Sugar Ray Leonard Breaks Down Floyd Mayweather vs Shane Mosley By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (May 1, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing
The great Sugar Ray Leonard is no stranger to mega-fights, having been involved in more than a few during his Hall-of-Fame career. This weekend, Floyd Mayweather puts his unbeaten mark on the line against Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. In an exclusive interview on Maxboxing during an appearance on “The Main Event” radio show, he gave his thoughts on the fight.
Leonard is familiar with the trademark Mayweather shoulder-roll, having beaten Floyd Mayweather Sr. in his 14th pro fight, stopping the elder Mayweather in ten rounds.
"Floyd Jr. is a lot quicker, more compact and is a better puncher," surmised Leonard, who faced him in September of 1978. "His dad really didn’t have that much of a sting or power on his shots. But he was so slick. I remember fighting him; it was in Providence and he was just so slick and clever when he went against the ropes and he really had an incredible defense. Just a slick and clever fighter."
When asked what can be done to counteract that style, Leonard said, "All you can do- and all I did- was go to the body and connect with left hooks to the head. But again, you gotta wait for that opening. Make that opening happen by going to the body."
Mosley, especially during his days as a lightweight, was a prolific body puncher. You’d have to figure that it’s at least a small segment of his battle plan. Problem is, it’s easier said than done to break through the exterior of Mayweather to get to his interior.
"You’re so right," said Leonard, laughing at the thought. "I’ve not seen anyone attack his body and I think that’s going to be the case with Mosley. Naazim Richardson is a very sharp, well-schooled trainer. But I think that will be what people will come to say. ’Well, this has never been done before. They’re going to Mayweather’s body.’"
When it comes to Mayweather’s approach to attacking Mosley, Leonard states, "I think he has to do kind of a cat and mouse [game] in the early rounds to see what Mosley has left. Mosley will have better speed than most of the fighters that Mayweather’s faced and I just think that, at one point or another, a fighter gets old in the ring and is this the time that Mosley gets old? I don’t particularly think so. If anything, this fight here is a stimulus, a motivation for him because he’s truly the underdog. So I think he’s really, really mentally and spiritually pumped up."
Mosley looked brilliant in dismantling Antonio Margarito in his last outing, but based on Margarito’s style, was that a bit of a mirage?
"A performance is a performance, no matter who it is," said Leonard. "Some of the boxing purists will say, ’Margarito, again, he is so much slower; he’s methodical; he’s this; he’s that.’ I mean, there’s no comparison to Mayweather, no question. But a win is a win and it gives you a sense of confidence. Is it a mirage or an illusion? It could be, but I think if anything, it’s a positive."
The Margarito fight took place almost 15 months ago. How much will this protracted layoff affect Mosley?
"It helps or hurts in one of two ways. It hurts because you need activity; you gotta stay sharp and the poise and the presence because of your activity you have in the ring, it’s always there. The inactivity, it’s really tough; it really is," said Leonard, who was no stranger to long delays in between performances during his career. "You gotta get used to getting hit again. You just lose it, the nanoseconds of your speed. I don’t think it’s going to be that significant of a deal, especially against Mayweather."
Perhaps at age 38, after a lifetime of boxing and time in the gym, could the rest actually be beneficial to Mosley? "That’s a very interesting question, because back in my time, when I was 30, I came back to fight Hagler. They said, ’Ray’s past his prime.’ So 30 was considered old back then. Now, guys are fighting at 35, even 40. I always think it’s a positive for some reason,” said Leonard.
Mayweather has as high a boxing I.Q. as anyone in the business. Against the riddle that is “Money,” it’s imperative that Mosley shuffles the deck and not get repetitive.
"I look back on the history of Mayweather and his opposition; no one has been able to penetrate that defense," Leonard stated. "His father was a master of that, Floyd Mayweather Sr. I think what Mayweather is going to find is that Mosley’s going to pick his shots, as opposed to just throwing his shots, to his arms. He’s going to place his shots a lot cleaner, I believe."
Whatever happens, let’s hope a fight breaks out.
Leonard, himself, was the target of steroid accusations leading up to his rematch with Thomas Hearns in 1989.
"What had happened, my girlfriend at the time, Bernadette, she was a health buff and really into nutrition," explained Leonard. "She gave me amino acids and, for some reason, I just got big, really, really big. But yeah, that was an accusation that it was steroids. But I didn’t use them, but I actually looked in the mirror and I was like, ’Holy cow, what’s going on here?’ I was really pumped, beefed up."
One of the reasons why Mayweather is taking on Mosley is because the negotiations to make a Pacquiao fight broke down. Chief among the reasons was the issue of extra testing for illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Would Leonard and his adviser, Mike Trainer, have ever left $40 million on the table?
With a laugh, Leonard said, "No, no; in fact, I would’ve gave him the enhancing drugs. It would’ve made no difference to me. Trust me, I can see past that."
The entire interview with Leonard can be heard on this week’s edition of “The Main Event” where we talked about a wide-ranging variety of issues...This fight is titled, “Who R U Picking,” but as “Suge” Green pointed out in one of his Tweets, at 4-1 odds favoring Mayweather, isn’t most everyone tabbing Mayweather?...In fact, while I know a lot of folks who want Mosley to win, I don’t know of that many people who are betting on him...Big win for Fernando Montiel in Japan; he is a sure-fire top ten pound-for-pound guy, now, isn’t he?...Anyone see the rather interesting story on Mosley on www.mediatakeout.com?...All I have to say is that Dez Bryant, the newest Dallas Cowboy, must’ve had an interesting home life growing up...Just how many MVPs in a row will LeBron James win going into the future?...No, I’m not in Vegas ‘til Saturday afternoon. Hey, I had stuff to do and, besides, it’s a Mayweather fight; it’s hard for me to get all that excited over it....