written by Carnilo Daculan
The snoozer that was Shane Mosley who sashayed (note: I refuse to call it a fight) with Manny Pacquiao on 7th of May 2011 at Las Vegas brought some “golden eggs” in the sweet science of boxing. While Pacquiao continues to embody the Aristotelian proposition that “excellence is a habit, not a virtue” by virtue of his habit of destroying opponents inside the ring, Mosley faded like a Levi’s stonewashed pair of jeans.
However, the human being is a creative animal. And out of this boredom comes the hardcore observation on what most people perceive and accept as a Yes without looking at the No. Here lies the myths, slain by Pacquiao’s sword of excellence.
Let’s count from 5 to 1:
Myth 5: Styles make fights. No! Boxers make fights. Mosley bragged that Pacquiao’s style suits his style best because he stands toe-to-toe. Well, he was on his runners most of the way, a marathon 12 round going backwards. It is not style, mate; it is you. Maybe Naseem Richardson was right that Pacquiao fighting makes you see Pacquiao and none else. But Bob Arum had a better observation: Pacquiao can take you away from the fight. It is not the mystique of a Pacman. It is the heart of a Pacman. It is not the size of the dog in a fight. It is the size of the fight in the dog.
Myth 4: A good bigger boxer almost always prevails over a good smaller boxer. Another no-no. Physically, Mosley is well endowed: he has height, heft and reach advantage over Pacquiao. But it did not translate to victory. What he possessed physically was disadvantageous strategically. Pacquiao negated his reach and height by his foot speed, in-and-out, side to side and constant head movement. Pacquiao saw his chin in 3rd round because he stood 3 inches higher than the Pacman. He paid almost dearly for it. His long arms were crowded punches as Pacman darted in throwing bombs and then darted out of harm’s way. It is not the big and bully that always wins fights. As Iron Mike Tyson wrote on his Facebook wall recently: “the strong will always overpower the weak; the smart will always overpower the strong.”
Myth 3: The DNA argument. Paging Bernard Hopkins, the guy who said not so long ago that black Americans have better DNA construct over all other boxers. Who further said that a slick black American fighter is Pacquiao’s waterloo. Does Mosley qualify all of your description? Yes he does. And still lost. Stick to boxing mate and keep your opinions safely tucked under that skull of yours. And you further said that 40 is the new 30? Bullocks! (Now let’s go to the sub-myth, please)…
Age does matter even if you are a top athlete. Again, a Hopkins-like proposition. Sugar Ray Leonard was more honest in his assessment that with age comes less tolerance for pain. When he fought Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1987 after 10 years in boxing, his strategy was to “run, run, run.” Boxing age is different from chronological age, especially if you are fighting top caliber opponents. The wear and tear is evident. Go ask Muhammad Ali (no pun intended).
Myth 2: I am fighter and my job is to fight. This is the Pacquiao proposition that I personally disagreed on. The fighter is not just a fighter whose job is to fight. A fighter is a businessman who sells his merchandise of violence and calls it sweet science. When the medium is the massage, it is the mental anticipation of survival against all odds, sweat and blood splattered all over the ring.
We as audience were like the old long ago Romans craving for blood. While we couch it in terms of sports, it is still our basic instinct romanticizing the victor over the fallen. Hey, even Freddie Roach said it bluntly: your job is to knock your opponents out. Not to touch gloves or to have mercy on the ring. However, this separates Pacquiao from all other fighters: he knows when enough is enough or he might have killed somebody in the ring. He loves this sport and wants to preserve its audience appeal.
Myth 1: Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. The fight is officially dead! It was Mosley who made the comparison after the fight. If Mayweather had already recovered from his hangover from the Lady Gaga concert on the eve of Pacquiao-Mosely fight and read through the comments over the internet, his cojones may have shrunk a thousand times over. Nope, it’s not bouncing bullets or unheard of amulets that make Mayweather do the chicken run. It is the name Manny Pacquiao that makes Floyd Mayweather look the other way. Bob Arum is again right and may even be so. Especially when he claimed that Manny is the best boxer he has ever seen in his 40 plus odd years as boxing promoter. Even greater than the one who claimed “I am the greatest!”
Photo credits: Bleacher Report