WBO welterweight champion Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao is scheduled to defend his crown against former three-division champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley May 7 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
Strictly due to his name recognition, Mosley (46-6-1-1, 39 KOs) was selected as the opponent for Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) over more-qualified boxers like lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs) and welterweight titlist Andre Berto (27-0, 21 KOs).
Among his litany of nicknames, Pacquiao is often referred to as “The Mexicutioner” because he has historically dominated prizefighter’s hailing from south of the border.
Pacquiao, the first fighter to capture 10 world titles in eight different divisions, is currently rated by Ring Magazine as the preeminent pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
Last January, “Pac-Man” was justifiably honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) as the “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000’s.
Despite Pacquiao’s bevy of accomplishments and accolades, there always seems to be critics who want to diminish his stature as a pugilist.
Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins last November became the most recent individual to attempt to discount Pacquiao’s legacy in the squared circle.
Hopkins (51-5-2-1, 32 KOs), a pugilistic marvel who once successfully defended his middleweight title a record 20 times, claimed Pacquiao has sidestepped battling African-Americans throughout his glittering career.
"Maybe I'm biased because I'm black, but I think that this is what is said at people's homes and around the dinner table among black boxing fans and fighters. Most of them won't say it [in public] because they're not being real and they don't have the balls to say it," said Hopkins, 45, an ex-convict who is destined for future induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“The Executioner” continued his inane rant aimed at Pacquiao.
"Listen, this ain't a racial thing, but then again, maybe it is. But the style that is embedded in most of us black fighters, that style could be a problem to any other style of fighting."
"That's why Floyd Mayweather would beat Manny Pacquiao because the styles that African American fighters—and I mean, black fighters from the streets or the inner cities—would be successful. I think Floyd Mayweather would pot-shot Pacquiao and bust him up in between the four-to-five punches that Pacquiao throws and then set him up later on down the line."
In March, Pacquiao severely outclassed Ghanaian professional boxer “The Hitter” Joshua Clottey (35-4-0-1, 20 KOs) to triumph by unanimous decision.
Comically, Hopkins diminished Pacquiao’s victory over Clottey and questioned “The Hitter’s” blackness.
"Clottey is 'black,' but not a 'black boxer' from the states with a slick style. So you can't really say that Clottey is an African-American fighter in that sense," said Hopkins. "No, I'm talking about an inner city, American-born fighter who has the style of maybe a Floyd Mayweather or a Zab Judah or a Shane Mosley."
Now that Pacquiao is slated to demolish Mosley this spring, Hopkins’ remarks seem even more asinine.
The once formidable Mosley at 39 is now more spent than an 80-year-old lady of pleasure walking in a Red-light district.
Mosley was lambasted by Mayweather last May and he suffered through a pathetically uninspired draw against “The Latin Snake” Sergio Mora (22-1-2, 6 KOs) in September.
More importantly, Mosley, an admitted abuser of steroids, is now likely off the dope that probably stimulated many of his triumphs in the squared circle.
Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach was initially vocal in his opposition of a contest versus Mosley.
“I don’t see much of a point,” said Roach, 50, a native of Dedham, MA who has been honored on four occasions as the Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Roach said he would prefer to “shut Marquez up.”
Apparently Roach’s sentiments were altered after he hung with Arum and Pacquiao for a week in the Philippines.
“He turned around,” Arum said of Roach. “He was an advocate [for the fight].”
Unfortunately, due to the sport’s hierarchy, boxing is a joke.
On the positive side, Hopkins should be ecstatic because he will be able to watch “Pac-Man” bludgeon a “black fighter from the streets.”