Pacquiao ready to fight Mosley and then sing

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Pacquiao ready to fight Mosley and then sing

May 7, 2011

LAS VEGAS (AP) Ask Shane Mosley how he can beat Manny Pacquiao, and the answer is match his speed and don't be afraid to trade punches with a fighter who loves to trade punches. Ask trainer Naazim Richardson how his fighter can beat the best boxer in the world, and the answer is slightly different.

"If he can be the best Sugar Shane Mosley there is, then Pacquiao has problems," Richardson said.

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Unfortunately, Mosley hasn't been his best for quite some time. And that could make for a rough night Saturday when he tries to bounce back from a bad loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. against a fighter who lately has been beating up everyone put in front of him.

The 39-year-old Mosley will try to resurrect his career with a signature win over Pacquiao, who once again is so confident of his chances that he has scheduled a post-fight concert on the Las Vegas Strip for all his loyal followers. Mosley must not only battle Pacquiao, who has won 13 straight fights, but the perception that he is a shot fighter after one last big payday.

"It's an opportunity to show people I'm not washed up," Mosley said. "You don't lose your power. They say you lose your speed, but I haven't lost my speed either."

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Pacquiao certainly hasn't lost his, and is coming off an 8-week training camp that trainer Freddie Roach said was his best ever. The Filipino sensation who travels with an entourage bigger than any Muhammad Ali had in his day, remains focused on boxing even while working a side job as a congressman back home and singing with his band.

His real work, though, comes in the ring in big pay-per-view fights. And ever since he sent Oscar De La Hoya into retirement by giving him a brutal beating, Pacquiao has been the most exciting fighter of his time.

"This is an important fight for me and millions of my fans," Pacquiao said. "You cannot underestimate him. He's strong, throws a lot of punches and moves fast."

The Mosley of old certainly did that. But after losing a lopsided decision to Mayweather and struggling in a draw against Sergio Mora last September, many in boxing simply consider Mosley to be old.

Oddsmakers agree, making Pacquiao a 6-1 favorite in a fight that has been sold out for weeks at the MGM Grand hotel arena. The scheduled 12-round fight is for the WBO version of the welterweight title that Pacquiao won against Miguel Cotto.

Pacquiao weighed in at 145 pounds, while Mosley was at 147.

Pacquiao, returning to the same ring where he made his U.S. debut 10 years ago, is coming off two fights at Cowboys Stadium in Texas. In his last fight there in November he gave a bigger Antonio Margarito such a beating that Margarito was hospitalized and had to have surgery on his eye socket.

But Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts) was also on the receiving end of a lot of punches by Margarito, largely because he's the kind of fighter unafraid of mixing it up.

"When you like to exchange and you like to throw punches, you put yourself in harm's way," Roach said. "That's why Manny is the most exciting fighter in the world. I can't take that away from him. He's always liked to throw combinations, and when you let your hands go you leave yourself open."

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Mosley, who gave up his ownership share in De La Hoya's Golden Boy Productions to get the fight, is eager to find out just how hittable Pacquiao might be.

"I think it's going to be an action fight from the beginning," Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) said. "It's going to get very interesting, very quick."

Almost lost in the buildup has been talk about Pacquiao fighting Mayweather in what would likely be the richest fight in boxing history. Mayweather, who hasn't fought in a year and is facing legal charges in three criminal cases, has given no indication he is serious about a fight with the man most in boxing say is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

"I don't want to talk about Floyd Mayweather's issues or anything like that," Pacquiao said. "I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to talk about someone behind his back. He did his best in boxing. He contributed to the history of boxing."

Part of that history, Mayweather supporters might argue, is that he softens up fighters for Pacquiao. Mayweather beat De La Hoya before Pacquiao fought him and knocked out Ricky Hatton before Pacquiao also stopped Hatton. Now Pacquiao takes on Mosley, hoping to improve on the lopsided decision win that Mayweather scored against a fighter who has never been stopped.

"If the knockouts come, they come," Pacquiao said. "What matters is the fight that we can give to the people and the fans. I want them to be happy and excited about our performance."

Pacquiao is expected to make at least 20 million, while Mosley is guaranteed 5 million plus a percentage of pay-per-view sales.

Sharks' depth players, Burns, snap cold streaks just in time

Sharks' depth players, Burns, snap cold streaks just in time

SAN JOSE – For at least one night, the Sharks’ depth players – most of which have been missing in action for weeks – found the scoresheet against the Rangers in a 5-4 overtime win on Tuesday.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. 

The Sharks were playing their first of what will surely be at least a few games without center Logan Couture, and are still in the hunt for a Pacific Division title with four of their six remaining games against Edmonton and Calgary – teams they are trying to fend off to earn home ice in the first round. And, of course, they ended a wretched six-game losing streak in which they never had a lead in any of the defeats.

Coach Pete DeBoer mentioned earlier in the week that the coaching staff had challenged the depth players to do more, especially now that their second line center is out indefinitely. The response on Tuesday included two goals from Chris Tierney (including a late game-tying score), one goal and one assist from Jannik Hansen, a shorthanded goal by Melker Karlsson, two assists from Mikkel Boedker, and an assist from Tomas Hertl.

Consider the challenge met.

“We want to score. All the depth guys know, and talked about stepping up,” Tierney said. “It's good that we broke through tonight, especially with Logan out of the lineup. We're going to have to keep doing it throughout the playoffs."

DeBoer said the internal challenge “didn’t involve much more than just ‘Hey, we need some contributions from you.’ We can’t always look to the big guys to get the job done. We got that tonight. Those guys got on the board. It’s never a lack of effort with that group, but we’re the sum of our parts. We need those guys to get on the board for us on a regular basis and they did that tonight.”

It was also surely welcomed that one of their big guys – perhaps their biggest – got the overtime winner. Brent Burns had been mired in a 16-game drought without a goal, but his slap shot got through Henrik Lundqvist half-a-minute into an overtime power play.

While the depth guys will need to continue to produce, the Sharks are going to need more from Burns, too, as the postseason approaches. The defenseman had been kept off of the scoresheet in nine of 10 games from March 5 – 21, but now has one point in each of his last three games. That’s a good sign.

Getting a goal was particularly nice, as was ending the losing skid.

“Yeah on both accounts,” Burns said. “That was a big win, especially coming back, staying resilient, getting that big goal there at the end.”

Still, with all that went right, the game was far from perfect. The Sharks allowed a 3-1 second period lead to turn into a 4-3 deficit in just a span of five minutes and seven seconds, indicating they’re still a bit fragile. Derek Stepan made it 3-2 late in the second with a power play goal, Jesper Fast scored on a deflection early in the third, and J.T. Miller gave New York its first lead of the night less than five minutes into the final frame.

“There’s still room for improvement, definitely,” Joe Pavelski said.

Still, the Sharks fought back for Tierney’s late game-tying goal with less than two minutes in regulation, setting up Burns’ overtime heroics. 

The captain sensed some displeasure from the home fans due to the blown lead, something he surely understood, but indicated that the energy level on the Sharks’ bench was still high.

“Whether you think, like, ‘Here we go again’ or not – I’m sure someone in this building thought that tonight,” Pavelski said. “Guys just kind of stuck with it, and we believed we would tie it up tonight.”

Getting that extra point in overtime brought a sense of relief.

“When you lose six straight, it's obviously a relief when you win one,” Martin Jones said. “But win or lose, we played a lot better tonight.”

 

Instant Replay: Sharks rally late, stun Rangers in OT to end skid

Instant Replay: Sharks rally late, stun Rangers in OT to end skid

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Despite blowing a two-goal lead, the Sharks found a way to tie their game with the Rangers late and win it in overtime, 5-4, to end their losing streak at six games.

After New York had turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead, Chris Tierney knotted the score with just 2:15 left in regulation. Mikkel Boedker’s shot from high in the zone rattled around the slot, and Tierney was there to flip it home for this second of the night.

Brent Burns ended a 16-game goal drought with a power play goal at 3:10 in overtime, overpowering Henrik Lundqvist with a slap shot.

After Tierney had given San Jose a 3-1 lead earlier in the second period the Sharks kept up the pressure, recording seven of the next eight shots. But Patrick Marleau’s interference penalty on Jimmy Vesey gave New York a late power play and turned the game in their favor.

Derek Stepan – who was stopped on a partial breakaway midway through the first period – brought the Rangers back to within 3-2. Mats Zuccarello hummed a seam pass through Justin Braun to Stepan, who had an open net to deposit his 16th of the season in the final minutes of the second period.

In the third, Jesper Fast redirected a Brady Skjei floater at 1:24, tying the game at 3-3. A Burns tripping minor during four-on-four play offered a power play to the Rangers, and they capitalized on a J.T. Miller one-timer at 4:44, his second of the night.

The Sharks remain two points back of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, and are tied with Edmonton for second.

For the first time in eight games the Sharks struck first. A newly configured third line of Tomas Hertl, Boedker and Jannik Hansen scored on its first shift together, as Hansen chopped in a loose puck at 1:44. Boedker and Hertl both got assists, ending pointless streaks of 10 games and 12 games, respectively.

Hansen’s first goal as a Shark also gave the team its first lead in more than two weeks, as it never led throughout its six-game regulation losing streak.

The Rangers tied it at 13:30 of the first on a goal by Miller, who took the puck from Paul Martin along the wall and lifted a perfectly placed wrist shot over Martin Jones’ near shoulder.

Melker Karlsson, returning from an eight-game absence, put the Sharks ahead 2-1 late in the first period with a shorthanded score. He whizzed a wrist shot past countryman Lundqvist at 18:01 while on a two-on-one with Tierney.

Tierney increased the lead to 3-1 in the middle frame, taking a shot from the slot and following up his own rebound at 11:38. It was just his second goal in the last 22 games, and eighth of the year.

The Rangers won the only other game of the season series back on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden, 7-4. The Sharks finished the season with a 21-7-4 mark against Eastern Conference clubs.

The Sharks were without Logan Couture, who is out indefinitely with a facial injury.

Special teams:
Two of New York’s goals came on the power play, on three opportunities. The Sharks are 11-for-15 on the PK in the last six games.

San Jose had just one power play before overtime, failing to score. Karlsson’s marker was his second shorthanded score of the season, and the Sharks’ seventh as a team.

In goal:
After allowing a career high seven goals-against on Saturday in Nashville, Jones made 24 saves on 28 shots.

Lundqvist suffered the loss with 30 saves on 35 shots.

Lineup:
Micheal Haley served a one-game suspension for punching Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok on Saturday.

Tierney (upper body) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (flu) both returned after missing Saturday’s game with the Predators. Marcus Sorensen came out of the lineup for Kevin Labanc, who was recalled on Tuesday morning and skated on the top line.

New York’s Skjei had three assists.

Up next:
The Sharks have six games remaining in the regular season – two each against Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

A three-game road trip against each of those division rivals begins on Thursday with the Oilers, as the clubs battle for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and continues on Friday against the Flames and Sunday versus the Canucks.