Every trainer or corner man likes to believe his fighter has his opponent etched in his mind. Focus is the key when you are talking about two professional boxers throwing hands.
There was such a "dog and pony show" in the negotiations of the ill-conceived Floyd Mayweather, Jr-Manny Pacquiao fight, that it would be hard for Pacquiao not to have Money May in the middle of his mind.
Pacquiao's fight this Saturday night against Joshua Clottey is not a sleepwalk. Clottey is a skilled, resilient fighter who impressed judges enough that his loss to Miguel Cotto was a split decision, despite the fact that he was down in round one.
If Pacquiao has Mayweather in his head Saturday night instead of Clottey he could be in for a rude awakening. So much was made of Manny's alleged involvement with PEDs, that he certainly has to have that tapped into his mindset as well.
Clottey has a couple of big names on his resume. He knocked out former champ Zab Judah, but was actually given a majority decision because the ref declared that the stoppage was due to an accidental head butt.
In April of 2007, Clottey knocked former featherweight and lightweight champion Diego Corrales (may he rest in peace) down in the ninth and 10th rounds on the way to a lopsided unanimous decision. This would prove to be Chico's last fight as he was killed in a traffic accident one month later.
If Manny's head is right and void of Mayweather dancing in there, he should win a decision in a very good fight. If, however he hasn't got over the Mayweather debacle he will lose this fight. He isn't fighting a stiff, Saturday he will be fighting a world class fighter.
Clottey has only been knocked down once and that was the dubious "flash" knockdown at the hands of Cotto in the first round of their fight.
His only losses are to Cotto, a 2006 decision loss to champion Antonio Margarito, and a 1999 DQ loss to champion Carlos Manuel Baldomir, despite being ahead on all three cards at the time of the stoppage.
Manny may feel he has to really impress everybody now that the steroid suspicion is thick in the air. Even a consummate professional such as Pacquiao is still a human being, and is vulnerable to his mind not being cooperative with his body.
Which Pacman will we see? Will we see the same Pacquiao we have become accustomed to see, or will we see a non-focused fighter without a game plan?
Clottey is a very good fighter, but the only chance I see him having Saturday night, is for Manny to come into the ring with visions of Mayweather dancing in his head.
Manny by decision. What is your opinion?