Mayweather vs. Mosley
By Matthew Hurley: It took nearly 16 months but Sugar Shane Mosley finally got the big fight he had been pining for since destroying Antonio Margarito way back in January of 2009. The fact that his bout against Floyd Mayweather on May 1st comes as something of a consolation prize for jaded fight fans in the aftermath of the disintegration of the proposed Mayweather – Manny Pacquiao fight should really be a non-issue. Mayweather – Mosley has all the ingredients to be an utterly compelling fight between two of the biggest names in the sport.
On top of that the winner will probably get Pacquiao later in the year should Manny defeat Joshua Clottey on March 13th. Heavy emphasis on the word ‘probably’ considering the mess all parties involved made of the Mayweather – Pacquiao negotiations.
For Shane it’s been a long, inexplicable wait to get someone, anyone, in the ring with him since the Margarito fight. He called out nearly anyone he could think of, even climbing into the ring after Mayweather’s comeback victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in September of 2009. He tried to get nose to nose with Floyd and goad him into a showdown but at the time Mayweather was having none of it.
But shit happens in the world of boxing. The fallout from the Mayweather – Pacquiao debacle was intense, particularly with fans who came to view both fighters with a mixture of incredulity and contempt. Message boards were filled with irate fans threatening to boycott both Pacquiao’s and Mayweather’s next fight.
However, now that Mosley is in the mix everything feels right again.
Shane is practically beside himself with delight now that the fight with Mayweather is a done deal. The wizened old veteran is a throwback fighter. Such is his passion for combat and competition that the interminable layoff he was forced to sit through drove him a bit nuts. His inability to ride the crest of the wave he had conjured up after blitzing Margarito has been as frustrating an experience he has ever had to deal with in his lengthy career. At thirty-nine he knows he doesn’t have any more time to waste.
“He’s been waiting for this opportunity for so long and he finally got it,” said Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Shaeffer.
Mosley is so confident that he will beat Mayweather that he consented to the Olympic-style pre-fight blood testing Floyd and his team had tried to force on Pacquiao during contract negotiations. Pacquiao, refusing to be dictated to, balked and ultimately walked away from an astronomical payday.
Instead the Pac Man signed to fight the rugged Joshua Clottey in Texas Stadium on March 13th. With that fight set, the eyes of the boxing world zeroed in on Mayweather. What would he do? Take on another undersized opponent? Or would he try to one-up Pacquiao?
Sadly, the repercussions of the devastating earthquake in Haiti would bring Mayweather and Mosley together.
Mosley, the WBA welterweight champion was signed to fight his WBC counterpart Andre Berto in a unification match in early February. Berto lost several members of his extended family in the quake and understandably pulled out of the bout.
Once again Shane was without a dance partner.
Mayweather, with no other big time money making opponent available, and the intense glare of a very critical media contingent blinding him, had no choice but to take on Mosley.
Still, Mayweather insisted on the same random drug testing procedure he had forced upon Pacquiao. Mosley has admitted in court testimony during the BALCO hearings in 2003 to “unknowingly” using the doping agent EPO during preparations for his rematch with Oscar De La Hoya. EPO increases the number of oxygen-rich blood cells, which subsequently boosts physical endurance. Mosley also admitted to using the steroids known as ‘the cream’, testosterone and epitestosterone and ‘the clear’, THG. His past indiscretions haven’t hurt his image in the public eye to the degree it has so many other athletes, but by agreeing to these terms it seems Mosley is intent on further removing himself from what he calls “a stupid mistake.”
Paul Upham of Secondsout.com recently wrote that, “In signing off on the deal, Mosley has given Mayweather complete control over the drug testing to be implemented, apart from any testing that is required by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.”
Both fighters will be subjected to the random tests leading up to the fight.
Mosley’s immediate acquiescence indicates just how desperate he was for this fight. As far as he’s concerned Mayweather can have all the concessions he wants as long as he’s there, in the ring, when the opening bell clangs. In Shane’s mind, once Floyd climbs through the ropes he’s got him. Everything that comes before that opening round is nothing more than Floyd Mayweather nonsense. Give him whatever he wants, just as long as he shows up to the dance.
Although Shane seems to have been partaking from the same fountain of youth that Bernard Hopkins apparently bathes in, age and years of wear and tear catch up to us all – even remarkable physical specimens like Mosley. His wasted year cannot have helped him in any way. Rest was not what he needed after such an easy victor over Margarito. He needed to get back in the ring immediately, but it didn’t play out that way. Ring rust might be a concern in the early going, but Shane waves that off.
“This is the fight I’ve wanted,” he says, that toothy grin always creasing his face. “I’m going to take it to him. He’s not fighting a guy coming up in weight. I know I’m the best fighter out there. I’m fresh. The layoff? No big deal.”
Shane knows that should he lose that could be it for him on the grand stage. He is so itching to fight and so consumed with beating Floyd Mayweather that he literally rubs his hands together in anticipation whenever Floyd’s name comes up. Look for him to explode out of the corner at the opening bell on May 1st. Floyd, for all his speed and athleticism, does not have the power to keep Shane at bay. However, you can’t hit what you can’t find and Shane, at least this aging version, is not great at cutting off the ring. (Witness the last three rounds of his bout with Miguel Cotto.) He likes his opponents to come to him. He will have to concentrate on the body attack early to slow Floyd down.
It should be a race to the finish. Can Shane break Floyd down early and dominate him late? Or will Floyd be able to stay away and turn the bout into a typical Mayweather affair? Whatever happens Shane Mosley will be there to fight, and to give the fans what they want. Whether he has enough left in the tank to get to Floyd Mayweather is the great intrigue in this fight. If he does, ‘Money’ Mayweather will have to earn every penny of his paycheck because ‘Sugar’ Shane will be in his face all night long.
February 18, 2010