It was down to three fighters: Juan Manuel Marquez, Andre Berto, and Shane Mosley. A few days back Bob Arum announced that Mosley will get the chance to fight Pacquiao and 90% of the boxing world expressed their disappointment through various ways.
Let’s break down the three fighters and decipher why Mosley was selected. To make things easier to understand, I’ll list down a bunch of factors then I’ll rate how the three candidates would rank.
At the end of the day, boxing is a business. People turn to boxing to earn money. Nobody in their proper minds would want to undergo weeks of rigid training and take and dish out punishment for 36 minutes for shits and giggles. All fighters want to be paid and paid well. He maybe hella old for a fighter but Mosley has sold more pay-per-views than Marquez, and Berto has never headlined a pay-per-view. Mosley also has a wider fanbase and because he is an American, he can promote the fight better than Marquez who speaks mostly in Spanish (English clearly isn’t one of Dinamita’s strengths).
Marquez and Mosley both asked for 5 million while Berto asked for 3.5 million. All of them also asked for a share in the pay-per-view buys. If Marquez asked for a lower amount than Mosley, I think he could have landed the fight but Arum knew that Mosley will sell more pay-per-views than Marquez. It’s true that many boxing purists think Pacquiao-Marquez is the better match but the problem is that this doesn’t mean it will sell as much as Pacquiao-Mosley. Arum is banking on pay-per-view buys from casual boxing fans, the kind of fans who haven’t seen Mosley-Mora to buy the pay-per-view because he thinks that hardcore boxing fans will buy any card with Pacquiao in it. The fact of the matter is that Mosley is a household name in the US, Marquez is not.
I’m sure the last thing Arum wants to see is another Pacquio-Joshua Clottey fight. Arum knows that Pacquiao needs a good dance partner to make money. Marquez has proven in the past that he can give the featherweight and super featherweight versions of Pacquiao all he can handle. It’s is not against common sense to think that Marquez poses the biggest threat to Pacquiao. However, Pac-Man underwent a ton of changes after their two fights. He’s now a more dangerous fighter who can hurt his opponents with either hand. The Pacquiao that Marquez fought relied heavily on his left straight. He only used his right to jab as a prelude to the straight left. Berto is an unknown. He is undefeated and he knocked out his last opponent in the first round. However, he’ll be taking a considerable step up in competition is he faces Pacquiao. A Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy will be highly acceptable to the public on the merits of their first two fights.
Berto has been feasting on Class C fighters while Pacquiao is a Class A. But there’s an added storyline wherein the hungry young lion aims to dethrone the king of the pride. The young undefeated champion versus the battle-tested veteran is one of the most effective promotional strategies in boxing. Mosley will bring an exciting fight because he has a sturdy chin and he has handspeed and power. However, this is not the perception of most boxing enthusiasts because of the results of his past two fights.
Pre-Fight Buzz Ranking:
Another factor that will convince the audience to buy the fight is if they feel the opponent can beat Pacquiao. Although a Marquez fight could be fun, at this stage of their careers, he will not beat Pacquiao, specially in the welterweight division. Berto can give Pacquiao a pretty good fight but as I’ve said above, he isn’t a proven entity. I think he could use a bit of seasoning. If Berto faces and beats a Top 5 welterweight, he’ll definitely be the best choice for Pacquiao after Mosley. Even if he is old and his speech is kind of slurred, Mosley is still a dangerous fighter. His chin is made of granite and although his speed has diminished, the power is still there. Do I think Mosley will beat Pacquiao? No. Can he pose problems for Pacquiao? Definitely.
Even if I think Mosley is the most dangerous, a win over him won’t add much to Pacquiao’s legend. Mosley will always be known as a fighter who was coming off a loss and a draw before fighting Pacquiao. Berto, on the other hand, will give Pacquiao’s résumé something new. After he was named the best fighter in the planet, Pacquiao has not fought an undefeated fighter. Untested or not, Berto is still an undefeated world champion and that should account for something. A convincing win over Marquez will be the most remembered even if it won’t be the hardest to achieve. Their two fights were classics and if Pacquiao proves once and for all that me is better than Marquez, then his legend will grow even further.
Why I would have picked Berto
Joshua Clottey wasn’t a well-known fighter either but the pay-per-view numbers in the Pacquiao-Clottey match were okay. In m estimation, a Pacquiao-Berto fight will get, at the very least, as much buys as Pacquiao-Clottey. It will surely get more if HBO gives them a 24/7 series and even if it doesn’t get as much as what Mosley and Marquez will get, the fact that his purse was 1.5 million less that the two should have persuaded Arum to pick Berto.
I think Berto will be good enough to give Pacquiao a good challenge although he will ultimately lose to the Philippine dynamo. However, a good performace by Berto will be good for boxing because even if he loses, he will gain respect if the young gun shows toughness against Pacquiao. Boxing will definitely not benefit from a Pacquiao-Mosley match because the latter is old. Marquez-Pacquiao would have been fun but I seriously do not understand those complaining about picking Mosley and suggesting that Marquez was the better choice. If you put Marquez and Mosley against each other at welterweight, I’ll have my money on Mosley. So whining about Mosley then saying that Pacquiao should face Marquez is ludicrous, in my opinion.
Mosley was selected because of his drawing power. He is still the most well known among the three and he also is the biggest draw. Arum want to think that the loss to Floyr Mayweather and the draw with Sergio Mora were just bumps along the way for Mosley. Another factor was than Mosley is a free agent. He would not have been picked if he was under Golden Boy Promotions.
All of this stuff could have been averted if only one Floyd Mayweather put his money (pun intended) where his mouth is.
PS: I don’t get why other writers are saying that this fight is for money and not for country. Can’t it be both for money and country? Pacquiao has always fought for the money. Boxing is prize fighting for chrissake. You fight for a prize.
Pacquiao has been representing us very well for a while now. He has been a bright spot in an otherwise dim country. He’s been giving back to the people, specially in the provinces. Who are we to whine just because we don’t like the fighter he’ll take on next? We’ve all become spoiled little brats. We’ve gotten so used to him taking on the most difficult fights that we lose our minds when we found out he’d fight a 39 year old guy. If anything, I think Pacquiao deserves a fight off. His opponents kept on getting better and stronger and he deserves to fight a medium-risk, high-reward boxer in Mosley.