Whether Shane Mosley could have finished off a half-blinded Fernando Vargas or the strong rallying Vargas could have made an unlikely, longshot comeback remained controversial after they engaged last February.
Given the same circumstances in their rematch, soft-spoken Mosley would like to clear such matters up.
“I think they (referee Joe Cortez and ringside physicians) gave him enough of a chance,” said Mosley. “They could have stopped the fight in the eighth round. He got a lot of chances to score a knockout or change the fight in his favor. As you could see, that wasn’t happening.
“I was getting stronger and stronger. I think it was gonna be a flat-out KO. I kept hitting him with right hands he couldn’t see. He was buckling every time in the tenth. It was only a matter of time before I was gonna put a combination together, and he was gonna be flat on his back.
“If he’s in the position he was in, I’m not saying the eye, if he’s rocking and stumbling, yes I’m gonna try and knock him out.”
While Vargas promises a different result, a review of previous proceedings contradicts his ferocious optimism. Vargas is very capable of winning against the best because even dealing with injuries he remains one of the best, but it would still be a surprise if he beats Mosley, based on recent respective forms.
Vargas is as prone to busting up as Mosley is to throwing blazing combos.
The first time they squared off, Mosley earned the 10th round TKO when the left side of Vargas’s face ballooned from swelling around an eye that saw, then didn’t see, a flashing barrage from the still supremely swift Mosley.
Mosley’s means to another such end may unfold in a different manner, but unless Vargas can break a typical slow start pattern, Mosley should be looking at padding his bank account and his list of considerable accomplishments.
If Vargas can turn the trick it would be his biggest win in the biggest spotlight. Like the first time, this is around a 60-40 fight in terms of each man’s chances, favoring Mosley. Right now it’s hard to distinguish between Vargas’s charisma and his skills, but he was definitely in the first fight, surging to a lead on one card when the justifiable halt was called.
While a similar scenario is probably the most likely outcome in the rematch, the initial encounter was entertaining and competitive enough to warrant another go. Anyone who watched would probably like to see it again.
Thirty-four-year-old Mosley’s dramatic victory guaranteed some staying power at the top of the marketplace. At 29, the always-popular Vargas could lose primo status with another defeat.
“The first fight was basically two legendary guys trying to get back to top contention,” said Mosley. “I knew I had to get into top shape. I knew it was my moment to shine. There wasn’t really a game plan; I was just trying to feel him out.
”I feel I can hit him real good. I don’t have to move as much. This time I’ll put a little more pressure on him, put more punches together, more combinations while he’s pushing me. I think the body shots really hurt him.”
Despite a considerable congress of columnists who decried the first match as some too little, too late affair, the consumer voted differently. Over 9,000 people got premium priced tickets while a big audience paid to tune in. This second go-round is more a result of pay-per-view buys than any inconclusive overtures inside the ring.
Viewer numbers will be strong again, though gas prices and summer vacation could make a nick. Some subscribers may have to hit the bar broadcast or the chip-in couch of a pal but just as many people, probably more, will be watching Mosley-Vargas II.
Down the line, Mosley could get picked off any time by a fighter like Kermit Cintron. No matter. Mosley is already a Hall of Fame fighter and a proven class act that has earned the fans’ ongoing support.
“It’s a great feeling to know that fans stuck with me,” reflects Mosley. “I believe in my talents and skills. I’m getting up there a little in age but when I work out I feel young, like I’m twenty-four or twenty-five.
“Mayweather, Zab, Margarito, there’s a lot of great fights out there. That’s why I’m around. I’m here to be the best. I have another four or five great fights left in me.”