Saturday, March 6, 2010
Mayweather vs Mosley
Las Vegas Boxing Examiner | Chris Robinson
n the first part of my interview with Riverside’s David Avila I touched on the boxing scribe’s early memories of Shane Mosley as he was just beginning his professional career. Avila recounted the intense gym wars that the Pomona fighter had with the likes of Genero Hernandez and Zack Padilla and also spoke about the incredible hype surrounding Mosley’s first bout with Oscar De La Hoy at the Staples Center in June of 2000.
Towards the end of the interview Avila was brutally honest in stating how surprised he was when Mosley bludgeoned Antonio Margarito in January of last year. That performance showed just how much fluidity and power Shane still has left at this point of his career and that exact display is what Mosley’s supporters are pointing to when looking to his chances against Floyd Mayweather this coming May 1st.
The Mayweather-Mosley showdown takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and it’s hard to think of many fights on the horizon that will shape the sport’s landscape like the bout will. Interestingly enough, Avila has also gotten to know Mayweather well throughout the years and spoke of watching him train first hand.
“The one thing about Floyd is that he is such a natural athlete,” Avila stated. “I never really used to watch him train in Las Vegas but there were times when he trained in Big Bear and he was just an incredible athlete. He could do all these things, from one-armed chin ups and crazy, athletic feats. Even though he was smaller he was just a natural athlete, even better than Shane.”
Discussing Floyd further, Avila recalls one telling night in Las Vegas where he crossed paths with Shane. Mosley was fresh into his stint as a Welterweight contender and had yet to square off with De La Hoya. Shane was headlining a ‘Boxing After Dark’ twin bill with Vernon Forrest and Mayweather’s presence served as one of the evening’s key subplots.
“It was about ten years ago and Shane was fighting Willy Wise, who had just upset Julio Cesar Chavez, at the Hard Rock.” Avila recounts. “Shane just dominated Willy Wise, he just blew him away and on the same card Vernon Forrest beat Vince Phillips. Shane’s people had a party afterwards and they invited me to the party. I went over there and I noticed Floyd Mayweather. They were at the party and Shane was signing autographs and Floyd walked up to Shane and said ‘Shane when are you going to fight me?’. Shane looked up at him and said ‘Just sign the contract and we’ll fight’. Floyd said ‘Ok’ and that he would take him up on that. I actually thought the fight would happen a lot sooner than eleven years later but here we are and the fight is here.”
Heading into the contest it is hard to think of a figure in the sport that is portrayed as much of a villain these days than Mayweather. The Las Vegas resident’s recent fallout with Manny Pacquiao further fueled his controversial public image and legions of fans these days have seemed to be calling for his head. Elaborating on Mayweather’s image further, Avila feels that Floyd is simply making the most out of an opportunity.
“It’s funny because I remember one time I was going to interview him at some fight,” Avila said of Mayweather. “I was just sitting down with somebody else at some sold out fight card, I think at the MGM Grand. It was a Mexican fight card and the place was just packed with people screaming and Floyd told a guy there ‘Man I wish I was a Mexican’. Floyd has always been a champion but he hasn’t been able to attract a crowd. I remember what he said because he just wanted to draw that kind of crowd.”
When looking at the early championship years of Mayweather Avila points out that while the fighter may have had the look of greatness about him he was also lacking the rabid support and fan base that aspiring superstars need in order to make it to the next level. It wasn’t until Floyd crossed paths with the sport’s biggest mainstream star at the time that he was really able to let the world see him in a different light.
“For years he fought and he would get some people but not as many as now,” Avila claimed. “It wasn’t until he fought Oscar that he realized he could be the bad guy and it’s like he just exploded. I’ve noticed that he can be very, very funny and people seem to think he’s a serious villain but he’s not. From what I have known of him he has always been a very nice guy and very smart and very intelligent. I think when he did that with Oscar, it was the smartest thing he could have done.”
That decision by Mayweather to put on the black hat and embrace his role as the enemy has seen him stamp himself as one of the sport’s most marketable figures and it is another reason why his clash with Mosley could be one of the biggest Pay-per-view attractions in recent years. When looking at the matchup of styles between the two fighters Avila feels that Mosley will be looking to make an imprint on the fight early.
“I know that Shane is a very smart guy and he is probably going to test Floyd in the first round,” Avila believed. “He always tests everybody to see if they can take what he gives them. Then he will settle into a groove. I think with Floyd, I think he is a master fighter but he doesn’t throw a lot of punches. I think it’s all up to Shane and his conditioning. Shane has to be able to do what he does for all of twelve rounds. He has to be exactly how he was against Margarito. He has to be able to use that speed and throw as many punches. If you don’t throw a lot of punches Floyd will pick you apart.”
In closing Avila believes that both men know what they are getting into on May 1st. Over the year the two men have shown tremendous gifts inside of the ring but Avila believes more than anything the contest will come down to conditioning and pace.
“I know that Mosley had followed Floyd for a long time so he knows what he is going to get. He knows what Floyd likes to do and vice versa, Floyd knows what Shane likes to do. I think that the first round will be kind of fast paced and the fight will settle down after that. It will be all about who can adapt better, who is in better shape, and I think the main thing is going to be about conditioning. Can Shane contain his pace and not let Floyd get into his pace.”