Now that Floyd Mayweather 40-0 (25) is on the verge of signing to meet Shane Mosley 46-5 (39) a full decade after Oscar De La Hoya fought him, eight years after Vernon Forrest won two decisions over him and two and a half years after Miguel Cotto decisioned him, Mayweather supporters are in everyone's face screaming “I told you Floyd didn't fear Shane.”
Isn't it the obligation of a so-called all-time great like Mayweather to fight the best of the best of his era? This is something Mosley has done since making his pro debut in 1993. If Mosley's guilty of anything it's being a little too willing during his career and having not picked his spots like Mayweather has. This makes him the antithesis of Mayweather. If there is a single person reading this who honestly believes this fight wasn't realized sooner because Mosley wanted to take a vacation or that he harbored reservation about the outcome, you're either blinded by your personal bias or you've wasted a lot of your life watching and following professional boxing.
Let me see if I have this right… Finally, after being a pro for 14 years Floyd Mayweather has agreed to take a fight in which he doesn't hold every advantage, just most of them. And I'm supposed to laud him for that? If Mayweather is such a warrior and champion for fighting Mosley four months before he turns 39, and coming off the longest period of inactivity of his 17 year career, then Vernon Forrest, Winky Wright and Miguel Cotto are three of the ten greatest pound-for-pound fighters in boxing history.
Perhaps a more reasoned perspective should be taken into account regarding the pending Mayweather-Mosley bout, one that suggests that even being closer to 39 than 38, Shane Mosley represents the most dangerous opponent Mayweather will have faced at any weight during his professional career. Mayweather could've gone a different direction and taken an easier fight. I'll give him his props for taking a fight that could turn out to be tougher than fighting Pacquiao. I just won't go crazy about it nor do I think he's shed the perception of a guy who has picked his spots.
And as far as Mosley agreeing to Olympic style drug testing leading up to the bout, that's great for Shane. However, if what has been recently written about the procedures regarding the testing for PEDs in boxing is true, who's to say that if Mosley was injecting them that he wouldn't cease doing so just to get in the ring with Mayweather? Apparently the odds of getting caught are minuscule. No – I don't believe Mosley has been using any form of PEDs since the Clear/Balco days, but if he was, you better believe he'd stop instantly. In addition to that – I've yet to have someone point out one fighter who was under the suspicion of using PED/HGH who actually turned in a terrific performance and won a big fight. And if you're thinking Mosley-De La Hoya II as an example, I had Oscar winning that fight by a point and Shane actually looked better during their first bout when he was free of any form of PED/HGH/Clear.
If HGH/PEDs are running rampant in professional boxing, there's all the proof you need to confirm they don't make for a great fighter. Wouldn't you think boxing would be littered with more great fighters and physical specimens than it currently is? Maybe with boxing being so devoid of authentically great fighters it's a testament to the opposite?
I'd rather fight Mosley or Vargas with them on some form of PED than I would them having their gloves loaded a la Trinidad/Margarito. After their fight Oscar De La Hoya said Pacquiao's punches had nothing on them and that he was really more troubled by the speed and accuracy of them. Then he of course changed his tune when Mayweather wanted Pacquiao tested for PEDs. All of the sudden Pacquiao's punches felt like the ones he was hit with by Mosley and Vargas?
In fairness to Mayweather, outside of maybe Pacquiao, even a declining Mosley is the most dangerous fight for him to take as a welterweight. It's not like Shane is bringing a switchblade to a gun fight – the position that Ricky Hatton and Juan Manuel Marquez were in when they fought Mayweather in his last two fights. Mosley can box and punch, he has good hand speed and is physically strong. Add to that he's mentally and physically tough, he no doubt represents Mayweather's sternest challenge. But he's still six or seven years past his peak, whereas Mayweather is at his peak. And since 2007, Floyd has fought three times compared to Mosley fighting four – so that's a wash.
However, by May 1st, Mosley will have not fought in 17 months compared to Mayweather who will becoming off a layoff of less than eight months. That's a clear advantage for Mayweather. Granted, Mosley was in training to fight Andre Berto, but the fight was canceled. Hopefully those reading this grasp that training for a fight and participating in one are not the same.
As of this writing Mayweather's signature win is his split decision nod over Oscar De La Hoya in May of 2007. In that fight Floyd wasn't impressive and it was more a case of Oscar once again abandoning a style that was working for him than it was Mayweather performing so spectacularly that Oscar couldn't cope with him. If Mosley hasn't eroded dramatically since he fought Margarito, then Shane should bring even more than Oscar did. On the other hand Mayweather is stronger and more confident now than he was when he fought Oscar. Therefore this fight has the potential to be a memorable one.
In reality, if Mayweather beats Mosley it's his signature win, and it cannot be dismissed. But should it do more for him and solidify his stature as one of the greats? I guess that all depends on who you are. However, if it didn't propel Vernon Forrest, Winky Wright or Miguel Cotto, who beat a younger and better version of Mosley into the pantheon of all-time greats, why should it Mayweather?
Mayweather-Mosley will do huge PPV numbers. Floyd's antics and mouth will sell the fight, and Mosley's credentials based on the opposition he has faced during his career will support his end of it. Pacquiao-Clottey isn't quite as intriguing but it's close. That said, Pacquiao-Mosley would be even more anticipated and comprehensively covered than Mayweather-Mosley. So Floyd can't claim PPV superiority over Pacquiao. Because Pacquiao versus fighter-X would be a bigger fight than Mayweather versus fighter-X, at least until Mayweather beats Pacquiao or Manny loses.
Mayweather by default will be facing a better fighter in Mosley than Pacquiao is in Clottey, but Manny has already scored a stoppage win over Cotto who beat Mosley by decision a little over 26 months ago. Yes, it's another notch in Mayweather's belt if he beats Mosley, but it's not the be-all end-all that moves Mayweather into the stratosphere with the likes of Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. It just nudges him a little closer.
The good news for boxing is both Pacquiao and Mayweather have taken two tough fights, which in fact may be the reason why they may never fight each other because Clottey and Mosley are both live underdogs against them.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com