Michael Rosenthal

Report Card: Pacquiao vs. Mosley



May 7, 2010, Las Vegas, Nev.


Comment:  The experts gave Shane Mosley a slim chance to beat Manny Pacquiao in the biggest fight of the year Saturday night because, nearing 40 and coming off two poor performances, they didn’t believe he had the tools to compete with the No. 1 fighter in the world. They figured he would engage Pacquiao in some entertaining exchanges based on his history, though, which would’ve at least given the fans something for their money. They figured wrong. You can’t have a fight if one of the participants refuses to take part. And that was the case on Saturday, when Mosley decided it would be a lot safer merely to survive than actually exchange punches. The result was boring fight that we’d all like to forget. What a disaster.


Comment: As Pacquiao said at the post-fight news conference, “It’s not my fault.” Indeed, Pacquiao did his part to entertain the fans. He tried to engage Mosley in exchanges, chasing him around the ring from the second round on. One could argue that he didn’t do a good job of cutting off the ring, which might be attributed to a cramp in his left leg beginning in the fourth round. And some on the scene suggested he wasn’t as sharp as usual. Alex Ariza, his fitness coach, suggested in one report that his client might’ve overtrained. Pacquiao clearly tried as hard as he could, though. And that’s really all we can expect of a fighter.


Comment: Mosley built a reputation as one of the sport’s greatest and most-entertaining fighters over the past two decades, during which he secured Hall of Fame credentials. That Mosley didn’t show up on Saturday. The man who faced Pacquiao was quicker and had better reflexes than some expected from him but he used those tools not to fight but to avoid fighting, which was terribly disappointing. Mosley's primary goal was to survive, not to win and certainly not to entertain fans who had high hopes for a memorable night. The three-division titleholder is a nice guy. We honestly don’t want to be too hard on him. We just expected so much more. Why not an F? He survived that monstrous shot in the third.


Comment: Roach could’ve said the same thing Pacquiao said after the fight: “It wasn’t my fault.” He appeared to have the right game plan, which Pacquiao was trying to carry out, but no one could've predicted that Mosley would refuse to fight. If Roach made a mistake, it might’ve been to allow his protégé to overtrain. Alex Ariza, Pacquiao’s fitness coach, told The Manila Times before the fight that the fighter might’ve peaked too early. If that was the case, with Roach in charge, you can bet it won’t happen again.


Comment: One of the most-respected trainers in the sport undoubtedly had a good game plan going into the fight, one he tried mightily to get Mosley to carry out. However, he came up short in one respect: He failed to get his fighter to fight, to take risks, to do anything that would’ve put him in a position to win the fight rather than just survive. Of course, trainer’s don’t fight. Their fighters ultimately must decide to go to war. Mosley decided not to. That had to be hard for Richardson to watch.


Comment: The judges had an easy job during the main event. Round 1 could’ve gone either way and the 10th round – during which Mosley was erroneously credited with a knockdown of Pacquiao – was confusing. Otherwise, it was all Pacquiao. The official scores: Duane Ford, 120-107; Dave Moretti, 120-108; and Glenn Trowbridge, 119-108. RingTV.com Co-Editors Michael Rosenthal and Doug Fischer had it 119-108 and 118-109 respectively. Everyone was on the same page.                                               


Comment: Kenny Bayless, perhaps the best referee in the world, wasn’t perfect on Saturday night. He awarded Mosley a knockdown in the 10th round even though Pacquiao went down because Mosley was on his foot and then pushed him. However, in a classy move, Bayless admitted his mistake to Roach afterward and apologized. He probably enhanced his reputation as a result. Other than that, Bayless did a good job because you barely knew he was there. Too many ego-driven referees inject themselves into the action far too much. Bayless isn’t one of them. Kudos to him.


Comment: The highly charged fans who packed MGM’s Grand Garden Arena – the vast majority of whom backed Pacquiao – greeted their hero with a thunderous ovation as he was introduced before the fight. And they tried repeatedly to give their man a boost during the fight by chanting on several occasions, “Manny! Manny! Manny!” Then, when it became clear that Mosley had no intention of making it a fight, they spoke for everyone watching the fight worldwide when they expressed their frustration with multiple choruses of loud boos.


Comment: The fighter of the night was Jorge Arce, who was the underdog against younger Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. but scored a stunning 12th-round knockout in what had been a close fight.  The Mexican favorite is slower and not as athletic as Vazquez but he’s a smart fighter and might have the biggest heart pound for pound in the sport. He attacked his Puerto Rican foe with the ferocity for which he is admired, rarely stopping to take a breath. And it paid off in a big way. Vazquez was barely leading on the cards when he was hurt in the 11th round. Arce, smelling blood, then pounced on his wounded prey and battered him against the ropes until Vazquez’s corner threw in the towel. It was a thrilling finish to a thrilling fight. Kelly Pavlik disappointed both the crowd and himself, winning an uneventful fight against relative unknown Alfonso Lopez in his comeback fight. Pavlik had two excuses. He hadn’t fought in 13 months, which probably left him with some ring rust. And the sole of his shoe reportedly came loose during the fight, which affected his mobility. Mike Alvarado’s third-round TKO over previously unbeaten Ray Narh was impressive.

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