Three days until we dispense with the trashtalk, and endless hype-o-rama and polling. Three days until we see if Shane Mosley, a few years past his prime, but still lodged in the pound for pound top ten on any given night, can be the first man to force Floyd Mayweather to taste the bitter brew of defeat. Three days until talk fades away, and will, and skill, and strength, and stamina have the last word.
Forty times, Mayweather has been tested, and not once has the opponent had his hand raised after the tussle. Anti Floyd folk will argue convincingly that Jose Luis Castillo deserved the nod in their first tangle, in 2002. Be that what it may, the record book says Floyd is undefeated. The man himself says hes the greatest of all time, better than the Sugars, more of a total package than Ali. For that reason, there will be no shortage of persons tuning in to Mayweather-Mosley, taking place on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and seen on a TV pay-per-view basis, hoping that Mosley looks like the year 2000 version of himself.
A healthy percentage of fight fans simply want to see Mayweather taken down a peg, have that smug smile wiped off his mouth. Could Mosley, who didnt overwhelm a faded Ricardo Mayorga in 2008, do the job? Will he be able to pierce the superior Mayweather defense, the best force field in the fight game today? No doubt Mosley has the tendency towards aggression that hints of a stiff test for Mayweather, but is his style the right one to give Mayweather severe trouble? Could Shanes power boxing, perhaps buffed to a fine sheen under new trainer Naazim Richardson, the Philly tutor who soaked up tactics from a master technician, Bernard Hopkins, for a decade as second in command to Bouie Fisher, hold the recipe to hand Floyd his first loss? Or will Mayweather, an ace at assessing the pace, the tone, the strengths and weaknesses in a foe, simply do just enough in enough rounds to come away with a squeaker of a win?
We know that Floyd doesnt much care to amass style points, or seek to give the fans what they want, the back and forth trading, the majestic ebb and flow of a classic bout. He typically looks to close the show when the invitation to do so is wide enough to fit a bulldozer. But perhaps Mosley will press him more than others, and force Floyd to exchange more than the half-handful times hes typically made to do in a typical outing.
Fifty two times, Mosley has gloved up, and he knows the taste from the sour chalice of loss. Five times hes been on the wrong end of it..but Mosley fans figure that he cannot get much more amped, much more incentivized to turn in the performance of his lifetime. But hes 38. He has a steroid situation looming over him, after choosing to pursue steroid peddler Victor Conte, who sold Mosley PEDs in 2003, for defamation. Is it possible that deal doesnt drain him mentally, as it simultaneously drains his cash stash, as the attorney meter keeps on chugging? Hes just off a split with his wife; one wonders if that could actually serve as a net plus, since the rumor mill tells us that the missus has served as a divisive influence on the boxer for a long while.
And lets consider that Mayweather is no babe. Hes 33, though he still has that baby face, and still has that hyperactive demeanor that has him coming off as a teenager, one who hasnt tasted loss, hasnt been humbled by fate, feels invincible. Might he look 33 years old on Saturday? Might his superlative reflexes be a half measure off? Might a Mosley hook that he wouldve slipped two years ago hit home, buzz him, put him in a worried state, a wounded state, that he hasnt felt in...lord, when was the last time someone buzzed Mayweather, the best defender in the game today, and among the best of all-time?
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