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Tale of tape as pac plots to KO clottey

TRAINER Freddie Roach, who will be in Manny Pacquiao's corner tonight for his clash with Joshua Clottey, is a firm believer in studying everything about an opponent.

He spends countless hours looking at tapes so that, by fight time, he feels he can read the guy in the opposite corner like a book.

And you can't argue with his success rate.

Lenny De Jesus, Clottey's coach, has a different approach. He thinks watching tapes is a waste of time. He says his experience of working Pacquiao's corner for five fights will be the key to an upset victory.

Roach finds that hard to believe. "By watching tapes, you can learn things like habits and characteristics that you can take advantage of," he said. "If you say you don't do that, you're either lying or an idiot."

He says Clottey has big holes in his defence that Pacquiao will exploit with boxing and movement: "Clottey will wait for you to throw a combination and then, when you're stopped, he'll throw back," said Roach. "So if you stand in front of him, you're an idiot. We're not going to do that. He's not going to be able to find us."

Clottey, a 32-year-old Ghanaian based in New York, is confident of upsetting the odds and capturing the Filipino idol's WBO welterweight title at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

"This is the best I have ever felt before a fight," said Clottey, who has only lost three of 38 contests and has never been stopped. Twenty of his wins were inside the distance.

"I have a good defence and a good chin," he boasted. "We Africans can take a lot of punches. I never get in the ring expecting to be knocked out."

Two of his defeats were in previous bids for the same title. Antonio Margarito earned a unanimous decision in 2006, while Miguel Cotto's split decision win last June was controversial. Clottey hasn't fought since.

Pacquiao, however, is currently rated the best pound-for-pound fighter in the business. He's on an 11-fight winning streak that includes brutal stoppages of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Cotto.

'Pac Man' was expecting to face unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr in an eagerly anticipated showdown, but negotiations broke down in a row over drug tests.

"We will take care of tonight's business and hopefully Floyd will stop being scared and fight us," said Roach, one of those trainers who likes to think he's in there combating alongside his fighter.

Admitting concern about Clottey's use of his head, he said: "If you fall into the pocket with him, his best punch is an uppercut and his second best is a headbutt.

"So we're not going to go in there: we're going to fight him at distance."

Clottey says he's the bigger and stronger man and that will see him emerge victorious in a tough fight. But size didn't help De La Hoya, Hatton or Cotto when they stepped in with Pacquiao.

Manny's movement and lightning combinations should prove too much for a willing challenger.Clottey's durability might enable him to finish on his feet, but he will be a long way behind on the scorecards.

Manny Pacquiao v Joshua Clottey,

live tonight, Sky Sports 1 at 2.0am