Money would be Sweet - Mayweather vs Mosley
By JD Camacho, DoghouseBoxing.com (Jan 29, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
Ten years ago, Sugar Shane Mosley battled Floyd Mayweather, Jr. not within the confines of the ring but inside the minds of the Boxing Writers Association of America – and not for any championship belt but for the Fighter of the Year honors of 1998.

The 27 year-old Mosley and the 21 year-old Mayweather were the top contenders for the honor and while Mosley took the title at the end of it, the decision was not met without some dissension.

“Hate to quarrel with old friend Michael Katz, the oft-brilliant boxing writer of the New York Daily News,” wrote Ron Borges of the Boston Globe in 1999, “but while his vote for fighter of the year went to Shane Mosley, mine goes to newly crowned 130-pound titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. There's no disputing Mosley's credentials. This corner has suggested that he may be the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, but none of his five successful title defenses in 1998 was as impressive as Mayweather's back-to-back wins over champion Genaro Hernandez and Angel Manfredy, even though the latter came on a far-too-quick stoppage. Mayweather was dominant in his title victory, only his 18th professional fight, over a seasoned pro whose only loss in 40 fights had come against a far bigger De La Hoya.”

In the past, it was a question of quantity over quality. In the present, the roles of Mosley and Mayweather have been reversed.

It is now Mayweather – and not Mosley – who has the gaudy and unbeaten record, with talent so significant that he may still be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world even as he sits in retirement. His 18-0 record in championship fights and his six titles in five weight classes make his hall-of-fame credentials hard to dispute.

And yet, it is now Mosley – and not Mayweather – who has had the more “impressive” wins over the course of a career. Mosley shined brighter against a gleaming Oscar De La Hoya than Mayweather did against a tarnished Golden Boy. Mosley also impressed in both performances against Hispanics Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito – bruising welterweights Mayweather failed to fight.

And so here they are, no longer 21 and 27 going-on-greatness but 31 and 37 riding-on-retirement, talked about as prospective opponents once again.

The stars have never really aligned for such a fight, even though their respective best weights were only five pounds apart. In 1999, Mosley was struggling to make 135 and was seeking a match with money-man De La Hoya. In 2006, Mayweather seemed to make himself available just as Mosley embarked on a six-month hiatus from the ring. And now in 2009, as Mosley comes off one of his greatest victories over Margarito, Mayweather rests in Las Vegas wrapped in his retirement banner.

But the fight makes more sense (and cents) now than it ever did.

For Mayweather, Mosley is an attractive fight against a name opponent with serious credibility. For all of the danger offered by Antonio Margarito, Mayweather would most likely have been content to try and pot shot his way to a boring victory. Mosley’s handspeed and fighter’s mentality dispel any possibility of a soporific affair.

For Mosley, Mayweather is a fight more lucrative than any out there aside from a rubber match with De La Hoya. Mosley has fought the best fighters available his whole career and has rarely received pay commensurate with his talents. Mayweather’s “Money” moniker is well deserved in the boxing world – he has premium cable giant HBO’s full backing. So, too, does Mosley – Mayweather.

In boxing, the ring is a better arena than the mind and the fist a better weapon than the pen. Writers shouldn’t be forced to decide who’s better between Mayweather and Mosley, as they did a decade ago. The fighters should make the decision for them.

CONCLUSIVE BLOWS

- Anyone see Stallone and Schwarzenegger seated next to each other last Saturday? Sly looked bigger than Arnold, for once. Must be the juice…
- Speaking of juice, don’t let any of that BALCO talk splatter over the rest of Mosley’s career. So the De La Hoya rematch should be declared a no-contest? So what. If Shane had taken performance enhancers before his first encounter with Oscar or before last Saturday, then that’d be a story…
- Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao are finally signed, sealed, and delivered. Thank goodness. That was the biggest game of he-said she-said I’ve seen in awhile…
- Wladimir Klitschko – David Haye intrigues me. If Haye does the unthinkable, I think we’ll see his face not only on Parky’s but on Leno, too.

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