Official ESB Countdown to Pacquiao/Mosley: Eyeing The 8-Ball, 'Corner' Pocket?

By Vivek Wallace: For Filipino Manny Pacquiao, recent years in the ring have been very reminiscent of the game of pool; several contenders on the table, each trying desperately to avoid the appointed, and in many respects, now anointed 'hunter'. Some bite the dust in dramatic fashion, others more sudden and unannounced, yet in the end, none left standing, as they all fell by one.

Viewing this same game of pool from another angle, one of the most compelling elements is that no matter how good that hunting cue ball is, his only shot at ultimate supremacy is defeating the last man standing, (the proverbial 8-ball); and the key to doing that typically comes down to the angle presented by the most eligible 'corner' (pocket).

In boxing, most know that the 'corner' is also very key, for when bombs fly down range, the men that reside there stand as the lone set of eyes with enough influence to help navigate a fighter to victory. When you look at the corners of both Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley, absent is the theatrics and pre-fight hype we often see; present are two of the greatest minds of any era the sport has ever seen. As we draw closer to fight night, we take a look at both sides:

In This 'Corner'........Lead Trainer For Manny Pacquiao: Freddie Roach

In Freddie Roach, you have a very special lead man, in the sense that unlike many other trainers of today, he takes a certain pride in bonding with his pupil's. Not much of a 'great' during his own tenure in the ring, Roach found a way to blend his own style with the many secrets and key lessons learned by legendary Eddie Futch, an old-school gipper most widely credited with training four of the five men to defeat Muhammad Ali (Frazier, Norton, Holmes, and Berbick).

When Manny Pacquiao arrived in Roach's stable, he was what most experts would view as a one-handed fighter, highly spirited, small in stature, yet big in heart. Rather than trying to reinvent a fighter that's already habitual like most trainers make the mistake of doing, Roach simply added to the attributes that were already present, and developed those which weren't. When you look at Pacquiao of today and compare him to the one of yesterday, it's very easy to see the transformation. The angles, the accuracy, and the grit are most notably.

In the National Football League many years ago, legendary quarterback Dan Marino was best known for gunning down opponents, but the one element to his game he was most criticized for was the one element that made him most effective at doing that. Unlike most mobile quarterbacks who possessed the athleticism necessary to allude danger, running was never part of Marino's arsenal, yet incredibly nimble footwork allowed him to use escape angles with a very uncanny 6th sense!

Similarly, Pacquiao has never been known as a 'runner', yet his swift footwork has created major challenges for opponents who simply can't figure out how to attack, and are almost never quick enough to know when to retreat! Overall, the work of Roach and the dedication of Pacquiao have made this team formidable at the highest peak. So far, only Mexican warrior Erik Morales has cracked this code, and after doing so once, he failed miserably in two other attempts. Up to bat next is a trainer with equal or greater which we will now take a look at.

And In This Corner.........Lead Trainer For Shane Mosley: Naazim Richardson

Brother Naazim Richardson remains one of the most underrated trainers in the sport today. Many give him a certain level of acclaim, but to hear his story and get a true realization of precisely how deep the mind of this man goes is an incredible feat which even the most intricate words crafted fail to truly explain. Richardson is most known for his work with the ageless wonder, Bernard Hopkins. In this case, the job again entails another aging American Hot Rod, in dire need of a rebuilt engine.

With Hopkins, the background was similar, in the sense that both men found themselves on the streets early, and incarcerated later, only to find a love for the sport of boxing that would ultimately serve as a breeding ground for ultimate redemption. In the mild mannered Mosley, there was no stint on the street or incarceration involved, yet clearly there's a strong agenda which can only be reached through that very same path of redemption. What better man to navigate this trail?

Prior to Richardson, Mosley saw some of his best days in the sport, defeating the likes of Oscar De la Hoya and many others. As the clock began to tick and time began to fade, allegations and age gave way to an effort which ultimately ate away at the fabric of a career Mosley had once carefully crafted with the help of his Father. In the absence of his Father, Jack Mosley, Richardson stepped in and has given Mosley a very legible angle which has proven to be a blueprint of success. In their first bout together, the knowledge of Richardson led to a seminal moment in the careers of both Mosley and his victim at the time, Antonio Margarito.

While Margarito's career spiraled downward, Mosley appeared destined for big things, but this stimulant would fade quickly, as his next two opponents, Mayweather and Mora both removed what was a budding veil of invincibility. With Pacquiao standing front and center, and Roach standing beside him, many wonder can the tandem of Mosley and Richardson strike again? The intense film-study of Richardson and the equally aggressive execution of his pupil make for a very interesting subplot....but can this 'corner' engineer the type of angle necessary to prevent this very dangerous cue-ball from ultimately moving on to face the lone remaining 8-ball left for him in the sport (Floyd Mayweather Jr.)? In a little over 3 weeks the world will find out! Stay tuned!

[Tune in to next Friday's countdown to Pacquiao/Mosley.......Note: Tomorrow there will be a published prediction column for the Berto/Ortiz showdown]

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), Skype (VITO-BOXING), and Facebook).

Article posted on 16.04.2011

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