Floyd Mayweather Jr. will face Shane Mosley on May 1st at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for Mosley’s version of the welterweight title. Boxing fans know that this is a long anticipated fight and outside of Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao possibly the biggest fight that can be made in boxing. As big as this fight will be, perhaps the biggest untold story is that this may be Floyd Mayweather Jr’s chance to silence his critics.
Those who follow the sport know that Mayweather has been criticized for his fight selection, seemingly opting for high reward low risk fights at the expense of fighting the best out there in his division. To what degree this is true I’ll leave to others to decide, but for those of that opinion fighting Mosley will surely help Mayweather lose the stigma of avoid risk to protect his undefeated record? Or will it?
When discussing Mayweather, other pundits have commented in recent months that he is in a no-win situation in terms of getting credit for beating legitimate fighters around his size. The consensus seemed to be that if he fought Manny Pacquiao and won it would be dure to Pacquiao not being a real welterweight; if he fought Paul Williams and prevailed it would be due to Williams outgrowing the welterweight division and draining himself to make weight; if he would have fought Cotto (prior to Cotto/Pacquiao) and defeated him the reason would be that Cotto was in too many wars, too slow, or had too soft a chin; and if he beats Mosley, some may say Mosley is too old.
Undoubtedly, Mosley is a very young 38 and is still very fit, fast, and fresh, but he is probably not the fighter he was five years ago. Nevertheless, he is still in among the top five or ten best pound for pound fighters according to most credible sources. And Mosley has not showed any real signs of aging inside the ring. But Mayweather is a little younger, a little fitter, and a little faster; and if he outpoints Mosley in a close fight, one wonders how much credit he will be given for such a victory.
There will always be critics of course. And for Floyd, his cautious style will probably continue to be the subject of scrutiny. But folks have called for this fight for a while and most acknowledge that Mosley is still fighting at an elite level. In this regard, Floyd Mayweather has a real opportunity, not only to win back the welterweight title and further add to his legacy, but to silence many of his critics and win the respect of fans who consider him risk averse.