Posted: Thursday May 5, 2011 3:50PM ; Updated: Friday May 6, 2011 2:08PM
Chris Mannix

Fast-fading Mosley in too deep against fearsome Pacquiao

Story Highlights

Shane Mosley is a 7-to-1 underdog against welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao

Mosley, 39, is a three-division world champion whose skills are in clear decline

There are a few scenarios where Mosley could win, but they all involve an asterisk

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Mosley big enough competition for Pacquiao?
Source: SI's Chris Mannix previews the Welterweight Championship fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley on Saturday, May 7th.
Pacquiao vs. Mosley's boxing experts predict Saturday's outcome.

CHRIS MANNIX: You have to respect Mosley's courage -- watching Pacquiao plow through Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Margarito would be enough to rattle anyone -- but he's simply outgunned. He's going to find Pacquiao's chin; Manny doesn't hide it. But Mosley pulled his punches in the later rounds against Floyd Mayweather, and in his prime he never would have let Sergio Mora work that close. It will be fun while it lasts, but it won't last too long.

PREDICTION: Pacquiao, by ninth-round KO

RICHARD O'BRIEN: Because Pacquiao, almost uniquely among great fighters, continued to get better over such a long stretch of his career - and because he still fights with such intensity and clear joy in the process -- it is almost impossible to consider that he might have already peaked. But he's 32 and has been at it for a long time. Plus, he's been operating at "international superstar" level (Congress! Recording contracts! Jimmy Kimmel!) for the past few years now and that's got to be distracting, even for a guy who has Freddie Roach cracking the whip. Which is all to say that the image of Manny as unbeatable may be a false one. Then again, did you see what he did to Margarito? Of course, Mosley got in a few licks on Antonio as well. And Mosley is sort of the anti-Pacquiao, in terms of career arc. He has seemingly been "over the hill" since about 2003. Still, he is 39 and is not the fighter he once was. However, I think his strength, supreme ring savvy and power will present some problems for Pacquiao. Both men will be dangerous early; if Mosley weathers the first few rounds, I can see him making it a long, rough night for Manny. In the end, though, Pacquiao's relentless energy and volume punching (remember how Mosley shut down against Mayweather) will carry the day.

PREDICTION: Pacquiao, by unanimous decision

BRYAN ARMEN GRAHAM: Most insiders are asking not if Mosley can win but whether he can survive. Such is the brilliance of Pacquiao, who enters Saturday's fight on a streak of six victories against larger opponents. Like he demonstrated against Cotto and Margarito, Pacquiao will prove too fast and too busy for Mosley to press his natural power advantage. Hand speed and volume punching will make the difference as Pacquaio becomes the first fighter to stop Mosley inside the distance.

PREDICTION: Pacquiao, by ninth-round KO

LAS VEGAS -- Over the next few days you will hear a lot of good things about Shane Mosley.

You will hear he is a former three-division champion with a pair of the fastest hands in the sport.

You will hear he has concussive, two-fisted power and be directed to a YouTube video of Mosley's bludgeoning the iron-jawed Antonio Margarito in 2010.

You will hear about Mosley's status as a boxing legend, statements supplemented by comments from his supporters -- like trainer Naazim Richardson -- about how Mosley isn't an "ordinary guy getting older" and that he doesn't need to match Manny Pacquiao in Saturday's welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena (9 p.m. ET, Showtime PPV, $54.95) because "he's bringing his own weapons."

You won't hear much about Mosley's fast-fading skills, how Floyd Mayweather wiped the mat with him last May and how Sergio Mora -- Sergio Mora? -- pushed him to a draw last September.

You won't hear how Top Rank cherry-picked Mosley from a list of more formidable candidates (headlined by Juan Manuel Marquez) in a less-than-subtle attempt to use Mosley's name to sell a few more pay-per-view buys.

It boils down to which argument you choose to believe.

First, the obvious: Mosley has still got some game. At 39, there are only a handful of welterweights with whom he doesn't belong in the ring.

The problem is, Pacquiao is one of them.

Many will disagree. Styles make fights, they will say. Mayweather and Mora didn't want to mix it up with Shane. Manny will stick his chin out there and he will pay the price! It's a well-worn argument. But refuting it is even easier. Sure, Mosley has weapons. Just the wrong ones. He's going into a gun fight with a baseball bat and his opponent is packing a bazooka.

That's what Pacquiao is. He is a 5-foot-6, 145-pound weapon of mass destruction. He comes at you from impossible-to-predict angles, hits hard -- really, really hard -- with both hands and can take a punch. Miguel Cotto hit Pacquiao so hard in their 2009 fight that a visibly shaken Floyd Mayweather Sr. told reporters that he didn't think his son should get in the ring with him.

This isn't an uphill climb for Mosley. This is Mount Everest.

That's not to say people shouldn't watch. Boxing, after all, is in the entertainment business (thanks, Bob Arum) and Pacquiao-Mosley promises to be pretty entertaining. Mosley's not a runner, not a Joshua Clottey type who will be OK with just surviving for 12 rounds. If Mosley is going down, he's going down on his shield. He will stand toe-to-toe with the most feared welterweight in the world and let his hands fly.

But to what end? Oscar De La Hoya tried that against Pacquiao. His face looked like a rare cooked steak by the time he finally said no mas after the eighth round. Ricky Hatton didn't show much wear after his fight with Pacquiao but only because he ate a savage right hook in the second round that sent him to the hospital. Cotto? Margarito? They didn't fight defensively. They didn't come close to winning, either.

The arguments that Mosley can win all come with an asterisk. "If he hits him to the body enough, he can wear Pacquiao down," one industry insider said. "If Manny gets cut, he might have a problem," said another. Both were asked if they were picking Mosley to win. Both quickly said "no."

Oddsmakers have installed Mosley as a 7-to-1 underdog. It might as well be 70-to-1. Sure, strange things have happened in sports. Jack Fleck beat Ben Hogan. Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson. The U.S. hockey team beat the Soviets in 1980, the Mets beat the Orioles in '69 and N.C. State beat Houston in '83.

Mosley's beating Pacquiao wouldn't be quite at that level, but it would be close. Manny Pacquiao is a human wrecking ball and Shane Mosley is the next building standing in his way.

Several years from now Mosley will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He will be honored -- deservedly -- for his contributions to the sport. This probably won't be one of them. Mosley won't go down without a fight. But it's hard to see him not going down.
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