Maybe if the eye hadn’t puffed up like a beach ball.
Maybe if Fernando Vargas had had a little more time.
Maybe if the fight had gone to the judges.
Maybe Shane Mosley was just a little better than Vargas that night.
Their first in February is over now and has been for awhile, though everyone keeps going back to it like it might hold some secret remedy.
Vargas especially can’t let it go. Or won’t. He claims he had Mosley right where he wanted him when the fight ended in the tenth round because of Vargas’ partial blindness. It‘s tough enough to win in this sport with two eyes. When it gets to where only one is actually working, it‘s time to check out.
The source of the swelling? Vargas says it came from a head butt.
“He comes in with his head all the time,” he said.
Mosley, for his part, claims it was a few well-placed right hands that did the trick, and that both the fight and the eye would have only gotten uglier if it had gone into the eleventh round.
But that’s why we have rematches.
One thing you can be pretty sure of is that Saturday’s fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (HBO pay-per-view) will be the last time these two glare at each other from across the ring.
Don’t expect a trilogy, even if Vargas (26-3, 22 KOs) wins this time.
Mosley (42-4, 36 KOs) says after this fight he’s headed south to the welterweight division in pursuit of the elusive best pound-for-pound title.
Vargas will happily be eating his way north to the middleweight class, putting as many tacos and burritos between himself and the super-welterweight division as he can.
“I love Mexican food,” he said.
But before they go their separate ways, they have to settle this thing, find out who was right about the first fight and who is only fooling himself.
Vargas swears Mosley doesn’t want the rematch. Mosley insists it will be easier this time.
“The first time I figured you out,” Mosley said on a recent conference call promoting the rematch. “The second time is going to be a breeze. I think it is easy money for me.”
Easy money? Doubtful. Vargas has never been a walk in the park, never made it an easy night’s work for anyone.
Still, it’s only natural to be a little cocky when you stop a guy the first time you fight him.
“I think he is delusional about what is going on and it seems like his corner and everyone else is delusional with him,” Mosley said. “I think that is a bad trait for him entering this next fight.”
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of respect going around.
“[Vargas’] team is giving him a lot of false hope and false pride by telling him he was the winner in that first fight,” Mosley said more than once during the call. “It is not a good thing to go into a fight thinking you are the better fighter when you are really not. If he feels he doesn’t have to work on anything or adapt to anything or make adjustments, then he is being misled and the people in his corner are not qualified.”
Mosley, who brought his father back into training camp with him after the two had parted ways, doesn’t see this second fight going any further than the first.
“It will most likely end in a stoppage,” he said. “I don’t know if it will be a knockout, but it will probably be stopped again.”
Let’s hope there’s no swelling.