Sugar Shane Mosley, far right, watches the official weigh-in of Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao in December 2008. The Filipino superstar clobbered De La Hoya via a technical knockout. At center is Bernard Hopkins. Pacquiao and Mosley will fight in Las Vegas on May 7.  (AP file photo)


MANILA — Manny Pacquiao will surely be installed a heavy favorite when bookmakers line up the odds in his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title defense against Sugar Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 7, but bettors are warned not to take the challenger too lightly.

Mosley, at 39, is seven years older than Pacquiao but has logged three less bouts than the Filipino icon even as he turned pro two years earlier in 1993.

From a wear-and-tear standpoint, Mosley could be less battered than most fighters his age.

To be sure, Mosley faded in the late rounds against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. last May, but hung tough to take the 11th and 12th stanzas to salvage a draw with Sergio Mora last September.

There was no clear indication that Mosley acted his age in the Mora fight which the disbelieving HBO TV commentators felt Sugar Shane won easily.

Whether Mosley will find it difficult fighting a southpaw like Pacquiao is not certain.

In 2007, Mosley floored left-handed Luis Collazo once and breezed to a win by unanimous decision in Las Vegas despite the New Yorker being 10 years younger.

But in 2004, southpaw Winky Wright outpointed Mosley twice, first by a unanimous decision and second by a majority verdict.

Mosley has lost only to four opponents — Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Wright twice and Vernon Forrest twice — in compiling a 46-6-1 record.

Only Wright was a southpaw.

In contrast, Pacquiao has lost thrice — to Rustico Torrecampo, Medgen 3-K Battery and Erik Morales.

The defeats to Torrecampo and Medgen were flukes, while Pacquiao rebounded from bowing to Morales by knocking out the Mexican twice to cap their trilogy.

What makes Mosley a dangerous opponent is he hits hard with either hand, he has stylish moves with decent speed, and his 74-inch wingspan is the widest of any previous Pacquiao foe.

After Mosley disposed of Antonio Margarito in early 2009, Ring Magazine writer Eric Raskin described him as the “baddest” man in the welterweight division.

“Sugar Shane is arguably just as fast as Pacquiao, probably hits harder, is definitely bigger and stronger, and has just as much superfight experience,” wrote Raskin.

“Pacquiao beating Mosley would be every bit as profound a feat as Henry Armstrong beating Barney Ross, Michael Spinks beating Larry Holmes or Ray Leonard beating Marvin Hagler...and think what those wins did for those fighters’ legacies.”

Raskin even quoted trainer Freddie Roach as saying, “It’s the best fight style-wise because both guys are fast, they both like to exchange.”

Raskin said, “although Pacquiao is the younger man and has the advantage of being a lefty, enough advantages lie with Mosley that he figures to enter the fight as the favorite...Mosley can go wow-for-wow with Pacquiao in terms of speed and power (and) that spells serious danger.”

Graham Houston, writing in Boxing Monthly, said Mosley’s father and former trainer Jack called Sugar Shane’s style “power boxing — classy moves backed up by authoritative hitting.”

Against Collazo, Mosley got caught by a straight left in an unguarded moment during the second round.

Houston said it was no problem.

“Fighters such as Mosley have been in so many big bouts that they do not lose composure just because the other man has had a good round,” he said.

“Mosley came out fast and hard in the third and his experience and sheer vibrancy was already starting to overwhelm Collazo.”

While Mosley’s power usually comes from the right hand, his left packs a wallop, too.

In the Oscar De La Hoya rematch in 2003, Mosley used a left hook to stun the Golden Boy in the first round and set the tone for the rest of the fight.

Mosley beat De La Hoya twice — in 2000 and 2003, both on points.

Mosley said he’s the type of fighter who prefers to engage than hit and run.

“People that know the way I fight and have sparred with me know, the more heat you bring, the more heat you get back on you,” said Mosley, quoted by Gregory Leon in Boxing Digest.

“The more you throw at me, the harder you’ll get hit. When you bring the heat, that heat gets brought back to you — doubled. When I go to the body, I go to the body more like Roberto Duran with a relentless attack. I know how to counter and go to the body. I think that at this point of my career, it’s not the title that defines Sugar Shane. Sugar Shane defines the titles. I’m a household name and people know who Sugar Shane is and it’s like I said, I make the titles more than they make me.”

Mosley may not be as marketable an opponent as Mayweather but he’ll be handful for Pacquiao when they finally square off.

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