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Dublin: -2°C Sunday 11 April 2021
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Pacman power far from sweet for Sugar Shane

It might be a bridge too far for ageing Mosely but the Las Vegas bout with Manny Pacquaio tonight is a must-watch.

Image: Julie Jacobson/AP/Press Association Images

THOUGH TONIGHT WILL give fans plenty of boxing action, a paradise of pugilism if you will, all eyes will again be focussed on Las Vegas for one of the biggest fights of the year so far.

However, one of the men who will take to the ring in the main event at the MGM Grand tonight could do a lot worse than cast an eye to another of tonight’s fights, as a warning for what may happen if he’s not careful.

‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley takes on Manny Pacquaio in a welterweight contest with his status as a great boxer set in stone.  One of the best lightweights of his generation, Mosley went unbeaten through his first 38 fights, and since then he has overcome the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Antonio Margarito.  However, he has won only eight of his last 16 contests and though he has never been knocked out, Mosley is beginning to look like a fighter who should hang up the gloves for good and for his own good.

Another fighter who most definitely falls into that category, and regrettably has done for a long time, is Evander Holyfield.  ‘The Real Deal’ medalled at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, but 27 years later he is still a full-time professional.

Ahead of his fight with Brian Nelson tonight, it is clear to see how Holyfield’s health has deteriorated.  In the ring his reflexes are slow, his movements plodding and outside of it, alarmingly, his speech slurs.  He should not be fighting, simply, and that he is allowed to do so is ridiculous.

Sugar

Shane Mosley does not suffer from the same problems, thankfully, but his skills have diminished and at the age of 39 he should be strongly urged to hang up his gloves.

By now he should be retired, working as a pundit or on the after-dinner circuit, or doing anything he so chooses.  For that matter, following substantial career earnings (he is set to earn $5m from tonight alone) he shouldn’t need to do anything if that is what he wants.

Questions about his wellbeing already being asked, and to put Shane in against a strong, quick opponent seems a terrible decision on behalf of his management.

While a great performance and win by Mosley tonight would prove his doubters wrong (yours truly included), I just can’t see it happening.  This contest will almost certainly be one-sided, perhaps dangerously so.  Shane has never been knocked out, but pride in that fact could keep him on his feet for longer than necessary tonight.

Mosley’s management, who are putting him into the ring tonight, will also need to take him out just as quickly if needs be.  I also hope they cast an eye towards Evander Holyfield and realises what can go wrong if he doesn’t bow out gracefully before it’s too late.

He owes boxing nothing.

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If Pacquaio-Mosley is tonight’s main course, then the International Heavyweights Prizefighter event in London is a more-than-adequate appetiser.

The quality of the event has been diluted somewhat with the withdrawal of three of its best competitors, but for the honorary Irishman taking part tonight, overall victory could be a massive career boost.

Based in Cork but originally from Cuba, Mike Perez has fought 11 of his 13 professional fights here in Ireland.  None of his opponents are recognisable but to hardcore fans – his most notable achievement was 2 wins on the same night in Limerick 12 months ago.

Tonight he requires three wins in the one evening, but if he manages to do that, then Perez will instantly become one of the most recognised heavyweights in these islands.

Perez is the bookies’ favourite tonight but he faces a tough night regardless.  Among his potential opponents are former British champion Michael Sprott, unbeaten Romanian Lucian Bot and knockout-specialist Tye Fields of Canada.  None are great fighters, but all pack a punch.

This particular Prizefighter may lack somewhat in quality, but it will be entertaining, and as Audley Harrison and Willie Casey can testify, overall victory can transform a fighter’s career.

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Also tonight Sebastian Sylvester and Karo Murat are both in action in a bill in Germany and, as I’ve already outlined, Evander Holyfield headlines a card in Denmark which is probably best missed.

Kelly Pavlik fights Alfonso Lopez and Jorge Arce is in action against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in two interesting bouts, both of which are on the Pacquaio-Mosley card in Las Vegas.  Before all of that, on Saturday afternoon, Mullingar’s John Joe Nevin will fight for Paris United in the World Series of Boxing Final against The Astana Arlans – that takes place this afternoon Irish time.

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Invite you mates around and make sure the fridge is full – it’s going to be great.

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Tributes have poured in for the late Henry Cooper this week, and rightly so.  Boxing’s only Knight passed away on Monday, two days shy of his 77th birthday.

As virtually every broadcaster has told you this week, Cooper is best known for his two fights against Muhammad Ali – in 1963 he floored the then Cassius Clay in the fourth round of their bout at Wembley Stadium, and it looked like the young American was on the rocks.

The urban legend that Clay’s trainer Angelo Dundee ripped open his man’s glove, forcing the need for a replacement and thus giving Clay more time is not true, but the trainer did use smelling salts to revive his boxer, which was illegal.

It was also enough to wake Clay who would go on to win the fight in the next round.

Rather than remembering a defeat though, I’m going to share with you one of the finest knockouts to ever occur in a British ring.  In 1959 Cooper won his first British Title with a stunning stoppage of Joe Erskine in the third of their five fights.  To quote another late great, Harry Carpenter, Erskine was left “arched like a bow over the bottom rope.”

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Prominent British promoter ‘Meaty’ Mick Hennessy has been hit with two significant blows this week.

His most notable fighter, Carl Froch, has defected to Matchroom (run by Barry and Eddie Hearn) in a move that will lead to legal wrangling, but also better television exposure for Froch who certainly deserves it.

Just 24 hours later, the British Board of Boxing Control then took away Hennessy’s right to stage the much-anticipated British Heavyweight Title Fight between Derek Chisora and Tyson Fury.  The Board decided his proposed venue of Marbella in Spain wasn’t satisfactory, though why exactly this is the case is unclear.  In 2007, Brian Magee and Tony Oakey contested the British Light Heavyweight at the Point in Dublin.

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This Week In Boxing History

Since I lead this article by speaking about Shane Mosley, it’s only right that I laud Manny Pacquaio at this point.

He is after all the best fighter in the world today.  To underline my point about the dangers of an off-key boxer taking on the dangerous PacMan, this week marked the second anniversary of his fight against Ricky Hatton.

The fight would only last two rounds, but in the same ring that he will be in action tonight, Manny showed his devastating ability by flooring the Mancunian three times.  The final punch of the fight, a clinical knockout, is genuinely chilling but brilliant at the same time.

Hatton would never fight again.

Watch here

About the author:

Gavin Grace

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