BuzzKill: Person, thing or event that severely diminishes your mood and negatively impacts your experience.
BuzzLord: The opposite of BuzzKill.
LORD: Manny Pacquiao
Basically the embodiment of the term, this ferocious dynamo comes ready for war every time he steps in the ring. At its worst, the night will still showcase the world's number one fighter. The people who don't like Pacquiao or respect Mayweather's cold, clinical style more can hate on Manny all they want. The simple fact remains, Manny's style makes for entertaining fights, no objective boxing fan can deny that.
KILL: Shane Mosley's chances
Not good. Sugar Shane's reflexes, speed and perhaps even power have diminished. Manny's superior quickness and multiple-punch combinations from all angles suggest this will become a very one-sided affair. I don't believe this version of Shane is the fastest, slickest, biggest puncher Manny has ever faced, as some people have claimed in a counterpoint to the rational thought that Manny will feast on poor, old Sugar. In my opinion, Shane's best days are behind him, and this fight will only reinforce that notion.
LORD: Kenny Bayless
One of the finest referees in the game, Bayless has a keen sense of a fighter's condition and well-being in the ring. Fans can be assured if there are any tough calls to be made, Bayless will handle them in an unbiased, professional manner. He may not always get them right (see Jones-Soto Karass 2 for a missed headbutt), but he embodies what the third-man-in-the-ring should be: fair, but firm (wait a second....).
KILL: Gus Johnson
This is that rare case of a true Lord in other walks of life (see NCAA Basketball announcer/NFL announcer) turning into a Kill by virtue of being in the wrong venue. Gus has what it takes and may indeed grow into a fine caller of the action. But so far as a boxing announcer, he's fallen far short of the Golden Lampley standard.
Gus overreacts to less-than-significant moments in a fight, which weakens his credibility when an appropriate moment to be excited occurs. He often shouts out one and two-word phrases to punctuate the action, verging on silliness, which sucks drama away rather than enhances it.
I think the problem is he hasn't quite gotten accustomed to the rhythm yet. It could be worse. Bob Papa's been mailing it in for years. He missed a potentially enormous call on Sergio Martinez's shocking one-punch KO of Paul Williams. At least Gus would have let us know something amazing just happened, even if he does that every time a guy throws a jab. Papa reacted like it was typical knockdown, despite it being clear to all observers that Williams was out cold well before he hit the canvas.
KILL: No Larry Merchant
All respect to Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver, but on May 7th, we likely won't be hearing any lines like this:
"Erik Morales is an orchid born in the ghetto. Manny Pacquiao is an orchid born in a rice paddy....and they're tough as weeds."
LORD: Naazim Richardson
Richardson is a crafty veteran in the corner, if ever there was one. It was he who exposed Margarito's sinister hand-wraps. He's also a wry quipster and one of the most interesting characters in the sport. With Brother Naazim guiding the ship, Shane has no worries about the team behind him. Of course, the guy in the other corner is no slouch either.
LORD: Freddie Roach
Freddie has become one of the most lovable characters in the sport. His struggle with Parkinson's garnered sympathy, of course, but the grace, humor and blunt honesty of Roach would have endeared him to fans regardless. Most importantly, he may be the best trainer in the world right now, certainly one of the most successful. Roach is a tremendous asset for Manny, especially should the shocking situation arise where the Filipino superstar finds himself in trouble.
LORD: Kelly Pavlik
Kelly is one of those guys you can't help but root for, hard-working and gritty, a perfect representative of his blue-collar roots in Youngstown. Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams, each of whom's last fight was a rough, very different, loss to Sergio Martinez, are two of the most talented fighters in the sport who have been completely off the radar in recent months, Williams recovering from a brutal knockout, Kelly dealing with some personal issues.
On Saturday, we'll see how Pavlik looks after an extended layoff. Despite opponent Alfonso Lopez's glittering record, I think Kelly comes out aggressive and puts him away in a few rounds. Do not be surprised if a year from now the big names at 168 are Ward, Bute....AND Pavlik.
Note-I wrote almost the identical thing about another guy a few weeks ago, and James Kirkland was more exposed than the Emperor with his new clothes. But Kirkland, for all his power and talent, was never in the same class as Pavlik. Could he have gotten there? I thought so. But Pavlik WAS there. And he will be back.
There are two interesting fights in Vazquez Jr.-Arce and Alvarado-Nahr, that may indeed yield explosive action and become memorable events. But biggest PPV of the year undercard worthy?! Alvarado-Nahr would be a really good Friday Nights Fight, not a prelude to the event billed as the "biggest fight of the year."
Vazquez Jr.-Arce is a good matchup with potential for a lot of action...a crossroads fight. Nonetheless it's Ring Magazine's 10th ranked fighter in the 122-lb division (not the most popular, or deepest division in the sport) against a guy who's basically become a journeyman (if not a reasonably dangerous one) with a disadvantage in age, speed and size. This is the mouth-watering appetizer to warm us up for what appears on paper to be a pretty lopsided main event?
I realize the rematch of Soto-Antillon was called off just a couple of weeks ago, and that certainly didn't help. But I gotta judge the card on what we're actually going to see, not what we were supposed to see. There's nothing beneath Pacquiao-Mosley that will generate a lot of interest from anyone outside of the hardcore boxing fan.
LORD: Mosley's heart
While I believe Mosley has deteriorated a bit, particularly his reflexes and hand speed, one thing that has never been questioned is Shane's chin. While all signs in my estimation point to a Pacquiao stoppage win, the fact remains Shane has never been knocked out. He's never been stopped. So in theory, knowing that Mosley won't quit, or at least will take a massive beating before he does, and assuming he's throwing back with a still-dangerous right hand, he should connect on Pacquiao. The question is can he do enough damage to Manny, while avoiding too much damage on himself, before he wears out in the later rounds? I don't think so, but I know Shane will give it his all, with the heart of a champion.
KILL: Fight Camp 360
A week full of footage boiled down to 20 minutes and there was nothing more interesting than Dena DuBoef talking about how well the tickets had sold and all the requests she was getting and....who caaaaaaares? Really?! This is the drama you've managed to come up with in presenting what you've advertised as the "biggest fight of the year"? If you're going to show us nonsense, how bout more of Shane's GF at her photo shoot? Daaaaaaang!!!!
LORD: Boxing will be back in the mainstream media (for about a week)
No explanation needed. Pacquiao is a huge name in the world of sports, and all the networks and newspapers cover all of his fights. As a boxing fan, it's great to see, you only wish there were more fighters with that kind of appeal and popularity. Regardless, on Saturday night, a boxing match will headline SportsCenter, and that's a rare, and very enjoyable thing these days.