ARLINGTON, Texas - With the biggest fight crowd in the United States in 17 years cheering him on at Cowboys Stadium, Manny Pacquiao dominated a strangely passive Joshua Clottey from the opening bell Saturday night to retain his welterweight title and help cement his status as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
The fight wasn't close, and it was never in doubt. It was so one-sided that even those in the cheap seats among the crowd of 50,994 could tell without looking at the giant video screens over the ring that Pacquiao was in total command.
The fight was more of an event than a real competition, bringing in the biggest crowd in the United States for a fight since Julio Cesar Chavez fought Pernell Whitaker at the Alamodome in 1993. It paid off handsomely for Pacquiao, who earned at least $12 million.
One ringside judge gave Pacquiao every round, while the two others gave him all but one.
It wasn't as flashy as his knockout of Ricky Hatton or as savage as the beating he gave Oscar De La Hoya, but there was no doubt Pacquiao was in command the entire way against a fighter who kept his gloves up high in front of his face and chose to engage him only in spurts. Clottey's strategy worked to keep him upright, but he was never competitive in the biggest fight of his career.
"He's a very tough opponent," Pacquiao said. "He was looking for a big shot."
Pacquiao was supposed to have been fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. instead of Clottey, but the megafight fell apart over a dispute over blood testing. He took out any frustrations over losing the biggest fight of his career by beating up Clottey on the biggest stage of his career.
"I want that fight, the world wants that fight, but it's up to him," Pacquiao said. "I'm ready to fight any time."
That time won't come soon. Mayweather is fighting Shane Mosley on May 1.
"He has speed, I lost the fight," said Clottey, who was guaranteed to make at least $1.25 million. "He's fast, that's why I was taking my time."