Pacquiao's training barely tested by Mosley
May, 8, 2011
By Peter Owen Nelson | ESPN.com
Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesShoes and his own security forces posed a greater threat to Manny Pacquiao than Shane Mosley did.On Saturday afternoon, deep in the recesses of the 60th floor of The Hotel at Mandalay, Manny Pacquiao relaxed on a bed inspecting a seating chart and counting out tickets to give away. It was seven hours before his one-sided unanimous decision over Shane Mosley. Pacquiao had just arrived from a fender bender involving two of his own vehicles en route back from Mass. His trainer, Freddie Roach, arrived to check on Pacquiao (who was fine) and warn him: "Tonight, Mosley's trainer is going to object to our hand wrap. He does it to everyone. He'll just be trying to get in our head. Stay calm. You're the best at that."
In the locker room later that night, Roach's advice would prove unnecessary, as Naazim Richardson, Mosley's trainer, raised no objections. After 12 rounds in which Mosley barely engaged, little of Pacquiao's preparation in Manila and Los Angeles was mobilized in the ring: Pacquiao's work taking body punishment in sparring sessions was never needed; his newly devised "Bruce Lee" combination was never exhibited; and his intensive conditioning was never tested.
Pacquiao did not leave his training in the gym, but rather Mosley brought the gym to the fight, appearing more a sparring partner than a Hall of Fame fighter hoping to stage one of the great upsets in boxing history. Mosley himself admitted of his approach after the fight, "I wasn't going to take risks." Mosley scored a knockdown of Pacquiao in the 10th, but it was from a push, not a punch. "It made me angry," said Pacquiao at the postfight news conference before heading to Mandalay Bay to sing a concert. In the ring after the fight, referee Kenny Bayless apologized to Roach: "Freddie, I'm sorry I missed the call. Please tell Manny for me."
In the third round, a Pacquiao jab-left combination knocked Mosley down, but Pacquiao was unable to accomplish a first: knock Mosley out. The answer was not in his fists, but rather his feet. Pacquiao said after the fight, "I wanted to move, but I couldn't." In the locker room afterward, Roach said, "After Manny knocked Shane down, the fight was over. But Manny's calve then cramped up and prevented him from finishing Shane."
Strength coach Alex Ariza believed dehydration played a significant factor in the cramping: "I kept telling him to give his legs a break. It's been hotter here than we've experienced before." (The spotlighting in the dressing room on Pacquiao, with three camera crews tracking his every movement, likely did not help to keep the WBO welterweight champion hydrated.)
In addition, Ariza believes that Pacquiao's insistence on running hills constantly was a setback to his legs. "When you only run hills, hills, hills -- instead of varying roadwork with more track work and speed work -- your muscles are not going to function the same way," he said. Apart from the cramp, an eyelet of Pacquiao's custom-made shoes reportedly cut into his foot, causing it to bleed.
The weather, the hills, the entourage, his sparring partners, the poor driving skills of his security team and his custom-made Nikes all appear to have inflicted more damage on Pacquiao than any punch Shane Mosley threw the entire fight. Looking to the future, Pacquiao said, "I'm satisfied with my career. If Floyd [Mayweather] and I were to fight, it would be a great fight. But if it didn't happen, I'm satisfied with my career and wouldn't lose a moment of sleep over it."