The Pacquiaos on Valentine's Day in NYC. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)
The Manny-Mosley press conference tour moved to NYC on Monday, and after stops in Beverly Hills, and Las Vegas, nothing has been said or shown to me that convinces me that Manny will not convincingly have his way with Mosley when they square off on May 7 in Las Vegas.
Mosley's trainer Naazim Richardson took to the dais at Chelsea Piers, at an event open to the public, and expressed surprise that the odds are 7 to 1 in Pacquiao's favor. He indicated he'd like a piece of the action. Maybe he does feel that way, or maybe he's saying what is expected of the trainer of the man many feel will be so past his prime, that he'll be in over his head against a top-of-his-game Pacman.
I think 7 to 1 is about right, since the 39 1/2 year old Mosley apart from a minute in the second round against Floyd Mayweather last May, and in brief spurts against Sergio Mora in September, shows signs that too much mileage has accrued on him.
And let's be upfront and explicit about this: there is no shame in that.
Great god, the man has been fighting since kindergarten, practically. He's been fighting for about as long as Pacquaio has been alive!
Let that marinate for awhile, will you? Manny is 32, he turns 33 in December.
Even if Mosley gets into the very best condition he can. Even if his head is screwed on as tight as it can be, and no woman woes or money woes blur his vision, even if he finds some new wonder nutrapharma wonder drink....age has simply sapped a goodly percentage of what he was in his prime. Nothing can restore the snap to the tendons that have been pulled and stretched for too damn long. On the offensive, he will be able to snap off a few combos, but nothing that Pacman can't dodge or block. His reflexes are simply not what they use to be, and he will not be able to slip the deadly accurate Pacquiao strikes which will rain down on his noggin with infuriating frequency and speed. He will want to counter punch, and his brain will send a command for him to do so, but his body will rebel. The return fire will not come. He will be stopped, for the first time as a pro. He will not hear the final bell. It might not be as ugly as Manny-Oscar, but there will be comparisons.
Now, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Freddie Roach maintains that of the three opponents on the table for this outing, Mosley, Andre Berto and Juan Manuel Marquez, he feels Mosley is the most difficult for Manny. I beg to differ, and believe me, feel queasy doing so. Who the heck am I to disagree with Roach? Well, I'm someone who doesn't have a dog in the hunt, for one thing. Marquez has already proven he simply has Manny's number, or is three quarters of the way there anyway. Could he be totally out of his element at 147 pounds, and might Pacquaio whack him around like a Golden Gloves newbie? Perhaps. But I'd still be more curious to see what unfolds in their clash, which will run on Showtime pay-per-view, than in Manny-Mosley. Anyway, that's sort of immaterial now. And it may continue to be immaterial as long as Marquez has a contract with Golden Boy, as Arum seems hellbent on not allowing any fruit from the Pacquiao tree to fall into the Golden Boy yard.
So...we have what we have in front of us. Arum tells us Shane is still dangerous. Freddie says so too. I encourage them both, and Shane too, after he takes his glove off, to flip me the bird if on May 7, he does turn back the clock, and give us more than a tiny taste of what we saw when he stunned Mayweather. The man is as willing as the come, but the body can't comply.
---"I want to greet you a happy Valentines Day especially to my wife Jinky," Pacquiao said, just after he presented her with a special cake from the "Cake Boss" crew. Part of me wanted Mosley to just snap, grab the cake, throw it at the Pacquiaos and ignite a furor. Tell me that heel turn wouldn't have been jaw dropping!
--Manny said he was pumped that he was facing off with someone who wasn't talking trash, but that in the ring, he would still be in it to win it. "I hope you will train hard and I will train hard too," he said to Mosley.
--Pacquiao will depart from NY to DC, for a meeting tomorrow with Senator Harry Reid, who is grateful to Pacquiao for campaigning for him during a rugged re-election battle in November. He and wife Jinky might then have a lunch with President Obama and his wife, Michelle.
--Memo to "haters," and crusty Caucasian sports editors who stopped paying attention after Ali, or maybe Tyson. Boxing ain't dead. Never will be. NEVER. The last three months, people have been leaving movie theaters after watching "The Fighter" shadow boxing, having been injected with the power, and will, and courage that the fighters we treasure display. The Congressman is no niche story. he's special, and he's ours ours ours. Hockey don't make em like this. Baseball don't make em like this. Football don't make em like this. Basketball don't make em like this. That is because the crucible that makes the special fighter is unlike any other.