Sunday, May 8, 2011

Notes from the Pacquiao-Mosley Card

  • Obviously, the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight did not electrify audiences.  Mosley didn't engage and Pacquiao did not seem as crisp with his punches or as confident in his attack as he did in his more recent performances.  With that said, Pacquiao easily won 11 rounds and scored a nice knockdown in the third with a right jab-straight left combination.   A "B+" Pacquiao basically shut out a former pound-for-pound champion.  
  • What most concerned me with Manny's performance was his relatively low connect percentage.  By the Showtime count, he landed fewer than 33% of his punches.  That is a very low number for Pacquiao.  Throughout the night, he missed repeatedly with his right hook.  That punch had become much improved over the last few years.  Mosley deftly took a step back from that punch or ducked under it and moved to his left, thwarting Pacquiao's ability to throw combinations when leading with the right hook. 
  • Actually, there were very few clean shots that landed throughout the fight.  Manny had the knockdown in the third, scored with some left hand bombs in the 10th and finally landed some right hooks in the 12th.  Mosley had a little success with the jab in the 1st and, in fact, that was his best punch of the night.  The only other times he really hit Pacquiao was when he countered with the jab.  But Mosley couldn't land anything (or really throw much) behind the jab. 
  • Al Bernstein made a crucial point in the broadcast that emphasized the difference between Pacquiao's performance last night and those of his previous fights.  Against Mosley, Manny moved only in straight lines.  Although he came in with blazing flurries, he used very little lateral movement.  Manny did feint well but he didn't employ his famous tricky angles to get close to Mosley. 
  • I don't think Manny was in his best physical condition.  His body looked very wide and not as lean as it had been in the past.  Although he still pressed the fight for 12 rounds, he didn't have a high work rate.  Some of that could be attributed to Mosley, but Pacquiao's lower work rate could be cause for concern. 
  • Credit must be given to Mosley for taking Pacquiao out of his game.  He helped reduce Manny's typical work rate by almost 50%.  Also, his subtle defensive movements and tight footwork kept Manny from landing clean shots most of the night.  Granted, Shane didn't try to win the fight, but neither did Clottey, de La Hoya nor Cotto, and Manny still looked great in those fights. 
  • Manny seemed frustrated in the ring last night.  He didn't have full confidence in his plan of attack.  Nothing came easily.  He made the fight and was the aggressor; however, he looked awkward at times. 
  • Pacquiao also deserves credit for his defense.  Shane couldn't land anything of substance last night and Pacquiao didn't get hit with any hard shots of note.  Both Clottey and Margarito had some success against Pacquiao with uppercuts and body punching, respectively.  Clearly, part of Freddie Roach's game plan for the fight was to reduce the amount of openings for Mosley.  Team Pacquiao respected Mosley's power, and Manny fought accordingly. 
  • One Showtime note: why did Gus Johnson insist on repeatedly introducing the fighters and the title defense during the broadcast?  This isn't an amateur fight where you don't know who the fighters are.  People buying a $65 pay-per-view know who Manny Pacquiao is.  By process of elimination, new fans could figure out who Mosley was; he was the one that wasn't Pacquiao.  Also, who cares that it was for some silly WBO welterweight title.  Nobody bought the fight because it was a title fight.  Viewers wanted to see the best fighter in the world against a former elite champion.   
  • The Jorge Arce-Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. fight was terrific.  After 10 rounds, the fight was essentially even.  Arce was the more active and aggressive fighter while Vazquez won rounds through clean counterpunching; he also scored a knockdown with a beautiful left hook at the end of the 4th round.  
  • In the 11th round, Arce, the rugged veteran who started boxing professionally when he was 16 in 1996, somehow found another gear and landed some thunderous right hands and left hooks on Vazquez.  Vazquez was unable to gather himself between rounds and Arce continued to crush Vazquez throughout the 12th.  His father/trainer, former champion Wilfredo Vazquez, Sr., essentially stopped the fight. 
  • I didn't like the stoppage.  Although Vazquez was taking a beating, he still had the chance to win the fight.  (After the Arce-Vazquez fight concluded, it was revealed that going into the 12th round, the match would have been ruled a majority draw.  However, neither corner had that knowledge at the time.)  Vazquez wasn't some amateur that needed to be protected, but a champion who still had an opportunity to defend his title.   If referee Joe Cortez had stopped the fight, I would have had no problem with that, but Vazquez, Sr. didn't need to end it.  Antonio Tarver addressed the stoppage brilliantly during the broadcast. 
  • Unfortunately, Vazquez did not throw enough punches to keep Arce off of him.  While Vazquez found success in rounds 3, 4 and 5 with the right hook, he wasn't busy enough throughout the fight to thwart Arce's aggression.  Arce's motor never quits.  The way to beat him is to outslug him or to counter and step around.  Vazquez countered, but stayed in front of Arce, creating an easy target.  
  • Vazquez may still have a bright future in boxing, but he looked uncomfortable in an all-out brawl.  If he can't fight in that style, he better learn to move more.  Also, he didn't throw his jab consistently throughout the fight, giving Arce one less thing to worry about as the match progressed.  Vazquez has all of the tools but will he be able to recover and learn from his defeat?  Top Rank has a number of exciting fighters around his weight class (Lopez, Gamboa, possibly Donaire).  If Vazquez can regroup, he should be involved in additional high-profile fights. 
  • For Arce, it's a magnificent victory.  He has now won titles at 108, 115 and 122.  He has always been one of the best television fighters in the sport -- the prototypical Mexican brawler.  He was the underdog against Vazquez, but his championship spirit and perseverance clinched the victory.  He now has, at least, another large payday in front of him.  Arce's performance was the highlight of the night. 
  • Top Rank did a wonderful jab matching Kelly Pavlik with Alfonso Lopez.  Lopez, a regional Texas fighter with an impressive record but a dearth of quality opposition, featured a perfect style for Kelly's comeback fight.  Lopez could punch a little bit, he was technically sound and he didn't move that much.  The challenger won a few early rounds as Pavlik still had some ring rust. 
  • The most impressive attribute of Kelly's performance was the introduction of his new left hook.  Throughout Pavlik's career, he has basically been a 1-2 fighter (jab and straight right hand).  He used to lunge with his uppercut and never threw his left hook with much force.  Kelly became the middleweight champion of the world with just two punches.  For his fight with Lopez, Pavlik debuted a new left hook, which he threw with perfect balance and landed with precision.  He used the left hook both as a lead punch and as a destructive counter shot.  Lopez had no answer for that punch. 
  • In fact, Pavlik, realizing the success he was having with his left hook, became too hook-happy throughout the fight, to the detriment of his great jab.  Pavlik abandoned his jab as the fight became more of a slugfest.  I think if he would have mixed in his jab with his power shots, he would have stopped Lopez.   
  • On the minus side of the ledger, Pavlik kept his hands down late in the fight.  Whether this could be attributed to a lack of conditioning or a new, bad habit, Pavlik got hit with too many straight right hands in the second half of the fight.  I don't ever remember Pavlik keeping his hands down by his waist in any of his prior fights.  Usually, only the most athletically gifted fighters can get away with that technical flaw (Roy Jones, Sergio Martinez).  Kelly Pavlik is not in that group.
  • The second half of the fight showed that Pavlik still has a lot left in the tank.  I would like to see him take one more step-up fight before he faces the elite of the division.  Brian Magee and Librado Andrade would be two suitable opponents for his next fight.  Both would present Pavlik with different challenges but would be adequate stepping stones as Pavlik tries to return to boxing prominence.

1 comment:

  1. Pacquiao needs to come down in weight.. he performs much better.... oh... and give Marquez that third fight and not wait another 4 years hoping Marquez will get sluggish.

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