Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley were at Chelsea Piers in New York City this morning promoting their welterweight world championship fight scheduled for May 7 in Las Vegas. Everyone was real pleasant. Too pleasant.
There were acclamations and adulations and admirations traversing the room. Frankly, it was gag inducing.
Putting aside the fact that Pacquiao and Mosley are two of the most amiable professional athletes in all of sports, there remains a lack of excitement and importance surrounding this bout.
Maybe it’s because Mosely, according to all the experts, is past his prime. It wouldn’t be a difficult conclusion to come to after witnessing his last two less than stellar performances. Most recently, and forgettably, against Sergio Mora and before that Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Or maybe it’s Pacquiao’s new haircut. The Paul McCartney mop top circa 1964 might have him feeling even friendly than usual. All you need is love, is right. It’s Manny-mania.
The reason more than likely is the fact that once again, the opponent across from Manny Pacquiao is NOT Floyd Mayweather Jr. And once again, the public, promoters and media clamor for a good reason to get hyped for what may or may not be next best thing.
But the fact remains that anything less than the super fight everyone has been waiting for since 2009 is unacceptable regardless if the opponent is Hall of Fame bound as is Shane Mosley.
Still, there are those who say there were better alternatives e.g lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez or WBA welterweiht title holder Andre Berto.
Despite all the backlash over Top Rank CEO Bob Arum choosing Mosley as Pacquiao’s next midnight snack, the fight actually makes more sense than most have given it credit for. Granted a rubber match with Juan Manuel Marquez would have been more exciting and better for the sport but but Shane Mosley has been one of the top three or four welterweights of the past decade.
Even though Mosley’s matchup with Mayweather Jr. was long overdue, it still generated plenty of excitement and buzz even though it only lasted until round four. Besides, when all is said and done, Pacquiao will have literally fought every concievable opponent of his era. Except for Floyd Mayweather Jr. of course.
So Mosley isn’t a spring chicken anymore. Big deal. Neither was Brett Farve when he donned the purple jersey in August of 2009. Nor was Bernard Hopkins when he all but won another world title in Montreal two months ago.
The heart of an athlete, or that of a man may have a ticker but there no measuring stick that exists to grade what is left in it. On May 7, the only person who’ll truly know is Sugar Shane Mosley.
And what will happen if Pacquiao could take out Mosley they way he took out Hatton and Dela Hoya, the way Mayweather couldn’t? At least we’ll have a way to distinguish the greatness of the last two titans left in the game.
That isn’t a terrible motivation to sign the papers.
Not to mention, this is Manny Pacquiao we are talking about. He has been the most exhilirating pugilist of the last quarter century and his efforts in and out of the ring have inspired millions. So, it’s hardly a loss to see him fight a fellow future Hall of Famer.
It’s just like Mr. Arum said, “Manny Pacquiao is an extraordinary fighter and human being who in the middle of his career chose to run for Congress…We should be glad that he isn’t a basketball player or a soccer player, but a fighter.”
Press conference quotes
Nazeem Richardson: “Calling Manny Pacquiao a small welterweight is like calling Mike Tyson a small heavyweight. They dont do a lot of talking but they get in the ring and fight. Pacquiao is an extraordinary athlete and a matchup like this could show Shane’s greatness. Pacquiao is phenomenal (and I am) proud to be the one to figure out the puzzle of Manny Pacquiao.”
Freddy Roach: “I think this is a good matchup. Shane fast (like Pacquiao) he has a lot of speed and Shane is a thinker. He didn’t look great in his last fight but I’m sure it’s hard to get up for Sergio Mora. I’m sure he’ll get up for Manny Pacquiao.”
Bob Arum: “These two athletes are exemplary people. Both fighters always help others in need. Mosely is epitome of what we’d like a fighter to be. He is a credit to the sport of boxing and one of the true greats.”
Shane Mosley: “I am excited to fight for a world title once again and I’m happy to be fighting on Showtime for first time in my career. These are the types of fights I like to be in because I love to fight and Pacquiao loves to fight.”
Manny Pacquiao: I am really happy about this fight. In the ring we must forget that we are friends in order to give a good fight.”