing power, Arum bared that only about 7,000 tickets have remained unsold for the fight, dubbed as “The Event” and scheduled at the spanking $1.2-billion Cowboys Stadium, which has been reconfigured to accommodate 45,000 fans.

Arum said Top Rank plans to stage more big fights at stadiums, rather than at hotels in gambling havens which can hardly sit 20,000.

He said boxing must be seen by the masses and with lower ticket prices, the sport will sustain its revival.


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