Pacquiao versus Mosley should be boxing gold. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Sarah/Eat, Pray and Blog)

Boxing’s popularity has been staggering around like a punch-drunk fighter for some time. Yet there are times when all it takes to turn the combat sports world around is a great fight, which is what “The People’s Champ” Manny Pacquiao versus “Sugar” Shane Mosley will provide. The world-class welterweights will fight at the Las Vegas MGM Grand on Saturday, May 7, at 8 p.m. Eastern on Showtime Pay Per View.

Pacquiao versus Mosley is the fight of the year

Manny Pacquiao, 32, currently holds the World Boxing Council crown; he is the first boxer to win 10 world titles in eight different weight classes. His record going into the fight is 52-3-2 with 38 knockouts. Pacquiao recently told CNN that he hasn’t trained this vigorously for a fight since 2008, the year he took down “Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya.

“I trained hard for this fight because I never underestimate Mosley, and I consider him a good fighter and a tough opponent for me,” he said.

Shane Mosley, 39, himself a former World Boxing Association welterweight super champion, has a record of 46-6-1 with 39 knockouts. Like Pacquiao, Mosley’s approach leading up to the fight has been disciplined and respectful, devoid of trash talk. While Pacquiao is considered a 7-to-1 favorite by Las Vegas sports books, largely due to speed and age advantage, Mosley is believed to still have a puncher’s chance to deliver “Pac Man” some real damage.

ESPN analysis highlights Pacquiao and Mosley’s contrasting styles

Mosley is a larger fighter who depends upon reach and power, and ESPN analysts believe that his key to success against Pacquiao will be to use jabs to keep “The People’s Champ” away and mix in hooks to wear down his midsection. On the other hand, Pacquiao will look to approach at angles rather than head-on to avoid Mosley’s power. If Pacquiao can get Mosley on the ropes and land stinging combinations with machine-gun rapidity, “Sugar” won’t feel so sweet.

While Mosley is well-known for his conditioning, Pacquiao has been referred to on multiple occasions as a veritable Energizer Bunny when it comes to energy. Pacquiao’s constant movement will make it tough for Mosley to keep pace. Thus, while a knockout is not predicted, most critics expect a unanimous decision for Pacquiao on Saturday.

What does it take to make it in this country?

Some attribute Manny Pacquiao’s relative lack of popularity in the United States to boxing’s overall slump, post-Mike Tyson. He is worshiped in his native Philippines, however, and has massive endorsement deals there with McDonald’s and a host of other companies. As the boxing blog Bad Left Hook points out, things may be turning around stateside for “Pac Man.” He has hired new personnel to market his brand more effectively in the United States. Companies such has Hewlett-Packard are now on board, and a Pacquiao-themed boxing video game is reportedly waiting in the wings.

Even if Pacquiao fever doesn’t set in, Pacquiao will remain a rich man. According to multiple sources, he’ll make a guaranteed $20 million against Shane Mosley.


Bad Left Hook:

Al Bernstein on Pacquiao vs. Mosley

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