Thursday, April 29, 2010
Mayweather vs Mosley
by Lee Payton
The last time Welterweight Champion Shane Mosley fought he made a man pay for trying to bring a weapon inside the ring with him. On May 1st he'll be looking to give Floyd Mayweather a taste of some more harsh justice.
His crime? You might assume that the old pug just wants to shut Floyd up, but that's not what this is about. He has been around too long for Mayweather's classless comments to have much effect. Shane sees through the fits and the ready-made responses. I don't think it's in him to beat someone up just because they're insecure.
It goes much deeper than that. Mosley has always wanted to prove that he's the best fighter in the world, and that competitive spirit has cost him. Losses lowered his stature in the game and made him face the fact that he's not invincible. That may be the toughest pill to swallow for a great fighter, but that kind of suffering is a part of the sport for fighters unafraid to take the hard road. Shane has always accepted that and has continued to try and fight the most threatening men he could get his hands on.
While Mosley will always have the respect of fight aficianados for his willingness to take anyone they've also seen him come up short before, which is why he is more than a 3-1 underdog going into this one. Floyd has never officially lost, but for years now fans and writers alike have been waiting for it to happen. Some want to see what he has on the inside to get a better idea of just how good he really is, while others just want to see witness his fall.
Sure, Shane lost to Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright, but before you can even begin to consider how Mayweather would have fared against them you have to recognize and accept that you're playing the mythical match-up game. As Mosley has pointed out, Floyd never would have signed a contract to fight those guys.
Mayweather has no problem admitting that he's all about self-preservation. Obviously, that's a great outlook once the bell rings, but I think his record illustrates his safety-first approach just as well. Not since the two bouts with Jose Luis Castillo in 2002 has he fought an elite fighter still in their prime, yet in the last 5 years he's seen the type of fame, fortune and acclaim that has eluded Mosley. That has to annoy the proud pug from Pamona, California.
How can the rewards at the end of the smooth, open road be more abundant than what is supposed to be waiting at the end of the dark and dangerous path? In my opinion, one fighter has proven more than the other, even if he has tasted defeat in the past.
Mayweather is in a position to fight anyone in the world, and yet, he picked (or picked on) Juan Manuel Marquez, a great fighter, but significantly smaller and likely on the downside of his career. He chose an opponent he would feel safe against after "retiring" for a year and a half or so. It was a good deal for the fighter who prodes himself on being a businessman. Easy money for "Money". Just the way he likes it.
Part of the deal that went along with getting the Marquez fight was that he would sign a contract to be part of Golden Boy Promotions for awhile. Mosley is a partner in that promotional company, so when the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight fell through he had to get in there with Sugar Shane. Some would say that he was forced into taking a tougher fight than he had hoped for, and the fact that he was looking at names like Kermit Cintron, Nate Campbell and Matthew Hatton seem to support that theory.
In order to get the fight he always wanted, Shane had to agree to random blood tests, a first in the history of the sport. Floyd swears that he just wants to clean up boxing. An impossible feat, but fair enough considering the fact that Mosley was linked to Balco in 2003. What's not fair is screaming about steroids every chance he gets. Throughout the entire promotion Mayweather has used "the steroid defense" to cope with the fact that he's actually fighting someone who has a chance to hurt him. The man has taken the necessary tests. That's all he can do.
Well, not quite. He can also take Mayweather's precious zero forever. A clean win over Mayweather would put an end to the childish insults and the roid accusations while scoring one for a true throwback.
That would be justice.