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Saturday, February 6, 2010

What Will It Take For Mosley to Beat Mayweather?

You have to admit, Floyd Mayweather Jr. knows how to hype a fight. He’s also a master of engaging in psychological warfare against his opponents.
He’s no stranger to controversy or criticism, and he’s perfectly content with playing the role of the villain. He doesn’t seem to mind the fact that the majority of sweet science fans would consider witnessing a 10 second Mayweather mat-nap to be the sweetest treat of all.

The first key to success for Team Mosley was simply negotiating a deal that Mayweather would actually agree to. That may sound simple enough, but it has proven to be an extremely difficult task for many Mayweather opponents. For other would-be opponents, it has proven to be impossible. In recent history, the likelihood of success in Mayweather negotiations has appeared to be directly related to the perceived threat posed by the opposition. This time circumstances were different.

Boxing fans were unlikely to tune in to another Mayweather exhibition match against an unworthy opponent. He had inadvertently maneuvered himself into a situation that called for a big fight with an opponent who could actually offer him a run for his money.
Ironically, no doping allegations were made toward Mosley—an admitted former steroid user—while Pacquiao had been blatantly accused by members of the Mayweather camp. All reports indicated that the Mayweather—Mosley negotiations went smoothly.

After all the terms of Mayweather vs. Mosley were agreed upon, Mosley immediately signed the deal. Mayweather—on the other hand—delayed in signing the contract. What a shocker.
It’s unlikely that this delay had any significant effect on Mosley, but he surely must have begun to wonder about the reason for the holdup.
As Mayweather allowed days to pass without putting pen to paper, inevitably, boxing fans began to wonder if something fishy was going on. Many writers began to capitalize on the postponement by speculating that Mayweather was looking for a way out.
Was he planning to duck another great fighter? To some it appeared that the stage was being set for the announcement of another mega-fight fallout, and this would have likely been a career-ender for “Money” Mayweather.

As an apparent subscriber to the “all publicity is good publicity” theory— Floyd’s delay could have been a promotional tactic designed to keep boxing fans on the edge of their seats. If that was his intention, the strategy was quite lackluster in comparison to the drama that led to the demise of the Pacquiao—Mayweather bout.

Some of the most loyal members of the he-man Floyd-haters club actually hoped that Mayweather wouldn’t sign, as this would have been perceived as indisputable evidence in support of their claims that Floyd Mayweather Jr. has a history of ducking fighters that he considers to be legitimate threats. Comments sections of boxing articles everywhere would have been immediately flooded with “Kentucky Fraud Gayweather” criticisms. Others recognized his tactics as what they really were—just an attention-seeking ploy to sustain himself as the main topic of conversation in the boxing community. It seems that Mayweather thrives on controversy.

Controversy aside, to the delight of most true boxing enthusiasts, Mayweather didn’t wimp out. He didn’t “retire”, he didn’t ask another lightweight to make the leap to welterweight, and he didn’t pick a fight with some guy that nobody had ever heard of.
Though the older Mosley is considered the underdog, the No. 3 ranked pound-for-pound boxer in the sport is a formidable opponent. How formidable remains to be seen. Can he actually beat Mayweather?

In 1974, people were asking this question: “Can Muhammad Ali beat “Big” George Foreman?” The answer from nearly every boxing fan came in the form of a resounding “Absolutely not!”
Foreman had an immaculate record of 40-0. Let me repeat…40-0. He hadn’t gone past Rnd. 2 in his previous eight fights. He was too young. He was too big. He was too strong. It was impossible for Ali to defeat George Foreman!
Ali didn’t mind. He beat him anyway.

In 1990 some Buster Douglas fan might have asked his friend: “Can Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson?” To which his friend replied: “Who’s Buster Douglas?”
Of course Buster Douglas couldn’t beat Mike Tyson. Tyson was the most feared man in the sport and had a spotless record of 37-0 with 33 KOs. Everybody that faced him was scared to death. He was too vicious, too skilled, too tough, and too powerful. Mike Tyson was invincible!But somebody forgot to tell Buster Douglas.

So, can Shane Mosley beat Floyd Mayweather? The boxing world is saying: “No way!” Floyd’s too slick. He’s too hard to hit, too fast, too smart, too elusive, and he has a perfect record of 40-0.
There are keys to victory against every seemingly unbeatable opponent. For Ali it was to employ his “Rope-a-Dope” technique and allow Foreman to punch himself out.

For Buster Douglass the key was to simply last past the first few rounds and keep punching.
For Shane Mosley the key will be to pressure Floyd Mayweather like he’s never been pressured before. Mosley has always been a busy fighter. In this fight he must be busier than ever.
He’ll need to continually push Mayweather to the ropes the way Jose Luis Castillo did, but he’ll have to do it even better. Granted, that’s easier said than done.
Mosley will need to strengthen his weak jabbing abilities and make every attempt to turn the jab into a useful tool—not just a feeler gage for measuring distance.

Finally, the most vital weapon in Mosley’s arsenal should be a steady flow of hard shots to the body. Too much head-hunting early on would be completely futile.
If I had been writing this article in 1974 about Ali—Foreman, I’d be predicting an Ali TKO at the hands of Foreman. If I had been writing this article in 1990 about Tyson—Douglas, I’d be saying “Douglas will be put to sleep in Rnd. 1”.
I would have been wrong both times. Now I’m writing about Mayweather—Mosley and I must admit that I predict another Mayweather victory by decision. That’s the safest bet. However, if we take a look at boxing history, we find that “impossible” things do happen.
Foreman was much more of a favorite over Ali than Mayweather is over Mosley. I didn’t even know who Buster Douglas was when I watched him destroy Mike Tyson. Nobody thought he had a chance.

Nobody is invincible, and Sugar Shane Mosley might just have what it takes to put the first blemish on Mayweather’s coveted, perfect record.

Author: Lorne Scoggins

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