Alex Ariza: Manny Pacquiao and Co. have done their duty in news conferences by insisting that the Filipino icon’s fight against Shane Mosley on May 7 in Las Vegas will be competitive. They said Mosley struggled against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Sergio Mora because of the style matchups, not because Mosley’s skills have faded with age. And, again, we can’t blame them. Part of their job is to get fans to cough up money for tickets and the pay-per-view broadcast. The exception was Ariza, Pacquiao’s fitness coach. So, is this a good matchup Alex? “You know, personally, I can’t see it? How do you beat a guy that throws 120 punches a round like Manny but you can’t beat a guy who throws 20 punches a round like Mayweather?”
Mosley: We must admit that there is some logic to Mosley’s contention that styles played a role in his weak performances against Mayweather and Mora, two devout boxers. Pacquiao probably will engage him more than his previous two opponents, which might give him a chance to land some punches. Pacquiao isn’t stupid, though. He knows that Mosley is the naturally bigger man. He knows that one thing Mosley still has is power, which he demonstrated in the second round against Mayweather. Freddie Roach will undoubtedly coach Pacquiao to box, to use his quick feet and hands, because they know Mosley can no longer cope with such an opponent.
Pacquiao stopping Mosley: Roach said he’d like Pacquiao to become the first ever to stop Mosley, which would add to Pacquiao’s ever-growing legend. And it’s a realistic possibility. Again, I look for Pacquiao to box with relative caution early in the fight. However, as he lands more and more telling blows, Mosley undoubtedly will wear down and become more vulnerable. I’m not sure that Pacquiao can actually knock Mosley down for the count. After all, many outstanding fighters who are naturally bigger than Pacquiao have failed to do that. However, I can imagine the referee stopping the fight with Mosley leaning against the ropes and taking dozens of unanswered punches.
What’s next for Pacquiao: Juan Manuel Marquez gave up a chance to fight Erik Morales to allow his contract with Golden Boy Promotions to expire, according to a number of reports. He presumably made that decision to increase his chances of fighting Pacquiao in November, if Pacquiao beats Mosley. Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank, and Golden Boy aren’t doing business with one another these days. Meanwhile, Bob Arum of Top Rank told a Filipino newspaper that Floyd Mayweather Jr. remains his top priority for November depending on how Mayweather’s legal issues play out. The guess here is that Pacquiao will fight Marquez, who should’ve been his opponent on May 7.
Omar Narvaez: The junior bantamweight titleholder from Argentina is undefeated (33-0-2, 19 KOs), the best evidence of his consistency. That doesn’t speak to the level of the talented southpaw’s opposition, though. He’s an eye-popping 18-0-1 in major title fights over the past decade, drawing with former titleholder Andrea Sarritzu in a rematch in the Italian’s native land. And at 35, Narvaez apparently isn’t slowing down. He successfully defending his 115-pound title by nearly shutting out Victor Zaleta on Saturday in Buenos Aires. That said, Narvaez is rated No. 6 by THE RING. We’d like to see him fight someone rated higher than he.
Marco Antonio Barrera’s victory: Barrera looked pretty good for an old man in his second-round knockout of Jose Arias, although he clearly has lost step. And the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer might yet get one more shot at a major title in what would be a Mexican-record fourth weight division. That said, Barrera could’ve been 77 and he would’ve stopped Arias. The 43-year-old Dominican is horrible. According to boxrec.com, he somehow won his previous seven fights in a comeback – all in Costa Rica, of all places – but Arias must’ve found them at the morgue. Barrera has had tougher opposition while shadow boxing. We really learned very little about how much once-great Mexican has left.
BEST COMEBACK PERFORMANCE
Eddie Chambers: The affable heavyweight contender easily outpointed Derric Rossy on the Rico Ramos-Alejandro Valdez undercard Friday, his first fight since he took a brutal beating from Wladimir Klitschko last March. Chambers is one of the best heavyweights in the world, a talented and clever boxer who would give all but two opponents trouble. The Philadelphian apparently would like another shot at Klitschko, which isn’t a good idea. He’s simply not big enough to cope with either of the giant Ukrainians. I won’t be slightest bit surprised if he ultimately wins a major title, though – particularly if he works as hard as he apparently did before the Rossy fight. He looked as fit as I’ve ever seen him in photos.
Kazuto Ioka: The 21-year-old from Osaka, Japan, stopped unbeaten Oleydong Sithsamerchai with a single left to the body in the fifth round on Friday in Japan to become a major titleholder (strawweight) in his seventh pro fight, a record in Japan. Reader Takao Koie pointed out that Saensak Muangsurin (not Veeraphol Sahaprom, as I wrote originally) holds the all-time record by winning a major title in the fewest pro fights, three. Ioka, who looks about 15, was a decorated amateur with more than 100 fights but failed to make the Japanese Olympic team for 2008. He had been fighting at 108 pounds but went down to 105 to challenge Sithsamerchai, an unbeaten veteran of 36 pro fights who was making the seventh defense of his belt. Check out the KO here.
Maidana-Morales: Erik Morales believes he has the boxing skills to beat Marcos Maidana on April 9 in Las Vegas. For his sake, I hope he’s right. I don’t see it that way, though. I see this as a one-sided matchup between an aging fighter whose skills have faded and one of the most-vicious killers in the sport. Morales has fought three nobodies since returning from a 2½-year layoff, which followed four consecutive losses. Maidana just put Amir Khan through hell in his last fight, a decision loss. I’ll be shocked if the Argentine doesn’t score a brutal knockout, perhaps one that will prompt us to ask: Why was this fight made? I love another fight on the card, Robert Guerrero and Michael Katsidis. I think Guerrero is too talented for the Aussie but it will be fun to watch, as all Katsidis’ fights are.
Mosley, after Pacquiao refused to predict a knockout: “Come on, Manny. You know you want to knock me out. It’s okay, I want to knock you out too.”