Another megafight, another good old-fashioned boxing talk with a friend of mine. Let’s get to it…
AJ: When I think about this fight, the first thing I think about say is “finally,” because frankly, these guys should have fought ten years ago, when Mosley was a lightweight and Mayweather was a super featherweight, when they were both pound-for-pound. This should have happened years ago. I’m very happy it’s happening now. I’m glad Mayweather, if he wins, will get his just due or, if Mosley wins, he gets the acclaim he really deserves. But this fight is definitely a little past its due date, in my opinion.
JD: A little past its due date, yes, but I made this point earlier: Though they are now older, they are both rated higher on the pound-for-pound list than they were 11 or 12 years ago. So, does that mean pound-for-pound lists are bullsh*t, that they should be taken with a grain of salt, or that fighters back then were just better?
AJ: Well, I think pound-for-pound lists typically celebrate those that have achieved a lot and our still maintaining that. Back when they were actually supposed to fight, they didn’t have the names on their ledgers. Yes, they had great records, yes they had the titles, but they didn’t have the names to back it up. To me, it’s more a “who’s the most famous at the time?” rather than ‘who’s the best out there?”
JD: Another fight this reminds me of, like what you said, as far as not being fought back when they were younger but fighting now when their names are bigger, is Hopkins Calzaghe. When Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe fought, they fought when their names were as big as they could possibly be. Even though they were both older fighters, they were both still top-rated fighters and it was still viewed as a significant fight.
AJ: I agree, but if you look at that fight even look at the winner Calzaghe is not going to get the same credit he really deserved for beating Bernard Hopkins. He beat an out-of-prime Bernard Hopkins. Yes, he beat a good Bernard Hopkins, but people will always say, “well, he was out of his prime, and they fought too late in their careers.”
JD: Do you think that Floyd, if he wins, if he beats Shane, will have that asterisk on the win?
AJ: I think there are definitely those critics out there. And in a way, rightfully so. He’s not fighting the best Shane Mosley, and there’s no way around that. But, in my opinion, he’s still fighting the second best guy out there in his division right now.
JD: Ya the second best reasonable challenge out there for him, right?
JD: It’s weird. I do agree with you. I do think a lot of people will point to the age, but I still kinda compare it to the Calzaghe thing. Calzaghe affirmed himself as an elite fighter because he beat Hopkins. He didn’t dominate him or anything, but to me, he beat him. I think that Hopkins was a very difficult fighter. Even though he was 43 years old, he was a very difficult fighter. It’s the same way I view Shane Mosley. Shane Mosley, at 38, is still a very, very difficult fighter, a very difficult challenge. Aside from Manny Pacquiao, Floyd is making the fight with the toughest guy available. You have to give him credit if he wins.
AJ: Well, I agree with you. I don’t want to hang on the Calzaghe fight too long, but I will say that Calzaghe beat Hopkins with his athleticism, and fought off of what Hopkins couldn’t do anymore. Hopkins couldn’t maintain his stamina, which hadn’t been a problem with Hopkins until he got older. I think that if Mayweather beats Shane Mosley with his athleticism, by being too fast and with too much movement, and if he makes Shane look older than he actually is, I think he will lose credit just like Calzaghe.
JD: So you’re saying if Floyd makes Mosley look old, then he won’t get any credit for it?
AJ: Absolutely. That’s exactly what I mean. And it’s interesting. In his last fight, over a year ago, he was fighting a slow, lumbering guy. Powerful in theory, but there to be hit the entire time and Shane Mosley was obviously too quick in that fight. I don’t think the Margarito fight really tells us that much.
JD: Well, here’s what I gather from the Margarito fight. I gather that Shane Mosley is still a strong guy, that Shane Mosley can still punch pretty fast, and that Shane Mosley can follow a good game plan. Against Miguel Cotto, against Ricardo Mayorga, I don’t think he really had a game plan. If you listen to what he said before the Miguel Cotto fight, Shane Mosley said, “This is not a fight where I have to be like, ‘Okay, what am I gonna do?’ I already know what to do.” He expected Cotto to just come forward and brawl with him and that he was going to be able to knock him out, right? After all, his dad says he hits like a heavyweight. Against Margarito, who’s more hittable than Mayorga and Cotto, he didn’t just go out there and try and blast him out. He placed his punches well.
AJ: Would you say that’s all Naazim Richardson” Do you think he’s gonna to be the big difference?
JD: I think he’s going to make a difference because he’s not going to fill Mosley’s head with delusions. You hear it in interviews. Shane’s not gonna go out there with the mentality “Oh, I can knock this guy out, easy.” When he had Jack Mosley in his corner, that was really the belief that he’s King Kong, and that he can knock out anybody. Now, Shane Mosley hits hard, but he’s not Felix Trinidad. He’s not Tommy Hearns. He doesn’t hit THAT hard. And he’s gonna have to use some boxing strategy to beat Floyd Mayweather. He’s not gonna go out there and blast him out. He’s not gonna do it. If he does, I will be supremely impressed.
AJ: I agree with you.
AJ: I’m very curious to see the footspeed. I’m curious to see if Mosley can close the gaps, if he can really just keep on Floyd Mayweather. Because, look, people can call Floyd Mayweather a coward and say he runs, but the man does what he does very well. He has great footwork, he has great agility, good body movement, defense. I want to see if Mosley can maintain a really aggressive fight the entire fight. That to me is going to be very interesting.
JD: I said this before, and people criticized, because I compared I think one of the ways to get to Mayweather is to do what Hatton did. Now people, obviously, hate Hatton, but hear me out on this. What Ricky Hatton’s strategy was, he had the footspeed to close in on Mayweather, and he did. He cornered him. He made him fight on the inside. What Ricky Hatton didn’t have, is that he wasn’t stronger than Floyd. Floyd was able to beat him up on the inside. Floyd was a better inside-fighter than him, and he couldn’t take Floyd’s shots. He didn’t have the tools to do it. He wasn’t big enough. He didn’t have the skills to do it. Now, Mosley does everything better Hatton. He’s stronger. He’s faster. He has better boxing skills. However, he might not actually have better footspeed. Some think it’s painful to actually say that. People might say that, well Hatton just wailed on in there like an idiot. Bottom line, though? He cornered Floyd, and was able to make him fight on the inside. Other guys weren’t able to do that. Does Shane still have the leg strength or the footspeed to do that?
AJ: That’s true, but that doesn’t mean Shane Mosley can’t rough Floyd Mayweather up. Going back to the Margarito fight, how often have we seen Margarito backed up? Ever? Even in the clinches, Margarito’s back was on the ropes. If that does happen, if Mosley does make it to the inside, Mayweather’s going to find out he’s in with a stronger man in general, someone who can push him backwards and tire him out a little bit.
JD: If Mosley can maul him, if Mosley can corner him, if he has the footspeed to close in on him, he can sit there and maul with Floyd. He can do what Ricky Hatton wanted to do. Because he’s better. It’s just that, does he have the speed in his 38 year-old legs to do that? He might.
AJ: If there’s a knock on Shane Mosley yes, his chin is amazing but he is very hittable. Miguel Cotto showed that. Oscar De La Hoya showed that. Margarito, not so much, but again that was a big, lumbering guy and if you’re slick enough, he’s not going to get to you. But someone like Mayweather, with pinpoint accuracy, with that very good lead right and that very good left hook, he’s going to be landing some punches on Mosley coming in, going out. He’s a great counter-puncher, too. I need to see if Mosley has the defense to handle something like that. Maybe Floyd doesn’t have the power to knock him out, but Floyd definitely has enough power to stop Mosley in his tracks.
JD: I do think Floyd is stronger than people give him credit for. If you look at Mosley I think the two most pertinent fights as far as evaluating this version of Shane Mosley against Floyd Mayweather are his second fight with Oscar De La Hoya and his fight with Miguel Cotto. I know the second De La Hoya fight happened seven years ago, but it was at 154. Maybe that makes a difference. My point is: he was fighting a skillful boxer that was on his toes and boxing with him at certain times, right?
AJ: I agree.
JD: And in both those fights, Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto were able to land counter and lead right hands on him overhand rights and crosses right over Mosley’s guard. Both De La Hoya and Cotto don’t have good right hands. Both their power hands are their left hands. Floyd Mayweather, meanwhile, has a very good right hand. He has a very educated, very sharp right hand. That’s something that De La Hoya and Cotto didn’t have.
AJ: Well, I think the key word you said there though was that he has a very educated one, a very accurate one, he has a very precise one, and he throws it at good times. He’s great at timing. Look, I don’t think Mayweather has the power to put away Mosley. I think even if he gets Mosley in trouble, it’s not going to happen. I definitely agree with you that, at this stage in Mosley’s career, he’s not going to sustain a ton of combination punching. I think that Mayweather’s going to find a lot of success throwing those lead rights, and leaping and getting around Mosley and land lading 1-2s and getting outta there. I don’t think Mosley’s going to throw a five-punch combination back at him. That’s not his game anymore.
JD: If Mosley, somehow, is able to fight like he used to be able to fight: bouncing on his toes, popping his head back and forth, flicking his jab think his lightweight career and his first fight with De La Hoya if somehow he’s able to fight that way, how do you see the fight playing out?
AJ: I think it’s gonna be a damn good fight if he comes out like that. That’s not who I’m expecting, though.
JD: Okay, okay. Humor me, here, because when he would do all that, when he would flick his jab and measure up his overhand right, when he would shift around his opponents, find new angles, be dynamic, all that stuff, he looked like you always want a fighter to look.
AJ: Even back then he was too hittable. I don’t know what it is. The man just won’t keep his hands up. He’s too hittable. A guy like Mayweather, if you give him something to hit, he’s going to hit you. I think Mayweather would still probably score enough points and pull out a win because Mosley would take too many punches. He just got hit.
JD: That’s true. Even a lesser fighter like Jesse James Leija was able to land cleanly on him.
AJ: Well, now, let’s be fair. Let’s try to be fair in all this. I think Mayweather is definitely going to be afraid of Mosley’s power. He’s in there with a guy that can hit him and hurt him. I’m not saying with one shot or anything, but Mosley’s a guy who will get his attention very quickly. And you know the first thing Mosley’s going to look to do is to get Floyd’s attention right away.
JD: When Floyd fought Oscar De La Hoya, I don’t think he was ever in trouble against Oscar De La Hoya. I think he was in control the whole time. But he fought a more defensive fight than he usually fights. That contributed to this reputation of being he’s really only done that in three fights, where he’s accused of being this really defensive runner. He’s only done that against Castillo, against Baldomir, and against Oscar De La Hoya. I might be missing one, but he hasn’t done it often is my point. In 40 fights, it’s not like in every single fight he was a defensive runner. Now is he hyper-aggressive, like Manny Pacquiao? No, he’s not like that. But he’s not this guy that runs away all the time. I do think he was afraid of Oscar De La Hoya’s power, and Shane Mosley, while he might not hit quite as hard as Oscar, hits harder than a lot of guys Floyd’s been in with. Shane’s a threatening opponent. He’s a more threatening opponent than most, if not all of Floyd’s previous opponents.
AJ: Another thing: How much credit do you give a trainer for providing plan B, C, and D? Sometimes fighters can’t see themselves from the outside. They can’t see what’s there, and they have to rely on their trainer to an extent to tell them, “Okay, listen. What you’re doing isn’t working, but this is what I think.” Maybe he didn’t have a trainer that could do that for him before.
JD: I’m not saying Jack Mosley is a crap trainer. I’m not. I’m just saying I prefer Richardson’s wise metaphors to Jack “I don’t know what round it is” Mosley. The whole Naazim Richardson factor could be the important thing. Some people think it’ll matter. Some people don’t. I guess we’ll find out on Saturday.
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