Manny Pacquiao ran roughshod through four sparring partners this week, and boxing’s pound-for-pound king plans to churn through just as many today.
He has been peppering the speed bag, pounding the heavy bag and doing enough running to make Usain Bolt fall over in a heap. Under the watchful eye of trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao is preparing himself to stop Joshua Clottey when they fight March 13 in Arlington, Texas.
"Manny is getting better all the time," Roach said after a training session Friday at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. "I know Clottey is a big, strong guy. I respect him; he’s a great fighter. But Manny, I feel, is going to overwhelm him with his speed and combinations, and I do believe we will be the first one to stop him in 12 rounds."
If it sounds simple, that’s because Pacquiao has little trouble when fights are decided in the ring. Things aren’t so easy when the fight is contested with words.
That continues to be the case with Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., after their proposed blockbuster fell through because of drug-testing protocol. Mayweather and his relatives have accused Pacquiao of using performance-enhancing drugs, either directly or by innuendo, and the Filipino champion has balked at taking a blood test within 14 days of a fight.
Pacquiao will instead fight Clottey at Cowboys Stadium, and Mayweather is headed for a showdown May 1 against welterweight champion Shane Mosley. Along with the verbal jabs, Pacquiao and Mayweather can fight over who generates bigger pay-per-view numbers.
"We’re not happy with his remarks, and Manny really wants to fight him in the future because of the remarks he made," Roach said. "Manny, sometimes when he’s shadowboxing, he shows me how Mayweather fights and how he’ll take care of the problem, and I’ve never seen that before."
Promoter Bob Arum still thinks Mayweather never wanted to fight Pacquiao and that his strict adherence to blood testing — which is far more extensive than the urine analysis required by the Nevada Athletic Commission — was his way of getting out of it.
"We don’t have to be geniuses to know what they were trying to do. They were trying to get into Manny’s head so he’d be discombobulated," Arum said. "Mayweather against Manny is a no contest, no contest. Manny would wipe the ring with Floyd Mayweather."
If that’s to happen, he’ll first have to defeat Clottey.
The fight appears to be a mismatch on paper, especially considering the rugged fighter from Ghana lost to Miguel Cotto — the same guy Pacquiao dominated last fall. But just as fights aren’t decided with words, they aren’t decided on paper, either.