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MORRIS EAST

 

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Special to the Filipino Reporter

When thousands of Filipino boxing fans converge in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas for Manny Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title match against former three-division champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley on May 7 at the MGM Grand, former light welterweight champion Morris East will have already settled in.

The 36-year-old native of Olongapo City, Philippines has been based in Sin City since 2002, working as a trainer and coach.

Reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) light welterweight title holder Zab Judah is among the boxers he currently coaches.

Just like most experts in the boxing community, East feels that the 39-year-old Mosley (46-6-1, 39 knockouts) of Pomona, California is out of his depth against the 32-year-old fighting Congressman Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KO) from General Santos City.

“It’s going to be tough fight, though. But from my point of view, I feel it’s going to be ‘Pacman’ [who wins],” said East, who stopped Akinobu Hiranaka in 1992 to win the World Boxing Association (WBA) light welterweight title — a fight that earned the Ring Magazine’s Knockout of the Year accolade that year.

East said that he feels Mosley is way past his prime.

“Mosley has slowed down a bit. He’s not the same compared to his younger years.”

East, who retired in 1995 with a record of 20-4 (12 KO), said that the likelihood is that Pacquiao will stop Mosley for the first time in his career, although he still sees a bit of hope for the underdog.

“If he’s (Mosley) able to keep up with Pacquiao’s speed and get to start out the round first, then he’ll have the advantage.”

If the rest of the boxing world believes that Pacquiao has nothing left to prove, East is in the minority.

Despite Pacquiao laying claim to championships in eight divisions, East feels that Pacquiao is only the second greatest Filipino boxer of all time, behind 1920s flyweight great Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guilledo.

 

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World boxing champion and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao (l.) with his trainer Freddie Roach in Baguio City on March 23.  (Reuters/Erik de Castro)

 

“Villa had over 100 wins and he really made history first, being a Filipino and Asian,” said East. “He basically broke barriers.”

Still, while East probably would have preferred to see Pacquiao-Mosley five years ago, he can’t help but look forward to the high-profile event.

“I get excited and proud, especially since I also paved the way for young boxers to strive to become famous,” said East.

“Also, I get to see all the other boxers, past and new. It’s like a fraternity reunion.”

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Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News and the Filipino Reporter newspaper.

He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com

Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ryansongalia

 

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Shane Mosley (l.) talks with a reporter as trainer Nazim Richardson tapes his hands during a workout in front of the media at his high-altitude training facility in Big Bear Lake, California on April 12.  (AP photo/Reed Saxon)