The running diary: Mayweather-Mosley on pay per view
Welcome to my first-ever “running diary” column, and before you accuse me of stealing the idea from Bill Simmons (which I most definitely am), please note that Simmons stole it from Norman Chad, who has admitted that he probably stole it from someone also. I figure once something’s been stolen enough times, it becomes public domain. So let’s just call this column idea “unoriginal but fun” and move on.
And what better opportunity could there be for a running diary than “the biggest fight of the decade” (according to HBO’s overhype machine), viewed on pay per view at the palatial estate of THE RING Editor-in-Chief Nigel Collins? Also in attendance for Saturday night’s Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao card were my brother Fred (whose primary connection to boxing is the fact that he works out regularly at the Wild Card Boxing Club, where he’s the second-most noteworthy Fred), THE RING Creative Director David Romanosky, and, making a late arrival, my Ring Theory co-host Bill Dettloff.
The festivities kicked off around 7:30 with an exclusive screening of the 2008 Manny Pacquiao film Anak ng Kumander (English translation: Low Budget Rambo With Every Bad Action Movie Clich├®). Basically, Nigel’s living room turned into Mystery Science Theater 3000. I highly recommend gathering your most sarcastic friends together and getting your hands on a copy of the movie.
Anyway, on to the running diary:
8:57 p.m.: With about 15 minutes to go in Anak ng Kumander, intense debate ensues over whether to switch over to the pay per view or not. Normally, we’d all choose live boxing over a movie that we can finish later. But this is a major pay-per-view undercard, which, unfortunately, has come to mean “three fights ESPN2 wouldn’t necessarily be interested in.” Somewhat reluctantly, we turn off the movie.
9:02: Jim Lampley calls Mayweather-Mosley the most significant non-heavyweight fight since De La Hoya-Trinidad. At the very least, that needed an “arguably” in front of it.
9:05: The first fight, between Said Ouali and Hector Saldivia, is about to begin, and there are approximately the same number of people in the ring as there are seated in the arena. Normally, I would criticize the ticketholders and call them out as phony fight fans for not showing up until the main event, but with undercard bouts like this, can you blame them?
9:08: After getting dropped just 15 seconds into the fight, Ouali scores a knockdown of his own. No matter what happens from here, the undercard has officially exceeded expectations.
9:10: As Michael Buffer finishes announcing the official time of Ouali’s off-the-canvas first-round knockout win, Lampley, Larry Merchant and Emanuel Steward go into stalling mode. Is this going to be the Pacquiao-De La Hoya undercard all over again? The stall-o-rama commences with a replay of the entire Ouali-Saldivia fight.
9:13: Lamps: “All right (deep exhale), one of our fights is already completed and in the books.” Translation: “S—, what are we going to do for the next two hours if this keeps up?” Translation of the translation: “Larry, when I pass it to you, talk extra slow.”
9:19: With the bout between Daniel Ponce De Leon and Cornelius Lock about to begin, referee Jay Nady gives his annoying trademark salute/smirk, prompting Nigel to declare that Nady “should be shot.” It should be noted that Nigel is not a violent man and was overstating his opinion for effect. It should also be noted that he’s about two or three beers deep.
9:23: David declares Lampley’s tale about all of Ponce De Leon’s siblings dying “the most depressing story I’ve ever heard.” It’s up there.
9:33: Harold Lederman chimes in with his first, “Jim, I’ll tell you something” of the evening. We’re definitely going to be keeping a running tally.
9:39: The discussion in the room is all about whether Lampley should be focusing on the fight instead of talking about De Leon’s village and how everyone there would get drunk on a “corn/beer solution.” The verdict is that the fight isn’t all that great, so we’re cool with the corn/beer chatter.
9:41: Whoever wagered on “over 40 minutes” before Lampley and Merchant would have a discussion about “legal goop” just barely missed out on winning the bet.
9:45: “Jim, I gotta tell ya.” That’s two.
9:49: Bill still hasn’t arrived (the road he would normally take was closed and he got detoured), which means he just missed his least favorite part of every pay per view, the referee’s instructions in the dressing room. It was a good one, too, with ref Kenny Bayless telling Mayweather not to hit Mosley while he’s down. He was basically saying, “Don’t Arthur Abraham him, or I’ll Laurence Cole you.”
9:54: Bill finally shows up. Jeez, the guy’s up a few points in Quick Picks and he thinks he can just stroll in whenever he pleases.
9:56: Thankfully, Bill catches Bayless’ instructions to Mosley. As expected, he expresses sarcastic excitement.
9:59: Though Lock is putting up a spirited 10th-round rally in a fight he’s going to lose, our conversation has turned away from the fight and to a discussion of how many bad guys Pacquiao killed so far in Anak ng Kumander. We figure the number is around 12. The easier number to calculate is how many chicks Manny has hooked up with so far in the movie, since there was only one. And she was the least attractive of the three female leads. That’s what happens when Jinkee Pacquiao is the executive producer.
10:01: De Leon wins a decision, but Nigel is complaining about how much less enjoyable he is to watch now that he’s trying to box behind a measured jab. Can’t say I disagree. Some guys are just better off having enormous holes in their game and making fun fights.
10:14: The Ouali-Saldivia excitement gets at least equaled when heavily hyped prospect Saul Alvarez gets rocked in the opening round by Jose Miguel Cotto. Too bad for Cotto that he’s naturally two or three divisions smaller than Alvarez and doesn’t have the pop to take advantage of the situation.
10:19: Despite the first-round scare, we’ve all decided we really like Alvarez’s style. Moments later, he knocks Cotto down with a right uppercut. And moments after that, we somehow get into a discussion about what color a pancreas is. I’m not sure how we got there. Is this conversation going on at your PPV party?
10:35: Steward, infamous for using the word “crispiness” instead of “crispness,” mispronounces it this time around as “crispaness.” “He’s even screwing up his own screw up,” Nigel declares.
10:36: “I’ll tell ya, Jim.” That’s three.
10:39: New topic of conversation: Frank DeFord’s hair. Again, I’m not sure how we got there.
10:44: We learn that trainer Naazim Richardson is just starting to wrap Mosley’s hands, even though the Alvarez-Cotto fight is in round nine and the main event should theoretically be ready to start in 15 or 20 minutes. It so happens that I have to get up at 5:30 in the morning Sunday to drive downtown for Philadelphia’s annual Broad Street Run. I’m going to be running 10 miles on what I hope will be five hours of sleep, and now I’m losing 30 minutes of that sleep because Mosley and Richardson are taking their sweet time. Boxing pay per views really make me wish I lived on the West Coast.
11:07: With Stall-Fest 2010 in full swing since Alvarez stopped Cotto 20 minutes earlier, Steward is rambling and introduces us to the word “similations.” Using context clues, I think that he meant to say “variations.” So he nailed the second half of the word.
11:09: The cameras pan over the celebs in the crowd, concluding with Muhammad Ali, who has a little red-haired kid sitting on his lap. Boy, Saul Alvarez got showered up and returned to ringside quickly, didn’t he folks?
11:10: Lamps tells us we’re now 10 minutes away from the main event. Again, the gang discusses turning the Pacquiao movie back on.
11:19: Steward mentions how Mosley uses the “jimmy jab” and just “jiggums his hands.” He’s starting to sound like every bad Bill Cosby impression. (“Flizzum, flazzum, puddin’ pops.”)
11:20: Chris Brown prepares to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and gets booed by a good portion of the crowd. Let’s see, we have the Mayweathers, Chris Brown ÔÇª nah, not going to set an over/under line on how many guys inside the MGM Grand have been accused of beating up women.
11:22: Fred on Chris Brown: “He did slightly less damage to the national anthem than he did to Rihanna.” Ouch.
11:23: The ring walks begin, a mere 36 minutes after the last fight ended.
11:26: Merchant makes an accurate observation that Mosley is one of the few veteran fighters who remains effective in his late 30s without having changed his style. Of course, Bill, Doug Fischer and I made the same observation on Ring Theory; we just didn’t get paid as much for it.
11:29: Now Mayweather is stalling before leaving his dressing room. Everyone’s conspiring to make sure I don’t get any sleep tonight.
11:36: The opening bell rings! Great line by Merchant, calling Mayweather the most exciting fighter in boxing before the bell, and Mosley the most exciting after. Though Larry comes up empty once or twice every show, you can also count on him for at least one or two perfectly worded and highly insightful observations on every broadcast.
11:40: Nigel and I both cop out and score the first round even. Bill gives it to Mayweather, but admits that he’s probably doing so because he picked “Money” to win. This will prove to be the only round of the fight where the scoring is up for debate.
11:41: A flush right hand lands for Mosley in the second round, the biggest punch Mayweather has taken in years – maybe ever. Mayweather holds, but Mosley lands again and hurts him far worse! There’s just something thrilling/chilling (depending on whom you’re rooting for) about watching an undefeated fighter get badly rocked. The only thing in sports that’s comparable for inspiring nervous energy among spectators is overtime playoff hockey.
11:47: Mayweather pulls off a fantastic comeback round in the third, where he answers long-unanswered questions about his recuperative powers and how he would respond to adversity. No, he’s not a finisher, and yes, he plays it safety-first a lot of the time, but it turns out the man is, deep down, a fighter.
11:51: To close the fourth round, Mosley leaves a jab hanging out there and Mayweather makes him pay. We cut to the corner, and after a few colorful turns of phrase from Roger Mayweather, Bill suggests a future over/under segment for Ring Theory on the number of times Roger will say “motherf—er” in a fight.
12:04 a.m.: When Mosley tries to touch gloves, Mayweather takes the opportunity to throw a legal but somewhat cheap shot, and the fighters begin jawing. Bill gives Bayless props for letting them talk, in comparison to the many officious referees who think it’s their responsibility to impose their personal etiquette rules on the fighters.
12:20: From the way-too-little, way-too-late department: Mosley lands an excellent left hook to the body in the 12th round. I miss the lightweight Sugar Shane who used to destroy opponents to the body.
12:31: In his postfight interview, we get to see the real Floyd Mayweather, as opposed to his 24/7 character, as he tells Mosley, “You’re a hell of a fighter, you’re a tough motherf—er.” It would have been interesting to see how much money Mayweather could have made in his career if he’d tried to be the smiling, handsome protagonist instead of “Money May.”
12:33: Merchant all but retires Mosley in the ring, saying, “You’ve had a great career, Shane.” Moments later, when Larry stumbles through his closing comments, I wish for the poetic justice of seeing Mosley sneak up behind him and say, “You’ve had a great career, Larry.”
12:40: Back to Anak ng Kumander. Floyd was magnificent tonight, but the one thing he didn’t do was close the show. So we’ll let Manny handle that job.
ÔÇó Between Mosley losing, Fernando Montiel knocking out Hozumi Hasegawa in style and everything else that’s been going on lately among the elite of the sport, I don’t envy anyone who has to compile pound-for-pound rankings. Is there any fighter whose name looks right at No. 3 right now?
ÔÇó Anyone else think Don “Da Bomb” George kind of looks like Ray Mancini? (With One Man Gang’s hairstyle, that is.)
ÔÇó Happy trails to John Ruiz, one of boxing’s true nice guys. Johnny, I’d wish you luck and give you a hug, but I’d be worried that you’d never let go.
<a href="mailto:[email protected]”>Eric Raskin can be reached at [email protected] You can read his articles each month in THE RING magazine.