Mosley needed to be a fighter versus Mayweather
Perhaps hard right hands like this one convinced Shane Mosley to box instead of fight during his one-sided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday. Photo / Craig Bennett-Fightwireimages.com
LAS VEGAS — The biggest boxing event of the year turned into a rather uneventful, one-sided affair but don’t place all the blame on Floyd Mayweather, who dominated Shane Mosley to a 12-round unanimous decision on Saturday at the MGM Grand.
Well, you can blame Mayweather, who won by scores of 119-109 (twice) and 118-110, for being a master ring general who specializes in being elusive while landing a ridiculously high percentage of his counter punches.
He survived a scare in the second round and controlled Mosley for the rest of the fight.
However, much of the blame for the lack of sustained action in the bout must go to Mosley, who was as responsible for the constant clinching as Mayweather was and perhaps more responsible for the many lulls in the action.
Mosley’s chance to beat Mayweather, a 4-to-1 favorite, was to be the aggressor and to outwork the economical defensive specialist. Mosley (46-6, 39 knockouts) was not the aggressor. Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) was.
Mayweather, who threw more punches (477 to 452) and landed 44 percent of those shots (208 to Mosley’s 92), was also the busier of the two future hall of famers.
“I did what the fans came to see,” Mayweather said after the bout. “I gave them a toe-to-toe battle.”
Not really, but again, that wasn’t his fault. Mayweather was the boxer in Saturday’s matchup. He did what he was supposed to. Mosley didn’t.
Perhaps Mayweather didn’t let him. Maybe he got into Mosley’s head. Maybe he hit Mosley with something that robbed the perceived live underdog of his confidence.
If that’s the case — and it probably is — all credit must go to Mayweather.
But Mosley still owed it to himself and to the fans to try to do more than he did. He needed to be himself in the ring, and that’s not a boxer.
Mosley has underrated skills, which he showed by making Mayweather miss in the early going, but the Southern Californian is a fighter at heart.
It’s understandable that Mosley did not want to press the action from the start of the fight. Constant pressure, volume punching and raw power is not enough to topple a sharp-shooting boxer of Mayweather’s caliber.
“When you’re too aggressive with somebody like Floyd Mayweather he can make it work against you,” Mosley said during the post-fight press conference.
Mosley’s plan was to use skill and fury to overwhelm his elusive foe but the aggressive part of his game plan never materialized.
Mosley, who gained fame for his “power-boxing” style when he was an undefeated lightweight terror in the 1990s, tried being a pure boxer in the early rounds of the bout.
He bounced on his toes just outside of Mayweather’s reach. He slipped jabs and stepped back from straight rights. He blocked left hooks and he tried to counter punch. He had some success in the second round when a right hand to the temple momentarily rocked Mayweather, but that was it.
Mayweather immediately answered Mosley’s challenge by upping his punch output and landing hard, effective punches of his own in the very next round.
Mosley’s answer was to continuing to box against the most talented boxer in the sport. He was out-boxed and out-punched for his misguided intentions.
“I caught him (in the second round) because I wasn’t just running in and throwing punches in the wind,” Mosley said. “But he made adjustments and I didn’t make adjustments.”
That’s the story of the fight.
At some point Saturday night, probably during the fifth or sixth round, “Shane the fighter” needed to come out to play because “Shane the boxer” wasn’t getting it done.
He was waiting for openings instead of trying to make them.
By the seventh and eighth rounds of the fight, Mayweather was backing up an increasingly frustrated and insecure-looking Mosley with head-snapping right hands. Mosley tried to pursue Mayweather in the final minutes of both rounds but he didn’t throw enough punches and he couldn’t land the ones he did.
By the late rounds of the bout, Mosley appeared to be in survival mode. The few punches he threw with any effort were triggered by instinct and they lacked technique and leverage.
What could have been a competitive or at least interesting fight gradually turned into another Mayweather clinic.
By the championship rounds of the bout, Mosley looked no different from the crude Carlos Baldomir or undersized Juan Manuel Marquez when they were being shut out by Mayweather.
Some ringsiders believed that Mosley might go the way of Ricky Hatton and get knocked out at some point during the final rounds of the bout but the veteran’s chin held out.
It was the only thing Mayweather did not strip Mosley of during one of the best performances of his career.
“I talked about the strategy at home with (trainer) Roger (Mayweather) and my father and they told me to box and then press the attack,” Mayweather said after the fight. “I think we could have pressed the attack earlier. If I did I could have got him out of there.”
A knockout of Mosley, who has never been stopped in an amateur or professional bout, would have been the only way the 33-year-old star could have topped his performance.
It was probably the only way he could have enticed the droves of fans who began to leave MGM’s Grand Garden Arena after the 11th round to stick around and watch the final minutes of the bout.
Again, the crowd’s boredom wasn’t Mayweather’s fault entirely. He took the fight to Mosley for most of the second half of the bout. Mosley didn’t reciprocate.
So what does Mosley, who is still a threat to most welterweight contenders, do?
“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’m going to go home, watch the tape, see what I did wrong and take it slow from there.”
If he decides to retire, there’s a place waiting for him in the International Boxing Hall of Fame five years from now.
If Mosley decides to continue boxing there are a few marketable opponents who could rekindle the excitement he failed to spark versus Mayweather.
If Antonio Margarito, who Mosley stopped in nine rounds last January, wins his comeback fight on May 8 (and is able to get his license back in the U.S.) a rematch would be a natural attraction at L.A.’s Staples Center, where the Mexican mauler made the veteran look as young as Mayweather made him appear old on Saturday.
Junior middleweight contender Alfredo Angulo would make a suitable substitute for Margarito if the disgraced fighter doesn’t get his boxing license reinstated. There’s also the winner of the up-coming Paul Williams-Kermit Cintron bout.
The aforementioned boxers are aggressive-minded punchers who lack Mayweather’s talent and technique. Mosley, even at his advanced age, should be able to compete with them. But for the sake of his health and the sport, he better remember to be himself in the ring.