"Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible."
--George Orwell (1903-1950)
There are a lot of reasons why Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the heavy favorite against Shane Mosley tomorrow night. Mayweather's fan club, which has grown increasingly vocal as the alleged "haters" have done the same over time, will likely say that these are "excuses," because that's what Floyd calls them. Floyd says it's an "excuse" if someone says that Juan Manuel Marquez was too small and not fit for the welterweight division. It's not an excuse. It's a reason. It's a fact plain enough for anyone to see.
Here are some reasons why Mayweather is the good bet:
Shane Mosley is 38 years old. The response here will be, "Oh, now he's too old!" I didn't say he's too old. I said he is 38 years old. The man is closing in on 40, and outside of rare cases, boxers at Mosley's current age do not continue to perform at extremely high levels, and an extremely high level of performance is what it will take for someone to beat Floyd. It's not an excuse -- it's a fact. Shane Mosley is 38 years old.
Then there's another one: Mosley has never, ever, ever faced a fighter like Mayweather. Almost everyone can say that. Mayweather is a special boxer with talent to spare. You look up and down Mosley's record all you want, but you will not find a slick, fast guy like Mayweather. The truly top fighters Mosley has faced were Oscar de la Hoya, Winky Wright, Vernon Forrest, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito. There are plenty of other very good fighters (Wilfredo Rivera, Fernando Vargas, Luis Collazo, etc.), but they weren't top of the line, at least when Mosley fought them.
Against Oscar, Winky, Forrest, Cotto and Margarito, Mosley's record is 3-5, and plenty debate the fights with Oscar. Nobody debates his losses to Winky or Forrest. Some thought he eked it out over Cotto, but not many. Margarito was a decisive win with plenty of baggage around it, too. It was incredibly shocking and impressive in the moment, but the moment doesn't always tell the whole story, and once we got the whole story, it became a lot more complicated than, "What a performance by Shane Mosley!"
Mosley is a tremendous fighter. He's strong, he's fast, he's got a lot of determination, and though he's past his true prime, I dare say this third wind he's on right now has him in nearly as good a spot mentally as he was when he was really peaking. He's got a phenomenal trainer in Naazim Richardson, with whom he seems to click wonderfully, and he appears to be in sort of a new love affair with boxing.
But Mayweather is a whole new ball of wax, and at 38, Mosley is going to have a hellacious time coping with Floyd's speed and ring genius. Margarito was able to hit Mosley, whose leaky defense has never been a strong suit. Some point to Oscar de la Hoya's half-fight successful jab, but Mosley's never been a great jabber.
Shane Mosley is best when he can fight with aggressive passion, when he can let his hands fly and do some damage. He's one of the best combination punchers of his era, and he's a terrific finisher. He's strong, he's smart when he's picking his spots, and he can be effectively reckless.
But Mayweather feeds off of the aggression of other fighters. He's done it his entire career. I'm not saying Shane Mosley is Arturo Gatti or Diego Corrales. He's a lot better even now than either of them ever were, which I also don't mean as a shot Gatti or Corrales. They were among the most courageous fighters ever, let alone their era. But we've seen what Floyd can do to aggressive fighters, guys who people thought had a chance. He demolished them. He beat them silly. He eventually did it with Ricky Hatton, too, once he timed him. He didn't even seem to fully have his foot on the gas pedal against Juan Manuel Marquez, instead toying with him and dragging the fight out to a near-interminable 12 rounds.
Mosley is best aggressive. Mayweather is the best at using an opponent's aggression against them.
"A hero has faced it all: he need not be undefeated, but he must be undaunted."
Someone brought up an interesting idea. If Shane Mosley had fought the same 40 guys Floyd Mayweather Jr. has, would Shane be 40-0, too?
The idea was that yes, he would be. You'd have to adjust for equivalent 135-pounders for Floyd's 130-pounders, but they both weren't going to lose to any of those guys (and didn't), so it's really about the fights once they were top guys. Mayweather has fought plenty of good fighters. Oscar, Hatton, Castillo, Corrales, Gatti, Judah, Mitchell, Corley, Manfredy, Genaro Hernandez, etc.
But would I favor any of them against Mosley, adjusting for time period to match it up right? No. Not one of them. Oscar is kind of a wash, they both beat him. I think a Mosley-Castillo 135-pound fight would've been terrific, but I'd favor Mosley for sure. Judah at 147 does not beat Mosley, though he probably gives him some trouble here and there. The rest are all guys we'd be almost absolutely sure that Shane would beat, and I think we can agree on that no matter what "side" we're on here.
Mayweather never fought a Winky Wright equivalent, or a Vernon Forrest equivalent. Mayweather would've beaten Cotto, and I'm absolutely sure of that. Forrest had his struggles after Mosley, but when he knocked Shane off, he became one of the absolute best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet for a period. Winky Wright was tremendous at what he did. Would Floyd be unbeaten with an equivalent schedule?
My answer might surprise you, but I'd say probably.
And that's where it gets to break down. I have tried, for the sake of my excitement, to see a way that Shane Mosley can win this fight. I am not saying he has no chance. He's got about as good a shot as anyone does at beating Mayweather at welterweight.
What I am saying is that Mayweather is too good for Mosley. Shane Mosley is one of my absolute favorite fighters, and he's world class to the bone. He's outstanding. He's great. But Mayweather is greater. Mayweather is just better than he is. I don't feel compelled to break down the matchup, really. Shane's pretty fast, Floyd's faster, and I think some people are going to be really surprised at how much faster Floyd looks on Saturday night. Shane's really strong, yes, but is he going to hit Mayweather consistently? Nobody else does.
If Mosley's jab is better than usual, if his defense is better than usual, if he focuses on the body a bit more than usual, and if Mayweather isn't as sharp as usual, Shane Mosley can definitely win this fight. But that's a lot of "ifs." Too many for my liking if I'm on Team Mosley.
This is a great fight to have on the schedule. I am thrilled that these two are finally getting together to mix it up. I'm happy that Mayweather took the absolute best challenge that was available once the Pacquiao negotiations predictably fell apart, and I'm happy that Shane Mosley will get another crack at real greatness. I am very excited to watch this fight unfold.
I just think Mayweather's going to rout him, that's all. I don't think it'll be a pure blowout like the Baldomir or Marquez fights, but I don't think the final scores will read much differently. This kind of reminds me of December's fight between Timothy Bradley and Lamont Peterson, but at a higher level and on a bigger stage. It wasn't so much that Tim Bradley was unbelievably better than Peterson, it's just he kept winning every three minutes. They were fairly lively, never got dull, and Peterson kept having his moments, but in the end, Timothy Bradley was just too good for him, and the scores reflected a blowout even though it wasn't a proper and more routine "one-sided affair."
I'll be more surprised if Shane Mosley wins this fight than I will be if Floyd sweeps cards 120-108 three times. Mayweather is going to keep winning for three minutes at a time. It adds up. Mayweather UD-12