Upset after upset has to encourage Mosley and worry Pacquiao

By Paul Strauss: This has been the year for the unexpected. Kirkland gets dropped by Ishida, a never before heard of fighter from Japan. The previously thought to be invincible JuanMa, who everyone expected to be part of a mega fight of unbeatens between him and Gamboa, gets stopped by the awkward and unorthodox Orlando Salido. Then another undefeated fighter name Andre Berto gets worked over by Victor Ortiz, someone who many thought was vicious in name only. What's next? Maybe that should be rephrased to who is next, or whose favored star will go down in flames?

It's human nature for such goings on to worry fighters with approaching big fights. The volatility and unpredictability of the sport are emphasized in dramatic fashion. Strange things result. Adrenaline is pumped up in the previously despondent underdogs. Fear strikes in the hearts of the former cocky ones who were constantly told they were sure things.

That's not to say Manny Pacquiao or "Sugar" Shane Mosley fall into either category, but for the majority of fans, and more than a few trainers, it gives pause. That little bit of doubt that was always there now magnifies itself into a full blown alarm. The sirens start going off and game plans get reviewed, and agonized over, "Are we missing anything?" There's more talk, mostly reminders, cautions and advice about "Don't let it happen to you.". Trainers and managers hope their charges are listening and absorbing the advice they're spewing out, but still they worry, as well they should.

Those who have suffered the upsets scramble and search for answers. In the mean time, they offer quick, defensive explanations, "My guy was distracted. He wasn't himself" Or, "It was a quick stoppage. My guy would have recovered and come back to win." More than once over the years a fighter has given a more honest admission by saying, "It wasn't my night." Or, "I don't know what was wrong, I just couldn't get going." All of which adds to the mystery.

The mystery brings out the analysts. They dissect every aspect of the upset's makeup. They separate and define, but much of their analysis is speculation, because often what is needed is not just an analyst, but a psychoanalyst. Sometimes the reasons for the upset lie outside of the normal sphere of the physical and are more of a mental phenomenon. In other words, short of taking a dive "There was no good reason that fighter should have lost that fight!"

That's not going to happen in the Pacquiao vs. Mosley fight, right? How could it? Just take a quick look at how impressive Manny has been in recent wins over Margarito, Cotto, Clottley, Hatton and De La Hoya. Compare that with how unimpressive Mosley looked in his last fights against Little Money and Sergio Mora. As Mick Dundee would say, "No worries."

Sure, there's always the concern about Manny possibly spreading himself too thin with his many obligations, but no one seems to be able to compartmentalize better than him. As far as being in front of the public, he seems to thrive on it, and gain strength from his adoring public. Freddie Roach always tells us that Manny never works half way at anything, and often part of Freddie's job is to make sure Manny doesn't over train. So, if we buy that then there's no worry, right. Besides, you're sure Manny is faster and hits harder, right? Oh, now you're not so sure?

Mosley fans are quick to point out that everyone looks bad against Mora. His style is such that it's hard not to look bad. As far as Mayweather is concerned, isn't Little Money the best or next best P4P fighter in the world, and didn't Shane have him momentarily in big trouble? Couldn't he do the same against Manny, especially since Manny fights much differently, and will be much more aggressive than Little Money, and therefore more vulnerable?

Have recent upsets influenced the odds-makers? Apparently not. Manny is still the heavy favorite. How about you, are you now more receptive to betting the underdog? Are you that prognosticator or visionary who foresaw and bet Buster over Iron Mike, or Salido over JuanMa? What's your gut tell you? Do you see Manny disappearing from the U.S. scene and becoming a full-time Filipino politician? Is Sugar vs Vicious the next big one out there? Who'd a thunk it?

Article posted on 20.04.2011

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