By Jason Pribila: In June of 2000, I found myself at an engagement party for a couple that never quite made it to the altar. What made the day memorable was that I convinced the not-to-be bride’s father to allow me to purchase that evening’s Pay Per View between Oscar De La Hoya
and “Sugar” Shane Mosley
Hours later, I found myself smiling ear to ear because my favorite fighter just shocked the boxing world, as well as a living room full of people I wouldn’t see again, by winning a unanimous decision over the Golden Boy. I was so pleased that I didn’t even mind that my money was accepted.
Eight years later, Shane Mosley
would finally return to the Staples Center, and again find himself as the underdog. This time Mosley entered the ring on the downside of a Hall of Fame career, going up against the division’s best, Antonio Margarito
. This would either be Mosley’s biggest win, or his swan song from the sport’s spotlight. I decided I wanted to be there, no matter the outcome.
Since this is posted on a boxing website, I’ll assume you know who won and lost the fight. I now ask that you read further as I wrap up Mosley vs Margarito with my, “Top Five: Winners and Losers”.Winners5.
Golden Boy/Top Rank: Sure, it was Golden Boy’s fighter who had his arm raised in victory, but each promotional powerhouse deserves to take a bow. When it was announced that this fight was being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, those behind the promotion were hopeful for an attendance of 10,000 to 12,000. Expectations were met and exceeded, and additional seats were made available to accommodate the 20,820 raucous fight fans that made Mosley-Margarito the largest crowd to ever attend an event at the Staples Center.
Let’s hope that the light the promoters saw on January 24th burns long and bright. Put a competitive fight in a town with a built in following and your sport will gain momentum. And Golden Boy, ignore the voice that told you that you, “undersold the show”. Perhaps some of the prices for the ringside seats were on the low end, but $50 seats should be made available in any arena, during any economic state.4.
The 20,820 boxing fans in attendance: By coming out and setting an attendance record in front of the sports two most powerful promoters, as well as the HBO audience, you have raised the bar for fight towns across America to match the passion and electricity that you generated. Although many of you left the arena disappointed, hopefully you could take comfort in the fact you saw a Hall of Famer put forth a career-best effort. Also, celebrate the reason many of you bought your tickets in the first place, and remember how far Margarito has come to earn his spot on the left side of the marquee. Take pride that he accepted his defeat with class, and fought like a warrior until the fight was taken out of him.3.
HBO: When it looked like this bout was in jeopardy, you not only came up with the extra money to make it happen, but you also made it available on your network; not Pay Per View. You did your part to make this event as big as a PPV, and your efforts paid off.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported, “According to my sources at HBO, the telecast generated a 3.9 rating for the live airing Saturday Night. The Sunday morning replay did a 1.3, which is tremendous for an encore presentation.”
For less than half the price of the $10 million you paid for the “De La Hoya vs Forbes” 4.0 rating, you treated your subscribers to a fight, and not a sparring session. You may even have a result that could lure Floyd Mayweather Jr. out of retirement, rather than nudge him toward it.2.
Nazim Richardson: When Bernard Hopkins took Kelly Pavlik to school in October, much of the credit went to B-Hop. However, after seeing Mosley throw a lasso around a tornado people can no longer ignore the common denominator between the two, Nazim Richardson.
During the HBO telecast, Jim Lampley asked if there would be a more sought after trainer than Philadelpahia’s Richardson. Probably not, especially if you are an underdog looking to disarm a pressure fighter. Richardson could now add the scalp of Margarito to his collection, which includes Pavlik and Tito Trinidad.
And if the “X’s and O’s” weren’t enough, his exchanges with Mosley between rounds were as fresh as any picked up by a broadcast microphone in recent memory. Mosley “swam without getting wet”, indeed.1.
“Sugar” Shane Mosley
: A prime Miguel Cotto, at the top of his game wilted under Margarito’s pressure. Many thought Mosley would be able to out-box Margarito, but would eventually be drawn into a war that would seal his fate. Instead, Mosley took the fight to Margarito, and beat him in every facet of the game. He is once again on top of the welterweight division, and at the age of 37, he may have finally played his final “supporting” role.
The distractions that plagued Mosley before this fight have not gone away. A brilliant performance won’t erase BALCO, nor will it save a marriage; but it will once again place his name among the sport’s elite.