By James Foley
Shane Mosley can hurt Manny Pacquiao.
How often have you heard that since the reigning pound-for-pound champion decided to take a fight with a guy coming off of a stink-fest draw and a decisive loss to the pound-for-pound No. 2 guy?
"Shane Mosley can hurt Manny Pacquiao," uttered by some as a disclaimer and others as an endorsement, but it's basically like saying "in a boxing ring, anything can happen." Hell, a guy parachuted into the ring once. Bizarre scenes unfold in boxing rings ALL the time. So why can't we suggest that Mosley, a solid puncher in his prime who knocked out many worthy foes in the past, has something more than the hopeless "puncher's chance" that his last two performances suggest?
Because it's cheap, that's why.
Anyone can say "I wouldn't rule him out, if he hits Manny with a big right, he could hurt him." It's a low-risk, high-reward argument to make. If the odds hold up, and Manny lives up to his billing as a 7-to-1 favorite and growing, then you say "Shane just couldn't connect on a clean shot, oh well." No one calls you out. But if Mosley pulls the miracle, then you're the guy who just predicted the impossible. You're a genius! Well, not me. I pretty much ruled out Shane Mosley in this fight the minute I heard it was made.
First of all, the Pacquiao-can-be-hurt-by-a-big-guy argument has been made in several of his last few fights.
De la Hoya didn't have as much left as we thought he did. Cotto landed some big hits in the first couple rounds, but Manny absorbed them and took advantage of his offensive-minded opponent's vulnerability and landed with some vicious counters, dropping Miguel twice. Hatton was supposed to be a big-hitter. Margarito "could hurt" Manny was an oft-heard refrain leading up to that fight. And what happened? Margarito hit Manny with solid shots on a few occasions. And Manny gave him a violent beating in return.
I respect Shane Mosley immensely for what he's accomplished in the ring. He's a sure-fire Hall of Famer, one of the best of his generation and one of the classiest gentlemen outside of the ring that the sport has ever produced. But in my mind, the Mayweather fight was, or should have been, the last hurrah for Sugar Shane. Floyd's supreme defensive skills and speed turned that affair into a one-sided romp, with Mosley either too tired or too slow to engage Floyd beyond the second round.
Watching the Mora fight, which I actually thought Shane narrowly won, it seemed clear that Mosley was not at the peak of his powers. I don't see what he brings into this fight with Manny that makes this a competitive bout.
Experience? Manny's been fighting on a world-class level for almost a decade.
Power? Mosley might throw a bigger punch, that's debatable, but Manny throws a lot of them, and usually connects from all angles with overwhelming accuracy.
Speed? If the Mosley who was in the ring against Floyd and Mora shows up on May 7th, Manny will run circles around him.
So...why bother even watching it? Because I'm a boxing addict, Manny Pacquiao is fighting—the best in the world and always a pleasure to watch—and yes, Shane Mosley could hurt Manny Pacquiao.
It's a boxing ring, anything can happen. Don't say I didn't tell you so, when it does.