Head to head: Mayweather-Mosley
FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. vs. SHANE MOSLEY
When: Saturday, May 1
Where: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
TV: HBO pay per view, 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT
Title(s) at stake: Mosley’s WBA welterweight (only for Mosley)
Also on the card: Saul Alvarez vs. Jose Miguel Cotto, 10 rounds, welterweights; Daniel Ponce de Leon vs. Cornelius Lock, 10 rounds, featherweight.
Height / Reach: 5-8 (173cm) / 72 (183cm)
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Turned pro: 1996
Record: 40-0 (25 knockouts)
Trainer: Roger Mayweather
The Ring rating: No. 3 welterweight; No. 2 pound for pound
Titles: WBC junior lightweight (1998-2002); WBC lightweight (2002-04); WBC junior welterweight (2004-05); IBF welterweight (2006-08); WBC junior middleweight (2007).
Biggest victories: Genardo Hernandez, Oct. 3, 1998, TKO 8 (wins junior lightweight title); Diego Corrales, Jan. 20, 2001 (Corrales was unbeaten); Jose Luis Castillo, April 20, 2002, UD 12 (survives close fight); Oscar De La Hoya, May 5, 2007, SD 12 (highest-profile fight); Ricky Hatton, Dec. 8, 2007, TKO 10 (Hatton unbeaten); Juan Manuel Marquez, Sept. 19, UD 12.
Height / reach: 5-9 (175cm) / 74 (188cm)
Hometown: Pomona, Calif. (lives in Las Vegas)
Turned pro: 1993
Record: 46-5 (39 knockouts)
Trainer: Naazim Richardson
The Ring rating: No. 3 welterweight
Titles: IBF lightweight (1997-1999; vacated); WBC welterweight (2000-02; lost it to Vernon Forrest); WBA and WBC junior middleweight (2003-2004; lost titles to Winky Wright); WBA welterweight (2009-current).
Biggest victories: Philip Holiday, Aug. 2, 1997, UD 12 (wins IBF lightweight title); Oscar De La Hoya, June 17, 2000, SD 12 (wins WBC welterweight title); De La Hoya, Sept. 13, 2003, UD 12; Antonio Margarito, Jan. 24, 2009, TKO 9.
Losses: Vernon Forrest, 2002, UD 12 and UD 12 (for WBC welterweight title); Winky Wright, 2004, MD 12 and UD 12 (for junior middleweight titles);Miguel Cotto, Nov. 10, 2007, UD 12.
Skills: Mosley is a much better boxer than people give him credit for but as he’s gotten older and risen in weight he’s focused more on his conditioning, physical strength and aggression. He can still box when he wants to but he’s never focused on his skill and technique as much as Mayweather, who relies on ring savvy. Mayweather is the better defensive boxer, the more accurate counter puncher and the superior technician.
Power: Mosley’s father and former trainer coined the term “power-boxing” to describe his son’s style and there’s a reason the word power came before boxing. Even if Mosley can outclass an opponent with his skill he’s still going to gun for a knockout — and he usually gets it. Mosley’s warrior mentality is as much a factor in his high KO percentage as his actual punching power. Conversely, Mayweather could probably have knockouts on his record if he committed to his punches and sought out stoppage victories the way Mosley does, but he doesn’t do that. Mosley does and he’s aided by physical strength and durability that is superior to Mayweather’s.
Speed and athletic ability: Mosley was as quick and agile as a cat during his prime years at lightweight, but the welterweight and junior middleweight version of the veteran is slightly slower and significantly less mobile. Mayweather is not as mobile or busy at welterweight as he was at junior lightweight and lightweight, but his speed and reflexes — which are better than Mosley’s — were not effected by his rise in weight. Mayweather also possesses better hand-eye coordination than Mosley.
Defense: This category is Mayweather’s bread and butter. It’s safe to say that he’s the best defensive boxer in the sport, perhaps the best since Pernell Whitaker. Few of Mayweather’s opponents have been able to catch him with single shots during their fight, nobody has been able to land two or three consecutive punches. Mosley does a good job of avoiding most of his opponents shot, but he doesn’t seem to mind getting hit that much and thus probably takes more punishment than he should in some of his fights.
Experience: This category is a toss up. Mosley has been a pro longer (3¾ years) and engaged in more bouts (11) and slightly more title bouts (20 to 18), but Mayweather faced better fighters earlier in his career and has fought more titleholders (14 to 12). The quality of their opposition is certainly comparable, and who fought the better fighters can be debated. Both fought and beat De La Hoya, who is a first-ballot hall of famer. Mayweather had better competition at the lighter weights (Genaro Hernandez, Jose Luis Castillo, Diego Corrales, and Jesus Chavez). Mosley has fought the better opponents above lightweight (Winky Wright, Vernon Forrest, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto, and Luis Collazo).
Chin: Neither fighter has been knocked out. Mosley has been down twice in his career (both in the second round of the first Forrest fight), but he’s been hit by the harder punchers. Mosley has absorbed flush power shots from De La Hoya, Mayorga, and Cotto without flinching. Mayweather was visibly wobbled by DeMarcus Corley, who isn’t known for his power, in a junior welterweight bout.
Conditioning: Both men are obsessed with training. Neither fighter has ever allowed himself to get out of shape between fights. Mayweather trains to box 12 rounds. Mosley trains to fight 12 rounds.
Wear and tear: Mosley’s warrior mentality, aggressive ring style and willingness to take on anyone has resulted in more punishment than the defensive minded and more choosey Mayweather has absorbed in his career. Mosley’s first encounter with Forrest, the back-to-back bouts with Wright, and the Cotto fight combine for 48 very tough rounds.
Corner: The fathers of both fighters created excellent boxing foundations for their ultra-talented sons. Roger Mayweather maintains the technique and strategies that Floyd Sr. taught his son many years ago. Naazim Richardson adds wrinkles to the power-boxing philosophy that Jack Mosley instilled in Shane when he was just a toddler. Richardson, and understudy to the architect of Bernard Hopkins, Bouie Fisher, also provides much-needed focus in Mosley’s camps and provides the kind of specific game-planning that the veteran was missing for many years. Both Mayweather and Richardson have trained others over the years, but Richardson has done a better job with better fighters.
Outcome I (Rosenthal): Mayweather will discover fairly early in the fight that he has never faced anyone like Mosley, whose speed and ability mirror his own to a good degree. Mosley will be the aggressor but will fight in a calculated, controlled manner. And he will land punches, hard punches that will get the attention of Mayweather and the crowd. However, Mayweather, the best defensive fighter of his time, will gradually figure out Mosley's style and avoid most of his more-experienced opponent's shots from round 3 or 4 on. Meanwhile, Mayweather will stay true to his economic punch output: He won't throw much but will have a high connect rate, certainly high enough to win rounds as Mosley begins to show signs of his age (38). In the end, Mayweather will prove to be somewhat quicker and better at this stage of their careers and will win a clear, unanimous decision.
Prediction: Mayweather by decision.
Outcome II (Fischer): Mayweather will surprise many by coming out more aggressively than usual. Mosley will surprise many by not responding in kind or going for broke in the early rounds. Instead, Mosley will stay at long-to-midrange and try to match Mayweather’s educated jab. The older man’s left stick will bother Mayweather, who will take the early rounds by landing the cleaner power punches. Mosley will remind fans and the ringside press that he can counter punch when he times Mayweather with left hooks to the body and head in the middle rounds of the bout. These punches will convince Mayweather to give ground, which encourages Mosley to press his attack with right hands. Mayweather will block and counter most — but not all — of Mosley’s crosses and overhand rights, which sparks fierce and entertaining exchanges along the ropes. The fight up for grabs going into the late rounds, Mayweather attempts to stick and move to protect what he believes is a slight lead on the official scorecards, while Mosley, feeling a sense of urgency but not desperate, begins to increase the volume of his punches, which includes a brutal body attack whenever he closes the gap. The final rounds, fast and furious, whip the crowd into a standing frenzy. Most ringside observers believe Mosley’s forward-marching aggression from the middle rounds on are enough to earn him a hard-fought decision
Prediction: Mosley wins by majority decision.