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Sports

Pacquiao warned of Clottey's dirty tactics

- Joaquin M. Henson -

MANILA, Philippines - What makes Joshua Clottey a dangerous opponent for Manny Pacquiao is his unpredictability as a dirty fighter.

How Pacquiao will cope with Clottey’s low blows, headbutting, holding and lacing is a big question mark since the Filipino icon has experienced difficulty handling rule-breakers in the past. Clottey’s headbutting is a major concern.

He repeatedly banged heads with Argentina’s Carlos Baldomir in 1999 and was disqualified in the 11th round.

In 2005, Clottey butted Steve Martinez so badly that referee Wayne Hedgpeth was forced to stop their fight in the second round and declared it a no-contest.

In 2007, he kept fouling Shamone Alvarez and won a 12-round decision because referee Jay Nady tolerated his illegal tactics, exasperating the previously unbeaten American.

Last year, the Ghanaian roughhouser left Miguel Cotto with a cut that took 20 stitches to close, courtesy of a butt. “The most dangerous weapon in Clottey’s arsenal and what Pacquiao will have to be most aware of, is undoubtedly Clottey’s head,” wrote Don Stradley in The Ring Magazine (April 2010).

“The sheer contour of it is menacing, the forehead bulging slightly as if nature designed Clottey with the specific intention of giving other fighters headaches and bad cuts.” Clottey’s most inglorious moment was when he went on a butting rampage against Baldomir in a bout for the vacant International Boxing Council (IBC) welterweight title in London. Italian referee Franco Ciminale docked two points from Clottey for a blatant butt in the 10th round, opening a nasty wound over Baldomir’s left eye.

Clottey butted Baldomir once more in the 11th, causing Ciminale to issue a stern warning.

But the Ghanaian didn’t seem to care about Ciminale’s reprimand or that he led in the three judges scorecards – 96-92 (Thailand’s Anek Hongtongkam), 95-93 (Austria’s Walter Schall) and 95-93 (Mexico’s Jose Guerra).

He blew a sure win by butting Baldomir again, leaving Ciminale no choice but to rule a disqualification.

That established Clottey’s unsavory reputation as an instinctively dirty fighter – almost like it’s in his nature to be dirty. Boxing News writer Tony Connolly said there was also reason to disqualify Clottey for low blows which he threw throughout the fight with impunity. In 2006, referee Lou Moret slapped a point deduction on Clottey for a low blow but the Ghanaian still beat Richard Gutierrez on points.

In 2008, Clottey won a ninth round technical decision over Zab Judah who was ruled unfit to continue by referee Robert Byrd because of a cut from an alleged butt.

Clottey’s vile tricks not only inflict physical damage but also cause mental anxiety.

Alvarez, for instance, couldn’t get untracked as he lost his focus, defending against butts and low blows instead of executing his fightplan.

Pacquiao has met two unscrupulously dirty fighters in his career – Australia’s Nedal Hussein and the Dominican Republic’s Agapito Sanchez.

He had problems dealing with both. In 2000, Pacquiao couldn’t figure out Hussein at first and was even floored in the fourth round.

Hussein hit on the break and used his forearms, elbows, shoulders and head to throw off Pacquiao.

Referee Carlos (Sonny) Padilla, however, put his foot down and slapped a point deduction on Hussein for forearming Pacquiao right after the knockdown.

Pacquiao eventually stopped Hussein on cuts in the 10th round. In 2001, Sanchez gave Pacquiao fits with his shenanigans during their brawl in San Francisco.

Referee Marty Denkin deducted two points from Sanchez for low blows but the Dominican got away with a headbutt that split open Pacquiao’s right eyelid in the second.

Sanchez butted Pacquiao once more on the same spot in the sixth.

Denkin should’ve disqualified Sanchez outright but copped out by halting the contest and going to the scorecards.

Pacquiao escaped with a split technical draw but without the two-point deduction, he would’ve lost by a split decision. At the point of stoppage, judge Ricardo Bays of Florida had it 58-54 for Pacquiao, judge Marshall Walker of California 55-57 for Sanchez and judge Raul Armando Caiz of Texas, 56-all.

Clottey’s history of resorting to foul tactics is an indication that he won’t be restrained from going against the rules to win a fight.

AGAPITO SANCHEZ

ANEK HONGTONGKAM

BALDOMIR

BOXING NEWS

BUT THE GHANAIAN

CIMINALE

CLOTTEY

HUSSEIN

PACQUIAO

SANCHEZ

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