Last week Manny Pacquiao's head trainer Freddie Roach, talked with the Philippine Star/Philstar.com and shared his thoughts on his fighters' upcoming title bout with former three division champ Shane Mosley on May 7th. While he was disclosing his thoughts on the fight, Roach took time out and praised Mosley's trainer Nazim Richardson, but acknowledged at Mosley's age, 39, how much can he really do to make him a better fighter. And then added that Mosley's legs are gone and that really showed in his fight with Floyd Mayweather last year. This is something everyone who saw the fight surely agrees with him on.
Obviously, Roach has a ton of respect for Mosley and waited a couple years before he let this fight come to fruition. As most know I think Freddie sometimes gets a little too much credit from the media, and that like some other great trainers from the past, happens to have a once in a generation fighter in his stable. But that's not the point here. The point is Roach never misses any of the obvious deficiencies that other trainers sometimes do in the opponents their fighter is about to face.
Roach pretty much encapsulated what Mosley will bring on fight night to the letter when he said, “He can take you out with one punch, the right hand,” Roach told The STAR over breakfast at the Sofitel Hotel. “Mosley’s a good counter-puncher. He’ll use his left as a decoy. What he wants to do is to land the right. I don’t think he’ll box Manny because he doesn’t have the legs to fight from a distance. He’ll come on strong in the first four rounds, looking to knock out Manny.”
If that doesn't summarize what Mosley is most likely going to try to do against Pacquiao, then he'll have to grow a third arm between now and the fight to throw off team Pacquiao. Or anyone else who knows what they've been watching during Shane's career. Because that's all Mosley can do at age 39, – go right hand crazy.
Think about it, what other weapon does Mosley have that he can try to employ against Pacquiao in order to have a shot in the fight? The fact is, he doesn't. Right now Pacquiao is faster and can put his punches together better than Shane. That might not have been the case in 2002, but they're fighting in 2011. And Pacquiao can beat Shane stepping back fighting as the counter-puncher, or his hand speed and southpaw angles will enable him to hang with and eventually better Shane when he tries to push the fight and force Manny to slug it out and trade with him. In other words, Mosley will try to make Pacquiao open up and slug with him so he can bring his right hand home.
In a perfect world, Richardson would love to have Pacquiao bring the fight to Shane. That would make Mosley's right hand more effective because he then could time and catch Pacquiao on the way in. He'd also get more on his right hand and wouldn't have to reach for the shorter Pacquiao while he's pulling away looking to set up his own attack, or counter.
Most know Pacquiao is prone to attack and has the mindset to want to oblige Shane when he tries to force the fight. However, Manny and Roach are too smart to go along with that fight plan just to prove they can beat him at his own game. Simply because by doing that, they'd be giving Mosley his best and only real chance at scoring the upset. No doubt, Pacquiao will go after Mosley during patches of the fight, but only when the time is right.
Roach wouldn't make a prediction during the Philippine Star interview on the round he thinks the fight will end, but said, “it’ll probably be after the fourth round, maybe, the fifth or sixth,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “Mosley’s got power and some hand-speed so we won’t rush things.”
That about says it all.
Some think that boxing strategy has to be rocket science, which is a fallacy. A lot of times if a fighter's trainer could just get him to take one thing away from his opponent, or make him do something he's uncomfortable doing, it's the difference between winning and losing. Granted, the trainer needs the right fighter to carry out the plan, but if the trainer's sharp, and the fighter is special, history is usually made.
Most fight observers knew Marvin Hagler didn't like to fight as the aggressor and was only average at cutting off the ring. And after watching Roberto Duran extend Hagler 15 rounds, and Sugar Ray Leonard out-box him for the better part of 12, some have said all you have to do to beat Hagler is move and make him go forward. Really? Try moving laterally and out-boxing Hagler while on the move if your name isn't Sugar Ray Leonard. Do you think Angelo Dundee could've navigated Tony Sibson, Wilford Scypion or Caveman Lee past Hagler using the same strategy that Leonard did? Of course not.
Pacquiao is a once in a generation fighter who listens and believes in his trainer. And his trainer often breaks it down to a few things for him to do in order to carry out the plan they've devised to insure victory. In addition to that, Roach never misses the obvious. And it seems that Freddie has the perfect read on Shane Mosley circa 2011, and not just how he'll fight Pacquiao, but even more than that understands the only way he can fight his fighter. A lot of times seeing the obvious is huge. And even though it sounds easy on paper, it isn't. If it were, there'd be more than a handful of good trainers around today.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com