Friday, June 09, 2023  |



Like him or not, Mayweather is magnificent

Fighters Network

Floyd Mayweather Jr. had the smile of a boxer who just turned in a sublime performance against a future hall of famer. Photo / Chris

LAS VEGAS – Some will point to Shane Mosley’s age, 38, to diminish Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s accomplishment on Saturday night at the MGM Grand. Some will criticize him once again for his safety-first fighting style.

Let’s be honest, though: The man is a once-in-a-generation boxing marvel.

Mosley might not be the fighter he was five or 10 years ago but he’s a young 38 and a strong, full-fledged welterweight. He retains tools that are superior to almost any other fighter. He proved that early last year when he annihilated Antonio Margarito, even if Margarito had the perfect style for him.

And Mayweather utterly dominated Mosley from the third round on, sucking the life out of the fight but painting a masterpiece.

Mosley’s only memorable moments came in a dramatic second round, when he landed a big right to the side of Mayweather’s head that buckled his knees. The crowd, sensing something special was imminent, responded by rocking the Grand Garden Arena with chants of “Mosley! Mosley! Mosley.”

After that, though, Mosley’s fans had little reason to cheer. Mayweather took that monstrous punch and then immediately fired his own hard shots right back at Mosley’s head, revealing the warrior within him that is rarely evident.

Then, as if he instantly figured out Mosley’s style, he took complete control of the fight. He suddenly couldn’t miss his sharp left jab. His stinging, blur-like right found its mark time and again, leaving Mosley frustrated, clueless and ultimately beaten.

Meanwhile, Mosley (46-6, 39 knockouts) barely landed a meaningful punch after that second round. Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) was hit an average of seven times per round in his previous fights. Mosley landed 92 punches, 7.7 per round. In other words, he did no better than Mayweather’s previous opponents in spite of his skills.

That’s astounding.

And you can’t even criticize Mayweather for being overly passive, as is typically the case. Mayweather is incapable of fighting with raw aggression but he stood his ground and beat a strangely hesitant Mosley to the punch over and over again, making him the aggressor much of the fight.

“I did what the fans came here to see — a toe-to-toe battle,” Mayweather said. “That’s not my style but I wanted to give them that kind of fight and I knew I could do it. I was happy it happened.”

Toe-to-toe might be a stretch by normal standards. That type of warfare would’ve produced a riveting fight, which this definitely was not. Some of the 15,117 fans in the arena began filing out of the arena after the 11th round, presumably because all drama was exhausted.

However, we’ll give Mayweather this one; by his standards, it was a toe-to-toe battle. He deserves some credit.

A more aggressive fighter – even slightly so – probably could’ve knocked out Mosley. However, Mayweather (41-0, 25 knockouts) wasn’t going to turn into something he’s not so he had to settle for a near-shutout decision – 119-109, 119-109 and 118-110. Thus, he missed an opportunity to become the first to stop Mosley and make a bigger statement.

This statement was plenty big, though. Mayweather’s performance probably was the best in his remarkable career. He not only beat one of the world’s best fighters and a future hall of famer, he embarrassed him.

Many of us will continue to dislike Mayweather because of his arrogance and we will bemoan the fact that he’ll never be an exciting fighter to watch, but we must admire skills that far exceed those of any other boxer in the world.

How does he top this?

He beats Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather reiterated at the post-fight news conference that he would like to fight his Filipino rival, with whom he was unable to come to terms for a proposed fight in March.

However, he also reiterated that he won’t give ground on his demand for random testing, which Pacquiao rejected. Pacquiao isn’t prepared to budge either, meaning it will be very difficult — if not impossible — to make the fight.

And, sadly, Pacquiao is the only fighter left standing who is deemed a worthy challenger for Mayweather. After that, he and his handlers will have to be creative. Will he move back up to 154 pounds? Will he go up to middleweight in search of a challenge and another big payday?

Time will tell. For now, we’re left with the memory of a magnificent performance and a question in our minds: Can anyone give this guy a fight?

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]