You let us down, Manny. Not your legions of dedicated fans, fans who would follow you to hell and back. Not the casual boxing observer who knows the name Sugar Shane Mosley. You let us, the hardcore boxing fans, down and you let us down hard.
Bob Arum runs the show, we know that. But you had a chance to put your foot down. You had a chance to give the hardcore fans what they wanted, a third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. You blew it. You let Arum, who couldn't care less what the hardcore fans want, decide your opponent for you.
Deep down, we all knew damn well that Berto had no shot. Fine. Let him earn the right to fight the pound for pound king. But to fight Shane Mosley, the once brilliant fighter who has looked absolutely dreadful in his last two fights, is wrong.
Bob Arum will try to sell the fight, and he'll probably succeed for the most part. He'll tell us how styles make fights, how Mosley has speed and power, how Manny isn't training hard enough. We know that styles make fights, but when one fighter is in his prime and the other is far from it, styles don't matter much.
The worst part about all of this is how Arum himself stated that Pacquiao wouldn't face Mosley after the horrific performance he put on against Mora. How would he be able to sell a shot fighter? That changed rather abruptly when Mosley became a promotional free agent.
We shouldn't really be surprised at Arum. He's a promoter. His job is to make the most money possible for his fighter while subjecting him to the least amount of risk. It would appear that he's succeeded here. But we expected more from Pacquiao.
Maybe that isn't fair of us. He is, after all, just a fighter. But he spends so much of his time in the ring trying to give the fans exactly what they want, that we've come to expect him to do the same thing out of the ring.
The biggest problem with the fight isn't that we think Mosley is completely incapable of winning, as much as it is that the fighter who gets a shot at Pac Man should have to earn it. It was bad enough with Margarito, who also looked very bad in his last two fights before Manny, now it's starting to become a pattern.
Floyd Mayweather, for whatever reason, flat out refuses to fight him. Pacquiao had the chance to be the anti-Mayweather if he accepted the challenge of taking on Marquez for the third time. Yes, the risk would have been bigger, but so would the reward. He would forever exercise the demon of Marquez; he would silence the many fans who at this point have him 0-2 against the great Mexican.
Instead, he'll get Mosley. Should he defeat him with ease, he'll have done exactly what he was supposed to do.
I went back and forth for awhile about whether or not to publish this. I am a Pacquiao fan, hooked for life ever since watching his epic beat down of Marco Antonio Barrera. He has been absolutely incredible as a fighter, and boxing is so much better because of him. But I can't shake the feeling of disappointment at having to settle for a fight rather than being thrilled in anticipation for one.
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