Thursday, June 08, 2023  |


Can Mosley tame the Tijuana Tornado? Kelley says he can

Fighters Network

Observant handicappers will have a hard time giving Shane Mosley a very good chance of beating Antonio Margarito when the two meet in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The reasons are obvious: Mosley is 37 years old, he didn't look all that good in his last two fights, and of the two guys who will enter the ring that night, only one can claim to have literally beaten an opponent's ear off.

Not bitten it off. Beaten it off.

And it's not Sugar Shane.

But take heart, Mosley fans: all is not lost. There is a growing sense among a lot of guys – not me, but others – that with his speed, smarts, the right strategy and a little luck, your man can pull it off.

One of those guys is former featherweight titleholder Kevin Kelley, who, in case you never noticed, throws around opinions the way the rest of us throw around flu germs. That's to say he's not bashful.

“When I fought Troy Dorsey I learned one thing: if you can't knock somebody out, don't try to knock them out,” Kelley told me last week.

Kelley beat Dorsey way back in 1992 in New York and we'll put aside for the moment the inconvenient reality that Dorsey was a mostly talentless, mullet-wearing former kick boxer who threw a gazillion punches a round, none of them hard enough to muss even the most fragile comb over.

That's not Margarito, who throws bricks in there.

The point is Dorsey sported a rock-hard chin, just like the one Margarito lugs around and with which Mosley will have to contend on Saturday night.

“You have to try to hit them 500 times a round, and keep hitting them 500 times a round,” Kelley said, “and keep them spinning, keep them on the balls of their feet, and keep them turning, because they can't hit a target that's moving. Margarito can't hit a man that's moving.

“I told Shane, hit him five or six times, and move to your right. Then hit him five or six times, and move to your left,” Kelley said. “Do that round after round after round for the first five rounds.”

So far so good. That's pretty much what Miguel Cotto did against Margarito over the first half of their fight, until the world came crashing down on him. Cotto used every inch of the ring, stopping only to bang off a combination or two before getting back on his bicycle. It was after the midway point that Cotto's plan fell apart, according to Kelley.

“When you get to the sixth round, here's where we change it. We hit him, and we hold him. We hit him, we hold him. We hit him, we hold him. At the end of the fight, 12-round unanimous decision, an easy fight. It might bore the public but guess what – we got the win.”

Mosley's temperament has always seemed such that the notion of clinching his way through the latter half of a fight would be tantamount to entering the ring wearing a skirt, and this is one of the qualities that has endeared him to so many. He is all fighter.

Another phenomenon that might work in his favor is Margarito's big win over Cotto last time out. It is often after these kinds of career-defining wins that a world-class fighter suffers a letdown.

Two recent examples: Kostya Tszyu losing to Ricky Hatton after blowing out Sharmba Mitchell, and Roy Jones, after outclassing John Ruiz, barely scraping by Antonio Tarver in their first fight.

Some guys reach that pinnacle and just can't ever get up for a fight the same way again.

It will work to Margarito's advantage that he has not reached the financial strata that Tszyu and Jones had when they fell from grace. In fact, he is far hungrier than Mosley, who is doing this for the fun of it, if you can imagine.

For Margarito, it's all business.

Some miscellaneous observations from last week:

Kudos to Andre Berto and Luis Collazo for the splendid scrap they put on in Biloxi, Miss. on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” Saturday night. I hadn't fully climbed on the Berto bandwagon, but this was impressiveÔǪ

Berto was on his way to a beating but adjusted, willed himself into it (albeit aided by Collazo's inexplicable decision to pose through the middle rounds) and dominated the final round of a grueling fight. Good for him

Bravo to referee Keith Hughes for penalizing Berto for holding. Holding may be “part of the sport” as Lennox Lewis insisted, but not one of its better parts and referees should be judicious about how much of it they allow…

Harold Lederman's 115-112 score for Collazo tells me it's time for someone to do inventory at the pharmacy in New York at which Lederman works full time. Something might be missing…

One of the great things about watching a Lou DiBella card is there's always the chance things won't go well for his fighter and there are few visions in sport more entertaining than Lou turning green at ringside

You have to love Lewis' modesty: “I would never be as great as I am today if I hadn't lost.” So getting flattened by mediocre clubbers Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman was a good thing?…

I can't remember the last time a prospect showed as much chutzpah as Amir Khan has in signing to face Marco Antonio Barrera. Barrera still can fight and Khan's willingness to meet him demonstrates a self-belief that may prove more important than the reliability of his chin…

Anyone else detect some friction between Brian Kenny and Dan Rafael Friday night?…

Congratulations to Jose Luis Castillo for making weight for his win Saturday night over James Wayca. No word on whether he plans to get down to cruiserweight next time out…

Who else couldn't take their eyes off that giant bump on Eromosele Albert's forehead on Friday Night Fights? I haven't been so distracted by a fighter's protuberances since the last time I watched a Mia St. John fight.

William Dettloff can be reached at [email protected]