Mayweather-Mosley: More than just a superfight
The fights that have fired our imagination over the centuries have almost always been about more than just the contests themselves. True, ultimately, quality of the fight is the most important thing. But that’s only the bottom line.
There are many ingredients in the mix that create a super fight, and the Shane Mosley-Floyd Mayweather bout features a number of classic elements.
Stylistically, it’s not a straightforward bull vs. matador match. Nobody is expecting Ali-Frazier. There is, however, enough of a contrast in styles to make a difference. Although both fighters have superior speed and excellent technique, Mayweather is a defensive wizard and Mosley an aggressive boxer-puncher. If Mosley has one great fight left in him at age 38, it could conceivably be an exhilarating struggle.
A juicy controversy always heightens the tension leading up to a big fight but everything is peachy. Even so, the drug-testing disagreement that scuttled the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight has direct ramifications on Mosley-Mayweather.
When Mosley agreed to accept the Olympic-style testing that Pacquiao rejected, Mayweather-Mosley became an unofficial audition for blood screening that goes well beyond the current requirements of state commissions throughout the United States. Performance-enhancing drugs are a growing problem that much of the boxing industry seems hesitant to tackle, but it’s going to have to eventually, and Mosley-Mayweather could be a bellwether of significant change.
But having said that, until the commissions legally change their drug-testing policies and procedures, I do not think any fighter, including Pacquiao, should be forced to take a test not required in the jurisdiction in which the fight takes place. That’s not obeying the law; it’s making it up as you go along.
The fact that Mosley accepted non-required testing while Pacquiao refused says a lot about the men’s points of view more than anything else. It is not, however, the differences between Pacquiao and Mosley that’s important here, it’s the differences between Mosley and Mayweather.
Who Mayweather and Mosley are and what they represent is the undercurrent that gives the fight it’s distinctive flavor. Although Mosley is less than 6 years older, he’s definitely old school compared to Mayweather. Even their nicknames (“Sugar” and “Money”) are from two distinct eras and mindsets.
Until he confronted Mayweather in the ring after the Juan Manuel Marquez fight last year, Mosley seldom had an unkind word to say about another fighter. In an age of arrogant, trash-talking boxers, he’s been a pleasant anomaly — fiercely competitive but polite and gracious at the same time.
Mayweather, on the other hand, assumes a gangsta-like persona with spoiled-brat overtones — taking it to such extremes that he often seems a cartoon character outside the ring. Little Floyd has his followers to be sure, but for many others the aggravation factor makes it impossible to root for him.
Although it’s difficult to quantify, there’s little doubt that the clash of personalities adds considerably to the bout’s appeal. While Mayweather’s fans see Mosley as a past-his-prime Goody Two-Shoes, Mosley fans believe Mayweather needs to be taken down a peg or two and that their guy is the man for the job.
Who knows how things will turn out when the bell rings on May 1 at the MGM Grand? But many of the earmarks that have produced unforgettable fights in the past are present.
Now it’s all up to the fighters.
Nigel Collins is the Editor-in-Chief of THE RING magazine and can be contacted at: [email protected]