Don’t follow boxing very often, but you want to know the gist of Saturday’s mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley? Follow boxing all the time, and want one place that rounds up all the links about the welterweight showdown you could ever want? This Ultimate Guide to the May 7 pay-per-view bout is for you, no matter what kind you are.
As The Queensberry Rules has been covering the fight all week long, we’d be remiss not to point you to any of the six blog entries we’ve written this week. We first considered why and how the fight matters, as well as how it doesn’t; we had an Open Thread where we had a freewheeling discussion in the comments section about Pacquiao-Mosley, plus other subjects; we evaluated how the two fighters stacked up against one another, first on a physical level and then on a more mental level; I provided my prediction about how the fight would go down here; then our staff gave their predictions and assessments of the bout, among other topics discussed in a TQBR Roundtable. (Last week, I did a round-up of some Pacquiao-Mosley tidbits; read that here. Since, Rick Ross is no longer apparently going to walk to the ring with Pacquiao, who’s reportedly coming out to “Eye of the Tiger” [ugh] and Mosley’s going to come out to “Mama Said Knock You Out.” [ugh ugh])
Because this fight is on Showtime rather than HBO, there aren’t up-to-date career highlights clips for Pacquiao and Mosley like HBO would usually provide, so we’ll use some old ones just below, along with some highlight clips from both men’s recent bouts since those career retrospectives were produced. Those are probably the best things you could watch if you aren’t familiar with either man and what they’ve accomplished inside the ring. (Apparent dick move by HBO: The original Mosley career highlights clip is set to “private,” and I couldn’t find the original Pacquiao career higlights clp anywhere.) Showtime does have an admirable amount of material on YouTube, including the full episodes of all the Fight Camp 360 documentary series, which will give you the best possible sense of what each man is like outside the ring. For a full tally of each fighter’s bouts and some other data, BoxRec has them here and here.
If you’re in the United States and any of this makes you want to buy the fight, you can contact your cable or satellite provider: You’re looking at $55 for standard definition and $65 for high-definition. Tecate is offering its usual rebate, worth $25. One of the elements of this that I think might be underreported is that the bout will be streamed over the Internet, too. This is far and away the biggest boxing event ever available for purchase online. There has been some skepticism that it will be reliable, given event promoter Top Rank’s trouble with its streams in the past and a general tendency of boxing people to misunderstand demand vs. capacity, but it’s still a big deal that it’s an option. You can get set up with the stream here. It’s the same price as watching it on a standard definition broadcast. (It doesn’t appear to me that the Tecate rebate is valid for the stream, so be forewarned.) Another option: closed circuit TV, if you are in Vegas and couldn’t afford or acquire tickets, which sold out, insofar as any boxing match ever truly “sells out” what with ticket brokers and promoter set-asides and whatnot.
Let’s talk the undercard. This was going to be an excellent one, with a lightweight rematch of TQBR’s 2011 Fight of the Year between Humberto Soto-Urbano Antillon slated to potentially even upstage the main event. But Soto had a falling out with Top Rank, and now it’s off. We are left with some decent-ish scraps, so there’s no need to do a full preview. Perhaps the highlight, and there’s an asterisk to that, is Mexico’s wildly popular little warrior Jorge Arce taking on the very-but-not-wildly popular Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. in a move up to junior featherweight. Arce is running on fumes at this stage of his career and Vazquez looks like he has a future, but this could be a good brawl for a while due to the styles of both men. The asterisk is due to the somewhat worrisome trend of Arce, despite all his ring wars, taking on a fresh young contender. Then there’s the return of Kelly Pavlik, the deposed middleweight champion who was on the verge of U.S. superstardom before a decline that led him to into alcohol rehab not so long ago. His opponent, Alfonso Lopez, is undefeated and has a nice knockout record, but hasn’t fought a legit opponent outside of some extremely over-the-hill types; that he couldn’t stop the grotesquely shot Rubin Williams last year is damning, but then, Pavlik is easing his way back into things. Exciting junior welterweight prospect-cum-contender Mike Alvarado, who’s had his own drama outside the ring, rounds out the pay-per-view against Ray Nahr, who stacks up as very similar to Pavlik’s opponent except Nahr was knocked out back in 2004 by Almazbek Raiymkulov, when “Kid Diamond” mattered. Lastly, other undercard fights will be streamed free of charge by Top Rank starting at 5:30 p.m. EST, with the top names in action being junior flyweight contender Rodel Mayol and Freddie Roach-trained ultraprospect Jose Benavidez, Jr., a junior welterweight.
A couple TQBR staffers have been out there talking outside of TQBR, which is their right. It’s good stuff! Check out Gautham Nagesh writing an excellent piece here for The Atlantic about how boxing might — or might not — return to the mainstream in a big way, in a piece obviously related to this weekend’s big fight. Then you can find our Corey Erdman doing his broadcast thang for The Score here, offering some impressive insights. I also participated in a little preview over at Fight Game Blog. Our Scott Kraus, by the way, will be handling post-fight write-up duties for Pacquiao-Mosley. I’ll circle back Sunday morning with my thoughts.
Once upon a time a mainstream media article on a boxing match would have thrilled me, but it’s now commonplace. So let’s hit a highlight or two. Gordon Marino with The Wall Street Journal is always terrific, and this piece about what a supernatural athlete Pacquiao is is no exception. (I shared space with Marino over at The Wall Street Journal courtesy David Roth here.) The New York Times also writes about what makes Pacquiao special in this piece, noting his similarities with his hero Bruce Lee. USA Today has had consistent coverage, and I’m not sure which of it I enjoyed most, so howsabout a piece focusing on Mosley’s chances? The Los Angeles Times went human interest on Mosley, writing about a sad, disturbing incident where one of Mosley’s nephews died while in a car accident with him. The Associated Press has had any number of good articles, but try this one about how Pacquiao became the star he is today in the United States. The New York Daily News visits with Pavlik and his battle with alcohol. ESPN’s Fight Credential has a ton of coverage. And Yahoo’s Kevin Iole has been his usual awesome self. I’m sure there’s something I’ve left out. If you have seen any good stuff from the big boys, please post it in the comment section below.
You can watch the weigh-in live in about a million places, including ESPN.com, at 6 p.m. EST.
So, to conclude, hardcore friends: Let’s try and figure out how many pay-per-views this thing will do. I myself have little to no idea. The involvement of CBS, the distribution of Showtime and the Internet stream is so unheard of for a fight of this caliber that I simply can’t anticipate it. I don’t think we’ve received any reliable reporting on how many people have been tuning in to Fight Camp 360; is it 3 million total, 1.5 million, what? Depending on the number, it could be a good deal more than some past HBO 24/7s for Pacquiao or a good deal less than the best HBO 24/7s, which HBO claimed averaged 4.7 million viewers per episode for Floyd Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya. (And if you’re wondering about Mayweather as a future Pacquiao opponent, know that he says he’ll be watching Lady Gaga Saturday, prompting Arum to dish out this fantastic retort.) If I had to guess, I’d say 1.5 million buys, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all by a little less or substantially more.
We leave you with one of Pacquiao’s products/endorsements, which have gotten more numerous and high-profile due to Top Rank taking over negotiations for what had been a chaotic process. There are still wacky endorsements, though, between things like an HP deal. Like Pacquiao’s Produce. Or MP8 — because everybody wants to smell like a boxer.