Manny Pacquiao vs Shane Mosley: Shane's a Great Fighter Well Past His Prime
I've heard the refrain, "it's gonna be a lot closer than people think," and Shane is a "live dog" in this fight, because "styles make fights" and "every great champion has one last great fight in him."
I keep reading "Shane almost knocked out Floyd Mayweather in the second round;"it would actually be more accurate to note that, if anything, he almost knocked down Floyd Mayweather.
Even if Floyd had grazed the canvas, the fight was nowhere even close to ending, yet people act as though Mosley was on the verge of erasing Floyd's zero in the loss column. Mosley was on the verge of a 10-8 round.
Instead, he couldn't put Floyd down and settled for a 10-9 round. That's it.
Over the next ten rounds, showing no signs of damage, Floyd dominated Mosley, blanking him on all three scorecards. In the middle rounds, with Floyd dictating the action, Shane seemed reluctant or unable to throw.
One common version of the Mayweather/Mosley revisionist fairy tale is that Mosley had Floyd badly hurt, was on the verge of a stoppage, but punched himself out and had no energy the rest of the fight. And if you believe that, you may think that with improved training and better conditioning, Shane can eliminate those issues and be more successful against Pacquiao.
There's a few holes in this line of thinking. Mosley punched himself out? Are you kidding?
The damage he did to Floyd was done on basically two punches, about a minute apart, in the second round. Mosley's follow-up, which obviously didn't do the job, was decent, but it wasn't the kind of relentless, exhausting effort one would think could wear a guy out, not a supremely conditioned athlete of Mosley's caliber.
Compubox had Mosley landing 13 power shots in the second round of that fight. If he's going to punch himself out on 13 connects, his hopes against Pacquiao may be even more dire than my grim assessment.
Instead, I don't believe the problem was that he was punched out.
He was certainly fatigued by the later rounds, but a lot of that had to do with Floyd's barrage of inside-out tactics and vastly superior hand-speed. Shane's reflexes were simply not sharp enough to do anything but helplessly watch as Mayweather dominated the ring and did whatever he wanted to inside and outside.
Mosley was consistently late or errant on his counters, and half the time Floyd was gone before Mosley could even get one off. Floyd didn't run either, he was in front of Shane a lot of rounds in that fight, and with the exception of two big shots in the second, Shane was the one who took the beating.
To echo another boxing cliche, a great fighter in his prime will always beat a great fighter past his prime. See Rocky Marciano-Joe Louis and Larry Holmes-Muhammed Ali for examples. And Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley. And Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley.
For as much as styles make fights and Pacquiao is almost the polar-opposite of Mayweather in that regard, when you boil this down, it's the best fighter in the world against a man who's best days are five years past.
Shane Mosley was the great fighter who had one last great fight in him. Antonio Margarito, over two years ago. Now he's just a big name collecting big paydays. And good for him, there may not be a nicer guy in the sport.
But come May 7, this myth about "styles make fights" and "one last great performance" and Shane's the "fastest, most powerful puncher" Manny has faced is going to come crashing down, as Manny Pacquiao gives Shane Mosley his first knock-out (probably a technical one) in what will be a one-sided beating for as long as it lasts.
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