With a big March of boxing now in the books, we inch closer to the May 1 showdown between "Sugar" Shane Mosley and Floyd "Money" Mayweather. Ted "The Bull" Sares takes an early look at the fight today.
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Back in 2006, I wrote that Sugar Shane Mosley's savage KO of Fernando Vargas II was evidence that like a perfect storm, everything was coming together......just the right things in the mix and with just the right timing for him to fight Floyd Mayweather. Team Mosley was running on all cylinders and it seemed unlikely for anyone to slow it down. But that was then and this is now.
Since then, Floyd (now 40-0) has vanquished Carlos Manuel Baldomir, decisioned Oscar De La Hoya, waxed Ricky Hatton, and dominated Juan Manuel Marquez. Mosley has beaten Luis Collazo in a fight where Collazo suffered a fractured left thumb during the second round. He then lost to Miguel Cotto, but came back to beat clownish Ricardo Mayorga in a fight that was extremely close on the score cards until Mosley's spectacular left hook knock out at the very end which sent Mayorga to Matador Dreamland.
Sure, against Collazo, Sugar Shane (46-5) showed a display of effective jabs and great hand speed, once again using feints, quickness, and crafty head and body movement that served him so well in his wins against Oscar De La Hoya and especially Fernando Vargas. But Collazo is not Mayweather, and Vargas had taken brutal beatings at the hands of De La Hoya and Trinidad by the time he met Mosley.
Curiously, Mosley lost two to the "Viper" getting beat up in one, while Mayorga beat Forrest twice. But then Mayorga, an "old" 34, got starched convincingly by De La Hoya who Mosley "beat" twice. Of course, that was then and this is now and a lot has changed.
Shane's demolition of Antonio Margarito in January 2009 raised everyone's eyebrows. However, one theory that has not been given much traction (and one to which I partially subscribe) is that Tony may have been so discombobulated by pre-fight events, that he simply was there for the taking. Whatever the case, Mosley made the most of it and destroyed the disgraced "Tijuana Tornado." Interestingly. Mosley likely did not even get hit flush in that fight, but then, neither did Mayweather against Marquez.
The Age Factor
However, Sugar Shane is getting a bit long in the tooth and his considerable skills are in jeopardy of eroding. Age has a way of impacting speed, quickness, hand-eye coordination, movement, and putting punches together. Moreover, the fact he has fought tougher opponents than Mayweather (Vargas twice, Winky Wright twice, De La Hoya twice, Vernon Forrest twice, Jesse James Leija, John John Molina, Philip Holiday, Collazo, Mayorga, Margarito, among others), is not necessarily an advantage at this point. The reputation for never having ducked an opponent can back fire and render a boxer's body old overnight. That said and notwithstanding the Margorito beat down, I no longer believe Mosley is at the top of his game and I'm betting the ingredients for the perfect storm that once existed have now dissipated to the point where the momentum is clearly in favor of the man with the heavyweight ego.
Fighters like "Pretty Boy," don't come around very often. He uses old school stuff, but he does it so subtly, he is seldom given proper credit for it. As I have said before, he just might be too good for his own good. His use of shoulder rolls, feints, parrying, upward jabbing, giving angles, counter punching, crossover defense, strategic lateral movement, and deflecting punches is all part of the old school mix. So is his mastery of the basics...the three levels of defense, slipping punches, and fighting off the jab. If a purist is one who appreciates the technical aspects of the Sweet Science, Floyd Mayweather Junior is a purist's delight. His fights with Phillip N'dou and Juan Manuel Marquez showcased these attributes to a tee.
However, if one definition of "Old School" is that it combines the aforementioned with a violent dimension (one that reflects a boxer's propensity to engage in a pier six street brawl), then Floyd may be somewhat lacking. Aside from his give and take with Emanuel Augustus, we have not yet seen Floyd be required to demonstrate this dimension. However, his blow-outs of the late Diego Corrales and Arturo Gatti suggest he may be capable of the same kind of mayhem Mosley showed against Margorito, but I doubt he can do that to Mosley.
While I intend to break down this fight far more definitively as we get closer to May 1, my tentative feeling at this point is that a well-rested Floyd Mayweather Junior will dominate Sugar Shane Mosley over 12 rounds and cop a unanimous decision.