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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Can Mosley Beat Mayweather? Bet on It

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Mayweather vs Mosley
by: Rich Thomas

Think All of the Mayweather vs. Mosley Predictions Pick Floyd? Not Quite

The convention wisdom in boxing is that the only man out there who can beat Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is Manny Pacquiao. Of course, “Sugar” Shane Mosley disputes that assertion, and for good reason. After all, a quick review of Mayweather’s past will show he is not the demi-god his publicists would like us to believe he is. His first win over Juan Luis Castillo remains disputed to this day (this writer believes Mayweather lost that fight).

Zab Judah was winning rounds over Mayweather, until Judah predictably came unglued. Mayweather had nothing to do with the latter. A rusty, old Oscar de la Hoya was scoring points through the first half of his bout with Mayweather until he faded down the stretch, a normal development for de la Hoya which also had very little to do with Mayweather. The rest of Mayweather’s resume shows the results of the most adept job of cherry-picked matchmaking in modern boxing.

The truth is that Mayweather always makes sure he has an edge on his opponents. If the guy has speed, he doesn’t have the willpower (Judah). If the guy is bigger, he had better be slower or rustier (de la Hoya and Baldomir). Best of all, Mayweather likes to fight guys his size or smaller. Shane Mosley is none of these things, although Mayweather is clearly banking that he is.

For his part, Mosley might have lost to Cotto, but only two opponents have truly beaten him: Winky Wright and Vernon Forrest. What those two had in common were substantial advantages in height, reach and overall size coupled with a tight point defense. Mayweather is a defensive master, but he uses footwork, head movement and the shoulder roll to stay out of trouble. He also is not bigger than Mosley. Ergo, the two things that give Mosley the most trouble are not a part of Mayweather’s arsenal.

Mayweather, on the other hand, has trouble with pressure. It is a product of his defensive style, which relies on shots hitting empty air rather than being blocked. Pernell Whitaker had a much sounder defense that combined elements of both techniques. If you pressure Mayweather enough, the artillery starts getting through. Castillo did that, while de la Hoya was repeatedly landing the jab by forcing the action. Anyone who thinks Mosley is going to hit empty air where old, rusty Oscar landed leather is delusional. If you watch carefully, you can always see the difference between a fighter who is backing up because he wants to and one who is backing up because he is forced to. Mayweather gets hit more and punches less when the latter happens, and he can’t win the fight if Mosley is the only one doing the punching.

Floyd Mayweather has fought only two real welterweights in his whole career: Oscar de la Hoya and Carlos Baldomir. Baldomir was a tough Argentine, but he was slow and tailor-made for Mayweather. I am confident that Oscar de la Hoya, on the other hand, would have taken Mayweather’s head off if only Oscar had bothered to fight twice a year for every year running up into that fight. Mosley might have been on the shelf for a while, but the man is a consummate gym rat and won’t be rusty. Instead, he will be the biggest, strongest, hardest-hitting, most skilled and most experienced opponent Mayweather has ever been in the ring with, and in terms of speed Mosley is only a step behind Mayweather.

Mayweather is the sure winner? Not only can “Sugar” Shane Mosley beat Mayweather, I’m putting money down that he will.

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