Mosley, Mayweather trainers remain respectful
The words exchanged between Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather Jr. on 24/7 will undoubtedly become heated or even nasty as HBO’s behind-the-scenes “reality” series leads fans to the May 1 showdown between the elite welterweights.
However, 18 days out from the biggest event of the year, the trainers of the combatants remained respectful of the other's fighter on an international conference call Tuesday.
Mosley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson, and Mayweather’s uncle/coach Roger, know their respective fighters bring certain style and athletic attributes that can be used against their next opponent, but neither would go so far as to say that his charge had a specific advantage over the other, nor would they divulge exactly how their fighter would win on May 1.
Members of the media tried to get Richardson and Mayweather to elaborate on the fighters' strengths and weaknesses but neither trainer would take the bait.
Mayweather is thought by most observers to be the superior boxer in the matchup, but his uncle, who is usually a brutally honest and bombastic sort, would not come right out and say that. He opted to repeat that “skills win fights” and then claim that “Floyd is the most skilled fighter in the sport.”
Many believe that Mayweather holds the edge in speed as well, but the former two-division titleholder pooh-poohed that as a decided advantage against Mosley.
“One of the fastest guys in the history of boxing was 1976 Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr.,” he said, “but he never won a world championship and he fought a lot of guys who were slower than him.
“It’s not about speed. Skill wins fights.”
Mosley is perceived as more aggressive, as the purer fighter of the two, but Richardson wouldn’t go there when was asked to elaborate on a recent statement that suggested that Mayweather, knowing there’s an immediate rematch clause, might quit if the going got too rough on May 1.
“I’m not concerned about a rematch, I never look past a fight that’s in front of me,” Richardson said, adding that he never made the alleged statement. “I don’t believe in making statements like that and I don’t believe there’s any quit in Floyd Mayweather. I don’t believe an athlete of that level would quit if a few rounds didn’t go his way.”
Richardson also wouldn’t buy into the suggestion that Mayweather might not stand his ground very often during the fight. When asked whether Mosley will have to hunt Mayweather down by cutting off the ring, he replied “I haven’t read the passage that says he has to cut the ring off on Mayweather.
“I’m bringing Shane Mosley to the table,” Richardson continued. “I’m not bringing the other 39 opponents that Floyd has fought. Nobody said that we’re going to bring the same cookie-cutter ideology these other athletes brought when they fought Mayweather.
“Cutting off the ring is a procedure you take when you apply a certain tactic [pressure]. We may not employ that tactic.”
Richardson was basically saying that a complete boxer such as Mayweather will not be defeated by any single method or strategy.
“Floyd is an exceptional athlete,” he said when asked how he plans to prepare Mosley for Mayweather’s timing. “We have to be ready for everything he does, every move he makes, like we’re sitting down at the chess board. Timing is just one thing Mayweather brings to the table.
“Shane has to do whatever is necessary to get it done in this particular contest. If Floyd Mayweather turns into a dragon, he’s got to step on his tail and hit him in the stomach. Whatever comes to pass, he has to endure it and deal with it.”
It’s clear that Richardson respects what Mayweather can do between the ropes, and although the undefeated fighter’s uncle took a few verbal jabs at Mosley’s past history with PEDs (when asked about the fighter’s punching power), it was reciprocated.
“No doubt about it, Mosley is a great fighter,” Mayweather said at the start of the conference call. “They both got tremendous skill, that’s what makes the fight. They both got tremendous hand speed, that’s what makes the fight.
“Remember one thing,” he said later in the call, “Floyd and Shane (are) in the same situation. Shane won five world championships. My nephew won six world championships. If the fight wasn’t going to be competitive, it wouldn’t have been made. The only way you gonna find out who the best fighter is on that day is if you come to the fight or pay to see the fight.
“The only day we gonna know (who’s better) is on May 1 when you see whose hand is raised.”