Antonio Margarito was at ringside Saturday night watching Shane Mosley with wolf eyes. He was salivating at the very thought of him, as well he should have been.
Mosley and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer all but called out the unified welterweight champion after the aging Mosley stopped Nicaraguan wild man Ricardo Mayorga with one second left in the final round of their 12-round match up, dropping him twice in the last 15 seconds to make a sub-par performance look better than it was.
At 37, Mosley is not only a fighter past his prime but one typically blind to his own slide. He still believes he can compete at the top level of his sport but, simply put, he cannot.
This is the same Mosley who was slapped around by the jab of Miguel Cotto in a match in which Mosley looked old and over matched. Then he came back and had far more trouble than he would have had when he was young against the awkward but wide open to be hit Mayorga. Now his people want Margarito? I thought they liked Mosley.
This is the same Margarito who tore Cotto apart and made him quit on one knee without being hit, a fighter whose style is bad for Mosley and whose size is worse. He is a more dangerous version of the guy who twice easily beat Mosley when he was far closer to his prime than he is today, Vernon Forrest.
Rival promoter Lou DiBella called the idea of such a match suicidal and said Margarito would put Mosley “in a pine box’’ if the two were matched. That comment has to be taken with a grain of salt because DiBella promotes WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto and would sorely love to get him in the same ring with Mosley first, believing that despite Berto’s relative lack of experience his youth, speed and punching power would eventually take its toll on a fast-fading Mosley.
Whether DiBella is right or not on that matter is of less import than is his take on a Margarito-Mosley mismatch. What that match says to me is one-sided beating before a half empty house. Why he or Golden Boy would want any part of that is difficult to fathom until you factor in the delusional state most once-superior fighters tend to slip into when the calendar has begun to work against them.
Even in his prime, Mosley could never sell tickets. That continued to be the case Saturday night only a few miles from his home when he drew only 5,798 to the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. just outside of Los Angeles and it figures to be the case if he is unlucky enough to land a shot at the unified 147-pound champion. The good news in that is there wouldn’t be that many witnesses to the assault to come.
Margarito is simply too big, too strong and most importantly too long armed for what is left of Mosley. Yet like most old fighters, Mosley is a guy who has films running in his head, pictures of what he once was and still believes he can be. He is wrong about what he sees, just as Ray Leonard was wrong, Roberto Duran was wrong, Evander Holyfield was wrong and nearly all of his predecessors were eventually wrong.
There was a time when Shane Mosley would have made a fool of Mayorga, who has always been far less than his reputation led the public to believe he was. He was destroyed by Oscar De La Hoya more than two years ago when Mayorga was more dangerous than he is today and he was the victim of a one-sided beat down by Felix Trinidad as well long before Mosley needed all night to get rid of him in a fight in which two of the three judges felt he had not distinguished himself from Mayorga.
One judge had Mosley leading 105-104. Another had the same score in the opposite direction. The third had Mosley by a more clearer three point margin but the larger point is that while De La Hoya and Trinidad both dominated Mayorga while past their prime, Mosley could not despite the last-second stoppage.
Schaefer made some noise about trying to lure Floyd Mayweather, Jr. out of retirement to face Mosley but that is not going to happen, which leaves Mosley chasing Margarito with little to advertise himself at this point of his career.
It had been 321 days since Mosley last fought, in large part because he had done nothing against Cotto to make anyone feel they wanted to see him in the ring any time soon. The power of De La Hoya’s promotional company eventually got him the fight with Mayorga but it did not bring fans into the arena nor eyeballs to HBO’s broadcast. Since it is believed by many that Margarito remains the B side himself despite his stirring victory over Cotto, what would it serve financially to match him with Sugar Shane B Side?
Such a match would most assuredly bring Margarito a victory and possibly a spectacular one because he has the same kind of towering build Forrest used to twice dominate Mosley. He also has an iron chin, an iron will and a relentlessness that would allow him to walk down Mosley and eventually do more damage to him than Cotto did.
Once there was a time when Mosley was among the sport’s best fighters but that was a long time ago. Today he’s just another ex-champion in clear and present danger of staying too long at the dance.
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