Word has spread that Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent will be three-division champion Shane Mosley this coming May 7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mosley informed AOL Fanhouse’s Lem Satterfield that he reached a deal after sitting down with his manager James Prince and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum earlier today. Pacquiao will be returning to 147 pounds to defend his WBO welterweight crown for this contest.
Mosley beat out the likes of lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez and welterweight king Andre Berto in landing the Pacquiao fight and while it may not be the result that people had hoped for, there aren’t too many more deserving candidates out there at the moment. Conversation in boxing circles on the showdown seems to be mixed, as some are writing Mosley off while others seem to think he may show signs of life against his Filipino foil.
<— Slideshow: HBO’s Lederman fearing for Shane Mosley’s life
Mosley has seen his stock drop dramatically this year following his May decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. as well as he uninspiring split-decision draw with Sergio Mora in September. Against Mayweather we saw Mosley rock his Grand Rapids foe with a chilling right hand in the second round before being subsequently dominated over the next ten rounds and he seemed to lack any real passion or sound attack against Mora.
While those two performances were reason enough for many to look over 39-year old Pomona fighter, there are still those who can’t completely discount Mosley’s abilities. Serving as the West Coast Bureau Chief for The Sweet Science, respected scribe David Avila has spent many hours with Mosley over the years and feels his recent showings have as much to do with style as anything else.
“I actually think Shane has a chance,” Avila stated. “[The Mora fight] was a counter puncher’s duel. Everybody looks bad against Sergio Mora because he’s a very defensive fighter. And Floyd is even better defensively and I think that’s a big reason why Mosley didn’t look as good. I think a fight with Pacquiao is more of Mosley’s style.”
One thing Avila feels Mosley should be given credit for is his willingness to constantly challenge himself against a wide range of world class competition. Outside of the Pacquiao fight, which looks to be a huge uphill battle for Mosley, Avila feels Mosley has simply put his best foot forward regardless of who was in his way.
“I thought he would lose the Mora fight because it was such a bad style matchup for him but he took it anyways,” the Riverside resident continued. “That’s the thing about Shane, he takes on all comers. He took on Winky Wright even though he knew it was a bad style and he faced Vernon Forrest too. It says a lot about him.”
Junior lightweight contender Mickey Bey Jr. is also managed by Prince and insists he saw the signing of the fight well ahead of time. Bey is recovering from a broken right hand and expects to be returning either on the Feb. 19 Nonito Donaire-Fernando Montiel card at the Mandalay Bay or at the Palms one week later for Brandon Rios’ challenge of Miguel Acosta’s WBA lightweight crown. After that Bey fully expects to be a key attraction on the Pacquiao-Mosley undercard and feels that the matchup is far from a landslide.
“You can never count Shane out,” Bey said. “He’s such a competitor. He showed it in the fight against Floyd, in that second round, that he’s always coming to win. Whether he wins or not, that remains to be seen. It’s not just a money fight; Shane wants the victory more than anything.”
While Avila and Bey speak with definite respect for Mosley, their sentiments aren’t shared by everyone within the boxing community. This past Thursday I spoke with two-time middleweight champion John David Jackson and we discussed certain aspects of the May 7th bout. Jackson resides in South Florida as a top flight trainer and divides his time running both Contender’s Gym and The Heavyweight Factory Gym in Hollywood. Jackson also trained Mosley for his February 2006 fight with Fernando Vargas, a fight in which he would win via 10th round TKO.
Jackson may not see a triumphant ending for the man nicknamed ‘Sugar’ yet he seems to be holding onto as much optimism as possible.
Newsflash: Trainer says Mosley may be after money with Pacquiao fight
“Right now it’s more of a money fight for him than a winnable fight,” Jackson said with harsh honesty. “There are certain things he can probably do to make it more competitive. Certain things he could do early to offset what Pacquiao is going to bring to the table. It’s a tough fight for Shane and he needs to bring in a guy who is very knowledgeable in boxing, a guy who has been in the ring with a southpaw. A guy who has been in those situations that will allow him to take him to the next level so he will be able to survive in deep waters. If there’s still something left in him he can do some damage.”
HBO’s unofficial ringside judge Harold Lederman will be ringside for the Pacquiao-Mosley bout, as he has covered each man numerous times in person. While the classy New Yorker isn’t one to ever talk down on a fighter he can’t sugarcoat what he sees as a mismatch at this point.
“I don’t know,” Lederman admitted of the matchup. “Shane is no youngster and he is taking on a guy who is deadly. I mean, realistically, unless Manny Pacquiao is distracted by his job as a congressman, I can’t see him doing anything but going out there and giving ‘Sugar’ Shane, at his age now, the same beating that he gave to Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey in the last couple of fights. It’s going to be very, very difficult for Shane Mosley.”
Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley is still four and a half months away yet there is already a serious buzz surrounding the fight. There are die-hard fans and certain insiders who have such reverence for Mosley that they can’t help but to give him a chance yet other speaks with a more logical outlook when assessing the fight.
Whether we like it or not, the fight is official and in the coming weeks and months the subplots and storylines surrounding the bout will begin to build. This isn’t the type of fight that it could have been just a few years back but the first huge event of 2011 seems ready to go.
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com.