If Joshua Clottey were to pull off the upset this Saturday against Manny Pacquiao, his two key weapons are two of his attributes that Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach is well aware of.
His uppercut and headbutt.
Clottey has one of the best uppercut’s in boxing. It’s the punch he used to rip open a gash over Zab Judah’s eye in his welterweight title winning effort in 2008. Despite the fact that the cut was ruled to be caused by a headbutt, replays show it was actually Clottey’s uppercut.
Aside from the Judah fight, Clottey has used this punch to his advantage many other times. The Judah bout being the most notable.
Now the question is, is Pacquiao vulnerable to this punch?
After barely being touched in fights against David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao did feel contact from Miguel Cotto in his most recent fight. At least for a few rounds until it became a route,
If you go back and watch the fight, which is available on demand through many cable companies this week promoting the PPV, you’ll see that Pacquiao eats a few head snapping uppercuts from Cotto in the fight. Noticeably in the third and fifth rounds respectively.
Pacquiao did not adher to Roach’s game plan early on in the bout and did allow himself to get backed up against the ropes to feel Coto’s power. It turned out Pacquiao could more than handle it. However, will the case be different against a much bigger opponent like Clottey? That’s why we’ll be watching.
Now to the headbutt. Clottey cut Cotto with a headbutt, was disqualified against Carlos Baldomir because of one and forced a technical decision against Judah because of a perceived butt.
While illegal, Clottey may use rough tactics in a subtle manner to turn this into his kind of fight.
Pacquiao’s blinding speed is bound to give Clottey problems and likely going to be the key to the Filipino winning the fight. However, Clottey will need something to try to remain competitive. His uppercut and incidental (?) use of his head may be two ways he does that.