Pacquiao is on a streak of six victories against larger opponents: a ninth-round TKO of David Diaz for the lightweight title in June 2008; an emphatic ninth-round stoppage of Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008 that sent the Golden Boy into retirement; an awesome second-round starching of Ricky Hatton for the junior welterweight crown in May 2009; a TKO of Miguel Cotto in the most lucrative fight of 2009; and back-to-back lopsided decisions against Clottey and Margarito in 2010. With each successive outing, the Filipino seems to be getting better and better. He's not just bringing his punch up with him, but he's also absorbing opponents' shots more effectively.
Mosley, who is 2-2-1 in his last five fights, is coming off a one-sided loss to Mayweather and a lackluster draw with Mora -- but he's never looked as good against defensive movers of their ilk. ("Poor matchmaking on his side," said Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, of the Mora fight.) Theoretically at least, a smaller, offensive-minded fighter like Pacquiao is tailor-made for Mosley's "power boxing" philosophy.
Pacquiao's blinding hand speed has proved difficult for opponents in any division, but it's the foot speed that enables the southpaw to create impossible punching angles while seamlessly transitioning to defense. (Said Cotto: "I didn't see where the punches were coming from.") While his right hand was once merely a table-setter for the crushing left, Pacquiao has evolved into essentially an ambidextrous puncher whose oppressive punch volume keeps opponents on their heels. Mosley's speed still ranks among the best in the sport, but both Mayweather and Mora exposed a fighter whose reflexes are undeniably on the wane.
Roach, a four-time Trainer of the Year, is one of the game's best corner men whose teaming with Pacquiao is becoming one of boxing's historic fighter-trainer partnerships. Mosley has been working with Naazim Richardson, a similarly respected trainer who's overseen Bernard Hopkins' late-career resurgence. Advantage to Pacquiao, but only by the slimmest of margins.
Instinctively, there are questions about Pacquiao's motivation, and whether all of his non-boxing commitments will compromise his attention. But those same distractions were present during the build-up to his fights with Hatton, Cotto, Clottey and Margarito ... and we all remember how those worked out. Pacquiao seems to feed off the chaos, benefiting from powers of compartmentalization that are without parallel.