Bob Arum and Manny Pacquiao are being forced to expend a lot more energy defending their decision to fight "Splenda" Shane Mosley than the Filipino superstar had to expend actually fighting him.
In the press conferences following Pacquiao and Mosley’s sleep-inducing bout, a number of excuses have been offered by all parties involved as to why the fight went the way it did.
"Manny wasn't exactly playing tiddly winks with some of those shots that he hit Shane Mosley with," said Arum. "But this is a sport. Manny never was angry at Shane, and Shane was never angry with him. Anger should never be a part of an athletic contest."
Translation: Both of these guys liked each other and both were looking forward to their payday far more than inflicting damage to one another. Now, this is a good thing from a humanitarian point of view. Not harming others is a great pillar for everyone in society to live by aside from, you know, professional boxers.
Pacquiao, for his part, did his best to shirk responsibility for the fight, saying Mosley refused to engage:
"I'll tell you the truth, I was expecting that he would fight with me at least five rounds of the 12 rounds, to fight toe-to-toe with me so that we could test our power and our stamina, you know. But what am I going to do if my opponent does not want to fight toe-to-toe?" said Pacquiao,
"It's not my fault, that's part of the game," said Pacquiao. "Of course, I was happy that I won the fight, but like I said, my first concern is that I want the people to be satisfied. I want to make the fans happy. That's my first concern.
"I don't care if I hurt my face in the fight, or if I get a bruise or two on my face," said Pacquiao. "I want the fans to be happy in my performance."
But the Filipino superstar wasn’t done there. When questioned about the crowd ultimately turning on both fighters and booing the siesta, here is what he had to say:
"I think that they wanted to see us fight more. They wanted a good fight and to see us trading a lot of punches, and that's what I wanted. But, you know, Mosley doesn't want to fight toe-to-toe, and he started running every time I went to throw more punches."
Look, we all know that Pacquiao comes from the Top Rank/Bob Arum school of playing media mind games. He knows exactly what to say, regardless of the circumstances, to come out smelling like a rose.
The fact remains, though, that it was Pacquiao who specifically picked Mosley as his next opponent. It was Pacquiao who cramped up and couldn’t be as aggressive as he “wanted” to be during the fight. And, finally, it was Pacquiao who spurned the offers of other younger, more athletic challengers in favor of making the fight that nobody wanted to see happen.
It would be a lot easier to let Pacquiao off the hook for that debacle of a May 7 match if he hadn’t established a criminal history of fighting past-their-prime boxers en route to easy victories, but alas, that is not the case.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Pacquiao is the supposed people’s champ. Every other word out of his mouth is one that implies he cares about the people dropping $54.99 to watch his pay-per-views. If that’s the case, Manny, do something to secure the fight with Floyd Mayweather. Make the concessions. Let him be the whiny brat, while you maintain your status as the bigger man. Let him have his drug tests, his money. Heck, go wash the floors in his Las Vegas mansion if he asks you to.
Mayweather’s legacy is tarnished at this point, but he doesn’t care. For him it was always about the money and the glory, not the lasting impression he left for his fans. Manny, though, he’s supposed to be different.
But if recent history is any indicator, the two are a lot more similar than people may have given them credit for.