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Monday, April 5, 2010

All You Need to Know About Mosley Versus Mayweather

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Mayweather vs Mosley
Mosley’s got all the tools… but will he take advantage of it?

Tungod, Inabanga, Bohol – Undefeated, and some would say ‘untested’(perhaps at welterweight), “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (40-0-0, 25 KOs) will gun for his 2nd bout after a two-year hiatus from the sport. He will trade mitts with one of the sports’ most identifiable figures in “Sugar” Shane Mosley (46-5-0, 39 KOs) on May 1 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Three-division champ Mosley, despite already advanced in age, will be the toughest opponent Floyd Mayweather Jr. is going to face, thus far professionally. While Floyd has been campaigning most of his career around the 130-lb super featherweight division, Mosley on the other hand has been fighting at least 17 pounds north since 1999. This 38-year-old boxing freak has had battles with some of the biggest names in the sport. The list includes Ronald “Winky” Wright, Vernon Forrest, Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Miguel Cotto, Ricardo Mayorga, and Antonio Margarito, just to name a few. It’s pretty amazing how he stayed in front of these guys, took a few good shots, and yet still stayed on his feet. Shane is way too young than his age would suggest. His granite chin – an uncanny ability to take a punch, coupled with an extra long reach (74 inches) and sweet boxing skills, makes Shane dangerous.

Floyd’s power hasn’t also been as effective as it has usually been when he was still a 130-lber. In his first 27 bouts, all but 7 of them didn’t last the distance for a 74% knockout ratio. However, his last 13 outings, while moving up in weight, show that his knockout percentage considerably dropped to 31%. With his fragile hands and the reasons mentioned above, I don’t see Floyd knocking Mosley down, much less end the bout unless it is due to cuts.

Floyd is listed at 5’8” with a 72-inch reach, while Shane is a little bit taller at 5’9” inches with a reach of 74 inches. Why am I mentioning these stats? If the stats mentioned above are accurate as listed, then Mayweather is at an obvious disadvantage. Try to check Floyd’s list of 40 previous opponents and see if you can find any of them, except for “Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya, who have both advantages in size and reach over him. De La Hoya was the only fighter who had those advantages against Floyd.

Let’s talk about “effective reach”. It’s not only the reach that determines how far a fist can travel. Effective reach is also directly proportional to height. Mosley, like Oscar did, now enjoys both these advantages and for the 2nd time in his career, Floyd will try to dance with someone whom he has a considerable disadvantage in this department. That said, we most probably couldn’t expect Mayweather to employ the same boxing strategy as successfully as he did against his 39 other foes. He could not easily use his jab to land a punch on Mosley without the risk of being on the receiving end of Mosley’s jab first. In his previous assignments, Floyd would usually only think of how to land the jab. This time around, he’ll have to first figure out how to avoid Mosley’s jab before he could land his own version of it.

The things I mentioned above won’t mean a thing had it not been Sugar Shane Mosley we’re talking about here. He definitely can box and owns two of the fastest hands in the sport. Mosley as well has one of the best jabs in the business. He can utilize his effective reach advantage by constantly throwing jabs and occasionally unleashing his left hooks to keep Floyd at bay. Floyd is superb defensively, not to mention that he’s also an extremely patient boxer…but noting the fact that he will be in an unfamiliar territory, he could very well get frustrated and could opt out of his comfort zone and engage, which I think, would be a very big mistake!

Comparatively, Mosley has an advantage in size and experience based on the quality of his previous opposition. Floyd, on the other hand, has a clear upper hand in agility, which can be attributed to his relative youth. If there’s one thing that nobody in the boxing world would probably dare question, it should be the fact that both protagonists are exceptionally smart inside the squared circle. I could very well be wrong in my assessment and I may stand all alone with my analysis…but I can rest assured that this will, by no means, be an easy fight for either Mosley or Floyd. This clash shall be decided upon which fighter maximizes his advantages and best exploits his foe’s weaknesses.

On exactly the same month, three years ago, the over-the-hill De La Hoya showed how to stave off Mayweather’s offensive – by throwing jabs while charging forward. However, in the 2nd half of that fight, albeit De La Hoya still kept moving forward, but only this time, he was moving in without throwing his jabs, which apparently turned out to be a very huge mistake. This paved the way for Mayweather to accurately measure his foe and beat him to the punch with precise jabs and right hooks to the head and mid-section. This should serve as a lesson for Mosley.

Moreover, Mosley ought to watch out for Mayweather’s propensity to clinch. In his bout against De La Hoya, Mayweather would get himself out of trouble by pinning Golden Boy’s arms to halt the attack. Referee Kenny Bayless, who did a great job officiating the event, would immediately step in and provide Mayweather enough space to avoid another assault from De La Hoya. Expect the same strategy to be employed by Floyd if he gets himself into trouble against Mosley.

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