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List of Articles by Rich Mazon


 

GENTLEMEN OF THE RING

By Rich Mazon
PhilBoxing.com
15 Feb 2011



NEW YORK -- Manny Pacquiao does not like trash talking. Shane Mosley does not like trash talking. That's why when the two gladiators faced off on their promo tour Monday morning at Chelsea Piers, the boxer from the Philippines can't control his laughter and Mosley can't help but smile back.

Long recognized in its brutality in and out of the ring, boxing is a sport where fights are made not only inside the ring but outside too. Hence the trash talking pre, during and sometimes even after the fight. The chaos at weigh-ins, the name callings, the tauntings. It sets up the mind set, the warrior mentality between the two pugilists and their camps during training as they focus on their foe during the heavy days of training. It also is good publicity. It drives up public interest in the fight. People take sides and mostly people take either the underdog or the nice guy.

Muhammad Ali was good at this. During the Ali-Frazier trilogy, Ali was even criticized for going too far when he attacked Frazier personally by calling him names and likening him to an ape. A stunt Frasier does not forget up to this day. Yet , Ali admitted that all is done not to maligned him but to promote the fight. The good versus bad guy platform is always a good sell on any sports. More so in a sport as physical as boxing. And sometimes hype is injected by people around the sport on a particular fight to drum up ticket sales, PPV sales and just general interest for the fight.

But not for this fight. there will be no bad guys in this. unless of course one comes up with a derogatory comment on the other fighter or people associated with them. Think of Margarito mocking Freddie Roach's Parkinson's symptoms when he fought Pacquiao last November. That brought an onslaught of backlash on him prompting his team to apologize right away. It was classless but it was also good publicity for the fight. Not only was he the guy caught with hand wraps, he was also one who has no sympathy for the ailing trainer of his opponent. Bad guy persona complete, good guy mission for Pacquiao defined.

But as people who observe both Pacquiao and Mosley know, not only are they careful with their hands in the ring, they also are careful with what they say. Both of them had been the targets of the well documented tirades of Floyd Mayweather, a rival boxer of the two. But they both choose not to answer the derogatory and racially injected comments of Mayweather, first at Mosley during their May 2010 fight and at Pacquiao during the latter part of the year via the Internet. Pacquiao not only declined to comment back at Mayweather and even wished him luck in all his legal woes when he asked about it.

And that will be the mood of this fight, two guys who don't hate each other beating on each other. Two genuinely likable guys who will try to sell us fans a fight that is devoid of hatred, of antagonism of malice. But it still is a fight. The brutality come fight night will be there. The excitement around their camps leading to the fight will be there. The action both perceived and displayed will definitely be there. But this time it's not personal. It's just a job. And in a personal sport like boxing, where sportsmanship isn't a required character. This trait might be exhibited when the final bell rings. That indeed is a refreshing change.


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