After watching the CBS Pacquiao-Mosley 360 special last Saturday night, it appears that Mosley's trainer Naazim Richardson wants Shane to fight Pacquiao the way Juan Manuel Marquez did during their rematch. In other words, he wants Shane to wait and react to Manny's presumed aggression. And it looks like that decision was made after watching Marquez catch Pacquiao with some good clean counter shots as Manny was bringing the fight to Marquez.
Throughout his career Mosley 46-6-1 (39) has been at his best fighting as a counter-puncher. Historically, Shane has looked to land the big shot against an opponent who was at least trying to lead. Mosley's physical strength, thudding right hand and speed usually softened up his opponents for him later in the fight. Once his opponents were slowed Mosley fought more aggressively and imposed his will and usually got the stoppage victory. Even during his losing efforts against Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright (two bigger opponents who forced him to fight as a counter-puncher because of their size, reach and strength advantage over him), they were somewhat held in check by Shane's hand speed and quick combinations. And when all was said and done, it was Mosley's quickness and terrific stamina that kept him in those fights. Minus his stamina, quickness and unbreakable heart--how many fighters would've gotten out of the first fight with Forrest?--Shane wouldn't have been able to stay with Forrest or Wright.
However, it's 2011 and Mosley's speed and stamina have declined dramatically. In fact if you notice the promotions for Pacquiao-Mosley only show Shane's knockout over Antonio Margarito during the highlight package. And that fight was 29 months ago and Mosley clearly isn't the same fighter now as he was then. And if you break Pacquiao and Mosley down as fighters at this time, Pacquiao has the advantage in almost every important category, and he's a southpaw.
Manny can put punches in bunches together better, he's quicker and faster, he has better stamina and is unlike any opponent Mosley has ever faced. On the other hand Mosley is presumed to be the bigger man, but during the pre-fight poses he really only looks taller. And during the CBS specials he looks a little puny. Aside from size, Mosley probably holds the advantage in single shot power, and that's the area he must impose on Pacquiao during the fight. Especially since Manny hasn't had a fighter in front of him since moving up from super-featherweight who could force him to break off the exchange first if he was forced to trade one-for-one with them. And even at that it's not a given Mosley at almost 40 can do it, but it is his best chance.
The reality is Mosley can't win a decision over Pacquiao 52-3-2 (38). If the rounds are close, Manny will get the benefit because it's better business for boxing if he wins, not to mention due to his better stamina he'll win them legitimately. Also, if Mosley fights as the counter-puncher and tries to wait and then react to what Pacquiao does, the odds are overwhelming that he'll finish second and he'll lose the round. The faster fighter with better reflexes will win the wait and react contest nine outta 10 times. Mayweather peppered Shane while he was waiting and trying to react to what Floyd did because after the second round his legs were gone and he was reduced to desperately fighting in spurts. Luckily for Mosley, Mayweather only throws one punch at a time mixed in with a few change-up one-twos. Pacquiao throws punches in volume and with more variation and power. So Mosley can forget about out-boxing and out speeding Pacquiao for more than a round or two of the scheduled 12 they're slated for.
In order for Mosley to have a shot at scoring the upset win over Pacquiao, he must throw caution to the wind and roll the dice. It's possible that Shane can get the better of Pacquiao if they both hold their ground and cut loose. Based on Mosley's last two fights it appears that he can only raise hell for two or three rounds, tops. So why not go out and try to assert your supposed advantage in strength and size while the tank is full? If Mosley doesn't go at Pacquiao and force him to empty his wagon during the first few rounds, he'll end up taking a one sided shellacking in the same manner that Antonio Margarito did with no chance to win.
Shane should even risk an early DQ if he needs to in order to rough Manny up and impose his will in the first couple of minutes. If Manny has to think about how to push Shane back, or how to disentangle himself off the ropes, he might be susceptible to being tagged. Because Shane's stamina is gone, he's got only a tiny window of time to do this and exercise his one presumed advantage - that being he's a bigger single shot puncher than Pacquiao is.
Even if Mosley goes all out for the early stoppage and ends up getting stopped later in the fight, he'll have gone out on his shield and will be remembered for the true warrior he's been since his pro debut. And really, if Shane can't beat Manny by trading with him in 2011, is it really plausible to believe he would've had a better chance to upset him by fighting Manny's fight? I think not. Therefore Shane should go for broke early and hope to either score the early stoppage or perhaps hurt Pacquiao enough so he has to think about what he's doing and what might happen, as opposed to fighting in his natural progression without a care at all while he's in the ring.
This strategy may seem like desperation, but in reality if Mosley doesn't take a chance, he doesn't stand a chance. After all he's nearly 40 years old and his speed and reflexes have diminished. He can't stay with Pacquiao for 12 rounds and must get him out early to have a shot at scoring the upset.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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