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Pacquiao-Clottey Face-Off Gets Grand, Glitzy Kickoff

Inquirer.net, News Report, Roy Luarca, Philippine Daily Inquirer Posted: Jan 21, 2010

MANILA, PhilippinesEven the fans at the stands wont be denied seeing the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey showdown for the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown on March 13 up close.

The 5-foot-6 Filipino ring icon and his 5-foot-8 Ghanian challenger will be magnified as 70-footers on the worlds largest high definition television when they battle it out at the $1.2-billion Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Billionaire Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys and co-promoter of the first boxing bout at the worlds biggest domed stadium, put up a grand kickoff press conference for The Event Tuesday in Arlington, with pompom-waving cheerleaders, former boxing champions and former Super Bowl winners in attendance.

No wonder, Pacquiao, Clottey and promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank gushed over the 80,000-seat facility that would be reconfigured to accommodate 40,000 fight fans close to the way it was during the lavish news conference emceed by Michael Buffer.

I feel really good about this (fight), said Pacquiao. The fans will like what well do in the ring come March 13."

Its going to be a good fight, Pacquiao added. Clottey, he is a good fighter, a top fighter, and he is bigger than me. I have to prepare hard for this fight and train hard and focus.

Clottey was equally magnanimous.

This is going to be a hell of a fight, Clottey said. I love Manny Pacquiao. If you throw (punches) at him, he will throw them back at you. I know what Im going to face.

Both Pacquiao, the pound-for-pound king, and Clottey, ranked No. 1 by the WBO and No. 4 by the World Boxing Association, were presented football jerseys with their names on the back by Jones. Pacquiao had No. 3 on his jersey and Clottey No. 13 to signify the date of their fight.

In the same press conference, Pacquiao did not discount the possibility that his megabuck duel with Floyd Mayweather Jr., originally set March 13 before it was cancelled due to differences in drug-testing protocol, may push through later this year.

For me, I wanted to fight him, but he had a lot of reasons, Pacquiao said.

Renowned trainer Freddie Roach, however, insists Clottey presents a better match-up for Pacquiao as the Ghanaian is going to fight and not run like Mayweather.

Arum continued to be smitten by the stadium chosen to host the NBA All-Star game next month and the Super Bowl next year.

I have never, ever seen anything like it, Arum said. There is nothing in the world like this place. It just blows you away.

Amazing. I feel like Im a football player, Pacquiao said after entering the stadium through a smoke-filled tunnel and a gauntlet of shapely cheerleaders.

The 31-year-old Pacquiao, the only boxer to snare seven world titles in as many weight divisions, holds a 50-3-2 ring record with 38 KOs. Clottey, 33, has a mark of 35-3 with 21 KOs.

Meanwhile, tickets for The Event will go on sale on Jan. 23. Prices range from $700, $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50.

With reports from AP, AFP and Reuters

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