Reflections on Third Viewing of Pacquiao-Mosley, This One With with DVR Remote in Hand and a Saturday Night to Kill
A week ago tonight Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley squared off at the MGM Grand in a fight that disappointed just about everyone. At first the media reaction seemed to generally give Pacquiao credit for relentlessly pursuing Mosley, who seemed unwilling to engage Pacquiao, even as they discounted Mosley’s skills, calling him a washed up, aging fighter who came into the ring not intending to give a full account of himself with Manny. As the week after the fight has worn on, the chorus of discontent has grown louder — and Pacquaio began to come in for a share of criticism as well. One ESPN commentator claimed just yesterday that Pacquiao was booed in the fight, which I just don’t think was the case. In a post fight interview at the ballroom where Pacquiao appeared in a suite without a mark visible on him, confirmed Pacquiao “hater” Teddy Atlas proposed to Manny that he and Mosley just respected each other too much to really “get it on” — and then separately Atlas claimed on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights that the fight with Mosley may have exposed the fact that Pacquiao is over-rated — that he has beat up on a string of handpicked has-beens starting with De La Hoya and continuing straight through to Mosley.
So the narrative of Pacquaio has begun to fray a bit here in the good ol’ USA — a hit that seems unfair if what I remember seeing last week in the fight is accurate.
Pacquiao-Mosley: What I Saw in the Fight the First Time Around
What I saw the first time around was the following: Pacquiao and Mosley were virtually even in Round 1. Manny got in one shot (and only one) that stung Mosley and seemed to get his attention, but in terms of aggressiveness, Mosley gave as good as he got. In the second round, halfway through, Manny began to start landing some shots and Mosley clearly got stung perhaps half a dozen times. The round, unlike Round 1, was a clear win for Pacquiao but Mosley had not yet begun to wither. Then came the third rond and Manny’s sharp, stinging knockdown of Mosley — and it was after that, after Pacquiao dumped Mosley painfully onto the canvas, that all the backpedaling and unwillngness to engage on Mosley’s part began to manifest itself.
My point being — Mosley didn’t enter the ring timid and afraid — Manny did that to him. Did Mayweather do that to Mosley? No. In fact, in the second round of that fight, Mosley had Mayweather in trouble, and although Mayweather eventually won a convincing decision, no one was claiming that Mosley “ran” from Mayweather. But he certainly did run from Pacquiao — not at first, but after the knockdown in the third round.
So my recollection of the fight goes. Now it’s time to watch it again and see if my recollection holds up as valid — and see what else there is to see. So what follows is a semi-live blog of a re-viewing of the fight a week later, with stop action, slow-motion, and a vodka lime at my fingertips. Let’s see what we see!
The U.S. national anthem. Question: Why is it that we, alone of all countries in the world, can’t sing our damned national anthem without trotting out a military honor guard and turning it into a warlike, military extravaganza? I HATE that. Sure, on the 4th of July that’s fine. But why must it be military at every sporting event? Was it always like that? Or only after 9/11? Makes me crazy. Every time I see it all I can think about is how it feels to watch that from overseas — especially given the fact that pretty much nobody other than North Korea and China do their own national anthem that way at every sporting event. It’s really just too much and it rubs me the wrong way. And that’s from a proud, patriotic American … just not proud of this particular custom.
Next up: Lupang Hinirang. Dare I say it – Charice’s rendition ……sorry, kind of boring. I expected this after the recent flaps by the National Historical Society when anyone tries to alter it. It seems crazy to me that there’s actually a law to make you sing it exactly as a 4/4 march. What is that all about? It was originally written as a poem by Julian Felipe in 1899 and then adapted to a march that Aguinaldo had ordered up, so how/why can there be such insistence that it be sung “just so”? To me, if you just read the lyrics and think about what they’re saying for 10 seconds, it’s pretty hard to imagine it as a 4/4 march. It’s plaintive, soulful, wistful, beautiful — anyway, I don’t think you really have to completely change it, just let it breathe and don’t make it so “bouncy”….If you just let it breathe a little bit — when it gets to the end — “Lupa ng araw ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,” …. wow, it can just soar. But not if you’re doing the whole thing in a singsong bounce/march. What wonderful lyrics, though — IMHO. Didn’t do much for me. And please — I mean no offense. I love it. I remember listening to it in SM North before Last Full Show way back in about 1990. I bet I was the only American in town who knew all the lyrics by heart, so hopefully my commentary won’t offend.
Entering the Arena Pacquaio and Mosley both look good. Pacquiao looks a little thrown off by having Jim Jamison singing “Eye of the Tiger” walking along beside him. Jamison doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo that he’s supposed to walk about 10 steps ahead of Manny, not right beside him. Awkward…..
Jimmy Lennon’s “Let’s get ready for showtime!” doesn’t do it for me at all.
I miss Michael Buffer: “Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!”
Okay, here we go:
The three announcers are Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein, and Antonio Tarver. It feels weird to not have Jim Lampley and Emmanuel Steward, but it will have to do. Johnson starts out quoting Shane Mosley: “I’m bigger, I’m faster, he’s never fought anyone like me. My only concern is that I have no concern.” Of Pacquiao he says: “Can Manny Pacquiao continue to stop bigger men; can he stop Shane Mosley, a man who’s never been stopped.”
The fighters come up. Kenny Bayless is the referee. I like him – he knows what he’s doing. The fighters touch gloves — it’s mutual, this first time. (Since the excessive lovey dovey glove touching has become controversial, one of the things I want to keep track of is how many time it’s mutual; how many times Manny initiates it; and how many times Mosley does.)
In the first minute they each get off 9 shots. Pacquiao lands one stinging leff and Mosley seems a little surprised. But they are even at this point by any reasonable estimation. Bernstein: “This crowd is pro-Pacquiao and they will roar with everything that Manny lands.” Think about that — Manny, Filipino, fighting Mosley, American, in Las Vegas — and Manny is the crowd favorite by far. That’s pretty amazing – and in fact on the lead-in to the rebroadcast tonight Gus Johnson made the point that Manny Pacquiao is the first non-American fighter ever to become the most popular boxer in America. Hey … that’s something to be proud of, no? Makes me proud of Manny, and the Philippines.
After two minutes, punch output is still even and it’s impossible to give one fighter an edge. Johnson notes that Pacquiao is not showing as much lateral movement as they expected and this could be good for Shane Mosley. Each land some good body shots right around the 1 minute mark.
Even fight after two minutes.
Johnson: “Pacquiao looks like he’s trying to figure out how to close the distance on the very quick and elusive Mosley, who has incredible amounts of power as well.” No sign of Mosley running at this point.
At 30 seconds to go, Mosley lands a good right hand that is partially blocked by Manny, but which backs him up. Bernstein: “Shane Mosley’s positioning himself well. He’s got his left foot outside the right foot of Manny Pacquiao and making it difficult for Pacquiao to get in position to land his punches.”
End of round 1. Mosley initiates the glove touching.
I’m going to take a look at the round again and keep another stat — how many steps does each fighter take forward or backward. Later in the fight it’s all onesided in Manny’s favor, but not in the 1st round. Let’s see the actual number. Okay, in the “who steps forward” the most sweepstakes — Manny took 41 clear steps forward in the round – Mosley 34.
Bernstein: “Pacquiao is lunging with that hook to the body, not a good move for him.” Johnson: “Seems like Pacquiao can’t yet measure Mosley at this particular time. The jabs seems somehow ineffective and I think Shane’s speed has Pacquiao a little nervous….”
In the first minute — still even. At the end of the first minute Pacquiao hits Mosley with the kind of stinging jabs that ultimately sent De La Hoya into retirement and Bernstein says: “And there’s the beginning of some combination punching by Pacquiao….but the pace is favoring Mosley. He had to come out and control the ring, which to some degree he’s doing.”
At 1:30, a nice 1-2 combination by Mosley knocks Manny back. Pacquiao responds with a three punch combination that moves Mosley back. It’s like that so far — whenever one gets in a shot or two, the other answers. No real advantage seen yet, although Pacquiao’s handspeed, as usual, is apparent. A new camera angle and it’s clear Mosley’s face is a little red and maybe getting a little puffy. An accidental headbutt gets a warning. Touch gloves. Another one. Touch gloves. Mutual both times.
Manny with a flurry at 40 seconds to go – he knocks Mosley’s head back. Mosley looks a little uncertan for the first time and now he’s starting to back up. But then Mosley just came back at 15 seconds to go…but then Manny nails him with a flurry before the bell. Touch gloves, this time it’s Mosley who initiates it.
In Round 2 — Manny has a 15 punch advantage in terms of punch output. On the “step forward”count: Pacquiao 34, Mosley 18. Pacquiao is opening a lead and clearly won this round — but no one could accuse Mosley of running. Yet.
Touch gloves – Mosley initiates it (5-0-4) Mos-Pac-Both
Nice closeup of Jinky between rounds — looks very beautiful and classy. Some serious bling too – hey, why not. Doesn’t seem worried. I’m a fan.
Beginning of round 3, Tarver: ‘It’s safe to say Pacquiao got Mosley’s attention in that last round. He landed some good solid shots.”
At 2:27 to go, Mosley lands a strong right that that clearly stings Pacquiao. Announcers all say “Ohhh” in unison when it lands. Mosley’s dangerous. Pacquiao responds with a left that reddens Mosley’s left eye, then a combination.
At 2:13: “Manny moving forward, lots of head and shoulder movement, trying to get closer.”
At 2:06: Another good shot, then a clinch. Mosley touches gloves out of the clinch. (6-0-5)
At 2:00 Bernstein: “Mosley has shown some ability to nail Pacquiao coming in. “He’s going to have to do that consistently.”
At 1:57 Manny lands a strong left that moves Mosley back, then follows it up, pursuing him.
At 1:54 Manny lands a looping left hook that causes Mosley to hold the side of his head for a moment — like it really hurt. Very strange the way he keeps his hand on the side of his face, holding it there as if Manny caught him in some particularly painful way. On multiple replays and stop-action it looks like it really stung him.
A bit of a lull to 1:25, then a good rush by Pacquiao that moves Mosley back, then a right by Manny that snaps Mosley’s head back. Manny rushes in, hits Mosley with a stiff right that brings Mosley’s head down, then a powerful left, MOSLEY BUCKLES, THEN GOES DOWN HARD. A SOLID KNOCKDOWN BY PACQUIAO.
Mosley is hurt.
(Sidebar: Steps forward this round is advantage Pacquiao 16-8, when Mosley goes down. Let’s see how it ends up.)
Mosley seems stunned, doesn’t seem angry — seems….chagrined? Don’t see any fight in his eyes at the moment. Maybe it’s “I can’t believe I let that happen to me,” but it also looks like: “This guy’s too much.” Which is it?
Mosley is hurt. He isn’t even thinking about hopping right back up. He’s up at 6, he’ll be able to continue but the look in his eyes is not good. (On replay later it is apparent that the punch that knocked him down was a particularly awkward one that caught him on the neck and chin.) He’s up, blinking, nodding acknowledgment that Pacquiao landed a strong punch on him. “Only the third time he’s ever been knocked down.”
Hey, Mayweather didn’t knock him down!
Now Pacquiao’s stalking, Mosley’s holding on.
More big shots by Pacquiao at 36 seconds to go. There’s a sense he might be able to finish it right here. Another good flurry at 32 seconds. Mosley’s holding on. “30 seconds to go, can Mosley get out of the round?”
Pacquiao gets a good shot to the body.
Johnson: “And Shane Mosley is trying to hold on for dear life.”
Step forward count: Pre knockdown –16-8, Manny Pacquiao. After knockout — 28-0 Manny Pacquiao.
Folks, this is what I was talking about. The knockdown just completely took the fight out of Mosley. Now granted, this was the recovery phase – i.e. this is the very round in which the knockdown occured, so 28-0 Manny may not fully tell the tale because Mosley was trying to recover from the knockdown, so he can be excused for not being aggressive. Let’s see what happens next round.
The replays between rounds reveal more about the knockdown. Manny feints to the left, gets a reaction, then pops back to the right and shoots in a sharp right that knocks Mosley off balance, then follows it immediately with a left that really catches him awkwardly on the neck — never saw a punch land like that before.
In slow motion, Mosley looks seriously hurt when it’s down. He displays that kind of floppy, twitchiness that boxers have when they go down particularly hard.
Between rounds they cut to Bella Gonzalez, Shane Mosley’s sexy silicon girlfriend — she doesn’t seem to be reacting to anything, just looking sexy. My inner 16 year old finds her hot. My more mature self: not.
Mosley’s got that look in his eyes — it’s like Cotto in Round 12 with Manny, he was done. Not Margarito, though. Margarito was a warrior, you have to give him credit for that, there was no quit in him. Mosley looks like he doesn’t want to be here any more.
Steps forward: Pacquiao 64, Mosley 8. Yep.
More of the same
Steps forward: Pacquiao 45, Mosley 5
There’s no point in cointinuing this on a round by round basis. It’s been over since the third round. Paquiao has this under full control and Mosley is in full reverse. Pacquiao is trying for a knockout. Mosley is trying to survive, not win.
First boos. Folks, those are Pacquiao fans booing Mosley. No one could be realistically booing Pacquiao. He’s moving forward nonstop, fighting, mounting one rush after another. But every time he rushes, Mosley backs up, Pacquiao hits him, but the punches don’t have the same impact when they hit an opponent in full retreat. Mosley knows that.
“It’s hard to look good against Mosley right now becasue he’s not fighting.”
Step Forward Count: Pacquiao 85, Mosley 9. This is ridiculous.
It’s fully ridiculous now. Mosley is in absolutely full retreat and is not seriously engaging with Pacquiao more than a token once or twice a round. His spirit seems pretty much broken. Manny looks frustrated. I’m looking hard to see if there is any lack of aggressiveness on his part, but I can’t see any. And this isn’t like in the Margarito fight where he carried the bloodied warrior Margarito at the end. Mosley is no warrior. He’s an embarrassment. Manny clearly wants to put him out, as well he should.
WHOA! Manny goes down at 1:10 left in the round but it looks like a slip. Seemed like his feet got tangled with Mosley’s and there was a shove. Manny is right back up smiling. He thinks it’s a slip. Now Bayless is doing an 8 count. Manny looks at him in disbelief, then turns his back and takes two steps, walking away. He turns around and comes back, smiles, seems to accept it. (Of course, the GREAT sportsman that he is….) Tarver: “It didn’t seem like Bayless (ref) was going to call it till he turned and saw the outside ref doing a countdown, then he changed his mind. That WASN’T a knockdown.” Pacquiao is on the prowl after that. With 24 seconds to go Pacquiao lands a big one, Mosley off balance. “Pacquiao frustrated, Mosley trying to find a place to hide. Mosley on his bike.”
Replay shows that Mosley is clearly standing on Pacquiao’s foot and then Mosley pushes him and he goes down. In the replay you can also see that Tarver is right — Bayless doesn’t start the count until he looks over and sees the outside ref doing a count.
“Manny Pacquiao has a gleam in his eye.” “Pacquiao going for the knockout now.” “Pacquiao going for the kill.”
Tarver: “I’m kind of disturbed that Mosley, being a great champion, he said he was in agreat shape — he’s in full retreat right now. YOu’ve got to Pacquoiao full crdit. “
Bernstein: “Pacquiao just imposed his will.”
Fans shouting: “Knock him out. Knock him out.”
Tarver: “Nazzem Richardson (Mosley’s trainer), if they thought they were going to solve this rubic’s cube…it’s still unsolveable.”
Johnson: “Really disapointed in Shane Mosley. He dd not come to fight tonight.”
Bernstein: “They love what Manny Pacquiao is doing.”
Johnson: “They certainly do. He did come to fight tonight.”
Pacquiao is doing everything he can to knock him out. There is no doubt about it. “He’s definitely trying for the knockout. He’s definitly giving the people what they want.”
Johnson: “It’s been hard to look good because Shane Mosley has been a defensive, retreating fighter.”
“For Manny Pacquiao, he’s taken six consecutive men who were all bigger than him, and defeated them all, David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, and now Shane Mosley”.
40 seconds to go — Manny lands some big shots. Tarver: “And he’s still going for a knockout, that’s a great champion right there.” Bernstein: “Exactly.”
Tarver: “My question is, who does he fight next if not Floyd Mayweather. He’s run out of opponents, he’s beat everybody.
The fight ends.
Crowd isn’t happy.
Mosley and Pacquiao touch gloves and Mosley wants to embrace Pacquiao — but Manny turns away, he doesn’t want it, isn’t satisfied with Shane. Normally I would call that a lack of sportsmanship, but in this case it’s a gesture of respect to the fans. Manny always says “I want to give a good fight and make people happy.” Has this made people happy? He knows the fans were let down by Mosley. Manny is not celebrating at all. He’s walking around the ring with his head down.
Manny goes to the corner and kneels and prays.
Bernstein: “The spirituality of Pacquiao, it isn’t something he wears on his sleeve — it’s genuine, it’s something that drives him very, very much.
Manny 182 of 552
Mosley 82 of 260
Manny 134 of 284
Mosley: 31 of 61
Nice Moment when they announce the winner and are putting the belt around Manny, he reaches back and embraces Buboy. Sweet. But Manny’s not really smiling.
Post Fight Interview
Mosley and Pacquiao are there together. Mosley has an icepack on the side of his head already.
Jim Gray: In the third round you knocked Shane down…did you feel that would be the end of the fight.
Manny Pacquiao: I got him a lucky shot, Mosley is not slow, he is fast, and he is waitinf for my mistake, and he wants counter. I’m careful on that.
Jim Gray: Were you surprised that Shane didn’t move forward at all tonight.
Manny Pacquiao: I think he felt my power. I want to fight toe to toe, but you know this is boxing, the difference is the style of the opponent.
Jim Grey: Shane – your thoughts at age 39.
Sugar Shane Mosley: I thought I did a pretty good job, I wouldn’t blame it on age. Manny is an exceptional power, good speed and power — power that I’ve never been hit with before. So it’s amazing. He’s very fast and strong, he’s a figher, a warrior. Cut from my cloth — but I had to box a little bit today.
Jim Grey: Why didn’t you take risks?
Sugar Shane Mosley: I believed early in the fight when he knocked me down he surprised me with his punching power. That’s the most legitimate knockdown I’ve had in a long time. So, I said, well this guy must really have some power…. I fought the best, ths is the pound for pound king right here. We’ll go back to the drawing board. This guy’s amazing right here.
Jim Grey: Manny, who’s next for you?
Manny Pacquiao: I don’t know yet but I have to come back to the PHilipnes and back to work in Congress. ..Next time I will do my best. Tonight — I ahve a cramp in my legs. But I do my best.
Jim Grey: Mayweather — when will it happen.
Manny Pacquiao: You know, I don’t care who is my opponent. The people recognize me as pound for pound so I respect that.
Jim Grey: How badly do you want to fight Mayweather.
Manny Pacquiao: For me, I don’t care if the fight is push through or not. I am satisfied what I have done in boxing. I want the fight because the people want it.
What Do We Take From This?
Assuming Mayweather won’t step forward — and I don’t think that’s going to happen — what does Manny do next? Bernstein was right when he said Manny is running out of opponents. Marques III makes sense. Other than that, not much. But Marquez is 37 and all the Marquez lovers who say he actually beat Manny and thus is ahead in the trilogy will suddenly say he’s 37, too old, washed up, didn’t prove anything.
Never mind, Manny. Go back and help people in the Philippines. We’ll see you again in November.