Mayweather Outclasses Mosley; Is Pacquiao the Only One That Can Beat Him?

May 2, 2010 in Boxing by pacejmiller

So much for my prediction.

Floyd Mayweather Jr was absolutely scintillating in dominating and outclassing Shane Mosley in their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas tonight, winning an easy unanimous decision with scores of 119-109 (twice) and 118-110.  The win raised Floyd’s unblemished record to 41-0 (25 KOs), while the 38-year-old Mosley dropped to 46-6 (39 KOs).

Now the question is two-fold: (1) will Mayweather and Pacquiao ever fight each other; and if they do (2) does Pacquiao stand a chance?

(read the fight analysis and the Pacquiao question after the jump!)

Fight Analysis

While it was not a huge shock that Mayweather won the fight via decision, there were quite a few surprises.  First of all, Mosley seriously rocked Mayweather a couple of times during the second round, almost dropping him the second time as Mayweather’s legs buckled and had to hold on for dear life.  Secondly, after that round, Mayweather went on to outbox and punish Shane Mosley for every single round till the final bell.  Thirdly, Mosley was the one that looked to be in danger of being knocked out towards the later stages of the bout.  And lastly, the fight was more entertaining than many expected, with Mayweather throwing a lot more punches and being more aggressive than we’re used to seeing.

Before the fight began, I thought from the looks of the fighters’ faces Mosley was the more comfortable one out there.  Mosley, the champion, made his ring entrance first, smiling and looking as relaxed as you could be for a fight of this magnitude.  He had to wait though, as Mayweather continued his mind games and wouldn’t come out until his “circus act” intro was ready (he literally had circus performers).  To me, Mayweather looked more nervous and uncertain, which for a moment had me thinking maybe he was in for a long night.

The first round was as expected, with both fighters posing a lot and not engaging.  Although the commentators said it was probably a split round, I had Mosley winning 10-9 by virtue of the stiff body jabs he landed and by being slightly busier than Mayweather.  But already, some things were already different to what experts predicted.  Mosley, the physically bigger man, was not stalking Mayweather, who stood his ground and at times even backed Mosley up.  Mosley clearly had a game plan — using his jab and going to the body, then tying up when Floyd tried to counter — but the pressure clearly wasn’t there.

The second round was the most explosive of the fight.  Mosley opened up his offense and began throwing some heavy right hands, one of them catching Floyd flush on the side of the head, visibly hurting the undefeated fighter.  Not long after that, Mosley landed another big right hand, almost scoring a knockdown as Floyd’s legs buckled under him.  The crowd (the live one and the one where I watched the fight) went absolutely bonkers, thinking that perhaps we would see a shocking early end to the fight.

Mayweather dominated Mosley from round 3 onwards

However, this is where Mayweather showed what a composed and intelligent fighter he is.  Most fighters would have covered up and retreated to the ropes, but Mayweather lunged forward and used his body and arms to hold Mosley’s arms down while he regathered himself.  These were some big shots, punches that would have taken down a lot of world class boxers, but Mayweather not only took them on the chin, demonstrating a solid jaw, he also used his wits to buy himself some much needed recovery time.

Between rounds two and three, Roger Mayweather (Floyd’s trainer) told his nephew to start boxing.  I for one was amazed, as Roger usually just tells Floyd to “keep whooping his ass” without giving any proper advice, and for once I actually understood what he was saying!

Everyone expected Mosley to come out firing in the third round and possibly get Mayweather out of there.  However, Floyd stunned us all by showing up rather unaffected by the damage he sustained just moments ago and began boxing Shane.  The fight really turned at this point.  Mayweather would continuously beat Mosley to the punch, throwing lightning quick punches just as Mosley is readying himself for an attack, completely breaking up his rhythm.  Mosley would feint and throw set-up jabs, but just as he is about to throw the big one, Mayweather would jump in and clip Mosley with some clean shots, often snapping his head back.

This pattern continued from round three onwards, and by round eight, Mosley’s frustrated red face told the story.  He wanted to unload on Mayweather so badly, but Mayweather never gave him the chance.  Whenever Mosley got Mayweather right where he wanted to throw the big blows, Mayweather would beat him to it.  Every time.  And as the rounds passed, Mosley looked increasingly fatigued and winded, while Mayweather looked faster, sharper, and more lively.  Mosley’s hand speed and power was all but gone, and the only thing keeping him going was the encouragement of his trainer Naazim Richardson (who showed he’s really an excellent trainer by giving terrific advice between rounds that Shane unfortunately could not execute) and his pride.

In the last few rounds, it was obvious Mosley needed a miraculous shot to connect, but not only did he not have it in him anymore, there was no way Mayweather was going to allow it to happen.  By this stage, Mayweather was teeing off, going on the offensive, backing Mosley up and peppering him with power shots.  I honestly thought Shane was either going to quit or get knocked out in a couple of those final rounds.  Yes, he lasted till the end, but he didn’t really do anything that put Mayweather remotely in danger after the second round.  Or perhaps it was because Mayweather didn’t give him the opportunity.  It also annoyed me that Mosley gave Mayweather so much respect, continuously asking to touch gloves at the beginning and end of rounds and whenever the referee broke them up.

And just like that, the fight was over.  Mayweather had put on a sublime boxing clinic, mixed in with a little more excitement, drama and resilience than we’re used to seeing from him.  There was never any doubt that it was going to be an unanimous decision.

The punch stats were devastating, with Mayweather landing 208 of 477 (43.6%) punches to 92 of 452 (20.4%) for Mosley.  Mayweather made a guaranteed $22.5 million for the fight, whereas Mosley is guaranteed just $7 million, though both can expect a lot from the pay per view revenue once it is tabulated.

In hindsight, perhaps the big punches Mosley landed in the second round were the worst thing that could have happened for him, because it made him keep looking for that one big shot.  Against a sitting target like Margarito, this may have worked, but against a slick technician like Floyd Mayweather Jr, he didn’t stand a chance.

Love or hate Mayweather, you have to give him props for this fight.  Mosley was 38 and coming off a long lay-off, and perhaps he wasn’t what he used to be, but he was still fighting at a world class level, and he certainly looked very good from a physical standpoint.  However, Mayweather was simply faster, more accurate and more skilled — just better in every respect.  The patience and composure Mayweather demonstrated, especially in the second round when he was hurt, showed just how hard he is going to beat.

The Pacquiao Question

The two fighters everyone wants to see get it on

(1) Will Mayweather and Pacquiao ever meet in the ring?

Floyd Mayweather Jr was supposed to face Manny Pacquiao in the ring today, but as we all know, the megafight imploded because of a disagreement on drug testing procedures.  As a result, Pacquiao went on to dominate Joshua Clottey and Mayweather took on Mosley (whose fight with Andre Berto was cancelled because of the Haiti earthquake tragedy).

Now that both men are free, the talk of a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight has re-emerged in a hurry.  But will the fight that everyone wants to see ever happen?  I have my doubts.

After his bout with Mosley, Mayweather was asked whether a Pacquiao fight can be made.

“If Manny Pacquiao can take a blood and urine test then we have a fight,” Mayweather said. “If not, no fight.”  [Note: by this Mayweather means unlimited random blood and urine tests conducted by the USADA, which was used for his fight with Mosley.]

Pacquiao, who watched the fight in the Philippines, said that he’ll agree to such testing but no closer than 24 days out from the fight, which was basically the stance he held last time at the point everything fell apart.

“For me,” Pacquiao said, “as long as the drug test is not done close to the match, I’ll agree because if they’ll get blood from me close to the match, it will be a disadvantage for me because I’m smaller and he’s big.”

That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but we get the point.

It’s the sad state boxing is in, where the two best fighters in the world may never fight each other over something as stupid as the blood testing.  It really should be a sport where the sanctioning bodies have more of a say in all of this, where fighters can’t dictate whatever terms they wish.  But that’s the way things are and it doesn’t look like changing.

As I recall from previous negotiations, Mayweather was willing to offer a cut off date of 14 days prior to the fight.  Pacquiao wanted 24.  Is it really that much of a difference?  Why not move it to 19 and call it a deal?

Having made Mosley agree to the random blood testing, it’s unlikely that Mayweather will accept anything less now from Pacquiao.  And Pacquiao, who is torn between boxing and politics, may just think it is too much of a hassle and just leave the sport altogether.  Both men are too proud to give in to the other.  I am just hoping that the promoters can figure something out or convince the fighters to chance their stance.

I think the one that is more likely to give in is Pacquiao.  He simply needs to be reminded that the blood tests will not harm him physically, and that this has been scientifically proven.  Remind him that he had a blood test 24 days out from his fight with Hatton, and that didn’t affect him at all.  Perhaps get Mosley to tell him that it wasn’t very intrusive at all, and that the blood testers try and not interrupt your training and will wait around for you for as long as it takes (as shown on the Mayweather-Mosley 24/7 episodes).  14 days is not a big deal, and he simply needs to be convinced.

(2) If they do fight, can Pacquiao win?

After having just watched Mayweather’s performance against Mosley, it’s hard to imagine him losing to Pacquiao, let alone anyone in his weight division right now.  However, having said that, I still believe that if anyone can hand Floyd Mayweather Jr his first loss, it’s Manny Pacquiao.

Mosley failed for a few key reasons.

First, he didn’t have the discipline to carry out the game plan Naazim Richardson prepared for him.  He landed a couple of big punches and thought he could simply keep doing the same thing and win the fight.  Even when Richardson implored him to do this or that, Mosley kept going out and doing the same thing, which made it very easy for Mayweather.

Second, at 38, Mosley didn’t have the stamina to keep up with Mayweather for 12 rounds.  Even after just the fifth round or so, Mosley looked exhausted and winded.  He did seem a little more revitalised at the start of some later rounds, but by the middle of the fight his hand speed, foot speed and defense all dropped significantly.

Third, Mosley telegraphed his punches because he kept trying to land that big shot.  Mayweather didn’t fall for any of Mosley’s feints because he knew the big one was coming.  Mayweather was able to utilise his shoulder roll to perfection and use distance (whether close or far) to frustrate Mosley’s offensive game plan.  Mayweather could tell when and where Mosley was going to punch, and because of that he was never put in any real danger after the second round.

Fourth, Mosley couldn’t get off his shots against Mayweather.  Mosley is great at hitting guys who don’t move very much — he gets them into his sweet spot, looks for the opening, then unloads his big shots.  Against Mayweather, he couldn’t do that because while he was still looking for that perfect opportunity, Mayweather was beating him to the punch and nailing him before he was ready.

Fifth, Mosley didn’t apply enough pressure.  He tried to be tactical but he didn’t attack constantly enough to keep Mayweather on the back foot.  And when he did, Mosley only threw one or two punch combinations, which Mayweather always managed to pick off with ease.

Now think about the package that is Manny Pacquiao.  Pacquiao is not as big, strong or durable as Mosley (though he is arguably faster), but he has all the things that Mosley didn’t in losing to Mayweather.

First, Pacquiao has a fantastic trainer in Freddie Roach, a guy who he trusts and listens to.  In his last few fights, Pacquiao has followed Roach’s game plans perfectly, leading to one big win after another.  When Roach speaks, Pacquiao listens.  Roach thinks he has the game plan to beat Floyd, and if anyone can execute that game plan, it’s Manny.

Second, at 31 years of age, Pacquiao is younger than Mayweather and is arguably just as fit or fitter than him.  One of Pacquiao’s strengths is his ability to go on and on after every round and continue to throw punches without ever seeming to get tired.  We’ve never seen that from Mayweather because he hasn’t needed to be so busy to win, but we do know for sure that Pacquiao can keep throwing for 12 rounds and maintain the same speed and power all throughout the bout.

Third, Pacquiao is known for his unorthodox punches that are delivered from angles that opponents do not expect.  Look at his fights with De La Hoya, Hatton and Cotto.  All three were constantly bludgeoned by shots they didn’t see coming.  Consider that left uppercut that badly hurt Cotto and dropped him for the second time in their fight.  It was a punch that came whilst backpedaling and during a flurry of wild punches from Cotto.  Pacquiao has the ability to surprise, and surprise with tremendous power, which will always give him a puncher’s chance against anyone.

Fourth, Pacquiao is not as choosy with his punches as Mosley.  He doesn’t need to wait till the perfect time and place before he throws a punch.  Pacquiao is always throwing and always moving.  While Mayweather can still break his rhythm with his fantastic timing, Pacquiao can overcome that by not waiting around and giving Floyd the chance to beat him to the punch.

Fifth, Pacquiao’s biggest asset is his ability to apply relentless pressure from start to finish.  He wears down his opponents by not giving them a chance to breathe.  Mayweather has never faced a boxer like that before, and it will be interesting to see how he handles it.  And when Pacquiao decides to engage, he rarely throws one or two punch combos.  He throws immensely accurate and powerful shots, four or five or sometimes six or seven at a time.  We know Mayweather can easily avoid two or three punches at a time, but can the defensive master withstand six or seven without getting tagged?

So at this stage, while I think Mayweather will certainly be the favourite (and justifiably so after his most recent performance) if he ever fights Pacquiao, I do think the Filipino has the tools to push Floyd further than he has ever been pushed before.  Even if Pacquiao loses, I think we’ll get to see just how great Floyd Mayweather Jr truly is.  Accordingly, the short answer to my self-imposed question is yes, while I don’t think he necessarily will, I do think Pacquiao can beat Mayweather.

Unfortunately, we may never find out.