Sharkie’s Machine: Ricardo Mayorga vs. Shane Mosley in Historic Perspective
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Sept 25, 2008) Photo © HBO  
This coming Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , former titlist Ricardo Mayorga (29-6-1, 23 KO’s) is scheduled to fight former titlist Shane Mosley (44-5, 37 KO’s). Mayorga was recently listed as a Jr. Middleweight. Mosley at Welter. I expect Mayorga to look bigger than Mosley. I expect Mosley will win a Unanimous Decision or maybe even score a knockout, if he can engineer superior ring generalship and take Ricardo past seven rounds, where he tends to fizzle these days. Mosley has pretty good boxing skills, decent speed and has to KNOW he can beat Mayorga, who has
slid so far down in his career that his feet are still wet from the mud. Mayorga still boasts about his power but was unable to KO what was left of Vargas last year.

Mayorga’s best chances will be in the early rounds, before he runs out of gas. If he can pressure Mosley and land a lucky punch…it could be lights out! Mayorga is not a great boxer and pretty far from being “in his prime” but he’s still heavy handed. Mayorga was on the right track when he predicted he’d win by knockout in two or three rounds. Because if it goes past five, Mayorga will lose to the better boxer Mosley, who has taken good care of his body over all these years. The truth is these guys should have fought long ago…when it would have mattered. Now they’re just recognizable names at the twilight of their boxing careers. Thank God its not on PPV!

Before you start analyzing this fight with the notion that since Mayorga beat Forrest twice and Forrest beat Mosley twice…forget that, none of that is relevant today because of a thing called time. A lot of time has passed since Mayorga made his bones. But let’s look at a little history of both guys.

Back in 2001, a then unheralded Ricardo Mayorga defended his WBA welterweight title against Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis. Lewis was losing the first round when a head butt caused a nasty cut that saw the fight called a No Contest. They fought a rematch in March of 2002, where Mayorga displayed an attack dog mentality and administered a beating to Lewis for five rounds. Lewis had better boxing skills but Mayorga had too much testosterone and imposed his will with no regard for return fire. Though Mayorga’s boxing skills were fair, it was his commitment to power punching and his vicious demeanor that saw him crash up Lewis and win by TKO in the fifth round. After that gladiator like display, Mayorga was not only visibly on the map, but he appeared to be one of the most dangerous fighters in the welterweight division.

Mayorga got back in the ring in January of 2003 to fight the “in his prime,” WBC titlist, Vernon “The Viper” Forrest. It was a classic match up of boxer vs. brawler. Forrest had fought twice in 2002, both times against Shane Mosley, who he had beaten in the Olympics and then beat two more times by Unanimous Decision in the pros. During the post fight interview, after Forrest beat Mosley the first time, he asked Larry Merchant, “If Shane was the number one pound for pound fighter in the world and I just beat him, doesn’t that now make ME the best pound for pound fighter in the world?”

Merchant never answered that question. How could he? In reality, there’s no such thing as a “best pound for pound fighter” in boxing. There are too many weight classes to consider how one from one class is better than all the others. What is the criterion for that? There is none. The truth is, best p4p is just a marketing ploy and not a ‘real ranking’ based on any legitimate criteria. Best p4p amounts to—the fighter the media loves the most for whatever reason. Oh, and they never fight the best fighters in their own divisions. Best p4p fighter’s bouts are most often on Pay-Per-View. Anyone that doesn’t buy into the program is labeled a “hater” by fans that do buy into it. Hey, at least they get something for that $59.99.

Vernon beat Mosley in 2002, Mayorga beat Forrest in 2003 and Mosley went on to fight Raul Marquez in a No Contest. He then fought his dream money rematch fight against Oscar De La Hoya and though I thought Shane clearly lost, Mosley got the decision. In 2004, Mosley lost twice to Winky Wright and saw his star fading fast. But in spite of his big losses, Mosley magically remained at the top of the rankings without beating any of the top guys in his division. Maybe he really was the best p4p?

After Mayorga beat Forrest twice, he got sloppy and let his ego take over his training regimen. He wanted everyone to know that he smoked cigarettes and became so obnoxious, many of his former fans wanted to see him get KTFO. His ferocious appearances against Forrest and Lewis had people talking. Some said he was lucky, dirty and a classless brawler with no boxing skills who would lose soon.

Soon came in the name of Corey Spinks, who in December of 2003 faced Mayorga in Atlantic City . The magic of the uber machismo was gone. Spinks made Mayorga look like a little leaguer at bat against Roger Clemens. Mayorga swung and missed all night as Spinks the Jinx turned “El Matador” into the Bull. He popped him with little jabs and hooks and won a Split Decision that should have been a Unanimous Decision as I don’t recall a round I scored for Mayorga in that one.

It was over. Mayorga had passed his peak, his fifteen minutes of fame and whatever he had, was expired. His next fight in 2004 punctuated that point, as he couldn’t make weight at welter and moved up 13 pound to middleweight. Mayorga looked out of shape, and was out boxed all night by some unknown Middleweight boxer named Eric Mitchell. Mayorga rallied with punches that were all blocked by Mitchell. In a no mystery piece of crooked history, Mayorga got the Unanimous Decision win and I haven’t seen Mitchell since.

The boxing world watched as Mayorga was no longer feared or otherwise revered. Later that year, he fought Felix Trinidad in Trinidad ’s second ‘come back’ fight in October of 2004. Interestingly, Mayorga didn’t talk any crap to Tito during the lead up to that one. Mayorga made the mistake of sticking out his chin in taunt to Trinidad , who popped him good with a right that almost took his head off. Trinidad KO’d Mayorga in the 8th round with cleanly landed left hooks that only a blind man would’ve missed. This fight made people forget Trinidad had ever retired and that Mayorga ever existed.

As the property of Don King, Mayorga’s career sallied forth and in 2005, he fought Michele Piccirillo and won the ‘vacant’ WBC Jr. Middleweight belt by Unanimous Decision. That made him an attractive opponent for Oscar De La Hoya, who orchestrated to fight Mayorga in 2006. DLH KO’d Mayorga in six rounds and took his WBC belt. After losing to Mosley, Hopkins and Sturm (Oscar did get the nod from the Judges vs. Sturm), this made DLH look fantastic! Especially after all the verbal abuse he took from the foul mouthed Mayorga during the promotion leading up to the fight.

At 160 pounds, Mayorga had devolved into a Tomato Can. But with Don King holding the leash, there was still money to be made! So, Mayorga got into shape and fought the very un-ferocious remains of Fernando Vargas and won a Majority Decision in November of 2007, which brings us to now, 2008 and a “showdown” with Shane Mosley.

Mosley recently said; "The goal is to fight the best guys out there, so the people and fans can recognize me as one of the best fighters of this era. I still have a fire. Maybe in three or four years I'll retire," said Mosley. "I'm the type of guy that likes to fight the best guys out there. Ricardo Mayorga is a step to the next fight that I want, which is Antonio Margarito!"

That’s interesting. And it would be true if this the date was anywhere between 2002-2003. Today, it’s a very questionable statement. But, it’s all part of the hype to sell tickets so, there’s no accounting for those types of statements. I can’t see how Mayorga is the step to fighting Antonio Margarito. Unless Shane is just talking the talk.

I just hope they re-air the Marquez vs. Casamayor fight that I missed recently. I just couldn’t see paying 59 bucks to see a fight card with Sergio Mora, Vernon Forrest and a main too easy to handicap.

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