Three weeks, three major fights (and a few others)--some showed up to do their thing, and some others forgot to.
Manny Pacquiao UD Shane Mosley [Showtime PPV]
While the bout was not as awful as many have said, it wasn't amazing by any means and I can understand the universal panning of it. Simply put: Pacquiao showed up to fight, and Mosley showed up to survive. The Filipino dominated in typical fashion, but was unable to put on the sort of hurting he has laid on previous opponents like Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. This was chiefly because Mosley, after getting knocked down in Round 3, convinced himself that he wasn't going to win and did not want to get pulled into a tit-for-tat firefight, thus jeopardizing his streak of not getting knocked-out.
And to make matters worse--he admitted it himself after the fight! It's shameful enough to see a fighter clearly fighting just to make it to the end and get a paycheck, as it often results in a lackadaisical effort as they go on their bicycle to avoid shots, but to have someone actually admit to it so soon after is indefensible. If that's the case, why should anyone even bother watching another "Sugar" Shane Mosley fight, much less shell out some money for it (and into his pocket)? I don't mince words when I say that his actions (or lack thereof) and admittance have tarnished his legacy.
On the bright side of all of this? Mosley still got his face puffed up by Pacquiao, who was hampered a bit by a persistant leg cramp, and who will also be facing arch-nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in a long-awaited third match after a disputed draw and victory twice before.
[Super Six] Andre Ward UD Arthur Abraham [Showtime]
The following week saw another dominant performance in Andre Ward's dispatching of Arthur Abraham. After being dismantled in embarrassing fashion by Andre Dirrell and Carl Froch back-to-back, the now-thoroughly dethroned King Arthur tried to depart from his "turtle shell" defense and wait-it-out gameplan and tried to be more proactive in his elimination showdown with Ward, who had long since taken his spot as tourney frontrunner.
Abraham start off well enough by taking the fight to him for the first four rounds, looking awkward at times (he is not an offense-first type of guy, remember), but doing enough to make Ward a little uncomfortable. However, Abraham seemed to get into too comfortable of a groove and began to settle back into his typical defensive shell, where Ward seized the opportunity and put on display the sizable ravine in skill between himself and his opponent.
From the mid-rounds on, the bout resembled Abraham's previous losing efforts: standing around absorbing a barrage of shots and not returning much, if any, offense. And if there was any, it mostly consisted of frustrated clubbing slaps to the sides and the occasional, wildly thrown haymaker. Ward put on a great technical show (sans the cheap old-school tactics he never needs to employ), but Abraham deserves some credit, too, for acknowledging his technical shortcomings and attempting to change his gameplan up a bit to give himself a better. He reverted back to his comfort zone, but he has shown a commitment to improving himself in a heavier, more competitive division at super middleweight--which is more than can be said of other boxers.
Next up, Ward takes on the winner of the potential barn-burner of Carl Froch-Glen Johnson in the Super Six finals…
Bernard Hopkins UD Jean Pascal [HBO]
After coming up short in controversial fashion in last December's bout, via majority draw, Bernard Hopkins took it to Jean Pascal and came out not only with his title belt, but also a slice of history, becoming the oldest fighter in boxing history to win one (46). It was similar to their first encounter, except Hopkins didn't get knocked down two times (or at all), the fighting was more intense, and the victor was more clear-cut.
While Hopkins was pulling out every veteran trick in the book, from the clean (i.e. stick-and-move, feinting) and not-so-clean (i.e. wrangling, kidney punching) to mental games (like doing his push-ups before a round started), Pascal once again failed to make use of his physical advantages and make more of fight out of it than he did. This was never more evident than in the final round, when Pascal caught Hopkins with a good, flush shot and instead of pouring on the offense when he was clearly shaken up, he stayed back and did nothing with the situation.
Lack of ring generalship and proper awareness aside, another definite problem for Pascal is his poor set of skills, where even being above-decent could have made so much of a difference in the complexion of the fight. Hopkins, as he did after his dismantling of the younger Kelly Pavlik a few years ago, offered some constructive criticism of Jean Pascal, but the Canadian, despite his honesty about his greenness and need for improvement, was far more interested in proving naysayers wrong and wanted another chance against Hopkins. Unbeknown to him, he only highlighted his immaturity as a fighter even further. It wouldn't matter how many Roman numerals you tack on the end of "Hopkins-Pascal", the outcome won't change unless the man on the end changes himself.
Chad Dawson UD Adrian Diaconu [HBO]
Nothing much to write here, other than Dawson dominating under the new tutelage of veteran trainer Emmanuel Steward. However, that is has been a major problem with Dawson: he wins (and looked a bit better here), but rarely looks particularly inspiring or impressive. Some positive things here and there, but still a big work-in-progress.
Denis Lebedev KO(10) Roy Jones, Jr.
After suffering another KO loss, one all too similar to all the others, let me put it simply: Jones should not have been cleared to fight (even if it was in Russia) and should never be allowed to fight ever again. The video footage of the stoppage is more uneasy than awe-inspiring, and the way he clutched his head did not sit well with me at all. After so many horrific KOs, he desperately needs to undergo rigourous concussion testing and MRI scans, especially after this latest one (if he hasn't already). Though I have never counted myself among his devotees, I really do wish Jones the best in his health and safety, and I hope this is will be the impetus to make him retire for good.