DURING an interview days before the fight, Ghanaian fighter Josua Clottey boasted that Filipino boxing sensation and world champion Manny Pacquiao could not knock him out because he had a sturdy chin that could withstand a lot of punches. Indeed he was proven right, because Pacquiao failed to knock him down despite the “oozing punches” of the Pambansang Kamao during the fight dubbed “The Event” at the newly constructed multi-billion dollar Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

Clottey also defended his record as a boxer who never suffered a knockout in his 39 fights. How could he be knocked out with the way he fought Pacquiao, protecting his face with his gloves from the latter’s incoming punches? Pacquiao literally made a punching bag out of Clottey. Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who shared the same table with me at the Parklane Hotel with Councilor Jack Jakosalem, described the bout as “mere sparring session.” The same observation was shared by businessman and talent manager Raul Laurente, who watched the fight on pay-per view at the Pier 4 Hotel, owned by businessman Rod Ngo, with Sun.Star Cebu/Superbalita columnist Eddie Barrita. “Way lami ug wa ko malingaw,” said Laurente, a Pacquiao fanatic. Attorney Barrita was not also satisfied with Clottey’s performance.

In fact, he fell asleep while watching the fight, a bottle of beer in his hand. I joined them after the fight.

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Throughout the 12 rounds, Pacquiao dominated the fight. Clottey was no match for the holder of seven world titles in different divisions. Pacquiao snatched the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown from Miguel Cotto last November. Clottey was the former holder of the title, which was taken by Cotto.

The Ghanaian boxer tried to regain the title from Pacquiao, but he failed.  Pacquiao retained the title through a unanimous decision.

Clottey won 35 of his 39 fights, 20 of them through knockouts.

Pacquiao, who is a year younger, shorter and smaller than Clottey, has won 50 fights, 38 of them through knockouts.

Clottey was clever. He covered his face with his gloves, occasionally throwing punches at his opponent. He sometimes hit the face of Pacquiao, who suffered a cut below the right eye.

Pacquiao also had a hard time getting through Clottey’s face.

Instead, he concentrated his punches—left- and right-hook combinations—on Clottey’s stomach.

In the fourth round, maybe out of frustration at Clottey’s defense, Pacquiao hit him simultaneously with his right and left hand in both ears, prompting spectators to shout, “Ah, mora man og style ni Fernando Poe Jr.” In the last two rounds, Pacquiao released several punches, hoping to knock out Clottey. He was unsuccessful.

Boxing experts said Clottey changed his fighting style yesterday. Apparently, he didn’t want to share the same fate as his predecessors, who were knocked out by Pacquiao. It was a good tactic because he survived and reached the 12th round.

However, boxing enthusiasts were frustrated. Many predicted he would be knocked out in the first few rounds. And even though he reached the 12th round, he failed to put up a good fight. Boxing experts said that if Clottey sticks to that fighting style, he might as well hang his gloves and retire.

As for Pacquiao, congratulations. You continue to bring pride to the Philippines.

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While watching the fight at Parklane Hotel, Rama informed me that the City Council has been awarded again as one of the best legislative bodies in the country by a prestigious organization composed of government agencies and private corporations, like the DILG and Metrobank. This is the council’s second award.

Mike is hoping for a grand slam next year. Councilor Jakosalem said the award only proves that the council is not the mayor’s rubberstamp otherwise it wouldn’t have received the award. You are right, Jack. Congratulations.

(Bobby@sunstar.com.ph)