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Will Shane Shine Once Again Tonight?

Manny Pacquiao Shane MosleyBy (Ramonito O. Legaspi): East Side Boxing scribe Geoffrey Ciani asked Emanuel Steward his views on Mosley’s best chance to win against Pacquiao. The Hall of Fame boxing trainer believed that Shane doesn’t stand a chance against Manny. “I just don’t see Mosley beating Manny Pacquiao, it’s hard for me to really even create an image in my mind,” he said. Most boxing experts believe it so. Shane is old. He is in the twilight of his boxing career. Beating the current pound-for-pound is unimaginable. Pacman is too fast for a 39-year-old Shane whose reflexes are on a noticeable decline.

Their observations are valid. After all, Mosley was reduced to a mediocre fighter against Mayweather. He couldn’t seem to let his punches go. He was stiff. He gassed out in the later rounds. Floyd beat him to the punch. Against Mora, he barely managed a draw. So, with his lackluster performance in his recent fights, who would believe he could topple the reigning WBO welterweight champ?

An old Mosley fighting against a younger fighter reminds me of George Foreman and Bernard Hopkins.

George Foreman was 45 years old when he challenged a 26-year-old Michael Moorer. In the 10th round, Foreman landed a sneaky right hand straight on Moorer’s chin. His knees caved in before he lay sprawling on the canvas. George was the oldest boxer to regain the heavy weight title in the history of the sport. He silenced his many critics.

Bernard Hopkins was 43 years old when he fought the 26-year-old Kelly Pavlik. Hopkins entered the fight as an underdog. Many wondered whether he could keep up with Pavlik who was 17 years younger. But Hopkin’s ring savvy baffled Pavlik. Bernard was clearly the better man. He won a unanimous decision handling Pavlik his first lost in 35 fights, thereby proving the critics wrong.

Now, it’s Shane Mosley’s turn. Will he break Pacquiao’s 13-winning streak?

Emanuel Steward cannot conjure up an image of Mosley outclassing Pacquiao. But in my opinion, Mosley defeating Pacquiao is not a remote possibility.

I don’t think trading punches with Pacquiao, trying to match his speed will do Mosley any good. He is an aging fighter. His reflexes are no longer as quick as they had been five years ago or so. Mosley has to use what is left of his reflexes and not try to recapture the quick reflexes he has had years ago. And if he wants to keep his steam for twelve rounds, he has to pace himself, or else he is only good for the first six rounds and Pacquiao smothers him with his blitzing hand speed.

But there is, I think, one way to offset Manny’s onslaught. Juan Manuel Marquez has shown us a blue print in handling Pacquiao’s aggressive style. It is to counter-punch the Pacman.

I think this is what coach Nazeem Richardson wants Mosley to execute. Although he may not be as good a counter-puncher as Marquez, Mosley has a decent counter-punching ability. Pacquiao has technical flaws that Mosley must exploit. Manny tends to leave himself open when he attacks. This is where Mosley sneaks a counter-punch even as he absorbs Pacman’s punches. To be able to counter-punch effectively, Mosley must maintain a strategic distance and a good angle to make Pacquiao off-balance when the Filipino dynamo charges in. Marquez exploited Manny’s tendency to get off-balance as he throw punches.

Freddie Roach expects Mosley to counter-punch.

“If Manny makes the mistake of attacking Shane without setting it up first, he will walk into a counter-shot. That’s my biggest concern,” Roach was quoted as saying.

One has to have counter-punching skills on a par with Marquez to deal with Pacquiao’s style. But the Pacman is no longer a one-dimensional fighter. He has evolved into an offensive two-fisted fighter. He can attack with flurry of punches and then take a lateral step while throwing another three to five combinations from an awkward angle.

Roach has prepared Pacquiao for Shane’s counter-shot. “When Shane is on the ropes trying to set up the counter-shot, Manny knows the move to take. He does it to me everyday,” he said.

Will he be able to counter-punch the Pacman effectively? Will he be able to score an upset and knock Manny out? Will Shane shine once again tonight?

In boxing, anything can happen.

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