MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 2) Seven-division champion Manny Pacquiao outpunched his defense-conscious challenger Joshua Clottey in their welterweight clash at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas to retain his World Boxing Organization (WBO) crown on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
It was Pacquiao who scored more punches, challenging the boxer from Ghana to engage him into a brawl.
However for most part of the fight, Clottey remained in his turtle defense, throwing lesser number of punches and apparently waiting for Pacquiao to tire out.
As a result the judges saw the fight 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109, all in favor of the General Santos native.
In the post fight interview, Pacquiao said he felt he was in control of the fight from the first round.
He said the fact that he failed to knock out Clottey showed the challenger was a "strong fighter."
"I already controlled after the first round but I'm never [over]confident because he's looking for a good shot and I know he's strong, really strong fighter," he said.
Asked if he believes Clottey was the strongest welterweight fighter he has fought, Pacquiao said: "Yes, exactly, that's right. He's not an easy opponent. I mean, Clottey is very strong, very tough. You know, he took a lot of punches and never been hurt, you know."
Meanwhile, Clottey said it took him time to adjust to Pacquiao's speed, which was the problem for him more than the champion's power punches.
"I don't feel his power too much, but I feel he has speed. That's the problem. He's fast, so I had to take my time because I don't want to open up [for punches]," he said.
Clottey said Pacquiao didn't have too much movement.
Asked if he was hurt at any point in the fight, Clottey said: "No, not really. As you see, my face, I'm fine.
Clottey said he was not affected by the big crowd at the Dallas Cowboys stadium since he's a fighter.
Asked who he would like to fight next, he said he's willing and ready to face anybody.
The victory improved Pacquiao’s record to 51 wins. It was his first successful defense of the WBO welterweight title after defeating Puerto Rican pugilist Miguel Cotto last November.
By the 9th round, Clottey’s trainer Lenny de Jesus implored the Ghanaian to take a chance, saying that Pacquiao had won every round.
Clottey tried to rally in the last 2 rounds but was clearly dominated by Pacquiao who kept punishing his challenger. Judges Levi Martinez, Nelson Vasquez and Duane Ford scored the fight 108, 119-109 and 119-109 all in favor of the pound-for-pound king.
Elections and then Mayweather?
In his interview, Pacquiao thanked the estimated 50,000 people who came to Cowboys Stadium to watch the bout. “Right now, I am so happy because the support of the fans is so unbelievable,” he said. “It is the first time that so many people came to see me fight.”
He said that he would stay in the United States for about a week to rest before going back to the Philippines to start his campaign for congressman of Sarangani province.
He also said he is willing to go back into negotiations to fight former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pacquiao was originally scheduled to face Mayweather in the March 13 bout until a disagreement on Olympic-style drug testing being pushed by the Mayweather camp derailed the fight.
“I want that fight because people want to see that fight,” he said.
He added, however, that he will only decide on his next bout after the May 10 elections in the Philippines.
Clottey, meanwhile, said he is willing to go back into the ring again.
“I will fight anybody and I am ready for anybody. Next time, I’ll come out big,” he said. With reports from David Dizon and Dennis Gasgonia, abs-cbnNEWS.com