Last night, May 7, 2011, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the man widely regarded as the greatest boxer on Earth, Manny Pacquiao, showed once again why he is exactly that by dominating Shane Mosley over 12 rounds.
The fight, although highly anticipated (if, for nothing else, the return of Pacquiao), disappointed in larger circles due to its lack of competitiveness. From our very own Patrick L. Stumberg:
After a decent couple rounds that saw the aging veteran find success with a jab and tight guard, Mosley was sent to the canvas in the third by the Filipino wrecking ball and never recovered.
While Shane survived the remaining rounds, he generated practically no offense, aside from a shove, which was rather grievously mislabeled a knockdown, and he was repeatedly on the wrong end of a wicked left straight.
As is the case with most discussions of combat sports these days, the "rivalry" between boxing and MMA reared its ugly head once again.
Fight fans that plunked down their hard-earned cash to catch the Pacquiao vs. Mosley pay-per-view (PPV) were treated to one of the pound-for-pound best in the world plying his trade, in his prime, against a man who, while outclassed and not expected to win, was at least worthy opposition.
But that's not good enough when compared to the UFC ... at least not to some.
In a scathing piece for CBSSports.com, Gregg Doyel explains why the biggest boxing shows anymore are "the best advertisement for the UFC."
Only the biggest boxing fights get our attention, and when a big one finally comes around -- as it did Saturday when Manny Pacquiao fought Shane Mosley -- we watch it or read about it. And we are reminded:
This is why the UFC is moving ahead of boxing.
If you watched Mosley run from Pacquiao for 12 rounds, you know what I'm talking about. If you didn't, here you go. Those are the "highlights," such as they are. It's Pacquiao moving forward, and Mosley moving backward. It's one fighter trying his best not to get knocked out, and to that end, Mosley succeeded. Pacquiao took the unanimous decision, sweeping every round on two of the three judges' cards, but Mosley did what he wanted to do. He survived 12 rounds. In a sense, he won.
Boxing almost always loses on a night like this, because the fight rarely lives up to the hype.
Doyle goes on to explain that the hierarchy in boxing is laughable in comparison to mixed martial arts because all of the top boxers in the world today are at least 32 years of age and older.
MMA is a young mans game and it's killing boxing, or so he claims.
This point is driven home even further when mixed martial arts fans take a flyer on a boxing match, such as Pacquiao vs. Mosley, because of the hype it generates in the combat sports world.
Those fans that took a chance were treated to a match-up that was not competitive and wasn't exactly full of action and excitement.
And while boxing purists dispute that fact and build up the legitimacy of such a bout, the point remains: when compared to MMA, of which it no doubt will be, it doesn't seem to hold up.
And here I'll entertain the other side, just to squash it. I'll entertain the argument that the best MMA fighter in the world, UFC 170-pound champion Georges St. Pierre, has been unable to finish his past four opponents, or five of his past six. And it's true. But when GSP fights on pay-per-view, we're not spending $44.99 just to watch GSP. We get six or seven other fights, and to use GSP's most recent appearance on April 30 as an example, one of those fights ended when Lyoto Machida knocked out Randy Couture with a foot to the face. Another fight ended in 20 seconds when Vladimir Matyushenko knocked out Jason Brilz with an uppercut. Four other fights ended in the first round, the finishes coming so fast, one after another, that the UFC was able to squeeze in fights from the unaired portion of the card between the live fights on the PPV schedule.
That's MMA. That's the UFC. Fights end so quick, they have to show you more.
He is correct in his assertion that UFC 129 featured a bevy of interesting fights that ended in spectacular manner. He even left out the fact that the entire card, from the opening bout to the main event, was available for viewing in some capacity.
From Pablo Garza's flying triangle submission over Yves Jabouin to John Makdessi's spinning back fist knockout of Kyle Watson and on up to Lyoto Machida's flying front kick knockout of Randy Couture, the April 30 event at the Rogers Centre in Toronto had it all.
The same can not be said of the "Pacquiao vs. Mosley" event, at least not as far as exciting finishes go. That doesn't mean it didn't have plenty of incredible action.
It should be noted that the Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. vs. Jorge Arce super bantamweight bout was an amazing title fight and one I hope Doyle witnessed so as to get the full scope of the event.
Let's go back to Stumberg for his commentary on the co-main event:
Pre-emptively making up for the main event were super bantamweights Jorge Arce and Wilfredo Vázquez, Jr., who engaged in a spectacular back-and-forth slugfest that lived up to the great Mexico-Puerto Rico battles of the past.
The undefeated Vázquez, who entered the ring with a third of the experience and wear-and-tear of the veteran Arce, went toe-to-toe with his Mexican foe and even dropped him with an absolutely perfect left hook at the end of the fourth.
Arce came back with a vengeance, forcing a lively Vázquez into the ropes and outlasting him in a brilliant slugfest that saw the elder Vázquez throw in the towel with two minutes remaining in the fight.
An incredible upset and well worth the price of admission.
Indeed, Arce put together an incredible display of heart and grit that surely electrified those that had the chance to see it.
Is it fair to continually compare boxing to MMA? Sure ... but it's also a bit nearsighted and while they share the common bond of both falling under the umbrella of a combat sport, there are intricacies in both that are often unappreciated by viewers looking for something to harp on.
Is that what Doyle is doing? Maybe. Maybe not.
But his opinion is shared by many; enough to say that MMA, the fastest growing sport in the world, has grown past one of the great pastimes in sports, boxing.
Agree or disagree?