A star-studded crowd gathered in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to witness the welterweight showdown between superstar master boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr., 41-0 (25), and “Sugar” Shane Mosley, 46-6 (39) with one no-contest. Though many picked Floyd to win by decision (Mayweather was a 4-1 betting favorite), no one could have foreseen how complete the win would be. Mayweather was tested early, but came right back and, round after round, he put Mosley through a master class of boxing, outboxing Mosley for the majority of the fight. It may not have been the kind of exciting, knock-down, drag-out affair that many felt Mosley could bring out of Floyd but instead, was a long look at an artist plying his trade; formless, adaptable, cunning and quick, this might have been Mayweather’s most impressive win yet.
Under dim lights with the crowd going nuts as a montage of Shane Mosley played highlighting his career, Michael Buffer said, “Let’s get this party started.” The room was awash in blue as Shane marched slowly on his toes to the ring, bouncing, raising a fist and looking as serious as ever, wearing black and light silver-ish blue to Eminem’s “‘Til I Collapse.” He entered the ring and, for the second time in two days, stumbled a bit as he walked up the ring steps (he had stumbled walking the steps to the weigh-in).
“This is Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather coming to you live “, said a prerecorded intro from Floyd as his clips played. Hatton getting iced. Marquez. The De La Hoya fight. All of which illustrated an impressive resume and film clip highlight reel. As the clip played and Floyd began to enter to the strains of the O’Jay’s “For the Love of Money” with the actual O’Jay’s singing it in the ring. Awesome. Wearing red leather and black fur trim, followed by an Elvis looking cat on stilts and a chick on stilts wearing a red wig, Mayweather entered the ring looking confident as ever.
And then the cry of “Let’s get ready to rumbleeeeeeeeeeee!” filled the air.
Round one was a tactical affair with both men trying to establish the jab and ascertain the other’s skill sets. Mosley tried to get in the jab to the body and work upstairs. Mayweather stayed defensive, working alternately behind his shoulder roll shield and his harder jab to Mosley’s flicking one.
In the second round, Shane almost hit paydirt as he worked that jab to the chest and came back with a right hand that landed flush and rocked Floyd. Mayweather seemed hurt as ever as Shane jumped on him and landed another right hand around the shell guard that Floyd put up. Shane would get in two more shots that seemed to be partially blocked while Floyd switched defenses, relaxed, and kept changing angles as he worked through a haze to clear his head. This moment, which fans and anti-Floyd folks will hang their hat on to say, “See? Floyd can be hurt” was the last time Shane Mosley was in this fight. Even by the second round’s end, Floyd was walking down Shane and trying to get his right hand going.
Through the next few rounds, Floyd did several things. He changed up his defense and took away Shane’s right hand. Then he began to add his own right into the mix. Firing it at several different angles, Floyd got that right hand going and then began to work in the hook as well. It was a as good a showing as anyone had expected.
The pace remained slow but steady as Shane tried to work in his right hand or get his jab going, but it was too late. Floyd had figured out Shane and Mosley was not able to get any sort of adjustment going. On and on it went, Floyd walking down Shane and Shane either backing off, throwing a wild right and then clinching. To be fair, both men got the clinches going and neither did much work on the inside.
In the eighth, a hit on the break from Mosley got the two men jawing at each other.
“I told Shane not to worry about what the ref is saying and to just fight,” said Floyd afterward. “I talked to him a lot during the fight. I told him ‘If your jab is faster than mine, show me right now.”
The two jawed and jawed touching gloves and circling until Floyd rocked Shane with a one-two combo that had the crowd going.
It became clean-up duty in the championship rounds. It seemed, at times, like Mayweather was going to stop Shane as he landed flush right hands over and over. But the shots didn’t come in more than two or three-punch combinations and Mosley was able to weather the storms.
In the end, it was all Mayweather. The first two rounds were split but, after that, it was a shutout.
Now what’s next for Mayweather remains to be seen. At the post-fight presser, Mayweather didn’t give anything away, though agreed a fight with Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez was an exciting possibility.
“I wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see,” said Floyd. “ They wanted a toe-to-toe battle and to see me coming forward more and that is what I wanted to give them.”
It was an entertaining undercard that featured an awesome one-round brawl between Hector Saldivia, 33-2 (26), and Said Ouali, 27-3 (19) that featured Ouali down early only to come back with a brutal right/left combo that dropped Saldivia. One more knockdown and Ouali would win by TKO at 1:47 of the first.
Eloy Perez, 17-0-2 (4) took a majority decision over Gilberto Leon, 21-7-2 (7).
Jesse Vargas, 10-0 (5), stopped Arturo Morua, 25-14-1 (14), at 1:20 of the sixth round.
Daniel Ponce De Leon, 39-2 (32), took a majority decision over Cornelius Lock, 19-5-1 (12), in a tough, close fight.
The co-feature between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez,, 32-0-1 (24), and Jose Cotto, 31-2-1 (23), was an entertaining scrap with Alvarez getting tested early and coming back to rock Cotto late. In the first, Cotto landed a nasty right hand and then a series of them, as Alvarez went to the ropes and stayed there eating leather. But Alvarez, who was badly hurt, got his legs back under him as the fight progressed, starting to work in a counter uppercut that dropped Cotto in the second and then kept landing all night. In the end, “Canelo” was able to weather the right hands of Cotto and come back to score with his own right hand. In the ninth, Alvarez got Cotto on the ropes and unloaded a long series of right hands that landed flush on Cotto’s dome forcing the ref to step in at 2:51 of the ninth.