Going into Mosley vs. Vargas, it seemed the theme of the fight was that the best of both fighters was long gone. Mosley since his two losses to Forrest and Wright and Vargas since his losses to Trinidad and De La Hoya. What happens to a fighter’s MOJO after one loss? The physical talent remains, but the fact that the once unbeaten have been defeated psychologically drops them back into the “average fighter’s” atmosphere… that and the fact that other fighters realize that there is a defect in the machine. It emboldens the jackals who were at one time hesitant.
This fight was to determine whether or not either Mosley or Vargas are hesitant (a spent shell) or whether they could still entertain to their one time expectancy… Here’s how I saw the fight going.
1st round. Vargas on aggression. Body-work was good.
2nd round. Mosley hooked to the head when Vargas hooks the body. Mosley clopped Vargas hard with the over hand right on the side of the head.
End of the 2nd round, here was an example of another boxing cornerman not keeping the Enswell on his fighter with a swollen eye. An ice bag, but why? Guys, the ice swishes around and direct pressure cannot be placed on the swelling, kinda imperative if you want your fighter to see in the later rounds.
2nd round, gave that round to Mosley.
3rd round. Vargas going to the body hard… An investment. Very physical, pushing Mosley around, but will Vargas himself get tired from that?
3rd round even.
4th round gave to Vargas, more because Mosley did less than Vargas did anything significantly good.
5th round. Looks like a 10-8 round for Vargas as he pretty much dominated the round… Sugar was winded and he may get his second wind if his confidence isn’t shook. Getting winded early is a common occurrence with fighters. Once you settle into the fight and the initial adrenaline is gone, you come down. Experienced fighters don’t panic and think “I am tired, the end is near”… those inexperienced tend to think: ”What happened? I trained so hard for this fight, why am I breathing so hard?” They don’t recover and end up losing… Usually by knockout.
6th round. Close round… Shane flurries at the end and gives the impression he is coming alive, Vargas continued to bring the fight. I gave the edge to Shane, but that’s subjective.
7th Round. Vargas… fighting on the inside his strength seems too much for Shane. Smothering his punches.
8th round. Now, Vargas has to wait for his 2nd wind… getting hit with wicked shots. Finally they put Enswell on the swollen eye… ridiculous that they waited that long. The question “why” begs to be answered. You wonder if cornermen should be given a practical test before being allowed in the ring with their fighters. POP QUIZ: “If your fighter’s eye is swelling rapidly, should you a) apply cold water in a rubber bag? b) take a razor blade and cut it open like Mick from ‘Rocky’ or c) apply a cold metal object that you know is designated for such use?”
9th round. Close… maybe Mosley won it. But again subjective because there are certain styles I am predisposed to liking.
10th round. Fight gets stopped. Joe Cortez is a GREAT ref, but from an ex-pug’s point of view, I honestly have a problem with the stoppage. They let Vargas come out from the corner and nothing really happened that would get you to stop it 60 seconds later. One punch, pull the plug. So of course Vargas is going to have a problem with the fight being stopped and because Vargas does, his fans will have a problem with it as well.
All of this Vargas could’ve avoided by being a little more defensively prepared you might say, but that isn’t his style… His cornermen? OK, this was Vargas’ Indy 500 pit stop… if you have a flat tire you don’t only fill ‘er up with petrol, you fix the flat tire. Come on guys, really.
Emanuel had no issue with the fight getting stopped. Personally, I hate it when people say, “well, that’s ok, you can always get a second chance. You can fight him again.” No, I want to do it now, I prepared for this NOW. Who likes to have a question mark on the end of a statement?
As fair an assessment by Larry Merchant of the Vargas eye (in reality an assessment on boxing) that I have ever heard him and anyone say in some time… when he noted Sugar Ray Robinson and the “Onion Farmer” Carmen Basilio went to war… and Carmen, eye closed, went the 15 round distance. To sum it up, Merchant said “It was a different ethic in boxing today from what it was yesterday”… there is something in that. It could sum up today’s boxing competition and society at large… make of it what you will. Good or bad… we are softer or more concerned as a society… we are more advanced but less knowledgeable. We allow people to box, but don’t like it when they actually hit one another… This noble art, the true measure of man vs. man under duress, simultaneously both physical and mental, is going through a serious metamorphosis. MAYBE BOXING IS JUST GETTING WATERED DOWN TO MAKE IT MORE DIGESTABLE. If people don’t like the fact that a man is being hurt, let’s even up society so everyone gets a fair break and more people don’t have to turn to the physical arts to survive or get ahead.
PARTING POINT: Older fighters, they are shot because they don’t have the fire they once had, so if you don’t put an old fighter to the flames, he will not look old. You have to take him out of his comfort zone, make him have to do the things he had to do to get the title. Make him go to the proverbial well one more time and then he will realize he doesn’t want to do this anymore. Both Mosley and Vargas proved that they are NOT shot fighters, they are simply perceived differently than when they were undefeated. I cannot think of any welterweight or jr. middleweight in their right mind that would approach a fight with either one thinking this is a walk in the park. “Let’s pad my record with this win.” Not yet. If a fighter wants to retire, let him retire for the right reasons, not because they are not what people thought they were. By the way, damn good fight!