Even in his adopted home of the Bronx in New York, nobody knows who Joshua Clottey is.
The Ghanaian slugger, however, gets the chance to make a name for himself on March 13 when he challenges World Boxing Organization welterweight king Manny Pacquiao at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
“Near Yankee Stadium on Anderson Avenue, a muscle-bound man slams the door to his modest apartment,” writes Daniel Beekman of yournabe.com. “On the street, he starts to jog. No one points. No one stares.”
It’s a far cry from what Pacquiao experiences day in and day out over in Los Angeles, where, once, police had to be called in to ensure Pacquiao gets out of the Wild Card Boxing Club premises in one piece in time for a commitment.
“No one knows Joshua Clottey, a Bronx resident since 2003,” says Beekman.
But those who are close to the 32-year-old native of Accra believe Clottey has a puncher’s chance of scoring a huge upset.
“He works so hard,” John’s Gym owner and Clottey cornerman Gjin Gjini. “He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t party. He runs eight or nine miles a day, not on a treadmill, outside in the Bronx. On the street, in his building, no one knows who he is.”
Kwame Asante, who once worked Clottey’s corner, said Pacquiao can be beaten.
“He has a shot. He knows how to fight a southpaw. I know Joshua will win,” said Asante.
Meanwhile, former Hollywood star Jean Claude Van Damme dropped by the Wild Card on Wednesday to see Pacquiao work out, according to noted orthodontist Ed De La Vega, who customizes Pacquiao’s mouthguard.
De La Vega said Pacquiao extended his invitation to Van Damme, known for his kickboxing prowess, to watch his fight with Clottey.