The only thing trainers Danny Smith and John David Jackson could agree on Monday was the ending. It won’t be pretty and it won’t be decided by three guys wearing suits sitting at ringside.
“If (Shane) Mosley gets caught, he’s going to be stopped,” said Smith, who is training Fernando Vargas (26-2, 22 KOs). “Fernando is going to be extremely ferocious. He’s not going to box one minute. This is a fight where somebody should get stopped. Fernando is looking for the knockout. And I know Shane is going to box and try to get the knockout. I don’t believe this fight will go the distance.”
“I don’t think it will go 12,” said Jackson, who is training Mosley (41-4, 35 KOs). “I don’t expect (Mosley) to knock him out with one shot. But I do expect Shane to stop him with an accumulation of shots to the body and head. But mainly to the body.”
Jackson and Smith were on a conference call Monday talking about Saturday night’s junior-middleweight fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (HBO pay-per-view). Their two fighters are heading toward 154 pounds from different directions, Mosley moving up to 154 and a much heavier Vargas trying to move down to 154.
According to Smith, Vargas was at 156 earlier in the week. And if he was struggling to stay there, he wasn’t telling anyone.
“I don’t know how he feels,” Smith said. “He’s a warrior, and if there’s a problem, he’s not going to tell me because he doesn’t want me to be alarmed or worried. I don’t know how he feels, but he’s performing well.”
Smith said he wanted Vargas down in weight early in camp so he would feel strong on fight night.
“I wouldn’t want him sparring at 170 and then making the weight and not be able to fight at all,” he said.
Mosley doesn’t have that problem. Jackson said as of Friday, his fighter weighed 149.
“In prior fights, he tried to bulk up to 154 and he tried to become a one-punch knockout artist,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to remember, when Shane was a lightweight, he beat guys with a combination of punches, body shots. He got away from that at 147 and 154. He became this one-punch knockout artist – or so he thought – and his people didn’t give good directions and they let him believe that. Either you’re born a puncher or you’re not.”
Which is why Jackson said he’s got Mosley throwing more combinations.
“He bulked up and got away from what he does best,” said Jackson, who figures Mosley will come in at 150 or 151.
While Mosley will rely on his hand speed, Vargas is expected to come out throwing bombs.
”We’re going to try to make this as much of a street fight as possible,” Smith said. “Shane is too fast to try to box with. I don’t believe Shane will throw combinations. Shane had to put on a lot of muscle and that will slow you down and keep you from throwing combinations. Once you fall in love with punching, you’ll always punch.”
Which is what Jackson has been trying to correct.
But the bottom line starts and ends with Vargas, who Jackson claims is a shot fighter.
“The damage has already been done,” he said of Vargas. “(Felix) Trinidad physically beat him. (Oscar) De La Hoya mentally destroyed him. There’s nothing left for Shane to do but go ahead and bury him. The general consensus is that Shane will out-box him. That’s not what we want. Shane wants to knock him out.”
Still, Jackson knows they have to be careful against a guy like Vargas, despite any possible wear and tear.
“We trained for a young Fernando,” Jackson said.
They know that’s the one fighter they’re not going to see.