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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shane Mosley doing something other Floyd Mayweather foes haven't: Ignoring his rants

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Mayweather vs Mosley
By David Mayo | The Grand Rapids Press

Mayo-column-mug.jpgThe biggest issue with Floyd Mayweather's inevitable tongue-wagging at Shane Mosley has taken the form of the older, more experienced fighter accepting it exactly how he should. If Mosley keeps it up 10 more days, he wins round one, even if the scorecards never reflect it.

This stretch run to the welterweight megafight coincides with the period when Mayweather believes his deflating debating often wins fights before opening bell.

And so it has, against some weak-minded opponents, most notably the late Diego Corrales and the late Arturo Gatti, both of whom withered under the verbal assault and mentally were beaten in huge fights long before absorbing the follow-up physical beatdowns.

As for Mosley, he takes the sticks-and-stones approach to Mayweather's schtick-and-drone strategy, blanching neither at the May 1 fight's magnitude, nor Mayweather's biting platitudes.

The sniping has taken a recognizable form, as in every big Mayweather fight.

Steroids, which Mosley used for a brief period in 2003 -- unwittingly, he claims -- are at the center of it.

Yet, Mosley dismisses that as the 7-year-old non-issue it is, which in turn provides him some immunity to the Grand Rapids native's rants, which he said are designed "to get a reaction out of you and see what happens, see what you do."

"That's probably part of his plan, or his strategy, before the fight -- the fighting before the fight," Mosley said. "He just says what's on top of his head to get a reaction out of you. If he gets a reaction out of you, he's done a good job. He's won."

No Mayweather opponent ever assessed the pre-fight tactic better.

Against the lesser opposition of his past, Mayweather limited the chatter to his own greatness.

Against better opponents, he brought out heavier weaponry by finding a painful truth and picking the scab like a playground bully.

When it works, he wins.

His constant harping about beating Corrales "on behalf of battered women everywhere," with the Californian facing a trial that sent him to prison for a year, had that fight won long before the five-knockdown virtuoso.

Mayweather's repeated claim that Gatti was a "straight-up bum" who earned their fight with wins against second-tier opponents and undue support from HBO led the promoter to demand separate pre-fight press conferences -- and when Mayweather crashed Gatti's, the fight effectively ended before the six-round assault began.

Against Zab Judah, Mayweather focused on how Don King was taking virtually the challenger's entire paycheck. When the fight soured, Judah sparked a foul-filled brouhaha, prompting an array of suspensions and fines.

Against Oscar De La Hoya, the focus was how Floyd Mayweather Sr., who trained De La Hoya for six years, jumped camps when the big fight materialized.

Mosley has interacted with Mayweather enough outside the ring to know that his opponent isn't the same with cameras off and a big fight not forthcoming.

"You probably can see some good qualities that Floyd has," he said. "He can charm up a little bit and be more friendly, whatever. It's just that when the fight happens, he just starts getting a little crazy and goes back to the things he's used to doing."

Mosley has taken minor shots of his own, confined to the fight's outcome, particularly his oft-repeated vow of a knockout victory, as part of a pick-his-spots strategy on countering Mayweather's mouth, which he described as "check him here or there, get him back to thinking."

Mostly, his approach is to treat the steroid rant dismissively, ignore the rest and wait for fight night to respond -- something many other Mayweather foes should have done.

"I know that me not reacting to his antics, that's just me blocking all that stuff out and wanting to fight," Mosley said. "I don't really care about the different things that are being said, because that doesn't matter. What matters is the fight and what happens in the fight. So that's my whole interest and I kind of block all that other stuff out."

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