Chris Farina/Top Rank
Tuesday, May 3, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
Boxer Shane Mosley is past his prime. He’s washed up and on the downside of his career.
Yes, the 39-year-old Mosley has heard everything critics have said leading up to his WBO welterweight title fight Saturday against superstar Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Mosley would expect to hear nothing less. After all, Pacquiao (53-3-2) is boxing’s undisputed best pound-for-pound fighter and an eight-division champion. He hasn’t lost since 2005 and enters riding a 13-match winning streak.
But Mosley, who has won titles in three separate divisions and has an impressive 46-6-1 record, still packs a potent punch. And it would only take connecting once for the +525 betting underdog (gamblers would win $5.25 for each $1 wagered) to pull off an upset.
“It gives me a lot of motivation to overcome,” Mosley said. “I don’t read too much into it. I don’t care that people are saying I’m an underdog or not. What matters is what happens in the ring. It only matters what happens on May 7. That’s the only thing that matters.”
While Mosley is just 2-2-1 in his last five fights dating back to November 2007, one of those victories proved he is still near the top of his game. In January 2009, he beat Antonio Margarito with a ninth-round TKO, flooring him at the end of the eighth round and continuing the pressure at the beginning of the ninth before the fight was stopped.
Mosley could employ the same strategy Saturday that he used to stop Margarito. Like Margarito, the 32-year-old Pacquiao is seemingly always on the attack and throws a high volume of punches.
“I think that people see my power and they know I will bring an exciting fight,” Mosley said. “I think that’s what it is. They think that if they can get past the power then they can win the fight. And also the fans choose to see knockouts. They want to see someone who has some power.
“They want to see a fight where there is risk being taken,” he continued. “So for this fight it’s very risky for someone like Manny Pacquiao to fight someone like myself, so people want to see what’s going to happen. Is Manny going to get knocked out? Or is Manny going to knock Shane out? The unpredictably of the fight arouses people around the world. Anything can happen.”
Mosley, despite being at the tail end of his career, still has the speed and finishing power that helped him win his initial 38 fights and make nine successful lightweight title defenses. And even though he hasn’t won in his last two fights — a lopsided loss last May to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a controversial draw against Sergio Mora — those in the Mosley camp are confident their fighter will give Pacquiao fits.
“If a bullet misses you by two inches it’s just as dangerous as a fly,” said Naazim Richardson, Mosley’s trainer. “It only matters if they land. And right now Shane’s in the gym landing some beautiful punches.”
Pacquiao, the current WBC super welterweight and WBO welterweight champ, isn’t overlooking Mosley and is preparing for what could be a slugfest.
“I’m excited for this fight because Mosley can throw a lot of punches and he wants to fight toe-to-toe,” Pacquiao said. “Mosley, he’s a former pound-for-pound champion and he’s a good fighter, and a comeback fighter also.”
While Pacquiao isn’t looking past Mosley, it appears his promoters at Top Rank are. They have reportedly already offered Pacquiao a fight next fall against Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Sometimes as business people you have to look to make the next fight and the next fight,” Mosley said. “I think that’s what makes Top Rank such a great promoter. That’s for them to think that way and not for me to think that way. I have to think about May 7 and take care of May 7.”
If he does take care of May 7, Mosley would do more than silence the critics. He’d have the most significant victory in a career with several titles and impressive wins.