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Monday, March 29, 2010

Mosley takes on master Mayweather

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Mayweather vs Mosley
SHANE MOSLEY must feel he is living in a vacuum. It is over a month (May 1) before he and Floyd Mayweather Jnr lock horns in the Nevada desert, yet the only fight on people’s minds does not involve Sugar Shane. Boxing fans are currently salivating at the prospect of a Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao autumn showdown following yet another dazzling display from the Filipino maestro in Dallas last weekend.

However, before we allow our minds to meander into the realms of boxing fantasy, “Money” must first deal with a rejuvenated 38-year old Californian determined not to ride off into the sunset just yet. Let us not forget that the WBA Super champion is Mosley, not Mayweather.

That this match is taking place at all is to Mosley’s eternal credit. Having suffered a fifth career defeat at the hands of Miguel Cotto in November 2007 it seemed like old Father Time had finally extracted the sweetness out of “Sugar” Shane. This should have been Mosley’s cue to drift off into the Californian night. However, having defeated Ricardo Mayorga in 2008, Mosley accepted a January clash with the man who battered Cotto to a bloody pulp, Antonio Margarito. Mosley’s subsequent display of speed and power was staggering, as he stopped the Mexican in nine one-sided rounds.

In Mayweather, though, he is meeting someone extraordinary, a masterful boxer who has captured world titles at five different weights in winning 40 consecutive bouts (25 KOs). It was he who started the seemingly irretrievable decline of our “Hitman”, Ricky Hatton. It was a defensive, counter-attacking masterclass, making Hatton look like a novice at times.

Having taken a 21-month break, which Mayweather labelled “retirement”, he came back to spin a web around Mexico’s great lightweight, Juan Manuel Marquez last September. It is a credit to his impeccable conditioning as well as his imperious boxing ability that such a sublime performance was possible after a near-two-year sabbatical.

One of Mayweather’s most impressive attributes is his adaptability. He seems able to cope with an array of styles whilst instinctively raising the level of his performance on the rare occasions he encounters difficulty. Never has he come seriously close to the perils of defeat. Not even in his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo, when many had the Mexican narrowly behind in the scoring or actually winning. Mayweather rightly secured a unanimous decision on the scorecards.

Although he won a split decision over Oscar De La Hoya in May 2007, one felt the verdict flattered the “Golden Boy”, as a late flurry of punches, with few landing cleanly, seemed to blur the vision of the ringside judges. The result was not in serious doubt despite Mayweather stepping up to De La Hoya’s more natural light-middleweight limit.

Mayweather’s personality might not be to everyone’s liking, but one must give him credit for fighting the best opponents in five weight divisions – including Diego Corrales, Castillo, Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, Carlos Baldomir and De La Hoya.

If Mayweather has a flaw, it is that incessant pressure seems to bother him and herein lies Mosley’s chance, for he has never fought another genuine ‘speedster’ like “Sugar” Shane.

Although both men started out at lower weights, Mayweather at super-feather and Mosley at lightweight, neither has lost speed whilst moving through the divisions. (This is something that Pacquiao seems to have mastered courtesy of his specific plyometrics training with strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza). Whilst both have undeniably fast hands, Mayweather should still have the edge, being six years Mosley’s junior and having taken relatively little punishment for a 40-fight veteran. Mosley on the other hand has had twelve more fights (46-5-1) and has been a pro since 1993. These factors could prove pivotal as Mosley may fall victim to Mayweather’s potent left jab whilst attempting to apply the tourniquet on the inside.

Unsurprisingly, the talking has already started. “The reason I fought Margarito is because I wanted to become the best welterweight out there, and I did that. May 1 is going to symbolise Mayweather’s first loss,” said Mosley. Mayweather predictably snapped back, “He’s a fighter, he’s supposed to say that, but guess what – there is no blueprint on how to beat me.”

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