Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mayweather vs. Mosley: Will it mean anything in the end?

By Joseph “The Mad Boxing Genius” Torres: For years, Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have danced around each other without actually setting foot in the ring. For years, the effort to match the two men were attempted but failed miserably. But if boxing has proven anything, it’s to never say never in this sport. Mike Tyson versus Evander Holyfield was eventually finalized despite cancellations and years of going in separate directions. Mike Tyson versus Lennox Lewis had their obstacles too but it got done. A Mosley/Mayweather fight did not prove any different.

Whether or not you believe the rumours that Mayweather has been ducking Mosley for years, after the Manny Pacquiao fallout earlier this year, Floyd was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He’s already been criticized for years for not fighting the best fighters the sport has to offer despite making claims of being the greatest of all time. What made Floyd’s situation even graver was his hard stance on random blood testing for illegal PED’s in the negotiations with the Pacquiao camp. There was backlash for both men but because of Floyd’s reputation, it appeared that he was taking the majority of the heat when fans started calling into questions Floyd’s intention to really fight Manny. With Manny taking the initiative by signing to fight Joshua Clottey after the mega-fight debacle, Mayweather was left without a dance partner. Enter Shane Mosley.

Regardless of how or why a Mayweather/Mosley fight was made for May 1st, the fight is finally going to happen.

On paper, this fight has the makings of a true classic. Both men are virtually the same in every way. Both have exceptional speed, skills and athleticism. Both are bonified Hall of Famers and are fighting in their best weight division of the 147lbs limit. There’s no catch weight, no one’s short on experience and to put it simply, there’s no excuse for this not to be one for the ages…accept one!

Boxing has always been the sport of kings because it pits one man against another man and the last one standing is the one who is stronger, tougher and simply better. Most fights at this level are designed to establish who the best truly is in the entire sport. However, there is an underlying issue that begs to question the legitimacy of this fight…Shane Mosley is a 38 year old veteran who hasn’t fought in 15 months!

As entertaining and competitive as this fight promises to be on paper, history shows when you have a fight that should have taken place years ago, you end up with a complete mismatch or a useless action fight. Take for example Mike Tyson versus Lennox Lewis. Had those two heavyweights fought years earlier, the fight would not only of been massive in terms of dollars and cents, but it would have been a bookmark for the sports’ legacy. Or more recently, the Bernard Hopkins /Roy Jones Jr. rematch where the only real excitement came when the final bell rang and the fans were spared more posturing than action.

Mosley has been accused of being over the hill more than once in his career. The most notable and recent time that there were signs that Sugar Shane wasn’t so sweet anymore was in his fight against Ricardo Mayorga. Shane was visibly having trouble in a very winnable fight. Some boxing experts, including this one, had Mayorga ahead going into the twelfth and final round. Luckily, Mosley being the warrior he is decked “El Matador” in twice forcing the referee to stop the fight in a last second knockout victory.

In his last fight against Antonio Margarito 15 months ago, he demolished a man who is considered to be the most avoided fighter in boxing at the time. Shane showed that he still had the stuff to knockout the usually very durable, world class Mexican. He tagged him often and ferociously en route to a 9th round stoppage. But I must reiterate that was 15 months ago.

If boxing matches at this level is supposed to establish clarity in determining who the best fighter is in real time, what happens if the all of these underlying issues start to play out?

Does over 15 months of inactivity put too much rust on Shane Mosley and hurt his performance?

Does Shane Mosley turn old overnight?

Although these underlying issues are what could possibly hamper the significance of this fight it’s also what makes it so intriguing. You have to wonder if Floyd wins under these circumstances, will he get the credit he craves? Does he even deserve it if he wins in this fashion? Will the fight to determine the best always lie with Mayweather versus Pacquiao? Or does Shane shock the world one more time?

One thing for sure is that regardless of all the negative factors that could make this mega-fight another dud, most boxing fans (and rightfully so), will bet their hard earned $50 plus on the PPV to find out!

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