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Mosley Back-Pedals to UD Loss in Rare Pacquiao Stinker May 8, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing, Sport.
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By Manny Pacquiao’s ordinarily lofty standards as the pound-for-pound king and the most exciting boxer in the world, his 12 round unanimous victory over future Hall-of-Famer Shane Mosley was a complete stinker.  I’d actually probably say it was one of his worst fights ever from an action and excitement perspective.

So what the heck happened?  Even at 39, Shane Mosley was expected to be a good opponent for Pacquiao not because he posed a serious threat, but because he’s been known throughout his career as a skilled, exciting boxer with speed and power, and most importantly, liked to trade shots with the other guy.

Instead, this Mosley essentially back-pedaled all night (worse than Cotto in those last few rounds, and Mosley wasn’t even seriously hurt), all the way out of the ring and straight to the bank to collect his cool $5 million bucks for this sham of a fight (Pacquiao got a guaranteed $20 million).  I’m a little angry and very disappointed, because Mosley talked it up and made it seem like he was going to hunt Manny down like Team 6 on Osama.  He exuded confidence because, as he said, Pacquiao likes to trade, and that’s what’s going to give him an opportunity to knock Pacquiao out.  But when the time came, Mosley did jack all.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt before the fight despite his last two performances (against Mayweather and Mora), but he’s a shot fighter.  No doubt about it.  He just can’t pull the trigger anymore.  This wasn’t an Oscar de la Hoya situation where Pacquiao didn’t give him the opportunity to get his punches off.  Mosley just didn’t want to throw.

How the fight unfolded

After a pretty decent undercard which I missed, Mosley entered the ring first with LL Cool J rapping ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ alongside him (how ironic).  Pacquiao entered next to ‘Eye of the Tiger’, sung live (or lip-synched) by Survivor.  All good up to this point.  Everyone was hyped.  Jamie Foxx sang a song and everyone cheered.

The first round was a ‘feel out’ round where neither guy did much, but Pacquiao clearly won because he at least tried to engage a little.  Mosley just threw a few jabs in the air and kept moving back whenever Pacquiao looked like he might throw a punch.  But at least he was sharp, and I thought perhaps he was sizing Manny up and getting ready to go all out in the next round.

But in round 2 Mosley did more of the same.  Pacquiao turned it up a notch, but not by much.  He did have a couple of brisk moments where the crowd went ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ from his combinations, but by and large it was uneventful.

Round 3 turned out to be probably the best round of the fight because Pacquiao managed to land a couple of big shots (a left and a right) that put Mosley on his backside.  Mosley got up at about the count of 5, but from the stunned expression on his face and the wobbly legs it looked like he was ready to go.  However, Pacquiao didn’t really go after him with full force and Mosley survived.

If Mosley was tentative up to that point in the fight, after the knockdown, it was much much worse.  I couldn’t believe the bigger guy, the supposedly stronger guy, was running so much.  It was embarrassing to watch, and frustrating for the fans who paid good money to see what they thought would be an action-packed bout.

From round 4 onwards, Mosley just back-pedaled and Pacquiao chased.  Apparently in this round Pacquiao cramped his calf, which made mobility an issue for the remainder of the fight, a possible reason why he didn’t go after Mosley harder than he did.  Rounds 4 to 9 were really a complete blur in my memory because they were all the same.  Mosley refusing to engage and Pacquiao bringing brief moments of fake excitement whenever he landed a few blows before Mosley darted away again (it got so bad that the crowd cheered whenever Pacquiao got close to Mosley).

In round 10, the best possible thing that could happen in this fight happened.  Mosley clearly pushed an off-balance Pacquiao to the canvas, but referee Kenny Bayless inexplicably ruled it a knockdown (he apologised later).  Freddie Roach was fuming, and Pacquiao was bewildered, but soon the bewilderment turned to anger and he finally started putting his punches together and sprinted after Mosley instead of just stalking him.  At last, Pacquiao started belting Mosley with powerful combinations, but Mosley turned it up a gear and ran even faster, managing somehow to survive until the final bell.

Not surprisingly, boos rained down throughout the slower parts of the fight, and who could blame them?  Mosley looked like he had zero intention of trying to win the fight, and the only thing he cared about was walking away without a permanent injury (so he can snuggle up to his hot new 21-year-old girlfriend, who received the second loudest ovation after Pacquiao at the venue where I watched the fight).  At least against Joshua Clottey, Clottey covered up most of the night.  Mosley just ran.

The final scorecard: 120-108, 120-107 and 119-108.  This was quite astonishing, considering they used a ’10-point must’ scoring system for the 12 rounds and Pacquiao was ruled as having been knocked down in round 10.  Usually when a boxer is knocked down, the round automatically becomes a 10-8 in favour of the guy who scored the knockdown, but the fact that Pacquiao received perfect scores from 2 judges and only lost a point on the other, showed just how pathetially hopeless Mosley was on this night.

Final thoughts

What a stinker of a Pacquiao fight. Average or slightly above average compared to your run of the mill boxing match, but a stinker by Pacquaio’s standards.

Pacquiao was disappointed afterwards and showed it in the interview, because he knew he didn’t give fans what they wanted to see.  He complained about the lack of willingness to engage on Mosley’s part and his calf injury.  He was almost completely unmarked after the fight, whereas Mosley’s face was puffy and bruised, and was forced to wear sunglasses in the post-fight interview.

I had predicted that Pacquiao would be the first to knock Mosley out (he did pretty well by just being the second person — after Vernon Forrest — to knock Mosley down) because I thought Mosley would try and trade.  I think from what we saw in the fight, if Mosley did decide to trade, he almost certainly would have been carried out on a stretcher.  How he fooled everybody, including even his own trainer, Nazim Richardson, who pleaded all night for Mosley to do something.

I don’t really blame Pacquiao for what transpired here.  His job, first and foremost, is to win the fight, which he was doing with absolute ease.  He didn’t have to do much to dominate this bout.  Why risk anything if you can just coast your way to a victory?  I just wish he wasn’t so friendly to Mosley, allowing him to escape from the corner whenever he had him seemingly trapped, and not going after him until the 10th round knockdown error by the referee.  If the error occurred earlier the fight probably would have been less burdensome to watch.

That reminds me of a couple of things I noticed about the fight that really irked me.  One was that Pacquiao and Mosley would touch gloves at the start and end of every round and after just about every accidental head butt (there were a few) and separation by the referee.  I mean come on, it’s good to be friends after the fight but not in the ring.  They even hugged at the beginning of the 12th and final round.  It made me feel like Shane was just saying: thanks for giving me the chance to steal $5 million; I just fooled the world into thinking I was going to fight, but I was really here just to collect my paycheck and try and get out with my brain in one piece.

The second thing was Shane’s corner always taking an extra 5-10 seconds between rounds to get out of the ring.  I thought it was an obvious ploy to give Shane more time to recover so he can run faster the next round, and the referee should have at least warned them.

What’s next

Pacquiao’s next opponent will probably be Juan Manuel Marquez, who really wants to fight Pacquiao after believing he was robbed in two previous decisions (a draw and a loss).  Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum already sent an offer to Marquez, which he turned down, and they are sending a revised version to him.  Perhaps they were offering too little money, or perhaps he didn’t like the weight (which would almost certainly be welterweight).

Arum says if Marquez backs out then the next best option is Timothy Bradley, a legitimate young stud and title holder.  Not sure if a real danger for Pacquiao, but with Mayweather nowhere to be found, the best that could be hoped for.  Andre Berto might be in the mix, but he’s not as attractive now that he’s got a loss on his record (recently to Victor Ortiz).  And the other guy in the pound-for-pound chatter, Sergio Martinez, is just too big at 154 pounds.

I hope Pacquiao does take on Marquez again, because I think it’ll be a good fight.  Marquez is the only guy that has given Pacquiao real trouble since 2005, though I think it will be a massacre at 147 pounds.  A brutal, bloody massacre that will shut everyone up about Marquez’s earlier success against Pacquiao.

As for Shane Mosley, please retire and ride off into the sunset with your hot young girlfriend.  You’ve had a glorious career but you crapped all over your legacy tonight.  At least you got 5 million bucks out of it.

Fight Prediction: Pacquiao vs Mosley (7 May 2011) May 6, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing, Sport.
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We’re only a couple of days out from the much (not) anticipated welterweight fight between pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley on the 7th of June. Given that most boxing purists wanted to see Pacquiao take on Juan Manuel Marquez (as Floyd Mayweather Jr is, um, unavailable), the buzz for this fight has been surprisingly muted. Nevertheless, I’m going to do the usual and throw in my 2 cents on how I predict the fight will turn out.

Conventional wisdom suggests that a 32 year-old, in the prime of his life boxer that hasn’t lost since 2005 and has been demolishing everyone in his path like Team 6 on Osama’s compound, will walk through an almost 40, seemingly over the hill legend who has a one sided loss and an unwatchable draw in his last two fights. That’s basically what the Pacquiao-Mosley fight looks like — at least on paper.

But I’m slightly more intrigued by this fight than most others. I usually have my doubts before every Pacquiao fight, but this one more so than the others. It’s almost an irrational al doubt, considering Pacquiao is on top of his game and Mosley is clearly on the decline, but you can never count out a future Hall of Fame legend.

That said, Pacquiao appears to have an overwhelming edge in this match up when you break it down.

First of all, Pacquiao is 32, and has shown no signs of slowing down in his last few fights, knocking out David Diaz, Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto before coasting to easy unanimous victories against Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Some say he would have knocked out Clottey had defensive fighter threw some punches instead of covering up all night, and Magarito if Manny didn’t take his foot off the pedal out of apparent sympathy for his opponent.

Mosley, on the other hand, has not done much after his unexpected brutal beat down of Margarito back in January 2009 (which some consider overrated since Margarito didn’t have loaded gloves and probably had other things on his mind after being caught out in the dressing room). Then, apart from a big second round, Mosley was thoroughly dismantled by Floyd Mayweather Jr (and it’s sad to think that fight might be Mayweather’s last fight EVER), before stinking out the joint in a pathetic draw against Sergio Mora. So in terms of current form, Pacquiao looks to have a major advantage. It’s not even close.

Secondly, Pacquiao has a tremendous advantage in speed, like he does against most opponents. Offensively, he is in and out, lightning quick, throws dazzling multiple-punch combinations and power shots from unorthodox angles, and gets the hell out of there before his opponent even knows what hit him. Pacquiao’s opponents can’t see his punches, which is what makes him so lethal. Speed kills, and Pacquiao has possibly the fastest hands and feet in the business.

Turning 40 in September, Mosley has clearly slowed down a lot. Back in his prime, he was considered a speedy fighter in his own right, but even at his fastest he isn’t as quick as Pacquiao is now. Now, Mosley still has some speed, but the question is whether he is still able to pull the trigger when he needs to. It’s one thing to be able to see the openings, but it’s another to have the reflexes to do something about it in time. Nothing from his recent performances suggest Mosley has that ability anymore.

Thirdly, and probably the key factor here, is that Pacquiao appears to have unlimited stamina, whereas Mosley has a tendency to run out of gas and fade in the second half of his fights. This means that Mosley’s chances of winning a decision are minimal. The longer this fight goes on, the more it will favour Pacquiao and the more hopeless it will get for Mosley.

Fourthly, Pacquiao is reportedly 100% focused for this fight. Despite all the distractions in his life, the politics, the acting, the singing and the philanthropy, Pacquiao has, according to his trainer Freddie Roach, had one of his best training camps ever. I thought Mosley might have had an opportunity if Pacquiao had a bad camp or if he was overlooking or underestimating Mosley, but it looks like Pacquiao will be ready. Pacquiao has had interrupted and disjointed camps before and still came out firing, so having had a great camp spells trouble for Mosley.

Fifth, the perennial trainer of the year, Freddie Roach. The two are like brothers (or father and son) and trust each other with their lives. That kind of bond is what makes Pacquiao so hard to beat. Roach always devises a perfect game plan for each Pacquiao opponent, and Pacquiao always follows it to perfection (except that one time when he wanted to test Cotto’s power). Now, Mosley’s trainer Nazim Richardson is definitely no slouch, but most would agree that Pacquiao has the edge when it comes to their respective corners.

When you put all these factors together, it’s hard to see Mosley giving Pacquiao any real trouble, but Mosley may have a couple of advantages. Mosley has never been knocked out before, and he recovers quickly from damage. The guy is rock solid and is not afraid to take punishment. It is very possible that Mosley has the better chin and ability to absorb punches.

However, I don’t think Pacquiao is necessarily much further behind in the endurance department. He may have been vulnerable at the lower weight classes, but at welterweight he has shown that he can take a punch or two. Guys like Margarito and Cotto are powerful punchers and Pacquiao took their best shots (sometimes intentionally).

Another area where Mosley might have the edge is punching power. In his prime, Mosley was a knockout artist, and even now still possesses a nasty right hook that can crack jaws. We saw against Margarito and in that second round against Mayweather that Mosley still has the power to hurt and KO opponents if he lands the big punch, the chopping overhand right.

Pacquiao showed against Hatton and Cotto that he too has knockout power in both hands, especially the left, but his power is generated from his blinding speed rather than brute force. Interestingly, I recall David Diaz (who was knocked out by Pacquiao) saying that he wasn’t troubled by Pacquiao’s power but by his speed. Similarly, Margarito said to his corner during the fight that Pacquiao can’t hurt him, thug his bloodied and battered face suggested otherwise. So I don’t think Mosley has a clear advantage here, but I will day one thing: I do believe Mosley has a bigger chance of hurting or knocking out Pacquiao with one big punch than the other way around.

What about defense? Fundamentally speaking, Mosley has the better defense. Pacquiao is a willing punch trader because he can usually and twice as many punches in the same span of time, and that leaves him open to be tagged, even if it might be a lucky punch. But we have also seen Pacquiao’s defense improve significantly over the last few years. His footwork is what saves him most of the time, turning his opponents before they can set up their punches. The good thing for Pacquiao is that Mosley is not much of a combination puncher, as least no where near what he used to be. And because of their respective offensive capabilities, I have a feeling that it will be easier for Pacquiao to find the gaps in Mosley’s defense than it will be for Mosley to find gaps in Pacquiao’s defense.

Accordingly, the only indisputable advantage Mosley has over Pacquiao is size. Mosley is a legit 5’9″ with a true welterweight body and reach, while Pacquiao is 5’6.5″ and with an evidently smaller frame. So it is possible that size could be a factor but let’s face it, Pacquiao always fights bigger guys these days, and none of them have had success.

So where does that leave us? How will the fight pan out on Saturday night?

Prediction

I think Pacquiao will be the first to stop Mosley, most likely in the later rounds. Most people think Pacquiao will probably coast to an easy points decision but I just can’t see Mosley survive for that long before the fight is stopped, either by the referee or his corner or the doctor. Mosley is not a guy that backs down easily, so I can see him continue to take punishment until someone stops the fight on his behalf. His face could be a puffy, bloody mess before the night is over. The only way he survives is if Pacquiao goes easy on him once the fight is well in hand.

Does Mosley have a chance? Yes, this is boxing, there’s always a chance. And I would even go as far to say that Mosley has a better chance than Clottey or Margarito. It’s that looping overhand right that gives Mosley a glimmer of hope, a puncher’s chance. I’ve seen that hook penetrate defenses. I’ve seen it do major damage. I know it can hurt Pacquiao. The question is whether Mosley will have the opportunity to land it.

Both guys like to give fans a show (if we discount Mosley’s horrendous Mora fight, though the majority of the blame should go to Mora), so as long as Pacquiao keeps coming forward, Mosley will have a shot, but given Mosley’s tendency to run out of steam, each passing round will diminish the odds. Therefore, Mosley’s best chance is an early round KO, and/or a miracle. Once he tires after the fifth or six round, it could become a slaughter.

Anyway, as they always say, styles make fights, so I am confident we’ll see a great show no matter what happens.

Done Deal: Pacquiao to take on Mosley on 7 May 2011 December 22, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing.
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[Update: for my prediction of this bout, click here.]

What a shame.  Manny Pacquiao has spoken and his next opponent will be the 39 year-old Shane Mosley on 7 May 2011 at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao had a choice of Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez (against whom Pacquiao is up 1-0-1 in two previous fights many thought Marquez had won) and Andre Berto (the undefeated albeit untested young challenger).

The decision was not a surprise, but boxing fans had hoped Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) would not be persuaded by his greedy promoter Bob Arum (of Top Rank) into picking the old and out of form Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), whose previous two fights were a one-sided decision loss to Mosley and a boring, pathetic draw to The Contender winner Sergio Mora.

Even though Arum presented three term sheets to Pacquiao and said it would ultimately be Pacquiao’s choice, Arum had openly pushed hard for Mosley (who is breaking up with his promoter Golden Boy to become a ‘free agent’) because Top Rank would be able to scoop up all the money from the fight for itself (as opposed to sharing it with Golden Boy, who promotes Marquez, or Lou DiBella, who promotes Berto).

I’m very disappointed in Pacquiao’s decision, as I had hoped that he would either put to bed those arguments that Marquez is better than him, or at least fight someone who isn’t 0-1-1 in his last two fights and pushing 40.  For whatever reason, Team Pacquiao apparently thinks Mosley is the toughest opponent out of the three.

When the announcement was made, Arum already began spinning why this would be a good fight.

“We came to a meeting of the minds.  [Top Rank matchmaker] Bruce Trample says it’s a very difficult fight.  I believe it will be an exciting fight.  Shane knows how to fight and how to deal with the speed.  Manny is in for a hellacious fight.  I really believe styles make fights.”

Bull.  Crap.

Arum has already dissed Mosley as an over the hill fighter in the past, and now all of a sudden Mosley is a worthy challenge for the pound-for-pound king?

Even Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, had difficulty masking his complete lack of interest in this fight.

“I think it’s a good fight,” he said [lied].  “I feel that Shane is one of the toughest guys left out there right now.  He didn’t get up for The Contender guy [Mora], but he will get up for Manny Pacquiao.  It’s a difficult fight because Shane has speed and power.  He’s getting a little older, which is in our favor, but I expect Shane to be at his best because he’s wanted this fight for a long time.  I will get Pacquiao well-prepared for this one.”

Yeah whatever.

Roach did say, however, that he believes Pacquiao will eventually take on Marquez again, provided both continue to win and Floyd Mayweather Jr can’t or won’t fight.

“I’m not too worried,” Roach said.  “After Mosley, the Marquez fight will still be there.  He’ll be there after this fight.  I don’t see Marquez going anywhere.  We just have to keep winning and I think that fight will happen.”

But why not fight him now, especially when both guys are on a high and the fight would be on a big Mexican holiday?  According to Roach and Arum, it’s because Marquez doesn’t really want the fight and is pricing himself out of it by asking for too much money.  They said Marquez is asking for $5 million.  Considering Marquez got $3.2 million guaranteed for the Mayweather fight and that Top Rank would have to buy out Golden Boy to be the sole promoter for this fight, how is $5 million too much?

When everything’s said and done, a Pacquiao fight will still be a Pacquiao fight — ie an action-packed, thrilling spectacle.  Unfortunately, it will be the least exciting fight out of the three possibilities (excluding Mayweather of course).

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