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Mayweather-Mosley: The impact of victory for each

25
Apr

The winner of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosley fight on May 1 in Las Vegas will have a lot to smile about. Photo / Ed Mulholland-FightWireImages.com

Note: This story originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of THE RING magazine, which is on news stands now. The issue features more than 30 pages of preview material on the Mayweather-Mosley fight.

In a time long, long ago (1999) a periodical from another era (THE RING’s sister publication, the now-defunct KO magazine) posited the question: “Mayweather vs. Mosley: Who’s the Future of Boxing?” Opi┬¼ni-ons from a number of fight game personalities spewed forth – Ray Leonard, Kevin Rooney, Vinny Pazienza and so forth. They could only guess, of course, but 11 years later, one would have to say that Mayweather won the race by a slim margin.

“Money May” is still undefeated, while Mosley has lost five times; Mayweather has won titles in four divisions to Mosley’s three, and Mayweather has spent far more time at the top of the pound-for-pound rankings. Also, on two occasions – in 1998 and in 2007 – Mayweather was named RING’s Fighter of the Year. Mosley has never been so honored. Lastly, Mayweather has almost certainly lost more money in the G-strings of writhing Las Vegas divas than Mosley has accumulated probably in his last 10 fights combined.

Further, Mayweather has never been accused, much less admitted to, ingesting in one way or another any performance-enhancing drugs. Mosley, of course, has, no matter how earnestly he smiles away the question during interviews.

True, Mosley has faced what most would consider a larger number of high-quality fighters. Not coincidentally, one can make the argument that Sugar Shane is far more respected among the muddled hardcore, this despite the aforementioned steroid debacle. This goes to show you how far a ready smile, quiet confidence and a killer’s heart go when it comes to inducing selective amnesia. But respect doesn’t pay the bills.

Don’t feel badly for Mosley. Even if he can’t undo the last 11 years (nor should he want to), he will get his chance on Saturday in Las Vegas not only to prove he can whip Mayweather even at the improbable age of 38, but in so doing establish beyond most reasonable doubt that he would have done it at a younger age as well. Then who should have been the future of boxing, smart guy?

The outcome having yet to be decided, we endeavor in this feature not to predict who will win on Saturday, but to consider what a win would mean to each fighter and to the business in which these very talented athletes and future Hall of Fame members find themselves. We start with Mayweather.

WHAT A MAYWEATHER VICTORY MEANS

To His Legacy: It depends on which side of the fence you’re on. If you are among those who have never seen video of such fighters as Willie Pep, Ray Robinson and Pernell Whitaker and believe as a consequence Mayweather’s assertion that he is the best thing to happen to boxing since thong-wearing round card girls, it’s your chance to say: “Told you so!” Even if you’re wrong. Still, a win over Mosley, even the 38-year-old version, is an excellent addition to a resume that includes Diego Corrales, Genaro Hernandez, Oscar De La Hoya, Arturo Gatti, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Zab Judah, Carlo Hernandez and Jesus Chavez. Mayweather is a first-ballot Hall of Famer without Mosley, but a win over Mosley is a big plus.

To His Reputation: Mayweather’s been hearing for a long time – deservedly — about the dearth of high-quality welterweights on his resume. A win over one of the most formidable welterweights in the business shuts up a lot of know-it-alls. He beats Mosley and he can fight as many blown up junior lightweights, alcoholics, ‘rasslers, and faded legends as he wants and no one can say anything — for a little while, anyway, at least until a fight with Manny Pacquiao can be made. And that’s the other upside. Much of the boxing world blames Mayweather for the fight with Pacquiao not coming off, believing he contrived the testing issue as a means to get out of the fight. If he fights and beats Mosley, whom Pacquiao has very clearly sidestepped, he must be given credit.

To His Standing in the Pound-For-Pound Ranking: Mayweather ranks behind only Pacquiao, so a win over Mosley — say, a close decision win in a tactical affair — in and of itself may or may not do much but make the debate a little louder. After all, Pacquiao won about every minute of every round against Clottey. But if Mayweather can pitch a shutout or something close against Mosley? Then it’s back to the top of the heap, and who says you can’t go home again?

To His Bank Account: Mayweather won’t make the $40-million against Mosley that he might have made against Pacquiao, and to a guy who somehow has managed to owe the IRS millions, $10-million is no small matter. But look at it this way: $15-20-million for Mosley and then $40-million for Pacquiao beats the heck out of “just” 40-million for Pacquiao. In fact, if Mayweather beats Mosley, he’ll be like an actor who just won an Oscar. His price goes up. Way up. Again. Where’s the ceiling for this guy?

To His Ego: If you think Mayweather is insufferable now, forget it. He’ll be gracious to Mosley after the fight, but his head will be so big it’ll block out the sun. In his mind, he will have become not just the greatest prizefighter ever, but the greatest athlete, the greatest entertainer, the greatest human: Jim Thorpe, Elvis and Gandhi rolled into one.

To his relationship with his father: Not much. They appear to have reconciled to the degree that they are ever going to. And between the elder Mayweather’s diminished standing in the business (see Pacquiao KO 2 Hatton) and his failing health, he’s not in a position to rock the boat. He’ll do whatever he has to do to stay in his son’s good graces.

To the rest of the welterweight division: Mayweather has never cared very much about proving himself to be the best welterweight in the world. Saying it, yes. Proving it, not too much. If anything, a win over Mosley would make him even less inclined to seek out big challenges like Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Andre Berto or even Paul Williams. Advice to all welterweights: If Mayweather wins, pork up. There’s room at junior middle.

To Boxing: In the short term, the game will take a minor hit because one of its best practitioners will vanish. If you haven’t noticed, Mayweather likes to take long vacations after big fights — seven months between De La Hoya and Hatton, almost two years between Hatton and Marquez. You won’t see him in the ring again in 2010. After that, the drum will beat again for Mayweather-Pacquiao. What happens then is anyone’s guess.

WHAT A MOSLEY VICTORY MEANS

To His Legacy: Old-time boxing guys love Mosley, an odd thing given their contempt for athletes who avail themselves of the benefits of modern science, and the primary reason is his fearlessness in his selection of opponents and in the ring. The notion of Mosley quitting, looking for an easy way out, or contributing to a boring fight is almost unthinkable. It is easy to envision him engaging Beau Jack in a series of great fights, or Ike Williams or Henry Armstrong. He’s that kind of fighter. Always has been. A win over Mayweather promotes him from respected star to icon.

To His Bank Account: There is little doubt that Jin Mosley, the fighter’s former wife and manager, made out handsomely when she and Shane parted ways. He was lucky if he came out of it with a hotplate and an old doorknob. With the money he’ll make beating Mayweather, then, presumably, winning the rematch, and then, in the best-case scenario, a fight with Pacquiao, he’ll be able to get that new doorknob he’s been eyeing.

To His Promotional Company: Mosley is managed by Golden Boy Promotions, who, for the purposes of this event at least, represent Mayweather as well. A win by Mosley is not necessarily the preferred outcome. If he were 24 or 25 or even 30, it surely would be, but it’s hard to build a substantive growth plan for a 38-year-old fighter. A promotional company needs young fighters. Mayweather is unquestionably a pain in Richard Schaefer’s neck – he made Schaefer sweat a long time before signing the contract – but at 33 he presumably has more big fights down the road than does Mosley. That makes a win by Mosley, if not bad news for Golden Boy, then at least not the best news.

To His Pound-For-Pound Ranking: THE RING ranks Mosley third, right behind Pacquiao and Mayweather (obviously, this is a very tight race). Naturally, a win over Mayweather elevates him to second. Then, if he fights and manages to beat Pacquiao, we’ll have something we’ve never had before: a nearly 40-year-old pound-for-pound king. That’s remarkable.

To the Rest of the Welterweight Division: At this stage in his career, Mosley is not interested in cleaning out the division. He wants only the biggest fights, which means no Clottey, probably no Andre Berto, and no rematches with Miguel Cotto or Luis Collazo unless something weird happens. We’re talking about Mayweather and then, if he can get him in the ring, Pacquiao. That’s good news for him, bad news for the rest of the world’s better 147-pounders.

To His Future: You have to talk about the future any time you’re discussing the fortunes of a 38-year-old athlete, so in the short-term a win by Mosley would almost certainly mean a rematch with Mayweather. It’s hard to imagine there would not be a re┬¼match clause in the contract and that Mayweather, unless he is badly beaten, would not exercise it. So expect Mosley-Mayweather II. Beyond that, Mosley doesn’t have time nor interest in dawdling around with smaller fights. He will lobby loudly, or have someone lobby loudly for him, for a fight with Pacquiao. It is the most logical fight and the biggest fight for both guys with the only roadblock being the apparent reluctance of Pacquiao’s people to make it happen.

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