It’s been a long time since you heard from “The A-Fist-ionado”. And with good reason, recent events have meant that my mind hasn’t been doing much ramblin’ at all. Well, at least not boxing rambling. Maybe my confidence has been dented, for I’ve gone 2-4 in my calls this year. Anywhos….
This Sunday (NZ time), three-division former champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley takes on former 154 pound titlist Sergio Mora in a junior middleweight bout. We last saw “Sugar” Shane in a lop-sided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May. Although he severely hurt Money May in the second, Mosley didn’t seem to have the gas to close the show and lost almost every other round. Comparatively, Sergio Mora jumped up to 160 in April to (actually) stop Calvin Green in seven. Although massively derided by the press, this is really a crossroads bout for both fighters, with the loser being forced to retire or into ‘journeyman’ status.
“Sugar” Shane Mosley is one of best pound for pound fighters of our generation. His brand of power-boxing brings both the speed to dazzle and the power to turn out the lights. Although he has fought almost every top fighter from 135-154, he has never been stopped and only off his feet in the first bout against Vernon Forrest.
Mosley always has a massive advantage in opposition fought. His record reads like a ‘who’s who’ of both the welter and junior-middle divisions over the last ten years. Names like Oscar De La Hoya (twice), Vernon Forrest (twice!), Winky Wright (twice!!), Fernando Vargas (twice!!!), Luis Collazo, Miguel Cotto, Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Margartio and Floyd Mayweather all grace his record and only four have prevailed.
Coupled with this impressive record is the fact that Mosley has never lost to a fighter of Mexican decent. In fact, “Sugar” Shane has been turning Mexicans away worse than the state of Arizona. If the fight is coming toward Shane Mosley, then it should also be prepared to be falling backwards.
Shane looked every bit of his 38 years of age against Floyd Mayweather. Even after cold rocking Floyd to his shoes in the second round, he just couldn’t find the gas to close the show and was huffing air between rounds. And that was only in round two! Given, he had been out of the ring for 15 months and complained of a neck injury after the fight but even my tank can go two rounds (albeit with the gas-light on!). Hopefully the ring time with Money May will have gotten rid of any rust.
Mosley is a supremely talented boxer who can CHOOSE to fight any way he likes. He just has the gifts to back them up. However, of late, Mosley has seemed a little one-dimensional in attack. His jab has been reduced to a flick and he is far too reliant on landing his right hand. Mosley also has a dynamite lead hook, like the one he used to dispatch Fernando Vargas, but he has hardly deployed it all. He is also there to be hit, as evidenced by his nose, and Mora throws punches in bunches.
Fighters who are naturally bigger, as is Mora, and use their height or have an awkward style, as does Mora, are always going to give Mosley trouble. Forrest was able to bully him in their first bought and guys like Wright, Mayorga and Mayweather gave him all kinds of problems. Expect Mora to emphasize his jab, have a lot of output and move his feet to give Mosley angles.
The winner of the first season of the contender showed smooth boxing skills and has used the experience and exposure to full effect. At 6’0’’ he is a tall junior-middle and utilizes his size well whilst using his long arms to his advantage. Mosley had a hell of a time against Vernon Forrest the first time out and, it is generally held, that if you have a long, heavy jab and are strong enough to tie him up, you have a good shot of giving Mosley a good fight. Whilst Mora’s jab isn’t particularly heavy, it can be snakey (think Larry Holmes) and it helped to control Peter Manfredo in both of their bouts.
A big part of Mora’s strength is his activity and combination punching. He has really well educated hands and is generally a busy fighter with good footwork. He beat Vernon Forrest mostly with his activity and movement and Mosley has issues with both. Even though they were smaller, both Cotto and Mayweather did great jobs of boxing Sugar Shane without getting drawn into unnecessary firefights. At this point in time, Mora is the far superior boxer.
Although a great boxer, Mora’s meagre six stoppages in 22 wins means really means he is throwing fast handbags. Although he scored a stoppage over Calvin Green in his last fight it, was fought at middleweight, was from activity rather than a single shot and Calvin Green gets stopped by anything more offensive than a wet fart. If you are going to deter Mosley from wanting to engage, you better hope you have some stopping power in your arsenal and the fact of the matter is – Mora simply doesn’t.
Compounding this is the fact that Mora can get drawn into slugging relatively easily. Vernon Forrest drew him in during their rematch as did Peter Manfredo, who was unlucky to walk away with a split decision loss. He can’t afford that kind of pride against Mosley, who will straight stretch you out.
The quality of Mora’s opposition is also very questionable. The reality is that his only quality opponent has been Vernon Forrest and, although Forrest dominated Mosley on two occassions, he seemed very unmotivated in the first Mora outing (and made excuses about weight troubles) and won a very wide decision in the return.
Although I think “Sugar” Shane is already a wide betting favourite, much will depend on their weights the day before the fight. If Mora can make 154 comfortably, then he has a very legitimate shot. If, however, there are any troubles with the weight, then I think he will be too drained for an (already) more powerful fighter. Most are picking Mosley for the stoppage, but I think Mora’s style will pose some problems for “Sugar’ Shane and he should get up via comfortable decision.