For a brief spell, Shane Mosley had the crowd on its feet and buzzing; he had just hit Floyd Mayweather with a blistering right hand in the second round that had shook the native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday night. It was stunning to see Mayweather hurt to any degree, much less hit with a clean, hard punch. An emboldened Mosley followed up with a barrage of punches before Mayweather rallied back with his own late flurry to finish the stanza.
But the second inning was Mayweather’s. The bout was deadlocked at one round apiece and the momentum seemed to be in Mosley’s favor. The fight was on.
Only it wasn’t.
For him, it had just concluded. This then became a “Floyd fight.”
It would be about the only time that Mosley would win a round, as he was systematically dismantled by Mayweather, from then on. Roy Halladay couldn’t have pitched a better game than Mayweather did, this past weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. From the third frame on, this became a surgical dissection, and this highly anticipated match-up became a rout, with Mayweather winning by the scores of 119-109 (twice) and 118-110.
"I could see in the second round everyone whoopin’ and hollering, going crazy, only thing I thought about is, just relax; stay focused. Because that comes with the territory, I’m in the sport of boxing. That comes with boxing. I’m a strong individual, so I know what it took," said Mayweather, of his one moment of discomfort in the fight.
Mosley had that one shining moment, but from then on, he was tamed by the ring generalship and boxing acumen of Mayweather, who used a laser-like counter right-cross to befuddle and stun Mosley throughout the night. Mayweather made “Sugar” look like the guy who went life-and-death with Ricardo Mayorga, not the one who beat Mexican star Antonio Margarito like a piñata.
The booming shot actually seemed to summon Mayweather to do what he does best, which is to slow the tempo and control the pace of a fight.
"What happened is I’m a fighter and things happen," he said, at the post-fight presser, discussing the second round. "But I’m a strong individual; like I said before, he hit me with a good shot. It’s not like I’ve never been hit like that before. DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley hit me with a harder shot than that. Zab Judah hit me with a harder shot than that. But when you dedicated yourself to the sport and you’re hungry and you truly believe, of course, like I said before, I come from a family of winners. So I wasn’t going to lay down, so I wasn’t really worried about what comes with the sport."
In the build-up to this fight, Mayweather said something to the effect of that while Mosley was talented, Mayweather was God-gifted. And as much as that might rub some people the wrong way, it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. Mayweather wasn’t just faster and more reflexive than Mosley, he also possesses a higher boxing I.Q. He is a boxing savant, practically a member of MENSA. While Mosley was playing checkers, Mayweather is boxing’s version of Bobby Fischer. And as Mosley labored to drum up anything offensively by the middle rounds, it seemed as though Mayweather was thinking three or four steps ahead to create openings for his right hands that became more and more accurate as the night went on.
Just a few rounds after shaking Mayweather, Mosley had quickly run out of ideas.
"It was me just being able to show my versatility and adapt and adjust to any opponent," said Mayweather, who moves to 41-0 with his latest conquest. "I was able to adapt and adjust and I knew my game plan was going to work, break him down every which way and turn it into a dog fight, if that’s what was needed." Of his ability to take away Mosley’s right hand after the second, he explained, "When I’m at home, I never study an opponent; I never go watch tapes because I think when an opponent gets in the ring with me, they’re going to be totally different. So Shane never uses a full jab; it’s like a tick-tack jab, trying to set up a big shot, either the big left hook or big right hand. Like I said before, I just took my time, kept my composure and every time I seen an opening, I took advantage of it."
Mosley looked every bit his 38 years of age. He was huffing and puffing by the early rounds and his legs looked weary. Mayweather might have had a lot to do with that. But what was most shocking was that Mosley was in survival mode by the championship rounds. No longer was he thinking about winning, but preserving his record of never getting stopped. Some will criticize Mayweather for not finishing the show, but it was Mosley who really ran out the clock. And while there was a good deal of clinching, most- if not all of it- was initiated by Mosley, who, instead of working on the inside and digging to the body (like many experts believed he had to), clutched and lunged at Mayweather all night long. In what was a telling moment of this fight, in one of their frequent tie-ups, it was Mayweather who hit Mosley in the face, off the break before referee Kenny Bayless could intervene. It was boxing’s version of a quick pitch. But it said something- while Mosley was looking more and more like a rudderless ship- Mayweather, after hitting bumping waters early, sailed smooth and steady throughout.
But Mayweather, for all his boxing brilliance, is still not for everyone. The crowd (which perhaps had betting slips for the 4-1 underdog), for long stretches, was on its hands and silenced. It sounded more like a library than a prizefight, in certain rounds. Mayweather’s style can be incredibly intricate and nuanced. He paints masterfully on the canvas with his hands and feet. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s particularly entertaining or enthralling all the time. What he does is certainly an art form, but then, how many boxing fans go to museums?
But there’s no denying this, nobody is better at doing what he wants to do inside that square circle than Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr.
He is the pugilistic Picasso.
Predictably, talk turned to a Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao showdown.
"I think I paved the way; all roads lead to Floyd Mayweather," said Mayweather, when asked about the future. "Just dedicating myself to the sport for 15 years. I’m not saying that Manny Pacquiao is not a good fighter; he’s a good fighter, but I got that will to win under the lights."
But I think there are some major hurdles that need to be climbed before this fight is a reality.
1. The issue of Olympic-style drug testing. Honestly, it doesn’t look like either side will budge here. Mayweather will insist on the protocol that was used for this last fight, while Bob Arum has made it clear that they will adhere to whatever the rules are in place for the governing commission in the state that this fight will be held in, not the Mayweather State Athletic Commission.
2. The purse split. Unlike Mosley, don’t expect Pacquiao to accept what was basically the same percentage that would be given to a mandatory challenger in a purse bid. And certainly, Mayweather isn’t taking anything less than 51-percent of the total pie, at the very least.
3. Al Haymon/Golden Boy Promotions vs. Bob Arum. All I have to say is that there is certainly no love lost here between these two factions. Arum, in my opinion, would have no problems in just continuing to have Pacquiao face more Top Rank-promoted fighters in the near future. The question is, who does Mayweather fight next, if not the “Pac-Man”?
4. Geographic battle. Golden Boy and Mayweather are wed to Las Vegas/MGM Grand. Arum, at least publically, has made comments that a fight of this magnitude and importance should be held at a venue like the Dallas Cowboy Stadium where over 100,000 fans can enjoy the action (something I happen to agree with, it would be nice if tickets to boxing’s biggest events would actually be available to the fans and not just the brokers/scalpers). But the feeling here is, if everything else is agreed upon, then Arum would be willing to cede on this issue.
It should be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Don’t know about you folks, but I was entertained by the undercard, which, on paper, didn’t look so great.
The one-round shootout between Said Ouali and Hector David Saldivia was a fun fight, with three knockdowns in less than three minutes. Daniel Ponce De Leon and Cornelius Lock put on a pretty good fight (I actually thought this was very close and that Lock finished very well) and Saul Alvarez got a stern test from the game Jose Miguel Cotto.
My thoughts on the highly-touted Alvarez?
He’s got pretty good offensive tools and he’s got good power. What worries me is that he’s awfully stiff in the upper body and he was buzzed by a blown-up lightweight. But I do think he’s better than Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Mayweather’s feints are like the boxing version of Peyton Manning’s play-action fakes. They just freeze people in their tracks. Combined with those and his right crosses, by the middle rounds, Mosley was hesitant at times to even punch, for fear of getting countered...It was great to have “Solo Boxeo” back on Telefutura, wasn’t it?...I came in on Saturday afternoon to Las Vegas and left on Sunday morning. I basically stood up the whole time, with the help of Bakari “The Sooperstar” Lee, Gabe Montoya, Johnny Boy, Ernie, Noe and their crew, and Tweeters like “Ms. Glam Gigs,” “TimStarks(tqbr)” and “NazarioZ.” We had a great time. But my question is, why are bars at the MGM Grand closing at 2 AM? What gives? What is this, Kansas?...We ended up at the sports book where he hung out till about 5 AM. Rocky Juarez stopped by and bought everyone shots. We all told him thanks and to let his hands go...Seriously, what happened to the late-night, red-eye flights out of Las Vegas? I miss those...Is it just me or do Mayweather fans have this inordinate interest (perhaps obsession?) in the money he makes? Seriously, is there some profit-sharing thing I’m not aware of? And how do I get in on this action?....