Manny Pacquiao is truly a world wide phenomenon. I realized that when I stopped off at my local pharmacy that doubles as a liquor store by my place in Tijuana last Saturday night hours before Pacquiao won a lopsided decision over shot “Sugar” Shane Mosley in Las Vegas, NV. As a laid two twelve packs on the counter to take over to a friend’s house for the night festivities, the counter person did not hesitate to say, “Oh, you are getting ready for the fight?” I am sure she was warned of the mega fight by the numerous banners placed outside bars, pool halls and restaurants in Tijuana announcing the fight in hopes of enticing enough patrons that night to fill up each place. This is the first time that I can remember when so much hoopla has been planned in Tijuana for a fight that did not include a Mexican born or even a Mexican-American like De La Hoya. Not even when “Saul “Canelo” Alvarez have you seen so many people talk about it in the border town. Just to make sure it wasn’t in Tijuana only, I took a trip to Mexicali, MX, a three hour jaunt east. The capital city of Baja California Norte, the desert town sits right across the border from the small town of Calexico, CA. Mexicali is the hometown of former multi-time champion Jorge “Maromero” Paez, current interim WBO super welterweight champ Alfredo “Perro” Angulo and the adopted home of the Castillo brothers, Jose Luis and Ricardo among many other up and coming fighters such as Franky Leal. As I drove on the crowded streets of the crowded city, I found the same thing, the image of the Filipino Congressman with the Justin Beiber haircut, arms crossed, staring back at me. With the biggest fight of the year so far being promoted by both CBS and Showtime as part of a new agreement with Top Rank, I can only imagine the viewership of the bout was record breaking if not, pretty close to it. Too bad the fight did not live up to the hype. After all the talk, Mosley once again couldn’t put it together one last time and filed a performance which taking the massive platform this fight was on could really hurt the sport more than it helped. Unlike times before when Pacquiao has been in blow outs such as against Joshua Clottey or Antonio Margarito, there was an element of mystery in the air that was not evident against Mosley. Even with Joshua Clottey who really didn’t really do much ala Mosley, it was the first time that Pacquiao fought a natural welterweight and there was a small chance that Clottey would come out of his defense shell long enough to make it interesting. With Mosley, once he felt Pacquiao’s power in the third which sent him down to the canvas for only the third time in his long and illustrious career, it was only a matter of surviving for the rest of the bout and he never put together any two punches together let alone try to engage the smaller man in a fire fight. After the knockdown, the rounds just rolled into the same one of Pacquiao trying to close off the ring while Mosley did nothing more than paw away the Filipino’s punches and high-fiving Pacquiao to death. It looks like the much anticipated third match up between Pacquiao and Marquez is set for the fall. I might have been interested in this match up 2-3 years ago when Pacquiao was still in the lower weight classes but now that he is more than comfortable at the welterweight limit, I think it is an disadvantage for the Mexican great as well as the age difference. I think Pacquiao blows him out before nine rounds. As far as I am concerned, Mosley is done as a professional high level prizefighter and I am not interested in seeing him against any elite competition and let alone on a PPV event based on his last three bouts.
Thank God for Jorge “Travieso” Arce. I must admit that I didn’t think Arce had it in him. I must have forgotten about his courageous heart and his will to win and more importantly, his experience. Vazquez Jr. did nothing that Arce had not seen before in 60+ fights and I think that plus his huge heart gave him what he needed to win a title at 122 lbs. Now, is it a legitimate fourth title in as many divisions to become the first Mexican born fighter to achieve it? While he has conquered title in the jr. flyweight, flyweight and super flyweight divisions, two of three were interim titles so I don’t believe that this is truly his fourth title. But nonetheless, you can’t take anything away from the great performance he put together on Saturday night.