Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mayweather-Mosley Pre-Fight Breakdown

On September 19th Floyd Mayweather’s successful return to the ring was interrupted by a welterweight champion who commanded the respect of the boxing world by demanding Mayweather face him. The best move for Mayweather at the time seemed naturally to be taking on Manny Pacquiao. I don’t think I need to go into how Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fell apart, but it’s clear that if one man benefited from the debacle it was Shane Mosley. Mosley will have an opportunity to grab his largest pay day to date, and grab the boxing world’s respect by taking on the best in the sport on May 1. Here is a breakdown of what looks to be the toughest bout of both fighters’ careers.

40-0 (25 KO’s)
Age: 33
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Notable wins: Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo

Shane Mosley
46-5 (39 ko’s)
Age: 38
Hometown: Pomona, California
Notable wins: Oscar De La Hoya 2x, Fernando Vargas, Antonio Margarito, Ricardo Mayorga
Notable losses: Winky Wright (twice), Vernon Forrest (twice), Miguel Cotto

This fight is nothing short of comparing a Ferrari to a Lamborghini. I don’t care that both fighters are well into their 30’s both men are capable of blinding combination, and both have solid reputations as gym rats. Mosley at his peak is one of the fastest fighters of my lifetime pound for pound, and he showed the world he isn’t slowing down when he dismantled Antonio Margarito in 2009.

Floyd’s hands on the pads are a sight to be seen, and at this point in his life he probably is faster than Shane, but athletically I think Mosley may have more tools. Strength and speed are a deadly combination and I think Mosley still has a world of both. It’s not often I’d give another man the edge over Mayweather in this category but I think Shane at his own weight is the guy to take it.
Advantage: Mosley by razor thin margin

Matt’s Take: Mosley-Mayweather was always a fantasy match up amongst fight fans, especially as the latter rose to the top of pound for pound lists. Shane was always one of the few men who could match him athletically. Both had lightning fast hands and were elite natural athletes. The two are arguably the most gifted fighters in the last 15 years with all due respects to Roy Jones Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. As of their last bout, both had their athleticism and speed in tact. Unfortunately for Mosley, 39, his last bout was almost a year and a half ago.

By watching HBO’s award winning 24/7 series, it is evident that Shane has aged considerably since we saw him demolish disgraced Antonio Margarito in January 09 and fighters don’t improve athletically in their late 30’s. This gives me every reason to believe that there will be SOME repercussions on fight night, especially considering who will be standing across the ring from him.

Whether you like it or not, Mayweather has shown few (if any) signs of slowing down. The snappy jab and famed shoulder roll were intact when he fought Marquez, so without serious aging issues or injuries, expect his elite athleticism to be full in effect.

Advantage: Mayweather

If there is one category Shane takes the cake in its power. The fight is at 147, where Mosley has dropped some major names. A Dazzling left hook that stretched both Vargas, and Mayorga is an image that stands out when weighing Shane’s power, and that’s a weapon Floyd will have to look out for.

Mayweather is not known for his power. Despite knocking out Ricky Hatton, and putting Marquez on the canvas Mayweather probably won’t be banking on knocking Mosley out. I’m not saying he doesn’t have the ability, but with his prowess Mayweather’s best bet is aiming for a 12 round outclassing of his foe.

Advantage: Mosley

Matt’s Take: Even if my observation about Mosley’s aging is correct, anybody that knows boxing will tell you that the last thing a fighter loses is his power; just ask Michael Moorer, who was knocked out by a 45 year old George Foreman. From lightweight to junior middleweight, Sugar Shane exemplifies what “Pound for Pound” punching power.

He has the ability to finish a fight with either hand and his last two bouts ended in dramatic knockouts, putting both Ricardo Mayorga and Margarito to sleep impressively. Against Mayweather, Mosley must use his biggest advantage if he hopes to be victorious; power.

The majority of Mayweather’s offense is jabs and counter shots, giving him little opportunity to knockout a naturally bigger opponent. Mayweather’s two knockouts above 140 lbs came against blown up (perhaps literally in Ricky Hatton’s case) opponents. He was unable to hurt Carlos Baldomir, Zab Judah or Oscar De La Hoya and deep down, the six division champion knows this category isn’t one he takes the nod in.

Advantage: Mosley


Mayweather’s best weapon is his own defense. When he is in the zone he is virtually un-hittable. Mayweather’s patented shoulder roll defense has been giving opponents headaches for years and that will be Mosley’s egg to crack on May 1.

The category is defense and chin, Mosley showed the world he has a chin when he fought Miguel Cotto in 2007, but it’s hard to make up ground in this category on one of this era’s great defensive fighters. Floyd’s elusiveness could very well end up being the storyline Saturday night and with that said this category belongs to him.
Advantage: Mayweather

Matt’s Take: Mayweather’s defensive abilities rank alongside fighters such as Willie Pep and Pernell Whitaker as the greatest ever. His tremendous movement, aforementioned reflexes and shifty shoulder roll are yet to fail him. This has helped him steer clear of danger throughout his career and he has rarely been hit flush.

Mosley’s chin is amongst the best and he was only dropped twice in his 52 fight career while standing up to punchers like Fernando Vargas, Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto. He is usually found standing directly in front of his opponent but tremendous ring awareness and staying on his toes help him avoid punches. Defensively, he is no Mayweather, but is adequate.

Advantage: Mayweather

If there is one thing we don’t know about Floyd its how would he react when he’s under fire. Mayweather’s defense is so remarkable he has not honestly been in a firefight and hasn’t had an opportunity to show the world his heart. Mosley on the other hand has shown a number of different sides, including brawler. His fight with Cotto should serve as a prime example of what the man is willing and able to go through.

It’s hard to fathom one fighter losing a category based on his excellence in another but that is exactly what is happening right now. Shane Mosley wins the heart category by default, because it’s an asset Floyd has never had to use.
Advantage: Mosley

Matt’s Take: Mayweather’s only true test under pressure was in his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo. Many considered his antics unsatisfactory due to his inability to deal with adversity down the stretch. Outside of a few rough rounds against Castillo, his exceptional skills have cleared him free of anything more than an in fight hand injury. He has never been completely knocked off his feet as a pro, yet to bleed and outside of being briefly buzzed by Demarcus Corley many years ago, hasn’t had to fight in danger. Mayweather deserves the world of credit for being able to avoid danger all these years, but at the same time, his heart remains a big question mark.

Mosley has never backed down in a fight. His ability to take shots and keep on coming is a major attribution to his heart. He stood directly in front of some of boxing’s best and is yet to be phased. Being able to overcome distractions from a nasty, well publicized divorce prior to dominating Margarito also earns him major kudos.

Advantage: Mosley

Both have taken part in highly publicized fights, and shared the ring with only the best over the past five years. Mosley has tasted victory and defeat, whereas Mayweather has seen only success. When a fight of this magnitude goes down, I almost feel like experience goes out the window.

When you have stared down Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao and even Ricky Hatton you’ve peaked. Both Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather have fought on the biggest possible stage over the course of their careers and both have been to this dance before. Neither fighter’s experience will make a difference come May 1.

Advantage: Draw

Matt’s Take: Simply put, Mayweather and Mosley, two of boxing’s top fighters in the last 15 years, have fought some of the biggest names to get to the top. Collectively they have faced Oscar De La Hoya (three times), Winky Wright (twice), Vernon Forrest (twice), Fernando Vargas (twice), Jose Luis Castillo (twice), Miguel Cotto, Diego Corrales, Ricky Hatton, Arturo Gatti, Antonio Margarito, Zab Judah and Juan Manuel Marquez. If this were chess, it would be a stalemate.

Advantage: Draw


Shane Mosley is one of the greatest fighters of this era, and possibly of all time, but on May 1 he will face a fighter that is in that same category, and five years younger. Mayweather opponents are almost automatically labeled underdogs, but I don’t think there has been one as live as Mosley. Live as he may be, Shane is still an underdog.

If Floyd brings his A game I don’t feel like anyone in the world can beat him, and if you expect anything less than his a game for this bout you are mistaken. I see Floyd showing up in one of the toughest fights of his career and coming out on top again. Mosley will make it a war, and probably get the respect he’s sought in what may be one of his final appearances. Mayweather meanwhile will pick up a major victory and some heavy negotiating leverage for a bout with Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather UD

Matt’s Take: Mayweather has plenty of advantages. His body is fresher. He is younger. His last bout was more recent than Mosley’s. But something tells me Sugar Shane is going to pull out one for the ages. This bout has been proposed for years and a victory moves either fighter up on the all time pound for pound list. With the huge fight just days away, Mosley is humble as always, while Mayweather is cocky as ever. Physically, Mayweather has plenty of reasons to be, as he looks to be in perfect form, but there is one major x-factor Sugar Shane has that Floyd doesn’t; Nazim Richardson.
Richardson has long been boxing’s most underrated trainer, as few give him the proper credit for helping Bernard Hopkins expose previously unbeaten opponents in Felix Trinidad and Kelly Pavlik. Those that know Richardson will tell you that he is more prepared than any trainer in the world. In his lone appearance working with Mosley, he helped him upset the highly favored Antonio Margarito in what many considered the best performance of his career.

Richardson and Mosley will be the team to figure out Mayweather’s seemingly unbeatable style, and while Shane may get outboxed in the early going, he will be the first man to really catch “Pretty Boy” Floyd. Expect to see Mosley use feints followed by right hands to bust up Mayweather’s shoulder roll. Enough clean shots from Mosley are enough to end any opponent’s night, including Floyd Mayweather, who will get stopped in one of the most storied victories in boxing history.
Mosley by late stoppage

Author: Matt Yanofsky



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