Exclusive Interview: Joshua Clottey Speaks On Keys To Victory, Respect For Pacquiao
Vivek Wallace: Hey Josh, welcome to my home, sunny South Florida. Before we get into the fight itself, what are your thoughts about training here?
JC: I love it in South Florida. I think the weather is great, the people are great, and I get to run, train, and walk on the beach, so I love it here. The gym has been great, and very professional, and I think my next training camp will be back here.
VW: Now, as the world awaits, I'm sure the anticipation within is growing for you as well. What are your thoughts at this very moment as you come days closer to squaring off against the sports P4P king, the phenomenal Manny Pacquiao?
JC: First of all I'm so happy about this fight. I'm so happy that I'm fighting Pacquiao. Obviously I've never fought him before, and I don't watch tape of any fighters. So I want to see what his speed is. I want to see what his power is..
VW: Manny People talk about his power and his speed, and the other things you have to deal with, but few are talking about the fact that this will be the first time in his recent rise to stardom that we've seen Pacquiao face a defensive specialist like yourself. What's the gameplan once you step in there? Are we gonna see a more offensive Clottey, or will the effort be centered around your dominant defense and power?
JC: Well, that's the thing, I have a very good defense. To me, it's the key of the fight. When he's throwing a thousand punches he's gonna learn that he has to think. Before he does everything he does, I am going to make him think. It won't be the same as other fights. Right now, I wish the fight was tonight.
VW: After watching you train, I definitely think you'd be ready if it was tonight! Now, obviously the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight failed, but now he [Mayweather] has a solid opponent coming up in Mosley. In the event that you get beyond Pacquiao, what are your thoughts on the Mayweather/Mosley fight, and facing the particular winner?
JC: If I beat Pacquiao, I would love to fight the winner. But between the two, I think I will give it to Mayweather. He's a very smart fighter, and the age of Shane and all; but it's gonna be a tough fight because Mosley has wanted this fight for a long time. Mayweather is just such a smart fighter.
VW: OK, aside from Cotto, I think you've been a perennial welterweight. You've faced all of the big names. You got in the ring with Margarito, you fought Cotto. Against the best the division has to offer, you came up short in one fight due to injury, and you came up short in the other fight because it seemed we had a cast of blind judges. Is there any concern at this point about not getting a decision that many viewers think is clearly yours?
JC: Well, in the fight with Cotto, I really felt that I won the fight. What he threw - in my book - was not even a lot of punches. I hope the judges in this fight realize with Pacquiao that just like Cotto, whatever they throw, I will block them. With Cotto, if he threw 5 punches, he landed 1, or maybe two. When I throw 4 punches, I landed 4, or 3 and a half. This is welterweight. It's not featherweight or lightweight. In the welterweight division and up, we throw punches to connect, and I always connect. Usually more than my opponent. It's not like "OK, throw a thousand punches and if you don't land but look busy enough you win the fight". If they do that, (give him an unfair decision), and I finish the fight knowing that I won but don't, I don't want this, but I don't mind. I'm the fighter from far away, from Africa. But like we saw with Cotto, the people knew I won. I love when the people tell me I've won, more so than the judges. People know the truth, and they speak the truth, and even if the judges try to stop me from winning, the people will always know the truth, and so will Manny Pacquiao.
VW: Alot of conversation has been made about the allegations of Pacquiao surrounding the steroids issue. You didn't demand a steroids test which was a gesture of good sportsmanship, but I've never heard you go on record about this matter and I would like to for those who wanna know what you think. Tell me, what are your thoughts about Pacquiao and the steroid allegations?
JC: You know, Mayweather knows the reason why he's talking like that. According to Mayweather, when you start fighting, maybe in your early, or mid-20's, you start to dominate people, but when you reach your 30's you start to slow down. In the case of Pacquiao, he's 31, dominating much bigger opponents like crazy, so Mayweather was thinking that something is going on. But that is him. With me, I've never fought Pacquiao before. I don't know the way he hits, I don't know if he's as fast as people think. I fight different so it may not affect me the same. With me, I'm in very very good shape, and we aren't fighting at a catchweight. I am gonna be as strong as I always am, and there is no reason for me to enter the ring weak like some of his past opponents. So if he is able to beat me like crazy, maybe I'll feel the same thing.
VW: Last question......we've talked about the fans and their appreciation for you out there for quite some time. What are some parting words you'd like to make to the EastSideBoxing community out there?
JC: I just want to tell them that EastSideBoxing is the website that I always check first. Sometimes I go to the comments, and I see what they write there, and I can see that they really like me. I want to say thank each of them for supporting me and praying for me. It is like I know each of them. I don't know them, but in spirit, I know them, and one day we're all gonna meet. So I just want to thank them for that support, and thank you, Vivek, for your great work.
POST INTERVIEW ANALYSIS:
Listening to fight fans out there, there are certain circles that lead us to believe this will be a walk in the park. After witnessing the aggression and brute strength of Clottey, without question, ladies and gents, I have come to one conclusion......We have one helluva fight on our hands! Both of these men are humble and very respectful, but I have no question we'll see each bring the beast out of the other. In exactly two weeks the talking will be over.....and the punching begins. Are you ready?
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, YouTube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace).