By Chris Robinson
It's fight week in Las Vegas and everybody is giving their predictions for this Saturday's big showdown between WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and former five-time champion 'Sugar' Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Just like any fight in the sport, everyone seems to have a heavy opinion as to whether the scintillating champion will be able to pull off another virtuoso performance or whether the 39-year old Mosley has one great fight left in him.
One man with a rather unique view on the fight, and an individual who is certainly qualified to give an accurate assessment of Pacquiao's skills, is undefeated welterweight contender Shawn Porter, who just finished up his second camp as one of the chief sparring partners to the Filipino idol. Porter was brought into Manny's camp in the fall of 2009 for his eventual 12th round TKO over Miguel Cotto and the two men seemed to have an instant bond with one another during their time in Baguio in the Philippines.
As for this particular go round, the Akron, Ohio charge insists that it was more of the same.
"It's been a great camp. It's been fun. Just hard work, ya know?" Porter recently reflected to me.
A training camp is actually a precious thing and fighters often grow close to one another after preparing each other for battle and pushing one another to the limit. But when asked about what has stood out about Pacquiao during his two stints with the 32-year old, Porter reels off an expected yet refreshing response.
"I would say more than anything, like everybody else would tell you, he's just a really nice guy, really humble. And just a lot of love of love in his heart. He's a big kid, likes to have fun, and we connect really well on that level because I'm a big kid too," he continued.
And as far as his intangibles as a fighter, Porter there too shows his praise.
"He's a great fighter," he continued. "Definitely one of the best fighters I have ever been in the ring with. I'm 18-0 as a pro now and being in the ring with him, it's just so competitive. I think just his style alone; he's a southpaw, he moves quick, uses a lot of different angles, and I think that alone, it's really hard to make adjustments in the ring. I think that's one thing that makes him really successful."
Mosley is far from a pushover given his body of work and legitimate power yet Pacquiao's run in the sport in recent times has taken people back to the point that very few are inclined to pick against him. Count Porter in with the vast majority who has great respect for Shane, but not enough to call for the upset.
"I look for Manny to use his speed and his quickness and just use those different angles to create different punches," said Porter. "I think he's going to wear Mosley down but I don't think he's going to stop Mosley. Mosley's a veteran and he's still dangerous at forty. I think Manny will win."
As for his own personal career, Porter is coming off of a very solid ten-round decision this past February over Benin, West Africa native Anges Adjaho, a man who has been in the ring with the likes of Mark Melligen, Antonio DeMarco, and former WBA lightweight champion Miguel Acosta. Porter was in control nearly every round against his lanky counterpart and came away with much confidence after his latest outing.
"That was a really great fight for me. A tough opponent and I stayed focused the whole fight. We were very happy, my team was very happy and pleased with how I performed in that fight," Porter said.
The 23-year old noted that he doesn't have any fights lined up on the horizon but says that he is looking at dates with ESPN and Showtime in the near future.