LAS VEGAS -- It's fight night here at a sold-out MGM Grand arena, where the buzz for Manny Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title defense against Shane Mosley has picked up considerably since earlier in the week. Pacquiao closed as a 9:1 favorite and has a very strong (and vocal) Filipino presence.
A smattering of boos mixed in with the cheers when Jimmy Lennon Jr. introduces Mosley. Pacquiao a clear fan-favorite coming in.
And here comes Pacquiao. Survivor's Jimi Jamison singing "Eye of the Tiger" Now that's kind of cool, too.
Nice rendition of "God Bless America" by Jamie Foxx. Foxx is a big fight guy.
A quick happy birthday to Blog Contributor Cheapo Tony, who at one point this week instructed me to put his newborn daughter's college fund on Mosley. As Blog readers know, Cheapo Tony is never, ever right.
Before we get started, a quick update on the undercard:
Welterweight contender Mike Alvarado (30-0) picked up a third round TKO over Ray Nahr after Nahr could not answer the bell in the fourth round. A Top Rank spokesman said Nahr (25-2) was vomiting and had diarrhea last night. Yes, I just wrote that.
Kelly Pavlik made his return to the ring after a 13-month absence while he battled an alcohol problem. Pavlik looked a little rusty against unheralded Alfonso Gomez. Fighting at 168-pounds, the former middleweight champion struggled to put together combinations and was, at times, outworked by the light hitting Gomez. Pavlik won a majority decision but looks a long way away from being ready for Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler or any of the top super middleweight contenders.
Jorge Arce-Wilfredo Vazquez was predicted to be the most exciting fight on the undercard. And it didn't disappoint. Arce, 31, turned back the clock on the 26-year old Vazquez, surviving a fourth round knockdown and standing toe-to-toe with the WBO junior featherweight champion until the 12th round, when he unleashed a relentless assault. Vazquez's corner threw in the towel (a water bottle, actually) less than a minute in, giving Arce his first title in the 122-pound division.