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What now for Manny Pacquiao?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. tops short list of remaining challengers for welterweight champion


David J. Phillip / AP

Manny Pacquiao, right, of the Philippines, delivers a body shot to Joshua Clottey, from Ghana, during their WBO boxing welterweight title fight in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, March 13, 2010.

Pacquiao Dominates

Before nearly 51,000 people at Cowboys Stadium, Manny Pacquiao beat Joshua Clottey by a unanimous decision on Saturday night.

Pacquiao vs. Clottey

Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, is seen on a large video screen before his WBO boxing welterweight title fight against Joshua Clottey, from Ghana, in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, March 13, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Complete Coverage

Well — now what?

Where does Manny Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KO) go after cruising so easily to a unanimous decision win over welterweight contender Joshua Clottey (35-4, 20 KO) Saturday at Dallas Cowboys Stadium?

The NFL team's owner Jerry Jones has his answer — right back to the $1.2 billion stadium in Arlington, Texas, for a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

"I think, God willing, we could have a fight here that would beat the NBA All-Star game, which was over 108,000 people," Jones said following Saturday's fight. "I believe we can have a fight that would do that."

Pacquiao looked every bit a fighter in need of a tougher challenge Saturday, dominating Clottey from one exchange to the next and winning every round on one judge's scorecard. The other two judges each awarded Clottey one round.

The fight was so lacking in difficulty that it actually frustrated Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, who criticized Clottey for the defensive strategy he used from the opening bell.

"If it was my fighter, I would be disappointed in him that a world title was on the line and he didn't try to win," Roach said. "I would rather die trying to win than just survive. It's hard to knock a guy out when all he's trying to do is survive, and that's what he did from the start."

Clottey threw just 399 total punches in the fight, landing 108 of them. Pacquiao, on the other hand, threw 1,231 total punches and landing 246.

Although Pacquiao was favored to win the fight, there were concerns he might have trouble with Clottey's size advantage.

That proved not to be the case, however, as Clottey's inactivity prevented him from ever posing a serious threat.

"Sure, we pitched a shutout against a middleweight," Roach said. "But that middleweight should have used his (expletive) power. Let's face it, I'm frustrated he didn't show up to fight."

Clottey, who appeared for the post-fight press conference, had no apologies for his performance and marveled at the speed Pacquiao showed during their fight.

To the Ghanaian fighter, it was the kind of speed that would give Mayweather trouble should the two ever meet.

"I lost a fight for the first time tonight," Clottey said. "All of the last ones I didn't think I lost, but I lost to Manny Pacquiao."

"I'm going to be frank — I'm a very, very strong fighter and I prepared hard for this fight. But Manny is too fast. I think he would give (Mayweather) lots of problems," he said.

Mayweather was originally supposed to fight Pacquiao this weekend, but that fight fell through in January after the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on Mayweather's demands that Pacquiao undergo Olympic-style drug testing.

Pacquiao went on to take Saturday's fight against Clottey while Mayweather signed a deal to face Shane Mosley on May 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Both fighters took heat when the fight fell through. Some said Pacquiao simply should agree to blood tests if he had nothing to hide, while others accused Mayweather of using Pacquiao's fear of needles to avoid facing him.

According to Roach's theory, neither story is right.

Roach believes that Mayweather, who ended a near two-year absence from boxing last September by coming out of retirement to face Juan Manuel Marquez, needed extra time to prepare for a fight with Pacquiao.

"I don't think he's scared," Roach said. "My thoughts on it are he needed more time. Getting one fight under your belt isn't enough to get you sharp to fight a guy like Manny Pacquiao. The blood tests are all (expletive). He doesn't care about that."

Now that the Clottey fight is over, Roach has expressed a desire to sign a fight with Mayweather, even if the undefeated fighter loses to Mosley this spring.

If negotiations fall through again, Roach said, there are other options for Pacquiao, including a third meeting with Marquez and undefeated prospect Edwin Valero. But none of them hold much weight compared to a meeting with Mayweather.

According to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, that fight will remain doomed if Mayweather again insists on changing the drug-testing rules himself.

"Manny wants to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., but if that fight takes place, it will be because both fighters sign the contract and all the extraneous issues are not raised," Arum said. "The issue of drug testing is not for one fighter to raise. There are honorable people who are charged with the policy of administering items such as drug testing."

While Roach agrees in not giving up to Mayweather's demands, he said that the parties involved will get only so many shots to work out their differences before the public gives up on the fight and moves on.

"Every time (Pacquiao and Mayweather) fight somebody else, it will fade and people will be less interested in that fight," Roach said. "It has to happen now."

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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