The Low Expectations of Pacquiao vs. Mosley

By P.H. Burbridge: Big fights are hard to come by. We’ve seen the #1 guy in two fights this year that no one really wanted and now we’ve been alerted to expect another in 2011. It’s hard not to be cynical because the truth is many fans don’t think Shane Mosley has enough left in the tank to compete with a fighter who is on a historic roll. The problem is two fold. First, it’s quite clear that everyone’s top choice will probably be no where near a boxing ring in the foreseeable future and the other guy who in the minds of many fans deserves a rubber match will continue to be frozen out due to his promotional alliance not to mention his difficult to solve style. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a mess in many ways and his personal problems are beginning to dwarf his incredible professional accomplishments. His recent legal troubles have made it a useless endeavor to discuss any future fight between he and Manny Pacquiao. We all know the history between these guys as well as the sticking points so let’s just accept that we’re not going to get this fight for at least another year. Maybe we’ll be lucky and see it in late 2011 but as we’ve learned many times as boxing fans you can never plan that far out. Who knows what will happen in that time span….. Personally, I would have preferred Pacquiao vs Marquez III but it simply cannot be made due to the antagonistic relationship between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions.. AND, it’s certainly not going to get made if there’s a decent alternative!

So, get ready for Manny Pacquiao vs Shane Mosley on May 7th, 2011!

As we did for the Clottey and Margarito fights we have to invent some compelling aspect that we can look forward to get us motivated as fans for this upcoming match. In this case, the real point of interest for me is the punching power of Shane Mosley and the speed in which he delivers his right hand. I know that many have viewed Shane’s last 2 fights and have written him off and its true by the time this fight comes off he’ll be another 5 months older which for a 39 year old is another check mark in the “bad” column. But, one thing that fighters hold on to even late in their careers is their punching power and Mosley still has his which he delivers with very good speed for a man of any age. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that drawing conclusions based on one’s past opponents who technically have nothing in common with your upcoming opponent is dicey at best. As we all know, styles make fights and this at least on paper would appear to be a good little scrap. There are virtually no style similarities between Floyd Mayweather Jr, Sergio Mora and Manny Pacquiao. Mosley will not have to deal with a tall fighter who uses every tactic in the world NOT to exchange ands he also won’t have to deal with quite possibly the greatest defensive fighter of the last 30 years. Manny Pacquiao likes to exchange and his mindset is such that he feels he owes his fans that much so this will be very different for Shane than his last two fights even though the results may end up being the same. There’s at least some reason for optimism he strictly from a styles match up. There’s also a very real possibility for fire works early when Shane is at his best. One thing is clear, Manny will mix and so will Shane if given the opportunity so that’s good news for us.

Cus D Amato used to say that a great old fighter is always capable of delivering one last great performance and for Mosley fans this better be it because there is nothing on the horizon past Pacquiao so either he pulls off a win OR fights well enough to create enough fan demand for a rematch. Either one will do for a man who clearly knows this is his last fight at an elite level and he must make the most of it.

So, what do we have to look forward to? Well, one thing is clear Shane Mosley like Manny Pacquiao does much better against fighters than he does against boxers so that alone should peak our interest. Now, that is not to say that Manny doesn’t have the ability to move and keep himself safe while out maneuvering and out landing Mosley. In my mind, that’s the most likely scenario here. Manny uses his legs as a primary source of defense and if he chooses to take that course it will be difficult to impossible for Shane to keep pace. But, if Manny decides to make a statement on Shane then who knows!?! The reason some insiders refuse to dismiss this fight as easily as others is largely because of Manny’s defensive vulnerability. Pacquiao gets hit and even though he’s proven to have a major league chin people still point to the fact that he’s hittable as a primary reason for hope. Those who support Shane focus on the combination of his speed and power as the reason they believe he will emerge with the upset win. We’ll see…

Mosley, regardless of what you think about his last two outings is the most physically gifted fighter Manny has faced since Juan Manuel Marquez back in 2008. He is also the biggest puncher Manny has ever faced so you can expect both of those elements to be played up in the promotion leading up to the fight. Now, those are the obvious positive elements of this match up but the negatives are also all too obvious. Mosley is rapidly aging and his career no matter what anyone says publicly is quickly winding down. In fact, this may be one fight too many for Shane and considering the damage Pacquiao inflicted on Antonio Margarito there should be some concern for Mosley’s well being. There are a lot of boxing insiders who theorize that the real reason “Sugar” Shane Mosley was awarded this fight is the fact that his skills have diminished to such an extent that he poses no serious threat to Manny Pacquiao. Some have also said that that matchmaking is really the real key to Manny’s recent success and this fight is just another in a long line of a damaged opponents. I mean you can make that argument and you could probably at least support that theory by reviewing his last two opponents.

Manny’s previous two opponents had one similarity. Their careers had flat lined! Joshua Clottey was a fighter coming off a loss against the man Manny had just beaten in Miguel Cotto. The frustrating thing about Joshua is his seeming inability or unwillingness to step on the gas or press his advantage. He scores a punch or even a series of punches and then he stops. His offensive attacks just cease and he usually end up following his opponents with his hands held high in a defensive posture or simply moving away and picks off shots without countering. That was the tag on Clottey going in to the Pacquiao fight and he did not disappoint. In a previous article leading up to that fight I made the point that Joshua Clottey fights just hard enough to lose. Well, in Dallas he didn’t even do that. He was just happy to be there and that makes for a terrible fight which it was. That doesn’t seem to matter to Pacquiao’s fans who have proven that they will pay to see him fight just about anybody regardless of their professional status.

We saw more evidence of that when it was announced that Pacquiao’s next opponent would be the disgraced Antonio Margarito who didn’t even have a license to fight in the US when talks began. Margarito whose return bout from a year long suspension came against Roberto Garcia in Mexico, a fighter who no one had really even heard of and who even fewer were impressed by how Tony looked in that fight yet somehow that performance convinced Bob Arum that Pacquiao vs Margarito was a “must see” for fans. Of course, it wasn’t and I’ll limit the moral diatribe as to why I felt the match up was immoral and unethical. But, let me say this it wasn’t just Bob Arum spreading the fairy dust it was also the WBC who somehow called the fight a “world championship.” It’s laughable but its business as usual if you’re a boxing fan. As far as getting away with that controversial match up from a selling perspective and overcoming the fan disappointment I guess its no different than a Hollywood film in the sense that no matter how bad a script is if you cast the right star you can expect “X” amount at the box office. That theory clearly holds true here and so far it’s proving to be correct which is all the justification a promoter needs to continue doing it. Remember 90% of what a promoter does is to trick you into buying something you really didn’t want.

The Manny Pacquiao - Antonio Margarito fight although a sham in many ways will go down in the record books as a legitimate world championship fight. Period! All the whining in the world won’t change a damn thing and it never has in professional boxing. I’ll stop there because I know most of you understand the absurdity of it all. One thing both Top Rank and Pacquiao can point to as a rationale for these match ups is the simple fact that the guy EVERYBODY wants to see Manny fight is simply unavailable. In a sense they don’t have a choice and are doing what 10 out of 10 promoters would do if faced with the same situation. Juan Manuel Marquez is the fight that makes the most sense from a fan perspective and the date of May 7th is perfect because its Cinco de Mayo weekend. You would think it plays out perfectly because of the history between these two men and the fact that Juan Manuel Marquez is HOT right not. He’s on a win streak; he’s Mexican on the biggest Mexican holiday of the year and don’t Mexican fans drive the boxing economy!?! YES, but No!!…..and it doesn’t matter that it makes sense to us because financially it doesn’t make sense for Top Rank or Manny Pacquiao. It’s their time and they’re making the rules. For now!

As this fight draws nearer I’m sure more than one story line will develop to fool us into wanting this fight.

The truth is some of us want to be fooled so until Floyd Mayweather Jr. straightens out his life and gives us what we really want just keep quiet and click the “order now” button!

(Please feel free to contact P.H. Burbridge via email at with any comments or feedback.)

Article posted on 30.12.2010

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