Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Mayweather vs Mosley
LAS VEGAS -- At some point, at a time to arrive no later than three days hence, the Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight must become about more than steroid talk, or what BALCO founder Victor Conte says about what Mosley knew about taking banned substances in 2003, or who's fighting for money and who's fighting for glory.
At some point, no later than Saturday night, the first big fight of the new decade reduces to gumption and will -- and amid the plentiful debate about what the 38-year-old Mosley has left, the underdog insists it will be more than people think, and perhaps even more than the 33-year-old Mayweather has.
"I see where he's slipped," Mosley said Tuesday. "And I know there's certain things that's going on with his body that he doesn't understand yet.
"I won't tell him, either. I'll show him."
Mosley sat in a cushy chair at a VIP reception area in MGM Grand, sporting a close-cropped Jheri curl, a pink shirt, white pants and white shoes, cheeks dimpling under the pressure of his pleasant smile, his near-translucent eyes beaming.
He never looks exactly like a fighter when removed from the ring, nor does he carry himself the way one may expect from a fighter.
If there is one overarching truth about the difference between Mayweather and Mosley, it is that not everyone likes Mayweather, but few are ambivalent about him and he has pushed himself into household-name status, while almost everyone likes Mosley, yet he never quite transformed into the super-selling superstar and tends to find himself defaulted into the biggest fights.
That's exactly what happened when Mayweather's talks with Manny Pacquiao fell through, leaving Mosley as the Grand Rapids native's most attractive Plan B.
The prevailing sentiment is that Mayweather-Mosley would have been a much better fight earlier in their careers.
Mosley counters that his 2002-04 slump, when he won once in a six-fight span that included two losses each to Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright, and a no-contest result in a foul-marred fight with Raul Marquez, was the result of life becoming "overbearing sometimes on you."
"The fight game, people don't understand, is mental," he said. "You can be strong and fast, but it's really a mental game. I think that people will just not realize that. Yeah, you can get knocked out with a hard punch, but it's really a mental game. I think, mentally, at that point of my career, you can see I wasn't on top of my game."
Asked what he meant, Mosley suggested that his professional timeline provides the answer -- a clear reference to the failing professional relationship with his father and ex-trainer, Jack, whom he fired after the first loss to Wright in 2004.
John David Jackson trained Mosley for three fights, including another loss to Wright, then Jack Mosley returned for four fights, including a loss to Miguel Cotto. Mosley said he is more comfortable now, in his second fight under Naazim Richardson.
"You have different people come into your life, different trainers come in and do different things, different relationships, everything," Mosley said. "Different things can come into your life that can screw you around a little bit. Once you start finding your way out of it, things start looking different."
Mosley said Mayweather's professional perfection is a dual product of skill and taking the right fights at the right times.
The question is whether Mosley falls into the latter category.
"He might believe that's true and that might be why the fight is taking place. But I know that it's not true," Mosley said.
Saturday night, the truth will be uncovered in 12 rounds or less, and the underdog said he has plenty left to dent that 40-0 record.
"Every time I fight, I'm looking to knock the guy out," he said. "In my mind, I look at it as a knockout. And if it's not a knockout, then I'll put the 12 rounds in the bank and win in 12 rounds."