What has most pundits bemoaning the May 7th bout at the MGM Grand between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley are the two most recent performances of Mosley, who was shut down by the stealthy Floyd Mayweather and the slippery “Latin Snake” Sergio Mora. “Sugar” no longer looked all that sweet in adding a loss and a draw to his ledger. Worse than that, he looked like an old and tired fighter for much of those 24 rounds in 2010.
However, Mosley believes that his outings are more a function of styles than substance.
"Yeah, I think so," he said at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Thursday afternoon, where the nationwide press tour kicked off to promote this bout. "That it's more about the style of the fighter I was fighting. Fighting guys that are boxers is maybe a little harder for me. Manny, he does box a little bit but he's a fighter at heart. He loves to fight, so I think that's why this fight will be so explosive and so great."
Compounding things for Mosley last year was that he came into the Mayweather fight with a layoff of well over a year.
"Yeah, I mean, I had a couple of layoffs. I can't really say it was the layoff as much. Mayweather is an excellent defensive fighter and he overcame the big right hand and was able to win the fight. I had a layoff when I fought [Antonio] Margarito; I think it was the style. Margarito came right at me and he fights; I'm good with that," explained Mosley, who has won numerous world titles while compiling a professional mark of 46-6-1 with 39 stoppages.
Freddie Roach, the renowned trainer of Pacquiao, believes that the styles of Mayweather and Mora had something to do with how Mosley performed. "I would say so. Mayweather, he may be an ass but he's still a great fighter," he said, "but he had him for a moment; he let him off the hook, which is unusual for Shane. But those things happen and he's fighting one of the best fighters of his era and getting up for Mora is difficult. It wasn't that big of a challenge. I think Shane will have no problems getting up for Manny Pacquiao and I expect him to bring his A-game and I think we'd be fools to underestimate him and think that he's shot. But he still has the speed, a right hand and good power."
Mosley may not be a fighter capable of being active for all three minutes of a round or be consistent for all 36 minutes of a fight anymore. On the other hand, what he can do is find spots to exploit the aggressiveness of the Filipino icon, who still believes that entertaining the masses is every bit as important as winning fights.
"Early in the fight is where he's going to be most dangerous," said Roach. "The longer the fight goes, the better for us. I think we can break him down but, again, Shane's going to be very competitive early in that fight. He'll have his moments and obviously, we're going to fight at a fast pace and make sure he fights three minutes of every round. I think we'll get him fatigued and take him out in the late rounds. Since nobody has ever stopped Shane before, it would really be icing on the cake if we can stop this guy before the fight’s over."
One thing Roach will stress is that they simply cannot move toward Mosley in a straight line. Using angles will be paramount to their success.
"Footwork is key. We can't sit in front of this guy; he'll land the right hand and the hook. So lateral movement and going in-and-out. Manny has the right style for Shane, I feel, and the natural footwork. We just can't walk into Shane because he's a good counterpuncher and we have to go to him a little bit but do it more intelligently," said the trainer.
As for Pacquiao (who sported a long, shaggy haircut that had some dubbing him “Manny Biebiao”) as always, he was magnanimous toward his opposition. "I saw his last two fights and he's still good and he's still fast and he can still punch. I mean, he can still fight."
In terms of what he expects on the night of May 7th, Pacquiao told the assembled media, "It's going to be an exciting fight; Mosley is not a slow fighter. He's fast also and he moves fast and he's strong. It's not an easy opponent."
On Thursday morning, a press release was sent out detailing the schedule for “Fight Camp 360” for Pacquiao-Mosley:
Episode 1, CBS, Saturday, April 2, 12 PM ET/9 AM PT
Episode 1, SHO, Saturday, April 16, 10 PM ET/PT
Episode 2, SHO, Saturday, April 23, 10 PM ET/PT
Episode 3, CBS, Saturday, April 30, 8 PM ET/PT
Episode 4, SHO, Friday, May 6, 10 PM ET/PT
Episode 4, CBS, Saturday, May 7, 2 PM ET/11 AM PT
As you've probably heard by now, this fight will be distributed by Showtime PPV with some help from CBS. Long an HBO staple, Pacquiao (along with Miguel Cotto) was taken to the other side of the street by Bob Arum and Top Rank. No doubt about it, this is a huge acquisition for the network, almost impossible to put into words.
"I could try but I'd probably come up a little short," said Ken Hershman, executive V.P. and GM for Showtime Sports. "It really is a tremendous opportunity for us and we're excited beyond words but we're hoping this is really going to be precedent setting."
As the deal neared its conclusion in January and word began to spread throughout the industry, the tight-lipped Hershman played it close to the vest, as always.
"I was just trying to keep the right temperament with my team and focus on what we had in front of us, assuming it happened, without getting too far ahead of us in case it didn't happen. So that's balance we tried to strike. It wasn't hard for me not to talk," said “The Czar.”
For many years, HBO has been like the New York Yankees, a titan, who, with their budget, could basically snatch away any boxer or fight from Showtime. Comparatively, Showtime was akin to the Minnesota Twins, a mid-market team that perennially made the playoffs but simply did not have the resources to compete with the Bronx pinstripes. Pacquiao and Cotto to Showtime are like the Twins acquiring “A-Rod” and Derek Jeter.
"I think we now have our own 1000-pound gorilla to help us," said Hershman, with a smile. "It's like the bully in the schoolyard; you got your big-time buddy to come over, 'Hold on, I'm going to help you a little bit.' So I think we're really fortunate that CBS has really stepped up here."
What CBS and its various platforms give is an unprecedented synergy in promoting a prizefight.
Hershman says, "I think it's a great opportunity; it's now in our court and we have to execute. And we have to execute at a very high level and we have to make sure this is successful- and we will. And then where do we go after that? I think that remains to be seen. This is a process, if we can get boxing exposed to more people, whether it's through actual fights on network television or through all the support CBS is lending us on this promotion. Either way, it's going to be great for the sport and great for Showtime."
As for his own personal view of this deal, he says, "I haven't slept in a month. I'm just running through all the ideas, all the opportunities, all the permutations, all the things we can do that have never been done before. All the things we've done that we could do better. My mind is racing constantly and I'm so excited. I'm jazzed up and I'm energized."
In what was perhaps the most revealing comment from Hershman, he added, "I love boxing; I'm a huge fan of it and I tell people, I came into the job and wasn't. I wasn't a huge boxing fan; I followed this sport casually as a sports fan but that wasn't my passion. But I've so come to really enjoy the sport and respect the sport and respect the athletes in the sport. That's why this thing is so rewarding because you have two amazing athletes, two amazing gentlemen. They're really terrific to work with; they've already been dreams and we're really looking forward to a fun ride from here on out."
It could be a whole new world.
"I don't know if it's a new world; it's a different world and it's an exciting world for us."
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