I really don’t know how to feel about this match-up.
On paper Pacquiao vs. Mosley is basically supposed to be the big-budget event movie of boxing’s 2011.
What I mean to say is, while the (manufactured) hype surrounding this fight is genuinely admirable; I find it difficult to view it as anything but yet another case of a damaged or declining fighter being tossed to the prime lion that is Manny Pacquiao.
It’s sad to say, but as much as I like/liked Sugar Shane, based on his performances in his recent bouts I.E. the one’s that have most of us viewing him as a CRIPPLED OLD MAN, it’s hard to picture him succeeding where others have failed.
Then again, it’s hard to argue that Mosley’s decent chin, caginess, and sneaky overhand right make him any less likely to beat Pacquiao than the chinless wonder that is Miguel Cotto, and the “I move my head… Sometimes” duo of Ricky Hatton and Antonio Margarito.
That being said, let’s take a minute to think on some factors that could potentially (but not likely) win the day for Sugar Shane:
1. Shane Makes It A Rough Fight
This one’s a long-shot, given that virtually no one has been able to put it into practice against Pacquiao; but Shane’s recent implementation of clinch heavy tactics under Brother Naazim’s watchful eyes, (which has NOTHING to do with his age…) is one that could do well to offset Pacquiao’s angles and smother his punch output.
In theory, this would slow the pace of the fight in Shane’s favor, and potentially allow him to steal the bout by landing the more emphatic blows while initiating and breaking from clinches.
The problem with this strategy, is that Shane doesn’t exactly have the best skill-set to get in position to tie up Pacquiao with any sort of regularity.
He doesn’t have a jab and his legs aren’t what the used to be, so jabbing his way inside or turning Pacquiao are things I just don’t see him being able to do.
What Shane does have in this equation though, are decent counter-punching skills, decent timing, and a great, but potentially declining chin.
He’s not gonna’ win on punch output, and he’s not likely gonna’ win on ring generalship, but if he can make himself out to be the only man to land punches of any sort of note, or better yet; put the Filipino on the mat, there’s a slim chance he can pull off the upset.
In other words, regardless of whether he wins or not, Mr. Mosley is gonna’ have to walk through fire to reach the final bell.
2. Pacquiao Gets Greedy/Has An Off Night
If you thought the last one was unlikely, prepare to readjust your standards.
Manny Pacquiao is not the same fighter he was 7-8 years ago.
He’s cleaned up most of his quirks, and these days he’s one of the best finishers on planet.
In short, he’s become a very complete fighter that, while human; seldom makes the kind of careless mistakes that get fighters hurt.
Well, except in the Cotto fight… That was just plain dumb. Dumb and AWESOME.
*Ahem!* ANYWAY, the point is, Shane Mosley has proven himself to be an extremely tough fighter that rarely gets rocked/put on queer street.
As old as he may be, he also happens to be a somewhat slipperier fighter than Antonio Margarito, who as we all know; is pretty much as easy to hit as… well, Antonio Margarito.
The point is, Shane is cagey enough to do things like take 3 minor shots to give 1 decent one, or even play opossum.
Once again, this is pretty much as unlikely as one can imagine, but should Pacquiao bite for a clever feint, or get greedy and stay in the pocket just a moment too long, I believe the old adage says: “Anything can happen in boxing.”
3. Shane Fought The Wrong People
While both of those guys are just about as far from each other on the skill range as humanly possible, the fact of the matter is; is that both guys make their living by making other fighters look bad.
Both are safety first counter-punchers that are hard to hit and offer little in the way offering counter opportunities to their opponents.
While it’s hard to say how true it is these days, in his prime Sugar Shane was a middle range boxer-puncher.
He excelled in tight exchanges, and indeed won most of his fights by being one step ahead in said exchanges.
While it’s hard to see him pulling ahead of Pacquiao in terms of tempo, the fact remains that in Shane’s most recent fights, the one’s that have most, including me; writing him off as an aging and declining fighter, he’s been fighting the kinds of guys that make not just him, but everyone look bad.
Pacquiao’s handspeed, punch output, and plethora of clever angles will very likely prove too much for Mosley, however in his heart I think this is exactly the kind of fight Shane wants.
He’s a puncher moreso than a boxer, and at this point in his career, I think even Shane knows his abilities as a fighter are more dependent on his opponent standing in front of him, making mistakes, and taking the wrong punches *cough!* MARGARITO! *cough!* than him genuinely outboxing them.
Very few fighters choose to retire at what one could call the “appropriate” time, both in terms of their physical health and financial situtations; and I don’t think Sugar Shane is any different.
I’ve written several articles in the past regarding my disdain for this particular matchup, largely due to my objection to Shane Mosley as being a relevant element of the welterweight division.
My only hope is that the fight ends up being more competitive than we all expect it to be, and that both men retain their faculties for the foreseeable future.
Seriously man, the last thing I wanna’ see is Sugar Shane knocked stupid by Congressman Pacquiao… That’d just be sad.