It may not be the fight everyone wanted, but it's a fight nonetheless. And it's a fight that Manny Pacquiao should not take lightly.
Wednesday's news conference at Madison Square Garden to announce the Pacquiao-Clottey fight was punctuated by the presence of five Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, whose job it was to escort Pacquiao and Clottey to the stage. While that was pleasant, the fallout from Pacquiao's failed fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. almost turned things ugly. Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, spoke at length about what was projected to be the richest fight in history.
"You don't bully Manny Pacquiao," said Arum, "and if you do, you do so at your own peril."
Pacquiao said simply, "He didn't want to fight me. I think maybe Mayweather is scared to lose."
Team Pacquiao maintained that Mayweather Jr. never intended to fight Pac Man and the demand of blood testing for performance-enhancing drugs was simply his way out of the fight. The megafight fell apart after Pacquiao agreed to three stages of blood testing, 45 and 24 days before and immediately after the fight. Mayweather Jr. insisted upon a test 14 days before the fight. The state athletic commissions and sanctioning bodies do not mandate blood tests for performance-enhancing drugs.
"He says jump and we're supposed to say how high?" Arum said. "It's not going to happen."
Arum said that Mayweather Jr. attempted to sabotage the negotiations at every turn, from the venue, to the title of the event, to having his name first in the billing, even though they would have been fighting for Pacquiao's title.
It appears that Mayweather Jr. may now fight Sugar Shane Mosley, who has reportedly agreed to Mayweather Jr.'s blood-testing schedule. Who knows if Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr. will ever fight.
"If Mayweather wants to fight Manny, it will have to be under the rules of the commission that governs the fight," Arum said. "You cannot have fighters in this sport imposing regulatory restrictions on other fighters because they damn well please."
Clottey, who is from Ghana but now lives and trains in the Bronx, does not figure to be an easy night's work for Pacquiao. He has gone the distance with Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto in a pair of grueling fights.
"Joshua is a big, strong welterweight and Manny wants to campaign in the welterweight division," said Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach. "So we have this test in front of us. But I have the perfect student to do it."