It’s less than three months away, but because this is boxing, a three-city tour was kicked off last Thursday afternoon at the Beverly Hills Hotel to promote the welterweight bout between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
While some believe this matchup is unnecessary, and will be onesided in favor of the man headlining the event, there are always potential twists and turns.
“I’m excited to fight [May 7th],” said Pacquiao, who hasn’t lost since March 2005, when he faced Erik Morales. “I hope more boxing fans will watch this fight because this is a good fight.”
We’ll see, but the early 7-to-1 odds say Pacquiao, hailed as the finest pugilist on the planet, will prevail easily, and this speaks volumes about the 39-year-old Mosley, a sure Hall of Famer, who began his storied career in 1993.
“I’ve had a couple of layoffs,” said Mosley, who will carry into the ring a record of 46-6-1 with 39 knockouts, and is 3 1/2 inches taller, with a 7 1/2 inch reach advantage. “I had a layoff before the [Antonio] Margarito fight. It’s interesting the way fights are.”
That bout in January 2009 at the Staples Center was vintage Mosley. From start to its conclusion via ninth-round knockout, Mosley was all over Margarito with body and head shots.
It was Margarito who earlier laid waste to the then undefeated Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto.
Mosley’s last two ring episodes were uninspired, earning a draw against Sergio Mora last September, and losing a unanimous decision to undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr., in May 2010.
Those bouts have planted seeds of doubt about whether the four-time world champion in three weight classes can be competitive.
“This is very big and I’m excited,” said Mosley, who hails from Pomona. “It’s one of the biggest fights of my career, maybe the biggest. We’re both competitors.”
Top Rank President Bob Arum oversaw the affair and praised both men. “Styles make fights,” he said. “Shane knows Manny will come to him, and Manny is not going to hide. Shane will shine. Manny will shine. They will provide entertainment.”
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach doesn’t see the 12-round clash going the distance, but wasn’t about to predict what round it will end.
“We’re not going to look for a knockout,” he said, “but if it’s there, we’ll try for it. If we do, we’ll be the first to stop him, and that will be the icing on the cake.”
Roach said Pacquiao will train four weeks in the Philippines, and four weeks at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.
“I look forward to this,” said Roach. “This is a whole new game plan. This is not an easy fight. If they think it’s going to be an easy fight, they’re foolish.”
Roach added: “He [Mosley] is a very intelligent fighter. I’m concerned about his speed and his power. He will fight the best fight of his life.”
Since Pacquiao’s last setback, he’s strung together an incredible 13 consecutive victories, and has been dominant, especially last year with lopsided decisions over Margarito and Joshua Clottey in Cowboys Stadium.
In 2009, Pacquiao (52-3-2 and 38 knockouts) had a 12th round technical knockout victory over Cotto in November, and floored Englishman Ricky Hatton in the second round in May.
“Shane Mosley is a great fighter and a champion,” said Pacquiao, who is 32 years old. “Good luck to both of us.”
Not one to brag, or put down an opponent, Pacquiao is well aware of the problems Mosley can pose.
“I will train hard for this fight,” he said. “I don’t want to disappoint the fans when they watch this fight. I pray no one gets hurt.”