One of the biggest boxing fights of the year takes place this Saturday as Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley duke it out for the WBO welterweight title. Mosley looks for his first win in over a year while the Pac Man hopes to extend his 13-fight winning streak.
I was real excited when Top Rank put this fight together although it certainly comes a few years too late. Not since Miguel Cotto has anyone stepped inside of the ring with Pacquiao that has the potential to pull off an upset like Mosley. It wasn’t too long ago that Mosley had Floyd Mayweather on the ropes and looked like he was a few punches away from knocking out Money in the second round. Unfortunately the rest of the fight saw Mosley tire out and Mayweather toy with the former champion.
Is there a chink in the armor of Pacquiao? If so I haven’t seen it in a long time. The guy is a machine and is always looking for the knockout whether it is the first or twelfth round. His last three fights have gone the distance, yet the Pac Man was never in any serious danger in any of them. He obliterated Miguel Cotto who probably had the best chance of Pacquiao’s last few opponents of beating him. His twelve round decision win over Margarito in his last fight was a one-sided affair in a bout that would have never happened if not for Mayweather’s reluctance to fight Pacquiao.
If there is one thing I can say is that Joshua Clottey blocked a lot of Pacquiao’s shots. Pacquiao never tired but he threw a lot of punches that didn’t land. In his defense, Clottey was never able to take any true advantage of this with counter punches. If Mosley can remain patient, he could have a few golden opportunities at counters if Pacquiao comes in with wild punches. However at 39, Mosley may have a hard time staying sharp in the later rounds where he will get the better openings to rock Pacquiao with a counter punch.
Compubox has done a fantastic job breaking down this fight and if you like stats, you’ll love their preview. Pacquiao has averaged 85.6 punches per round and a 47 percent power connect rate at welterweight. The breakdown also points out Pacquiao’s lengthy bursts of bone breaking flurries of punches in later rounds of recent fights. There is no way that Mosley can withstand that kind of punishment for twelve rounds and keep up with the Pac Man’s speed.
The bottom line here as I see it is that Sugar Shane has to come out swinging in the first few rounds, force Manny into a slugfest, and take his best shot at countering or catching Pacquiao with a knockout punch. If there is one thing that Mosley has in his favor it is that after twelve rounds of brutality, Pacquiao was unable to finish Margarito so if he can hang in there, he will have a shot. Yet I think as even Mosley’s biggest supporters will concede, he is going to have a hell of a time keeping up with the speed and brutality of Pacquiao.
My pick: Pacquiao via TKO in Round 8.