I want to be an optimist. I really do. But everything about the upcoming Pacquiao-Mosley extravaganza suggests a massive disappointment.
A spectacular night of boxing is often as much the result of sheer luck as good matchmaking. Nobody imagined Golden Boy's "Action Heroes" card on April 9th was going to be one of the most memorable events of the year.
But suddenly Erik Morales discovered the fountain of youth, James Kirkland's jaw was more fragile than Paully Malignaggi's hands, and Robert Guerrero stood toe-to-toe with Michael Katsidis in a bloody, entertaining brawl (OK, we saw that one coming, but who would have imagined Guerrero-Katsidis would be the third most interesting bout of the night?).
The point is, these things are unpredictable.
Could May 7th turn out to be the most epic PPV card of all time? Yes, anything is possible.
But in all likelihood, will it even come close to the drama, spectacle, and unpredictability of Golden Boy's card a few weeks back? Highly doubtful.
You're already suffering a massive downtick from Jim Lampley to Gus Johnson. The fights don't look any more promising.
In terms of pure star-power (Manny!), this will be the biggest night of boxing so far this year. But do any of these fights really make anyone's heart race? The only chance of this night becoming more than a footnote on Manny's wikipedia page is if Mosley pulls off the unthinkable.
Much as I may be secretly rooting for the old slugger—one of the humblest gentlemen in the sport—I cannot possibly imagine a scenario where Mosley comes out victorious. I don't think Shane has enough in the tank to run with Pacquiao for 12 rounds.
Watch the Mayweather fight. Watch the Mora fight. Against Manny, obviously one of the fastest and most lethal fighters in the sport, the sharpest of reflexes are required. We know Manny will be on the offensive for 36 minutes.
Unless something has radically changed from Mosley's last two fights, Manny will either put a tremendous beating on Shane and the fight will be stopped, or Manny will put a tremendous beating on Shane and then lay off and cruise to a decision. If ever there was a one-sided bout (and the 8-1 odds are telling, very long odds for an underdog of Mosley's stature in this big of a fight), this is it.
Can Pacquiao be caught with one shot, a cold knockout blow? Of course. That's why they call it a puncher's chance. Would you bet on it, with a guy who hasn't been knocked out in twelve years?
Every Pacquiao fight from De La Hoya to Margarito, the refrain kicks in...."if he gets hit with one big shot, it could be over"...yeah, yeah, yeah. I think the evidence is in. It's gonna take more than one big shot to conquer this warrior.
Pacquiao's chin and heart cannot be questioned, though there's surely still some fanatical Mayweatherites that will.
Since crashing onto the world stage with a signature win over Barrera in 2003, Pacquiao hasn't shown the slightest sign of "quit" in him.
He hasn't been knocked down since 2002, a fight which he came back and knocked the other guy down twice, TKOing him in the 5th. Manny's early knockdowns and knockouts were not the result of a shaky chin, they were the result of raw, poorly refined technical skills. I think we have enough evidence to suggest those issues have long been remedied.
For $60, the good news is you get to watch the best fighter in the world (sorry Floyd, but two fights in three years is a bit too inactive for my taste). The bad news, no matter how they sell it, you are not getting a competitive main event.
If Mosley wins (a possibility I think is far less likely than a 1 in 9 shot the official odds indicate), it will be because his "puncher's chance" delivered, and he clocks Manny with a perfect, lights-out shot. If Manny's not out cold on the floor, he's winning this fight.
Let's quickly digest the other offerings:
While I am excited to see Kelly Pavlik get back in the ring, we have to assume this Alfonso Lopez (21-0) from Texas, who's never fought outside the state nor against a notable opponent, is merely a feast to serve up Kelly to get his game back after a big layoff. Certainly not worthy of a premier slot on the supposed "fight of the year" PPV under-card.
Next up, supposedly the hidden gem of the card, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. vs. Jorge Arce.
This is a bit of a step up for Vazquez Jr., and the styles should make for a good fight. It's a classic undefeated-rising-contender taking on dangerous journeyman crossroads bout. I just personally don't find it that compelling.
It could turn out to be a war, and exciting as hell, and I'll be the first to praise it if that's the case. But you can't help thinking, that's a pretty severe drop-off from the main event.
Finally, with the unfortunate cancellation of Soto-Antillon II, Mike Alvarado will take on Ray Nahr in the fourth fight to be televised. It's a decent replacement fight, but the kind of match-up you would see on ESPN Friday Night Fights or in an HBO Boxing After Dark opener.
Don't get me wrong, I'm intrigued to see how Alvarado/Nahr plays out. I'm eager to see how Pavlik looks, and do not discount this guy getting right into the picture at Super-Middleweight. By next year Pavlik-Ward or Pavlik-Bute may be the biggest fights in the division. And this is a big test for Vazquez Jr. I favor Arce, so I'm curious to see if the son-of-the-legend can prove me wrong. And it's always a pleasure to watch Manny Pacquiao.
But overall, I think this is a pretty weak PPV. On top of that, the combination of Manny Pacquiao and Gus Johnson is just brimming with potential to put a massacre on my buzz.
Every time Manny throws a combination, will we be treated to Gus' incessant shrieking? I'm already cringing.