by James Slater – The big news yesterday, as surely most fans are aware now, was the statement made by Shane Mosley regarding his acceptance of a catch-weight fight with Manny Pacquiao. “Sugar” said he was willing to meet “Pac-Man” at a catch-weight, and that he “knows this is what Freddy Roach (Manny’s trainer, of course) wants.” We now have to wait to find out two things: will the bout take place on October 17th (the date pencilled in for Pacquiao’s next fight), and just how low will Mosley agree to drop down to so as to make the bout a go?
An absolutely sensational and mouth-watering prospect of a fight, Mosley-Pacquiao would see two future Hall of Famers and possibly all-time greats going at it. Both men are coming off sensational stoppage wins – Mosley against the now disgraced Antonio Maragrito back in January, and Pacquiao against Ricky Hatton at the start of this month – and as awesome as both men looked last time out, it will be mighty tough picking a winner when they square off. However, two factors certainly have to be looked at when deciding who will win.
Will Mosley’s age of 37, going on 38 catch up with him in this fight? And will the weight Mosley agrees to come in at seriously compromise his chances? Mosley will be 38 by the time the fight rolls around and all fighters, no matter how great, fall victim to Father Time at some point if they stick around too long. Mosley looked anything but a fighter headed towards the end when he smashed Margarito four months ago; in fact he looked better than ever. But how long can “Sugar” keep looking that sweet after having had a 16-year pro career comprising of over fifty fights? As for the weight thing, Roach has gone on record as saying he does not want Manny fighting above 142-pounds. In accepting a catch-weight fight as he has, does this mean Mosley is willing to drop down to a poundage he has not boxed at since the 1990s?
Mosley, to his eternal credit, has always sought out the best possible competition so as to solidify his status by defeating them. Is it possible that in his over eagerness to once again reign as the pound-for-pound king he will agree to terms that are a danger to his chances of winning? A natural welterweight today, a Mosley who has to go about dropping some five pounds may be a badly drained and weakened fighter. We all saw what happened to Oscar De La Hoya when he fought once again at a weight he had not been required to make in a very long time. The toll on an ageing fighter’s body when he has to shed weight that is not of the excess kind – but is instead muscle tissue – cannot be dismissed.
Then again, it would perhaps be unfair for Pacquiao to be expected to go up to full welterweight. After all, Manny – who has done amazingly well against bigger men already – began his career way down at 107-pounds. We should really be thankful that this dream of a fight is close to being made, and we should be especially thankful to Mosley for agreeing to box at a catch-weight so as to make it happen. You can bet your bottom dollar Floyd Mayweather would not have and will not accept to fight Pacquiao at as low a weight as 142. No way; “Money” pretty much proved that by forcing Juan Manuel Marquez to box up at 147 in their July fight. Mayweather, should he ever fight “Pac-Man,” will make sure he holds all the advantages he can get or else there will be no fight.
This is where Shane Mosley differs; he is willing to fight the best and he is willing to make compromises to do so. Let’s just hope his dropping five pounds doesn’t compromise his fantastic skill level and his fighting strength when and if he boxes the equally superb Manny Pacquiao.