Friday, May 6, 2011

The Book Of Names

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.


Chris said...

Great column as usual.

I stopped watching this fight after the first couple of rounds. The fight was over when the contract was signed. It pains me to admit that because Shane has always been one of my favorites. But after Mora how could anyone believe the fight would go otherwise? And this gets to the heart of my frustration with Pacquaio, and boxing in general. I can't really criticize his management for giving him lucrative and (often very) winnable fights; that is after all their job. But when I know the fix is in, fight after fight, no matter how spectacular his performance it leaves me cold. And while this charge could be leaved against any number of boxers for some reason for me it truly robs me of enjoying (though not appreciating) Pacquaio. I agree that if Manny were to fight any of his name opponents in their primes, with the exception of Morales, the result would likely have been the same but still he doesn't elicit the same feeling I have for other fighters.

I think, like you, I am killing time. To really know Pacquaio, as I feel I know other boxers, I need him to fight Mayweather. Everything seems a prelude to that. His greatness to me feels counterfeit without that final seal, rightly or wrongly.

ricky roe said...

shane saw the final bell too(and it wasnt because of mannys mercy)...where are all the pac fans who swore, after watching what floyd did to shane, that pac would take mosley out easy...they were convinced and pretty sure of it.....shane was walked down by floyd....he was able to hang on and run to survive against pac....and you know pac wants to take him out...but he cant cut off a ring effectively enough....he can easily beat up guys who cant move and stand right in front of him....this fight stunk and was uninspiring...the whole thing sucked...shane had no biz getting this fight and payday in the first place...which is why this wreaked from the had shane sucking mannys dick leading up to this fight and even throwing jabs in floyds direction at pressers...."hey guys i really appreciate this 5 mil payday i dont deserve....ill sprinkle in a knockdown for manny...then ill really like to keep my streak of not being ko'd alive...appreciate it guys"......

jmag said...

I'm glad I skipped this one. I was going to watch it, like I do all of the big fights, especially all of Pac's fights, but the closer I got to the fight, the less impressed I was with it. I don't really get the Pac hate, the man did what he could, and he did it better than Mayweather did. And he's actually fighting. But Shane looked really shot, and he's starting to sound worse and worse in interviews. The man better hope his girlfriend doesn't leave him when he retires, because picking between a hottie and long-term brain damage isn't always an easy decision to make.

shoefly said...

I'll probably put up a piece on it, but I think people are being a little unfair to Pac, it's hard to look great against a guy not interested in fighting.

Disappointed in Mosley, but he's paid his dues. Don't tell me there was another, clearly better fight out there. I don't believe you. We're pinned.