by Paul Strauss: Well, it doesn’t take a genius to know what’s going on here. This announcement is further eivdence of the real battle going on behind the scenes between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank. Mosley, one of the founding partners of Golden Boy Promotion, apparently split with them because he was upset about not being pushed out front as the most viable opponent over Juan Manuel Marquez. Golden Boy has Marquez under promotional contract, so you figure it out.
Bob Arum, president of Top Rank, pleaded his case for this fight by claiming Sugar Shane Mosley is the the better known fighter of the three possibles: Mosley, Marquez and Andre Berto. Do you agree? Apparently Arum feels selection of Mosley also will pacify those critics who say Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao hasn’t fought any african-americans..
Arum told FanHouse there wasn’t much of a chance to get Floyd Mayweather, Jr. to agree to a fight, not while he and his uncle are still dealing with their legal problems. Mosley added that he has agreed to the contract terms, and the fight is scheduled to take place May 7th at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. Pacman’s WBO welterweight title will be on the line in this HBO pay-per-view promotion. Mosley is understandably enthusiastic about his coup, because he stands to earn his biggest career payday to date, somewhere in the neighborhood of five to seven million. That’s a nice neighborhood.
As far as the matchup is concerned, fans have already heard comments from Pacman’s hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach stating that Mosley is no pushover, and that he will present some geniune problems for Manny. Roach argues that Mosley has the speed, power and experience necessary to make it an interesting fight. Maybe Freddie should have said “had”, because most fans aren’t easily going to buy into that arguement after seeing Mosley wilt after a few rounds against Little Money, and then get frustrated in his fight with Sergio Mora.
Sugar displayed one flash of past greatness against Little Money, but when that opportunity passed, so did the rest of his game plan. Most thought Little Money could have stopped Mosley if he really wanted. However, he was content with totally contolling the action and winning on points, which is his usual modus operandi. Maybe modus vivendi is a better description of what Little Money does, because the truth is his carefully controlled actions are the equivalent of an unstated or implied arrangement made to avoid an all out war.
Fans know that Mosley is at his best when he is faced with an aggressive straight ahead type of opponent. He prefers the type of opponent who tries to assault him head on such as Antonio Margarito. But, everyone knows that is not what he will get with Manny. Mosley had his hands full with Sergio Mora, who exhibitied good speed with his feet and hands. Sergio darted in and out, and side to side, while unleashing some quick combinations, and then wisely tied up Mosley to prevent a counter attack.
There are two big differences Shane will face with Manny. First, Manny is faster than Mora. Secondly, there’s no comparison in punching power. Manny will punish Mosley with his speed and power. Manny, like Shane, loves a fighter to come right at him, which Shane will undoubtedly try to do by establishing a hard jab. Manny will be able to avoid it, and make Shane pay for trying. All to soon, Sugar Shane will be rendered harmless, and the beat down will really begin.
The question remains, “Would Marquez or Berto present a tougher fight for Manny?” Marquez fans would eagerly say yes, because he already has proven to be a difficult opponent for Manny and would do so again. Once again, styles make fights they would add. But, is Manny really the same fighter? Hasn’t he dramatically improved since their two previous fights. Isn’t he now a much more complete fighter? Isn’t he bigger and stronger now? Fans know that he hasn’t lost any speed while moving up in weight class, and he certainly has retained or increased his punching power. Finally, after watching him absorb and weather hard punches from Cotto, Clottey and Margarito, is it feasible to believe Marquez can hurt him, unless he lands the perfect shot?
That leaves Andre Berto, who is young, strong and improving with every moment. Berto is a very confident and determined fighter. He is not intimidated by Manny’s reputation. It would seem he has some, if not all, of the necessary ingredients to give Manny real problems. Next to Floyd, he might present Manny with one of his toughest tasks.
Berto is an explosive type of fighter. His opponents think they’ve got his rhythm down, and all of a sudden they get hit with a blindingly fast combination that seemingly came out of no where. Earlier in his career he wasn’t thought to be much of a puncher, but he has learned to get more leverage into his shots, and proved so when punching hard enough to do away with two very good fighters like Freddie Hernandez and Carlos Quintana. Andre seems to be coming into his own.
Out of the three possibles, Andre might present the most difficult opponent for Manny. Does Arum still have a valid point in stating that Berto is just not known well enough to make a big fight? That’s tough to answer. There’s no question, Sugar Shane Mosley’s name is more well known, but how difficult would it be for clever people like Arum and those at HBO to present Berto’s story, which is as intriguing as anyone’s out there. He’s undefeated as a professional. He is a two time National Golden Gloves Champion, and 2004 Olympic Team representaive for Haiti. Don’t forget, he also was thought to be a be a big enough name to warrant a fight with Sugar Shane Mosley. The terrible Haiti Earthquake caused that one to come undone.
Finally, one could argue that being better known might not be such a good thing. Boxing fans, and fringe fans are aware of what Sugar Shane has done lately. They know about his two most recent poor showings. They know he is thirty-nine years old and is fighting like it. They know he has split with Golden Boy, which most certainly didn’t hurt his chances with Arum, and says something about Arum creditability. They also know that unless Manny gets distracted and slown down with congress, Shane isn’t going to get close to him no matter what Freddie and Bob Arum say.