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ESB's Official Countdown to Pacquiao/Mosley - "Manny Pacquiao: Man of the Moment, Fighter of the Decade, Greatest Legend of all-time?"

By Vivek Wallace: This Saturday, CBS will kick off the Fight Camp 360 series, chronicling the training camps of both Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao as they prepare to go to battle on May 7th in Las Vegas' MGM Grand. For Shane Mosley the theme is a very familiar one, as once again he finds himself attempting to answer critics who continue to write him off as an aging veteran eager to milk the sports latest cash cow.

For fightin' Filipino Manny Pacquiao, at least in appearance, life is far more simple. With the world behind him and at the wind at his back, seems there's only one destination this 'ship' plans to sail, and that's Canastota, New York, in the sports legendary international Hall-of-Fame, as his history is already written and almost sealed.

From a meeting with the Obama's, to "60 Minutes", to mega fights in America's most lavish stadiums, the story of Manny Pacquiao has been the most celebrated one globally that the sport has witnessed since the emergence of a young Muhammad Ali. Quite a parallel when you consider that both have been hailed as the "greatest", and certainly no ground loss when you consider the parallels found in the crowd-pleasing styles.

For all the fan support given to Pacquiao, there remains a contingent within the fan base of the sport who still wants more. In an era of the sport known for more 'cherry-pickers' than 'cherry-poppers', many have looked at the recent level of competition Pacquiao has faced and formed questions. Legendary trainer Emanuel Steward said in an interview recently that "while the historical essence of Pacquiao's accomplishments have come recently, it was victories against prime opponents at the featherweight and super-featherweight level that truly cemented his legacy".

While some may disagree, his resume shows us that this was pretty much the point in Pacquiao's stellar career where he went from facing the prime elite to simply collecting more 'casualties of war'. In an effort to find middle-grounds on the perspective, one has to also note that while Hatton, Cotto, Clottey, and Margarito weren't exactly at the head of the class when Pacquiao faced them, better options were scarce, as the younger crop of fighters like Berto and Bradley lacked star power and were vastly untested, and the one man who would have been the most solid option failed to materialize after countless attempts (Mayweather).

When you consider this, the only logical conclusion is that although Pacquiao hasn't faced prime opposition during the historical portion of his career, (lightweight - jr. middleweight), he has faced some of the bigger names on the current landscape which makes his efforts all good and undeniable to the majority. Pacquiao remains the "man of the moment", and he has been the "fighter of the decade". With Mayweather seeming an impossibility, another victory over a credible name could all but seal Pacquiao's fate in the eyes of many as perhaps the "Greatest" legendary fighter of all time, supported by 8 world titles in 8 weight classes, as well as a lengthy list of highly notables.

Winning mega-fights and being a mega-fighter often hinges solely on being able to do and consistently do the impossible. Pacquiao has proven several times that he can, and with all of those aforementioned names grounded in the rear view, hovering barely above sea level is another man with the potential to rise above the best of today's crop, yet age and time have somewhat stripped him of that fuel necessary to keep rising.

With the scrolling marquee rolling and the spotlights shining in a high stakes game for all the marbles, Shane Mosley knows he can never be that proverbial 'star' like Pacquiao if he can't seize the moment and touch the sky. Being a proverbial 'star' trying to "touch the sky" is the operative theme here, because nothing less will help either man reach their desired destination.

To paraphrase the words of songwriter R. Kelly: "They think about it every night and day......but who will spread their wings and fly away"? Similar to the song, the operative question here: WHICH MAN BELIEVES THEY CAN FLY?

In 5 weeks the world will find out. Stay tuned.

[Check out segment 3 of ESB's Official countdown to Pacquiao/Mosley next Friday]

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at vivexemail@yahoo.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE), Skype (VITO-BOXING), and Facebook).

Article posted on 01.04.2011



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