Weekend Review: Mayweather’s amazing night
Floyd Mayweather Jr. twisted the head of Shane Mosley many times during their fight Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Photo / Craig Bennett-Fightwireimages.com
Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Mayweather turned in a typical performance on Saturday in Las Vegas: all-but-impenetrable defense, ridiculously quick punches landed at a high percentage rate and an embarrassed opponent in the end. Two things made his victory over Shane Mosley special. One, he faced some adversity in the second round and stared it down. He survived a monstrous right that rocked him and then fired right back, demonstrating to Mosley and the crowd that he’s tougher than we might’ve though. And, two, he didn’t dominate just any opponent. He embarrassed the No. 3 fighter in the world pound for pound, a fighter deemed to have a skill set similar to his, a legitimate welterweight. To say Mayweather is special is an understatement. The man is amazing.
Shane Mosley: Mosley is anything but a loser. He’s had a wonderful career and he’s one of the best-liked boxers in the game, his steroid admission aside. However, most people expected more from him on Saturday. Not many believed he would win but it seemed likely that he would at least go down swinging, which would’ve fit his fiery boxing personality. Instead, he was strangely reluctant to let his hands go with any passion. I expected him to come out firing when it became apparent that he couldn’t outbox his foe. I thought, “OK, now the warrior I’ve grown to admire will pull out all stops and attack Mayweather with all his might.” It never happened. Maybe Mayweather knocked the fight out of him. Maybe he was showing his age, 38. Whatever the reason, we didn’t see the Shane Mosley who has thrilled his fans for more than 17 years. I don’t know who that guy was.
Mayweather-Mosley: First Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey, now this. Is it too much to expect our super fights to be competitive? Once again, we should admire Mayweather’s performance. Boxing purists (myself included) marvel at his boxing skills. A first-rate boxing clinic doesn’t translate into excitement, though. The writers at ringside were bored and the crowd was dead because the fight was all but over by the middle rounds. Plus, Mayweather generally doesn’t take the necessary risks to stop his opponents. So a knockout seemed to be a remote possibility at best. Bottom line: No drama, no excitement. I’m not surprised that fans began filing out after the 11th round. I would’ve left too if I didn’t have work to do.
BIGGEST QUESTION MARK
Mayweather’s next opponent: Neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao are prepared to give ground on drug testing, meaning the monster fight everyone wants to see probably won’t happen. I hope I’m wrong. If I’m right, where does Mayweather turn? The only 147-pounder even remotely worthy is Andre Berto and I don’t think anyone wants to see that. Talented junior welterweights Timothy Bradley or Devon Alexander? Maybe in time but not now. Mayweather said he has thought about new middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, who is a more-natural 154-pounder. Now that’s an exciting prospect and would be bold of Mayweather, who is adverse to taking risks. Paul Williams is another intriguing possibility. The point here: There ARE some interesting matchups beyond Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao?: Pacquiao is busy preparing his campaign to become a congressman in his native Philippines. I have to think he stopped to watch the Mayweather-Mosley fight. I also have to think that he asked himself: “How am I supposed to beat that guy?” I’ve thought all along that Pacquiao wouldn’t beat Mayweather, although he certainly would do better than Mosley did. The performance I saw on Saturday only bolstered that conviction. I wouldn’t suggest that Pacquiao would look for excuses not to fight Mayweather but he has two good ones at his disposal: He’s busy with his political career and he doesn’t feel Mayweather has any right to make demands of him outside the jurisdiction of any boxing commission. I think Pacquiao is intrigued by the challenge, though. I bet he wants to fight Mayweather now more than ever.
Mayweather: Mayweather landed an average of 17 of 38 punches per round in his six welterweight fights before he faced Mosley, according to CompuBox statistics. On Saturday, he landed 17 of 40. Mayweather’s opponents landed 7 of 47 punches in his previous six 147-pound fights. On Saturday, Mosley landed 8 of 38. That’s particularly impressive when you think about the opponent. Mosley was perceived by most experts as having a combination of skills and experience superior to Mayweather’s other foes yet the numbers remained almost exactly the same. Remarkable. Mosley had landed an average of 18 of 48 punches per round in his previous 13 welterweight fights. His opponents had landed 13 of 52.
Mayweather: I want to qualify this by saying that I was impressed with the way Mayweather stood his ground on Saturday, even taking the fight to Mosley. Still, the fight reinforced my opinion that the most-talented fighter in the world just isn’t and will never be fun to watch. I think the vast majority of those in a mostly silent arena on Saturday would agree with me. Part of it is the manner in which he dominates opponents, for which we certainly can’t blame him. One-sided fights that end in a decision are often boring. It goes beyond that, though. I still say Mayweather is more of a boxer than a fighter. He admits he doesn’t want to damage “this pretty face.” That’s why I prefer a fighter like Pacquiao, who is genuinely committed to giving the fans a show. Mayweather says he is but just isn’t that type of boxer.
BEST BIG-CARD DEBUT
Saul Alvarez: The red-headed kid from Mexico put on a good show in his first appearance on a big pay-per-view card, the undercard of Mayweather-Mosley. The 19-year-old welterweight almost didn't survive the opening round, when Jose Miguel Cotto pounded him against the ropes. However, he got through it and then set about breaking down the naturally smaller man. Alvarez stopped Cotto, the brother of Miguel Cotto, in the ninth of 10 scheduled rounds. It's difficult to gauge how good Alvarez will be because of his youth but he showed grit, has solid skills and appears to be very strong. He throws hard accurate punches with the intention of knocking you out, which is one reason Mexican fans seem to be taking to him.
Robert Guerrero: The former two-time titleholder returned from an eight-month hiatus to stop journeyman Roberto Arrieta in the eighth-round on Friday night in Las Vegas. This week he will find out whether his wife Casey’s bone-marrow transplant was successful in treating her leukemia. Such is Guerrero’s life these days. He said after the fight that he has learned to better appreciate all the good things in life as a result of his wife’s illness, including boxing. He was positively giddy in his dressing room, the result of doing what he loves so successfully. We hope the transplant went well and Casey fully recovers. Then, as Guerrero said, he could begin to focus 100 percent on his second love: boxing. He belongs by his wife’s side — but also in the ring.
BIGGEST WINNER II
Fernando Montiel: One of the toughest assignments in boxing must be to face an extremely popular and red-hot Japanese fighter in Japan, in this case Hozumi Hasegawa, who was making the 11th defense of his bantamweight title in Tokyo and hadn’t lost since 2001. Hasegawa was leading on the cards when, to the shock of the crowd, Montiel badly hurt and then stopped him with a split second left in the fourth round. That’s a huge victory for the hard-punching little Mexican. Now what? The most-juicy possibility is fight against talented Nonito Donaire, who is in need of major platform. Another possibility is Vic Darchinyan, who Donaire knocked out. Either way Montiel appears to have a very big fight in his near future.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.: “If Manny Pacquiao can take a blood and urine test, then we have a fight. If not, no fight.” Manny?