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Monday, April 26, 2010

Trainers' take: Age a deciding factor in Floyd Mayweather's fight against Shane Mosley

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Mayweather vs Mosley
By David Mayo | The Grand Rapids Press

Mayo-column-mug.jpgLAS VEGAS -- Two boxing statesmen, both former world champions turned trainers, with a keen eye for the irreversible templates of the punch-for-pay game and the toll it takes, watch Floyd Mayweather intently. One has a vested interest in Saturday’s Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight. The other doesn’t.

Both think they see the same thing at play in the welterweight extravaganza, an experience they lived through during their own careers as active boxers.

Cornelius Boza Edwards and Roger Mayweather were world champions whose principal role in professional boxing was Hall of Fame gatekeeper, because almost anyone who beat them in their primes became an immediate candidate.

They also overstayed those primes and said Mosley, 38, is making the same mistake.

“There’s five years difference between them,” Boza Edwards said. “As we know, over the years, even with great fighters, one or two years could be huge.

“We always have this scenario. Fighting is a young man’s sport. In this fight, between Floyd and Shane, Floyd is the younger man. The reflexes aren’t the same. The quickness isn’t the same. And the other thing is, the last time Shane fought, was more than a year ago. So all those things are combined.”

Roger Mayweather trains his nephew and has an obvious bias. He also is an astute observer of boxing and a student of its history who considers Mosley a great fighter and surefire Hall of Famer, with dangerous power and a big heart.

But he also questions whether Mosley, after 52 pro fights and more than 250 amateur bouts, has enough to cope with the preeminent boxing artist of the past dozen years.

“As far as his ability, as far as his chin, everybody knows Shane Mosley is physically tough,” Roger Mayweather said. “But he had better than 200 amateur fights and nobody knows what he’s got left, until it gets to crunch time, and you find out how he responds. That’s the only way you really know.”

Boza Edwards, 54, and Roger Mayweather, 49, were stalwarts at junior lightweight and lightweight, the 130- and 135-pound classes, during the 1980s heyday of those divisions.

The Ugandan-born Boza Edwards won a world title at 130, and his 45-7 record was dotted with losses to six champions, including Alexis Arguello, Bobby Chacon and Hector Camacho. He also defeated Chacon and Rafael “Bazooka” Limon.

He went into decline after losing his title to Chacon in 1983, but didn’t quit. He won one of his last four fights, against a journeyman, and was outclassed by Camacho and knocked out in his final fight, in 1987, by Jose Luis Ramirez, who five months later became the first fighter to beat Pernell Whitaker.

He said he expects Mosley to be willing and prepared, all predicated on self-delusion.

“Great fighters have shown, over the course of history, that the mind can deceive you,” Boza Edwards said. “But once the bell rings, the reality sets in.”

Boza Edwards said he thinks Mosley’s aggression will work against him “and that’s where he’s going to make his mistake, I think, and Floyd’s going to take advantage of it and jump all over him.” He said he does not expect the fight to last the distance.

Roger Mayweather held world titles at 130 and 140 pounds and had three common opponents with Boza Edwards, although they never fought. His 59-13 record included seven losses in his last 25 bouts.

He was 38 when he last fought in 1999, seven years older than Boza Edwards was -- and more than six months younger than Mosley will be Saturday night.

“I know how good of a fighter Shane Mosley is. Remember, the guy I had beat him twice in the amateurs and twice in the pros,” he said, referring to the late Vernon Forrest, whom he used to train. “But in terms of that, when a guy’s been fighting that long, you don’t know what he’s got left on fight night. That’s when it’s going to show up."

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