One year ago, Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought. Who knew a year would pass before he would fight again? Shane Mosley, his opponent that night, rattled "Money" Mayweather in the second round, and then was mentally and physically pushed around by the younger, faster, smarter, and, dare I say it, ultimately stronger man.
Immediately after the fight, this is what I said:
I do not blame age. I do not blame anything. As I expected, Mayweather was simply too good for Mosley. When people said he was as fast as Mayweather, I thought that was crazy. Shane was nowhere near fast enough for Floyd. It wasn't even close.
I expect a lot of knee-jerk reactions saying Mosley should retire. Maybe he should. If he's comfortable and wants to, he should. If he wants to fight on, a bad loss to arguably the best fighter in the world today is not enough for me to say he should hang it up.
That was then. In September 2010, he faced Sergio Mora in a dreadful fight. While I do rightly (in my opinion) blame Mora for making the fight so horribly ugly, it did not help matters that Mosley couldn't find Mora, and wore himself out by the middle rounds trying to do just that. After that fight, HBO commentators Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant wished upon a star at ringside that the draw result of the awful fight would not rob Shane Mosley, long a staple on the network, of another major fight.
A few months later, Shane signed a big fight. Manny Pacquiao needed an opponent, and when Mosley revealed he was willing to leave Golden Boy Promotions to be that opponent, the fight was signed. Little did anyone know that the fight would wind up not under the HBO banner, but that the aggressive folks at Showtime were ready to make their major move back onto the biggest stage in boxing, in one of the most ambitious overall promotions we've seen in years.
So here we are. Pacquiao and Mosley will enter the ring tonight. Almost nobody is giving Mosley anything more than a puncher's chance, and fairly so at that. He hasn't looked good in a fight since beating Antonio Margarito in January 2009.
But boy, did he obliterate Margarito.
That night, Mosley was 37 and thought to be a dead man walking. Instead he beat the tar out of Margarito.
When folks say that Mosley, now 39, might have one more great night in his aged fighter's heart, I can't help but think that two years ago, we already saw his one great final night.
But I also can't help the gnawing feeling that maybe they're right. Maybe he has yet another one. A fighter with Mosley's guts, courage, cast iron chin and one-punch power always has a chance. Even against the very, very best like Manny Pacquiao.
If the fight goes as many expect, though, he might be the third star that Pacquiao retires since 2008, following Oscar de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton (and maybe Antonio Margarito, actually). Mosley, as I've said before, needs a miracle:
Mosley's recent history just doesn't support the idea that his hand speed is still there (a favorite Top Rank go-to fluff comment) or that he really has much of a chance against Pacquiao. Yes, Mosley could knock Pacquiao out, but we're talking about Shane Mosley here -- and we're giving him but a puncher's chance.
He's been counted out before and has delivered. But this is a different animal. If Shane Mosley beats Manny Pacquiao, you should feel free to react with all the shock and awe that the moment will call for. Don't hold yourself back hoping to appear smarter than the rest. Just let it out.
Because if Shane Mosley beats Manny Pacquiao, the boxing world turns upside down.