By Lem Satterfield
LAS VEGAS -- If he's going to dethroned eight-division king, Manny Pacquiao, as WBO welterweight belt-holder on Saturday night at the MGM Grand, five-time titlist Shane Mosley must lure in Pacquiao into trading blows, take advantage of openings that Joshua Clottey did not and make adjustments to compensate for a potential loss of stamina down the stretch, said Mosley's trainer, Naazim Richardson.
The 32-year-old Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts) will be after his 14th straight victory and his ninth knockout during that run against the 39-yer-old Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), who returns to the site of a May 1, 2010 unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) during which he staggered Mayweather in the second round.
Pacquiao is coming off of respective decisions at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium over Clottey in defense of his WBO belt in March of 2010, as well as November's unanimous decision over Antonio Margarito for the since-vacated WBC junior middleweight crown.
Pacquiao suffered significant facial damage against Clottey, as well as rib damage as a result of a sixth-round body shot by Margarito, the latter, causing Pacquiao to visit a nearby hospital to have the injuries examined.
Although Mosley's past includes being a brutal body puncher, Richardson partially dismissed the scenario which led to Pacquiao's being struck, hard to left side of his rib cage by Margarito, whose punch caused Pacquiao to briefly double over in pain.
"A lot of people give a lot of credance to what Antonio Margarito did in the sixth round. But if you study the DVD closely, Pacquiao got tied up in the rope seperating the rope dividers," said Richardson, whose first fight with Mosley was a January, 2009, ninth round knockout over Margarito.
"If you go back and watch that, when Margarito hurt Pacquiao the most, Pacquiao actually had gotten caught in the ropes dividers, which ran him into the second body shot that hurt him," said Richardson. "So I don't give much credence to that because that's not a situation that Margarito created. That was a stumble on Manny Pacquiao's part."
Clottey, on the other hand, gave Richardson and Mosley some strategical things to consider.
"Joshua Clottey really, to me, showed you a lot of openings with Manny Pacquiao. Because Clottey was so defensive, a lot of times, when guy covers up like that, it pulls a guy in to start punching more," said Richardson.
"So then, they kind of start to abandon their defense," said Richardson. "So that's why Clottey got those kinds of opportunities that he got. He just didn't take full advantage of them. Shane has no option but to take advantage of that."
Richardson expects the offensive-minded Pacquiao to be available for repeated counter-shots by Mosley.
"There's never been an issue as to whether or not you can hit Manny Pacquiao. Everybody that has seen Manny Pacquiao fight has seen that guys have been able to hit him. That's never been the issue," said Richardson.
"The issue is 'Can you stop Manny Pacquiao from hitting on you all day?' That's always been the problem. If you've noticed, everybody that has boxed him has landed shots and had combinations," said Richardson. "But can you continuously do that? Because in the second half of the bouts, this guy Pacquiao's energy still is unbelievable and the other guys fade off after they were doing well."
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, is banking on Mosley's stamina fading against Pacquiao, telling BoxingScene.com, "I don't think that Shane will have the legs to stay with Manny because of the pace."
Although missed punches and a nearly 16-month layoff may have contributed to stiffness and stamina issues against the defense-oriented Mayweather, Richardson said that Mosley will compensate for any perceived disavantages in energy by making adjustments against Pacquiao.
"The problems in that fight with Mayweather should be eliminated altogether going into this fight with Pacquiao. Like I said, the opportunities that Pacquiao presents, you have to take full advantage of them," said Richardson.
"It's not that you won't find success against Pacquiao. You'll find success against Pacquiao, but he'll bite down on his mouthpiece and tuck his chin and come on through and try to turn the fight into something else," said Richardson. "So even if you're doing well, there are still going to have to be adjustments to be made. You can't get comfortable and say, 'Okay, I've got this working, I can run with this the rest of the night.' This guy Pacquiao is going to make a change."