I haven’t given Pacquiao-Mosley all too much thought. Haven’t gone through my usual tradition of rewatching all the relevant video and playing it out in my mind. Not only because of my self-proclaimed crisis of faith, but because it seems even the rubes know the score this time, doesn’t it?
Manny’s just too good.
He’s a thing of fire right now and it’s going to take an S-class hero to slay that dragon. Shane Mosley is a hero, but his armor is dented and you’ve got to think that – even if he won’t admit it even to himself – there’s some Obi-Wan vs. Vader resignation floating around his undermind.
Because Shane is an honest fighter, too honest, really for this world of flesh-eaters and zealots we live in. Shane’s come up against it three times before – the insurmountable and unconquerable; Vernon Forrest, Winky Wright, and – most profoundly and humbling – Floyd Mayweather.
He has come up against it, that most cruel realization that though you are very fine and special and a thing glorious and well-trained there are certain bad-men out there whom you just can’t top. They’ve a certain type of venom and meanness you can’t push through.
That’s what Shane does, he pushes through and fights harder. People see the complexion and think he’s a boxer, but the guy is a Rumbler at heart, the type of man who kicks against the pricks just for a laugh, but when he’s stuck his only move is to rumble harder.
And he knows when he’s beat. You can see it in his face – frustration and limits – “If I was half-the-man-I used-to-be…”
He’s a great great, fighter, and an honest man, but it’s not enough against Manny Pacquiao. And you know, I don’t think it ever would have been. Not against this monster Manny we’ve been seeing.
I know all the smart kids want to tell you that Manny’s great, but also a star blessed by circumstances. Boxing’s version of “Being There’s” Chauncey Gardner, who lucked into his destiny. But I’ve become a true-believer and I don’t know that I can hold with that anymore.
I mean look at his list: Barrera, Morales, Marquez, Margarito, Hatton, De La Hoya, Cotto, we’re talking about half of the relevant fighters of the decade. When the book of names is written, Manny’s will be penned in gilt lettering.
And now, Shane Mosley join the names. True, Shane has looked ragged his last two fights, but he’s a proud man and he’ll be there. He’ll take it and I expect him to give a few back.
But it won’t be enough, not for Manny. I expect we’ll see the Mosley face make its first appearance around the fourth round. The look where he squinches up his cheeks, pronounced dimples becoming more pronounced, dark eyes pained with frustration, and just the faintest hint of a head-shake. The type of look a man might give after several futile attempts to tighten a just out of reach screw.
Because Manny’s at that level just out of reach, the water too high and rising.
Can he put Shane down and keep him there? I’m not sure. Mosley rose from an impossible uppercut against Vernon Forrest, the type of shot that if he didn’t have such a strong boxer’s neck might have ripped the very sinews of his throat and sent his head spinning into the expensive seats. Mosley stood up and he finished - though greatly diminished - ten more rounds.
Exhausted and outclassed against Mayweather he made it to the finish line. I think he’ll make it again, but perhaps in the way Margarito saw the final bell against Manny, as a kind of act of cruel kindness to an outmatched foe. Pacquiao is all master now, and his whims tend toward mercy these days.
I see it as a worthwhile end for the noble Shane Mosley, a guy who was never quite what we thought he was.
And for Manny, the book of names grows longer still.