In May, 2009, Manny Pacquiao ended the career of Ricky Hatton in one of the most brutal knockouts of the year.
Hatton had recently fought against Floyd Mayweather. Hatton managed to stun Mayweather in the first round and knock him off balance, but was unable to land a killer blow. Mayweather prevailed in the 10th round, stunning Hatton and then knocking him out.
Shane Mosley has recently fought Mayweather with similar results, although Mosley did last the full distance. Mosley stunned Mayweather in the second round, but was unable to finish him off.
Hatton and Mosley are both toe to toe, grappling fighters and effectively use blows at close range to hurt and frustrate their opponents. Floyd Mayweather is a naturally defensive boxer who fights on the counter. This allowed both Hatton and Mosley the opportunity to land early blows until Mayweather was able to figure out their respective styles and counter-punch his way to victory.
Manny Pacquiao uses blunt speed and fast movement to dodge his opponent, which does not allow fighters to get close. When fighters attempt to engage him at close range, he will resort to fighting at distance.
Rarely will you see a fighter manage to land a hard uppercut on Pacquiao. This means fighters will constantly be trying to catch him and are reduced to landing punches from distance, which carry little stopping power.
In Hatton’s fight, Pacquiao kept him at distance while the referee allowed little grappling. This reduced Hatton to no more than target practice.
Antonio Margarito’s fight with Pacquiao did expose the fact that Pacquiao is vulnerable at close range. Pacquiao took a number of heavy blows to the midsection, which caused him trouble. Although Margarito did catch Pacquiao at short range on a number of occasions, he took a brutal beating by chasing him throughout the fight.
To be fair, Shane Mosley is a slightly more intelligent and skilled boxer than Hatton, but my fear is that he will attempt to chase down Pacquiao and then engage him at close range. Mosley is a fit and healthy fighter for his age, but when you combine the constant need to chase your opponent and the amount of punches that will be landed on him in the first few rounds, tiredness will quickly set in.
For Mosley to be effective and have a chance of success, the best solution is commandeer the centre of the ring, close down the distance and limit himself from chasing Pacquiao. Mosley then needs to push Pacquiao to the corners and unload on his midsection like hell.
Too simplistic? Perhaps.
But it will be necessary to come up with something unique to prevent Shane Mosley from having an early night like Ricky Hatton on May 7th.