Most if not all experts foresee an ominous night for Mosley, but rose-colored supporters of his could justifiably argue that he constitutes Pacquiao's toughest challenge since his nip-and-tuck struggle with Juan Manuel Marquez over three years ago. The Pacman doesn't carry his one-punch power up against the big weltes, and Mosley has the size, strength and pedigree to perhaps present more of a problem to the Filipino superstar than recent top welterweight foes Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey.
In fact, though, Mosley's outlook this weekend is even worse than the experts are saying. His greatest successes over the past half decade have come against opponents light years slower than Pacquiao, like Margarito, Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas. Cotto tagged him almost 300 times in a close decision win, and Mosley's never been particularly hard to find.
Still at his peak, with relentless combinations Pacquiao should eventually escape any early puncher's chance of Mosley and hammer away all the way to the last bell. Those expecting a stoppage should remember that Mosley's underrated as a tough son of a gun who's never really been in trouble, save one scary moment against Vernon Forrest.
One last note: Just a few years ago, the welterweight mountain seemed almost insurmountable for Pacquiao, with a golden age of stars like Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Mosley, Cotto, Margarito, Clottey and Paul Williams all standing in his way. After this one, Pacquiao's only remaining challenge in the division is Mayweather. Will Mayweather finally accept his challenge or forever taint his legacy by failing to do so?
WBO Champ Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. (20-0-1, 17 KOs) vs. Jorge Arce (56-6-2, 43 KOs), jr. featherweights (122 lb.) Prediction: Vazquez by TKO
Top Rank has put on an excellent card here. The co-feature may prove one-sided, but regardless of the result, it has the makings of a fun fight. At 31 and with 64 tough fights under his belt, Arce's an old warrior who won't go away and won't give anyone an easy night.
Arce will pressure the naturally bigger Vazquez and try to get him to crack, but that's unlikely. In the ring, Vazquez has proven worthy of his name and is making his third defense of the WBO belt won last year against then-undefeated Marvin Sonsona. He's not being spoon fed opponents and has earned his title, and he shoud pass this test too. Arce's only been stopped once this millenium - an 11th round doctor's stoppage against Vic Darchinyan - but the guess is that he'll bring about another one by trying to push too hard and absorbing too much punishment in the process.
Kelly Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs) vs. Alfonso Lopez (21-0, 16 KOs), super middleweights (168 lb.) Prediction: Pavlik by TKO
What an interesting challenge for Youngstown's former middleweight champ in his first foray of his super middleweight campaign, against a prime, young and undefeated big 168 pounder. Pavlik's critics might suggest he's seen better days or was exposed by Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez in his losses. He was in a way, but not one that should matter Saturday night.
Pavlik has major troubles against fighters that don't let him plant his feet, but Martinez and Hopkins (and beware: Lucian Bute) are special athletes who will always cause him trouble. Apparently, Lopez is not. Pavlik feasts on boxers who stand in front of him, as he did with Jermain Taylor, Edison Miranda and Marco Antonio Rubio, among others. He doesn't get out-toughed or out-punched, and he hasn't shown the capacity to lose to opponents who don't use footwork and angles.
Expect Lopez to play right into the Pavlik game plan. Whether or not he causes the former champ trepidatious moments won't be known until he faces this caliber of opponent, but in the end Lopez is probably in over his head here.
Mike Alvarado (29-0, 21 KOs) vs. Ray Narh (25-1, 21 KOs), jr. welterweights (140 lb.) Prediction: Alvarez by unanimous decision
Alvarado's ring rust caused by legal problems could tighten the opening televised bout, but despite the perception that Narh is the veteran in this one, Alvarado's 30 years old and has faced better opposition. Narh's feasted on journeymen and shot fighters in recent years while Alvarado's competed against several live dogs, with obvious success.
Narh does have the goods to take Alvarado the distance, but the big hitting Denver product may make a splash and get a lot of notice in Vegas this weekend, which he can hopefully build upon if he keeps his nose clean.