This Weekend Review this week is devoted primarily to the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight on Saturday in Las Vegas because of the magnitude of that fight and the fact no big-name fighters were in action this past weekend.
Pacquiao victory: The more you think about it the more you want to give Shane Mosley a chance to beat heavily favored Manny Pacquiao on May 7 in Las Vegas. He’s bigger than Pacquiao. He’s quick, even at 39. He has power. And Pacquiao undoubtedly will be within punching range at times during the fight because of his fighting spirit. A Mosley victory seems perfectly plausible for those reasons. That’s what we call overanalysis, though. There’s a simple reason that Pacquiao is a prohibitive favorite. Mosley remains a good fighter at 39, just not the fighter he once was. He already looked his age in a pathetically one-sided loss last year to one of the two best fighters in the world, Floyd Mayeather Jr. Pacquiao is as good or better than Mayweather, a fighter with sublime ability who is at least near the peak of his powers. A fading champion vs. the best on the planet. Not a good matchup.
Pacquiao decision: The consensus is that Pacquiao will win a decision. Mosley has been down only twice (against Vernon Forrest) and has never been knocked out in his two-decade career, an impressive testament to his great chin. And even if he ends up taking a beating, most believe, his pride and cunning will allow him to survive 12 rounds. Pacquiao might also help him help him in the endeavor. One of the kindest men in boxing carried a badly beaten Antonio Margarito in the final two rounds of their fight because he didn’t have to heart to inflict the damage required to end the fight. Pacquiao also felt bad about the punishment he inflicted upon Oscar De La Hoya, his boxing idol. Indeed, if this turns out to be Mosley’s last fight, most agree that he will finish his career on his feet.
NEXT MOST LIKELY
Pacquiao knockout: I predict Pacquiao will become the first to stop Mosley. I understand the logic of the previous entry; it all makes sense. I certainly won’t be surprised if the fight goes the distance, with Pacquiao winning a one-sided decision. I just don’t think that a 39-year-old fighter on the decline will be able to cope with the speed and activity Pacquiao brings into the ring, just as Mosley was unable to solve Floyd Mayweather Jr. The result? Pacquiao will begin to overwhelm Mosley during the third or fourth round and deliver an increasingly horrific beating until Naazim Richardson says enough is enough and ends the fight. Pacquiao’s compassion? I believe the end will come too early for him to take his foot off the gas pedal, as early as the eighth or ninth round. Plus, I suspect he’d like to give his fans something special after consecutive decisions.
NEXT MOST LIKELY
Mosley knockout: Pacquiao’s chin has held up as he has moved up on weight, in good part because of his remarkable conditioning. He took some big shots against the likes of Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito and was never in trouble, although Margarito supposedly hurt him once or twice. Mosley probably is faster and punches harder than any of the above, though. He hurt Mayweather in the second round of their one-sided fight, although Mosley couldn’t follow up and lost a near-shutout decision. Still, the combination of Mosley’s power and the fact Pacquiao is not a natural welterweight raises the specter of Pacquiao finishing the fight on the canvas. Is it likely? Nah. It’s just more likely than Mosley winning by decision. For the record: Pacquiao has been stopped twice, by Rustico Torrecampo in 1996 and by Medgoen Singsurat in 1999. Pacquiao struggled to make the flyweight limit in the latter fight.
Mosley decision: Mosley barely won a round in his sorry performance against Mayweather. He drew with Sergio Mora, who then lost to Brian Vera. How the hell is he supposed to outpoint Pacquiao? Mosley can hurt Pacquiao with the right punch or combination. Perhaps he could even knock out the Filipino icon under the right circumstances. But he certainly can’t outwork him. Pacquiao is a whirling dervish, one of the busiest fighters in the sport. No one can keep up with him, including a fit but aging opponent who must pace himself these days. And Pacquiao is an incredibly accurate puncher. Mosley remains a pretty good defensive fighter but he has no hope of avoiding a good number of Pacquiao’s shots, which come from every conceivable angle and very quickly. A knockout victory by Mosley would be a shocking. A decision over Pacquiao doesn’t even seem possible.
Pacquiao defeat: I asked a prominent Filipina journalist the other day how the country would react if Pacquiao lost to Mosley. She gasped, so unthinkable is the concept. “Shock,” he said simply. And why not? Pacquiao hasn’t lost since he was narrowly outpointed by Erik Morales in 2005. He has won 13 consecutive fights against some of the biggest names in boxing since, seemingly becoming more dominating as he has moved up in weight. He has looked about as unbeatable as a fighter can the past several years. Thus, anyone familiar with his accomplishments would be surprised to see him lose on Saturday. Pacquiao is God-like in the Philippines, though, and Gods don’t lose. To say that many Filipinos would be devastated if Mosley’s hand were to be raised is an understatement. Everyone loses, though. The Filipinos might be wise to brace themselves for that possibility.
The entertainment factor: Promoter Bob Arum has defended the Pacquiao-Mosley matchup by saying he’s in the entertain business, which is true to a degree. And he has a winner here in that department. This fight almost assuredly will be fun to watch. Pacquiao might win a one-sided decision but you know there will be dramatic moments and that Mosley will go down trying. A Pacquiao knockout would be historic. A Mosley knockout would rock the boxing world. And if this somehow becomes a prolonged war, no one will complain. Pacquiao and Mosley are both action fighters who take pride in giving the fans their money’s worth. I don’t think either fighter even knows what the word “tactical” means. We might not like the matchup, with Pacquiao a heavy favorite for good reason, but we definitely don’t want to miss it.
Pacquiao’s next fight: Pacquiao probably will fight Juan Manuel Marquez in November if he beats Mosley. That sounds great on the surface. Pacquiao and Marquez engaged in two fights that ended in controversial decisions, a draw and a decision for Pacquiao. Marquez has earned a third fight. The problem? Those fights were at featherweight and junior lightweight, respectively. This one would be at welterweight. Pacquiao has maintained his uncommon abilities as he has moved up in weight, including his speed and power. He’s a natural 140-pounder fighting above his weight because he can. Marquez is a natural 135 pounder, if that. He looked horrible at 142 pounds when he fought Mayweather. Pacquiao probably would beat Marquez easily no matter what; he’s younger, stronger and has improved since he last fought Marquez in 2008. It would be a horrible fight if Marquez were to weigh much more than 135. He’d be wise to fight at a comfortable weight and take his chances.
BEST RIGHT HAND
Peter Quillin: The undefeated super middleweight prospect took the legs of capable Jesse Brinkley with a devastating right cross and then ended matters with a follow-up flurry that prompted referee Joe Cortez to end the fight Friday night in Reno, Nevada, his most-important victory. Quillin, who is developing into a complete fighter, dominated Brinkley before the violent ending. For what it’s worth, Brinkley lasted eight-plus rounds with highly regarded Lucian Bute in October. The Brooklyn product, who now trains in Los Angeles, appears to be ready for contenders in the deep 168-pound division. I don’t know whether he can hang with several of the Super Six participants or Bute yet but that time might not be too far off.
BEST BOXING BROTHERS
The Garcias: Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko are hands down the greatest brother tandem in boxing today – probably ever. Titleholders Raul and Ramon Garcia have one up on the giant Ukrainians, though: They’re twins. Raul Garcia, ranked No. 4 by THE RING, retained his strawweight title by stopping Rommel Asenjo in three rounds on Saturday. On the same card, in Mexico City, Ramon Garcia stopped Jesus Geles in four rounds in their rematch to win a major junior flyweight belt and give the brothers major titles simultaneously. The Garcias, from Mexico, are a combined 46-3-2 (27 knockouts). They’re combined weight on Saturday was 213 pounds, far less than either of the Klitschkos. Holding major titles at the same time, though, is no small feat.
Naazim Richardson, Mosley’s trainer, on coping with Pacquiao’s sharp shooting: “A bullet that misses you by two inches is just as dangerous as a fly.”
Michael Rosenthal, the co-editor of RingTV.com, can be reached at RingTVeditor@yahoo.com
Photo / Chris Cozzone-FightWireImages