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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Showdown 06.23.09: Better Opponent for Pacquiao

It is time once again for another Showdown, the column dedicated to having two opponents slug it out for superiority. This week we have Miguel Cotto taking on Shane Mosley over who is the better opponent for Manny Pacquiao this fall. We'll weigh both the commercial and boxing aspects of the opponents and determine who is more beneficial for the career of the Filipino sensation.
So let's get into it…

Miguel Cotto

PROS: Undoubtedly, Miguel Cotto presents the most lucrative fight for Pacquiao. Pacquiao is no doubt the bigger star but Cotto brings his own group of fans to the table that is matched by few in the sport. Their's a reason Cotto/Margarito was televised on HBO PPV whereas Mosley/Margarito was televised on the cheaper alternative. It also brings up an interesting point of Pacquiao who has built up a decent fan base among Mexican fans due to his penchant for fighting many of Mexico's finest. Could the same thing happen for Pacquiao towards the Puerto Rican contingent if he beats their hero?

CONS: While Mosley is the current Welterweight champion, it's questionable whether he poses as big a risk to Pacquiao as Cotto does. This is not to say Mosley is some type of slouch but the fact is Pacquiao is in a league of his own right now and it seems the only thing that's going to bring him down is a naturally bigger power puncher. That could be Cotto. He's not as technically sound as Mosley but he's the heavier handed fighter and it seems his body attack is a much bigger threat to Manny than Mosley's gameplan.

Shane Mosley

PROS: As mentioned, Mosley represents a safer choice among the current Welterweight crop. Not to take away from his brilliant performance against Margarito but he's not nearly as fast as Pacquiao and it doesn't appear that his power represents a huge threat to Pacquiao as other Welterweight's would. He also brings the lineal championship with him and that only furthers Pacquiao's legacy if he can wrest it away from him. The idea that he could be the reigning champion in two different classes has to be appealing to his promotional team.

CONS: After two super fights with DLH and Hatton, does Mosley vs. Pacquiao carry the same appeal? While Pacquiao is a superstar who basically guarantees 500,000 plus buyrates at this point in his career does he really want to take a step back in fighting a fighter whose never fought on PPV without a bigger star attached to it? Mosley doesn't carry the same weight and it seems unlikely this fight could break 800,000 where a Cotto fighter has a far greater chance. If Pacquiao is serious about retiring in the foreseeable future, he will probably want his money as soon as possible and Cotto does that.


As a boxing fan, I want to see Cotto vs. Pacquiao but let's be honest Mosley is less dangerous and carries the historical weight of bringing the championship to the table. Pacquiao is enough of a superstar that he will guarantee a hefty purse regardless of the opponent so why risk your status against a power puncher when you could fight a speed fighter who does not match your own speed?

Take the historical value and run with it. Mosley may be the bigger man but it doesn't appear likely he can really hurt Pacquiao. My advice, go for the history and take the Welterweight belt and then look for a bigger super fight in the spring when the economy is somewhat better and you could break a million buyrates.

Until then, see ya next week!


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