Boxing bread winner Manny Pacquiao is back in action

May 3, 2011 6:00 AM

Boxing bread winner Manny Pacquiao is back in action, which means plenty of awesome women, pay per view through the roof and the repeated questions about why he and Floyd Mayweather can’t strike a deal.

Pacquiao and Shane Mosley held separate news conferences during the week, hyping up a fight Saturday night at MGM Grand that really doesn’t need any. The fact this fight is even happening – Pacquiao is basically a 7½-1 favorite – can be answered in one simple word.

Money.

That’s what separates boxing from ultimate fighting. One schedules quality matches and often. The other schedules a pay-per-view bonanza once or twice a year.

Pacquiao continues to amaze. The eight-time world champion, and now recording artist with the release of "Sometimes When We Touch" (in collaboration with the song’s original artist Dan Hill), says he’s never been in better shape or more focused for a fight.

You have to go all the way back to the second bout with Juan Manuel Marquez when someone actually made Manny human in the ring. He’s been a one-man wrecking machine outdoing himself in bouts with Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and most recently Antonio Margarito.

In fighting Mosley, Pacquiao has nothing to gain (other than $$$) and plenty to lose. Mosley is aging, but is still one tough customer. He’s beaten de la Hoya, stopped Margarito and had Mayweather jelly legged in the second round before going into a shell.

"I expect Manny to fight me toe-to-toe, which is exactly what I want," Mosley said.

If that happens, we are in for one whale of a night. Styles do make fights. Mayweather’s tactical approach did not lend itself to a lot of action against a counter puncher like Mosley. Pacquiao’s aggressive nature especially since climbing into the higher weight classes does.

What usually sets Pacquiao apart from his opponents is the incredible hand speed and unrelenting attack. He seems impervious to fatigue and applies so much pressure that opponents eventually have to cave.

Mosley has a lot to prove, but he has thrived in this underdog role his entire career. So at +550, the price is definitely right for Mosley to make this a much better fight than most of the experts and betting public believe.

Pacquiao says there are no distractions, and there may not be come fight time. But they are out there, whether it’s running for President of the Philippines or cutting a hit record. Fact is he’s the cover boy for a hurting sport. When Manny fights, cash registers ring and Bob Arum resurfaces.

I’m not going to predict a Pacquiao loss, but this should be a better fight than many think. And one down the road Manny’s handlers may have wished he never took on.

Best of a bad situation

As for what transpired at Fight Night at the Cosmo II on Friday, it was a pretty good show considering all the hard work that was done to keep the card together.

Both Carlos Molina and Allen Conyers deserve a lot of credit for stepping in the ring on short notice and giving the fans a quality fight. Molina came away with a seventh round TKO in conditions more favorable for sailing than fighting.

The 40 mph winds and unseasonable cool temperatures at Cosmo’s spectacular Boulevard Pool on the fourth level overlooking the Strip were but a part of a tumultuous week.

Victor Cayo’s pullout from the main event due to a shoulder injury could have killed the card, but full marks to the Cosmo, promoter Luis DeCubas and boxing icon Gene Kilroy for pushing the right buttons to make the evening work.

Unfortunately ESPN2, which brings Friday Night Fights to a national audience weekly, could not show the bout live due to the NBA playoffs. But if you had ESPN3 or ESPN Deportes, you were able to watch the fight. Also, the fight was shown live on the Cosmo’s massive marquee facing the Strip, giving it a surreal feel.

And the stadium-like seating around the pool area lent itself well to boxing. Hopefully there will be a Cosmo III – perhaps involving Zab Judah, whose career and demeanor has taken a dramatic upturn.