Boxing: Shane Mosley

Mayweather-Maidana by the numbers

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
6:36
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This Saturday, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will once again step in the ring with Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather won the first fight in May by unanimous decision, but many felt Maidana came the closest anyone has to becoming the first fighter to defeat Mayweather. He will try once again, while Mayweather looks to move to 47-0 and one step closer to retiring undefeated. Here are the numbers you need to know for Saturday’s fight:

2: This is the second rematch Floyd Mayweather has given in his illustrious career. After a controversial unanimous decision win in 2002 against Jose Luis Castillo, Mayweather defended his newly won WBC lightweight title almost eight months later in a rematch. Mayweather outlanded Castillo 162-137 en route to another unanimous decision victory.

221: Punches Maidana landed on Mayweather, the most of any Mayweather opponent in 37 tracked CompuBox fights. Maidana used an aggressive approach in the first six rounds of the fight. He attempted 78.5 punches per round and outlanded Mayweather 125-98 (110 power punches). The only other fighter to land more than 200 punches against Mayweather was Castillo in their first fight (203).

114: According to ESPN Stats & Information tracking, 114 of Maidana’s 221 punches were landed with Mayweather against the ropes (51 percent).

3: The fight in May marked the third time in Mayweather’s 46-fight career that he won by majority or split decision. Although some might argue the first Castillo decision, Mayweather’s only win by split decision came when he defeated Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. More recently, the Maidana fight and the previous bout against Canelo Alvarez were both victories by majority decision for the undefeated champion.

25: The plus/minus rating for Mayweather, the highest among active fighters. Plus/minus rating is determined by subtracting an opponent's connect percentage from a listed fighter's overall connect percentage. In his past three fights, Mayweather has plus/minus ratings of plus-28 (Maidana), plus-24 (Alvarez) and plus-22 (Robert Guerrero). Second on the plus/minus list is Erislandy Lara at plus-17.

54: Mayweather's connect percentage against Maidana. Mayweather was the less active fighter of the two, but he was by far the more effective. Mayweather landed between 50 and 59 percent in six of 12 rounds, 60 and 69 percent twice, and 14 of 20 punches in Round 4 for a 70 percent clip. Maidana's highest connect percentage in any round was 30 percent in the eighth round.

15: Million dollars gained from the live gate in the first Mayweather-Maidana fight, the third most in MGM Grand history. Mayweather has said MGM Grand is the place where "Money gets money," and that's proven in live gate sales. Mayweather has the three largest gates in MGM Grand boxing history, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and has garnered $20 million from the Alvarez fight and $18.4 million from the De La Hoya fight.

12: The money helps Mayweather stay in Vegas, but the MGM Grand is also home to 12 Mayweather victories. Mayweather won at MGM Grand for the first time in 2000 against Gregorio Vargas and has defeated legends such as Castillo, De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto. MGM Grand has hosted every Mayweather fight since 2007.

85: According to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, Mayweather is an 8-1 favorite (minus-800), which gives him an 85 percent chance to win the rematch. In the previous bout, Mayweather was given an 87 percent chance to win the fight, with closing odds of minus-950 to Maidana’s plus-625 (13 percent to win).

5: Kenny Bayless will be the referee for Mayweather-Maidana, which marks the fifth time he has been in the ring as the referee for a Mayweather fight. Bayless was the referee for Mayweather's victories against Alvarez, Shane Mosley and De La Hoya and for Mayweather's pro debut against Roberto Apodaca.

3: Three of Mayweather's four titles will be on the line when he defends the WBA and WBC welterweight titles as well as the WBC junior middleweight title. The most recent time titles from multiple divisions were on the line in a fight was 1988, when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Donny Lalonde for belts in the super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.

--Statistical support provided by CompuBox

Looking back on 10 years at ringside

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
9:00
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Time flies, and last week’s festivities at the MGM Grand brought home a sudden realization that Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s master class on Saturday night came 10 years and one day after my first credentialed fight.

There were a fair few differences between that first fight and my latest: In 2003, my credential was red (signifying I rated only a bleacher seat) instead of ringside green, my affiliation was merely "freelance," and in the identifying photo my mouth was smiling and my hair wasn’t gray. But there were similarities, too: Both bouts were at the MGM, both involved the most popular boxer in the world at the time and both were the culmination of weeks of hype and publicity.

My memories of that first fight are as fresh as though it had been fought 10 months, rather than 10 years, ago, and the passage of time has spawned reflections on the numerous notable memories from a decade of being paid to watch fights.

So here’s a list of my top 10 (12, actually, because I kind of cheated) ringside recollections -- not necessarily the best fights (although some of them were terrific) but what, for me personally, have been my most memorable ringside experiences so far.

Shane Mosley W12 Oscar De La Hoya -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Sept. 13, 2003

Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya
Chris Polk/Getty ImagesShane Mosley edged Oscar De La Hoya for a decision win in 12 rounds in 2003.
Not exactly a ringside recollection, as I watched proceedings from the auxiliary section, but this was the first of what -- although I had no way of knowing it at the time -- would turn out to be more than a decade of professional prizefights for which I was credentialed.

From my seat in the bleachers, I thought the Golden Boy had eked out a decision in a good fight; most of those ringside, where the power of Mosley’s blows were more telling, seemed to agree with the official verdict. Personally, I most remember the thrill of experiencing my inaugural big-fight atmosphere, and the strange feeling of anticlimax on Sunday morning when it was all over.

Antonio Tarver TKO2 Roy Jones Jr. -- Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, May 15, 2004
The defining moment of postfight shock and awe. Jones had looked mortal in the first encounter between the two men, but that had widely been attributed to his struggles returning to 175 pounds after his brief and successful excursion to heavyweight. But Tarver had his number, and when he landed the big punch that marked the end of Jones’ era of dominance, the crowd responded with an initial roar, followed by a stunned silence, culminating in 12,000 people reaching simultaneously for their cellphones to tell friends, “Holy ****, Roy Jones just got knocked out!”

Diego Corrales TK10 Jose Luis Castillo -- Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, May 7, 2005

Jose Castillo and Diego
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesEverybody in boxing remembers the incredible fight between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo fight in Las Vegas in 2005.
Even if this fight had been a dud, it would for me have been memorable: The previous night, the Boxing Writers Association of America's annual dinner had concluded with one of the finest gatherings of past and present champions to stand on one stage; and Gordon Absher, then the Mandalay Bay’s PR guru, had indulged my literary bent by seating me next to the great Budd Schulberg on fight night. Seriously, how could it possibly get any better? Then Corrales and Castillo started throwing punches, and the 4,000 or so souls in the arena became bound together in witnessing one of the very greatest professional prizefights ever -- a fight that effectively ruined both the combatants while leaving an indelible memory on everyone fortunate enough to be there.

Manny Pacquiao TK10 Erik Morales -- Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Jan. 21, 2006
Manny Pacquiao KO3 Erik Morales -- Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nov. 18, 2006

For reasons I can’t quite remember, but presumably related to a lack of money, I watched the first tilt between these two on TV in my cabin in Alaska. The indelible memory of their second contest, apart from Pacquiao turning around a fight he was losing and storming to a stoppage win, was the unrelenting volume inside the arena, as rival Mexican and Filipino fight fans shouted themselves hoarse. I imagined it was like sticking your head next to a jet engine. The third was much the same, and at the end of that contest the feeling was of one man reaching the end of his career and another about to launch his into the stratosphere.

Floyd Mayweather TKO10 Ricky Hatton -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Dec. 8, 2007

Ah, the Brits. My people. So very many of them, so very drunk, and singing so very loudly. For a week, Las Vegas became Manchester with better weather and colder beer, as Hatton’s fans sang constantly to remind themselves how many Ricky Hattons there are; and even when that one Ricky Hatton was stopped in the 10th round, they sang and drank some more.

Antonio Margarito TKO11 Miguel Cotto -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, July 26, 2008
Miguel Cotto TKO10 Antonio Margarito -- Madison Square Garden, New York, Dec. 3, 2011

Miguel Cotto
AP Photo/ Ronda ChurchillAntonio Margarito demolished Miguel Cotto in their first fight, but then was suspended for alleged handwrap tampering.
During the buildup to the first fight, I was convinced that Cotto was on the verge of breaking through to the next level, to the very top echelons of pound-for-pound lists. And for much of the early going, the Puerto Rican appeared vastly superior to his opponent in every way, until Margarito ground him down and stopped him in what became a truly violent brawl. The suspicions that emerged afterward, following Margarito’s suspension for alleged handwrap tampering, led to a febrile atmosphere in New York three years later. The fact that Margarito was essentially a one-eyed man being served up for punishment concerned the Puerto Ricans in the arena not one bit, and the guttural roar when Cotto glared at his beaten foe segued into dancing on Seventh Avenue afterward.

Manny Pacquiao W12 Joshua Clottey -- Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, March 13, 2010

The fight itself was kinda meh. Clottey spent most of his time impersonating a turtle as Pacquiao bang-bang-banged away. But there was a real sense of occasion about it all: Jerry Jones, Cowboys Stadium, that scoreboard … One can only wonder how immense it all would have been had the man across the ring been, as originally intended, not Joshua Clottey but Floyd Mayweather.

Lamont Peterson W12 Amir Khan -- Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2011.

For all but seven of the nearly 20 years I’ve been in the United States, I’ve lived in the District of Columbia or its northern Virginia suburbs, so to have an HBO fight in what is effectively my hometown, and with a hometown fighter -- a hometown fighter who had grown up sleeping on the streets near the arena where he was now fighting, even –- scoring an upset win over a big star, with a fevered crowd screaming “D.C., D.C., D.C.” … it was all very cool, even if a pair of point deductions by an over-officious referee (to say nothing of the later revelations of Peterson’s synthetic testosterone intake) fouled the punch bowl.

Juan Manuel Marquez KO6 Manny Pacquiao -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Dec. 8, 2012

Manny Pacquiao
Zumapress/Icon SMIIn his fourth attempt, Juan Manuel Marquez finally beat Manny Pacquiao.
If much of the world greeted the buildup to their fourth encounter with a comparative shrug, the predominantly Mexican crowd viewed it with eager anticipation, desperate for Marquez to finally secure the official victory they felt he had three times been unjustly denied. It did not matter to them that Marquez entered the ring looking like the Incredible Hulk; they wanted a win, and when it came -– with Pacquiao dropping face-first like a stone -- the tide of emotion that crashed through the arena was a mixture of delirious joy and inconsolable grief, with the fevered wailing of a distraught Jinkee Pacquiao a powerful reminder of the realities of what is at stake when two men enter the ring.

Floyd Mayweather W12 Canelo Alvarez -- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Sept. 14, 2013

From the massive throng that spilled out of the MGM Grand lobby to watch the fighters’ arrivals on Tuesday, to the crowd that stood three-deep to catch a glimpse of even the undercard fighters working out the next day, to the incomparable weigh-in experience in front of 12,200 fans -- and, of course, the enthusiastic but ultimately futile cries of “si se puede” and “Ca-ne-lo” during the main event -- this was, from beginning to end, almost certainly the most intense big fight week I’ve yet experienced.

Note to the “this was boxing’s last big fight” crowd: At the time of my first fight, nobody would have predicted that in 10 years’ time, Mayweather Jr. would be the man carrying the sport on his back, as De La Hoya did before him, as Mike Tyson did before him. Someone out there is boxing’s next big superstar. He may already be on HBO, he may be fighting undercard six-rounders, he may not yet have turned pro. But when he hits the highest heights, his biggest fights will be true events, just as much as Mayweather’s are now. And if I’m fortunate, I’ll be there covering them.

Mayweather's 'home' floor: MGM Grand

September, 13, 2013
9/13/13
2:13
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Boxing Ring Al Bello/Getty ImagesFloyd Mayweather Jr. has made the ring mat at the MGM Grand a canvas for his greatest masterpieces.
After Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s victory over Robert Guerrero in May, fans were treated to an updated version of a quote that has become a Mayweather staple: "Forty-four have tried and 44 have failed." Although that number should technically be amended to 43 (Mayweather fought Jose Luis Castillo twice), it's all academic for Canelo Alvarez, who on Saturday will try to avoid becoming the next number on Money's ledger.

Earlier in the week, our Stats & Information Group gave you several important fight factors for Mayweather, including experience, speed and defense. But there's one more element to be taken into account: the venue. Since a unanimous decision win over Gregorio Vargas in 2000, Mayweather has compiled a 10-0 record -- and fought all of his past seven fights -- on the grounds of Las Vegas's MGM Grand (including the Garden Arena). Canelo has fought there on three occasions, but Las Vegas is Mayweather's adopted hometown and the MGM Grand is his home court, despite numerous opponents having had the crowd in their favor.

Mayweather's greatest triumph at the MGM Grand came in 2007 when he fought Oscar De La Hoya for a junior middleweight belt -- the same title, in fact, that he will be fighting for on Saturday. In that fight, De La Hoya threw 106 more punches and 100 more power punches, but it was Mayweather who was the more accurate fighter. According to Compubox, Mayweather landed 43 percent of his punches (compared to De La Hoya's 21 percent), while also landing 57 percent of his power punches. The officials scored it 116-112, 115-113 Mayweather, 113-115 De La Hoya in what many consider to be Mayweather's toughest victory. Attendance for the fight was listed at 16,200 (15,432 paid). The live gate of $18.4 million remains the largest in boxing history.

Mayweather vacated the junior middleweight title to defend his welterweight title against England's undefeated Ricky Hatton later in the year. Mayweather overcame a large, raucous contingent of U.K. fans in the crowd and, in the early rounds of the fight, a very aggressive Hatton. Mayweather adjusted, landing 39 percent of both his power and total punches, according to Compubox, compared to just 17 for Hatton. Mayweather hit Hatton with a left hook in the 10th round that put the challenger on his back, and when Hatton tried to regain his composure and the fight resumed, Mayweather attacked and knocked him down again, prompting a TKO stoppage from referee Joe Cortez. Despite the pro-Hatton crowd of 16,459 (15,488 paid), Mayweather improved to 5-0 at the MGM Grand. The live gate came in at $10.3 million.

With no titles upon his return in 2009 from a nearly two-year retirement, Mayweather defeated Juan Manuel Marquez ($6.8 million live gate) in front of 12,009 paid fans to go 8-0 against Mexican fighters. He would then defeat Shane Mosley ($11 million live gate) before winning back his welterweight title from Victor Ortiz ($9 million live gate) in September 2011.

Miguel Cotto was next, the prize being a junior middleweight title. Before a crowd of 16,047 (14,612 paid), Mayweather landed his lowest percentage of punches (26 percent) that Compubox has tracked in any of his fights, while Cotto landed 21 percent. Mayweather outlanded Cotto in 11 of 12 rounds and held a 179-105 advantage on punches connected en route to a unanimous decision, 118-110, 117-111 and 117-111. The live gate for the fight was $12 million, ninth-largest in history.

Mayweather defended his welterweight title against Guerrero in May ($9.9 million live gate), and on Saturday he will face Canelo Alvarez in a fight that has sold out the approximately 16,800-seat MGM Grand Garden Arena, with a rumored 65 percent of those sales coming from the Mexican public. According to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, the live gate for Mayweather-Canelo will surpass $20 million, which would be an all-time high in the state of Nevada.

-- Attendance and live gate numbers courtesy of Nevada State Athletic Commission
-- Statistical data provided by Compubox

Ishe Smith is where he hoped to be

September, 12, 2013
9/12/13
2:38
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On a personal level, fight week is a milestone of sorts because it marks 10 years since I was first credentialed for a fight. That fight was the rematch between Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, and a few weeks before the bout, I was in Big Bear, Calif., for a media day at both men’s training camps. That was where I met a young Las Vegas-born junior welterweight prospect named Ishe Smith, who was sparring with Mosley.

I had no intention of covering boxing on a regular or ongoing basis. My intent was to write a book on boxing and Las Vegas, and to that end I focused on a number of Sin City-based boxing figures -- cutman Stitch Duran, referee Joe Cortez and ringside physician Margaret Goodman, among others -- as well as a trio of Vegas boxers at various stages of their careers. One of them was Smith.

For the previous couple of years, Smith had been a mainstay of Guilty Boxing’s Friday Night Fights, held once a month at The Orleans casino west of the Strip. But when we talked, he was moving up to the major leagues; he had been signed by Gary Shaw Promotions and had recently appeared for the first time on Showtime’s ShoBox series.

A good technician who was adept at working the body, Smith looked destined for a title shot, but things didn’t quite work out the way he planned. I was ringside in Santa Ynez, Calif., when he scored a tough, close win over Randall Bailey -- an impressive win for a young fighter, but one that wasn’t aesthetically pleasing or clear cut. Then his relationship with Shaw cratered acrimoniously, and Smith was a man without a promoter.

By this stage, my book project had foundered, but I had been bitten by the boxing bug and continued to write from ringside. And I stayed in close touch with Smith, who told me one evening at a Guilty Boxing card that he had been approached to participate in a reality show called "The Contender." He had some doubts about the project but went ahead with it anyway, and although he didn’t win the Contender title, he became one of the show’s standout stars.

Then it all slowly unraveled. He parted with the people behind the "Contender," was signed by Golden Boy, lost an ugly bout to Sechew Powell, was released by Golden Boy, signed with Lou DiBella, lost a few other fights, went a long time between bouts and was released by DiBella, who said he was having a hard time getting Smith fights and suggested he may find more success with someone else.

By this stage, Smith and I weren’t in touch as much. He was adrift, his family life in turmoil, his career stalled. For a while, his thoughts turned suicidal, and even when he emerged from that darkest of places, he had all but resigned himself to being finished with boxing.

Then, suddenly, everything turned around again. Floyd Mayweather Jr. hired him to spar prior to Mayweather’s bout with Miguel Cotto last year. Then Mayweather signed Smith to Mayweather Promotions and promised to get him a title shot. A couple of wins led to a bout with Cornelius Bundrage in Detroit earlier this year, and with Mayweather in attendance, Smith finally achieved his dream of becoming the first Las Vegas-born fighter to win a world title.

Now here he is, on hometown soil, about to defend that title against Carlos Molina on the biggest boxing card in years. Ten years after we first met in Big Bear, I interviewed him once more, in a packed MGM Grand lobby.

That book of mine? Never happened. But for Smith, everything finally turned out right. The path may have been much longer and more tortuous than either of us might have expected a decade ago, but the destination wound up better than he could ever have imagined.

Putting Mayweather's age in perspective

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
10:30
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Floyd Mayweather Jr.Benjamin Lowy for ESPN The MagazineAs Floyd Mayweather Jr. closes in on age 37, can he maintain his standing as the world's top fighter?
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has never lost a fight -- he also has never been so close to age 37.

The No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world will celebrate his 37th birthday on Feb. 24 next year. Although Mayweather has shown few, if any, effects of age in the ring, we all know Father Time is undefeated and undisputed in the athletic world.

Of course, time treats all fighters differently, and in Mayweather's case, it likely will be less harsh. "Money" has taken phenomenal care of his body and has avoided damage throughout his career.

It's worth taking a look, though, at how different fighters fared in their last fight prior to their 37th birthday -- and afterward.

George Foreman

Born: Jan. 10, 1949; Returned from a 10-year retirement on March 9, 1987.

Following a 10-year absence from the ring, Foreman returned at age 38 and even used age as a partial reason for his comeback, wanting to prove doubters wrong. He eventually challenged 28-year-old Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight title in April 1991 and lost. Three years later, at 45, he became the oldest heavyweight champion in history when he knocked out Michael Moorer.

Post-37 record: 31-3

Evander Holyfield

Born: Oct. 19, 1962; Draw with Lennox Lewis on March 13, 1999.

This is the timeline Mayweather hopes to not follow. Many saw the draw as a robbery of Lewis, who outworked Holyfield throughout the bout. One could argue Holyfield never truly bounced back, even though he fought until 2011.

Post-37 record: 8-7-1

Bernard Hopkins

Born: Jan. 15, 1965; Defeated Felix Trinidad via TKO on Sept. 29, 2001.

Age is nothing more than a number for Hopkins. For the first time in years, oddsmakers had pegged the much older Hopkins as an underdog in the Trinidad fight. That reportedly prompted Hopkins to bet $100,000 on himself in that fight. He won.

Post-37 record: 13-4-1 (active)

Roy Jones Jr.

Born: Jan. 16, 1969; Lost to Antonio Tarver via UD on Oct. 1, 2005.

If Jones went from young to old in one night, it actually was most likely the previous year when he suffered a stunning second-round TKO loss to Tarver in May 2004, conceding his light heavyweight title.

Post-37 record: 7-4

Shane Mosley

Born: Sept. 7, 1971; Lost to Miguel Cotto via UD on Nov. 10, 2007.

Mosley saw a five-fight win streak end 10 months prior to his 37th birthday, but age didn't appear to be the reason. He rebounded with solid performances in knockouts over Ricardo Mayorga and Antonio Margarito -- but he has looked old in five fights since.

Post-37 record: 3-3-1 (active)

Sugar Ray Robinson

Born: May 3, 1921; Defeated Carmen Basilio via UD on March 3, 1958.

After retiring in 1952, Robinson returned to the ring in 1955 and reclaimed the middleweight world title. He lost it and reclaimed it again in 1957 ... and again in 1958. The win over Basilio, however, would be his final victory in a world title fight.

Post-37 record: 32-13-3

Mosley challenged, but slides by Cano

May, 21, 2013
5/21/13
1:32
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CANCUN -- With the marks from battle still fresh on his face, Shane Mosley admitted after Saturday's welterweight fight with Pablo Cesar Cano that the challenge of his return after a year-long layoff took him by surprise.

"It was tougher than I expected," Mosley said. "Cano is a warrior. I think my experience made the difference. I was out [of boxing] for a while, and it took me some time to get my rythmn, but in the end we did things well."

Mosley, 41, emerged from retirement to break a four-fight winless streak -- his most recent victory having come in January 2009 against Antonio Margarito. Since then, Mosley (47-8-1, 39 KOs) had drawn against Sergio Mora and lost unanimous decisions to Canelo Alvarez, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao by wide margins.

"My experience was important," he said of the Cano win. "At the start he surprised me, but we could take care of it. My father [and trainer, Jack Mosley] kept saying to me, 'Throw your right, look for body shots.' We did this and things worked out."

Afterward, Cano (26-3-1, 20 KOs) praised Mosley for his performance and admitted that the veteran's years in the ring were the defining factor.

"His experience was key," Cano said. By the middle of the fight, he changed; he started boxing. He's still fast, but in the end I didn't lose to a nobody. I believe I have the talent to ask for more opportunities, and if they offer me a rematch, we'll gladly accept."

Cano, a gritty 23-year-old whose only previous losses came to Erik Morales and Paulie Malignaggi, said he was happy with his performance even though he wasn't able to seal the deal.

"I hurt him a few times -- I felt it -- but I couldn't finish him up," he said. "It was a difficult fight, I thought I made a good impression. I respect the judges, but Mosley told me at the end that a draw would've been fine with him."

All three judges at Arena Oasis saw a 115-113 win in favor of Mosley.

Mosley initially said he would take some time before making a decision about his immediate future -- "We'll rest. Right now, I don't know what will happen" -- but on Monday he took to Twitter and announced that he would continue fighting and seek a world title shot.

Cano seeks to close out Mosley's career

May, 18, 2013
5/18/13
12:16
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CANCUN, Mexico -- Pablo Cesar Cano wants to end the arc of Shane Mosley's career, but the former three-division titlist still believes he has the drive and passion to be a player at the top of the welterweight division.

After clearing Friday's weigh-in -- Cano came in at 146 pounds, Mosley at 148.6 -- each fighter is confident that Saturday's matchup at the Grand Oasis will lead to a championship fight coming his way.

"The last few fights I lost because of injuries, but I'm well," said the 41-year-old Mosley (46-8-1, 39 KOs) after the weigh-in. "My body tells me I'm well, so we are still going to be doing this for a while. Cano is a tough fighter, but I shouldn't have any problems beating him and being on my way to win a world title.

"I'm over 40, but I feel a passion for this sport. It's what I love doing and I will show it in the ring [Saturday]. This is an important fight, and I have to show that I'm still a player."

Cano, 23, has had his share of big fights in his relatively short career, at least as compared to Mosley. He lost to Mexican legend Erik Morales in 2011 and fell to Paulie Malignaggi in a close, disputed fight last October. Both were championship bouts -- the only blemishes on Cano's record (26-2-1, 20 KOs). Now Cano believes Mosley can give him the boost he needs to reach the next level.

"In boxing and life there are cycles," Cano said. "I think Mosley's is about to end and mine is just starting. I'm in the best shape to win and make him think about his career.

"Mosley is already a legend, and that's why I thank him for this opportunity. I know no one has knocked him out, and it would be special to do it. That's my mission, and I'm sure they will raise my hand so I can pursue another title belt."
If a random reader strolled into my office this afternoon, looked me up and down, then said I should hit the bricks because I'm no good at my job anymore, you can imagine where I'd tell him to go. (And then I'd wonder how the guy got in the building and change the locks.)

So I don't expect Shane Mosley to heed my words -- or the warnings of anyone else, outside of those in his family or professional circle. Boxing is his trade, he's allowed to make an honest living, and if a boxing commission is still willing to green-light him, who am I to tell him not to step through the ropes again?

But here it is anyway: Shane, please take your gloves and go home.

Here's the thing: I actually believe Mosley, even at 41, remains a viable welterweight opponent at the second -- or third-tier levels. And when he returns Saturday in Cancun, Mexico to face Pablo Cesar Cano -- a tough 23-year-old kid whose only two losses came to Paulie Malignaggi and Erik Morales in close decisions where Cano gave as good as he got -- there will be an element of mystery to the proceedings. Mosley isn't being thrown to the wolves.

But it comes down to more than just an interest in honest competition, or even a preservationists' urge to hermetically seal the legacy of a three-division titlist and former pound-for-pound buzzsaw. (Mosley hasn't won a fight since 2009, going 0-3-1 since then, so that ship has sailed anyway.) Of greater concern is the toll exacted on him by 55 professional fights -- particularly the more recent ones, in which his hair-trigger reflexes seemed to rust before our eyes.

This isn't a broken-down Joe Namath or Shaquille O'Neal hobbling through his final days of athletic glory. Losing a few ticks off the fastball or a half-step down the line? A guy can live with that. But for a fighter whose foundation is built on reaction time and hand speed, a slight erosion of skills translates to fewer connects, longer bouts and more glancing blows coming back that turn into flush shots to the face. Can a guy live with that? Maybe. But even a handful of those sort of rounds can ruin the quality of that life over time.

Fighters and fans both understand the potential costs. You either make peace with them or move on. But no one who appreciates the sacrifices that boxing requires has the stomach for gratuitous carnage. Mosley might not be that far gone just yet, but he's testing those limits. For his own sake, is it too much to ask him not to?

With that, here are five fighters I'd like to see retire right now:

Shane Mosley
He hasn't thrown a meaningful punch since buckling the knees of Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the second round of their 2010 fight, when Mosley was coming off a 15-month layoff and suddenly appeared a different fighter. He went into a shell after those initial rounds against Mayweather, and he was painfully gun-shy against Manny Pacquiao a year later. Having trouble touching up Floyd is one thing. The fact that Mosley not only couldn't get to Manny but ultimately stopped trying was perhaps the more telling sign.

James Toney
Toney, 44, is a mess in just about every sense of the word. Once a devastating middleweight and super middleweight titlist, he's now a sloppy heavyweight who is 6-4-1 with two no-contests against middling competition since 2005. Toney still has power, but he's too slow to use it effectively. Worse, his titanium chin, which keeps him in fights even when he's overmatched, ironically has become one of the greatest threats to his health. After 87 pro fights -- an almost obscene number in this day and age -- he conducts blustery, unintelligible interviews that would be humorous if they weren't so heartbreaking.

Oliver McCall
McCall's moment in the sun -- a second-round TKO of heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in London -- is now almost two decades old. Now consider that he has fought 40 times -- forty! -- since. McCall still has the goods to have somewhat recently beaten creaky former contender Fres Oquendo but couldn't measure up to Wladimir Klitschko victim Francesco Pianeta. That shouldn't inherently rule that “The Atomic Bull” be put out to pasture, but considering his age (48), the power of his heavyweights foes and the sustained punishment he has taken (McCall went the distance in 10- or 12-rounders in nine of his past 10 fights), I'd say enough is enough.

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
Because they're often left with so little after being stripped of their speed in their early or mid-30s, most of boxing's little guys get out of the game at a more appropriate time relative to their primes. Wonjongkam, 35, never got the memo. The former flyweight champ and Thai stud seemed to be drained of most of his fight after outpointing Edgar Sosa in 2011. A draw and an upset loss to journeyman Sonny Boy Jaro followed, and his since then his wins (three against fighters making their debut) don't speak near the volumes of his single defeat (a TKO at the hands of sub-.500 foe Rey Megrino).

Roy Jones Jr.
For those who aren't old enough to remember or who were living on Neptune during Jones' prime from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s, here's a quick scouting report: Think Floyd Mayweather Jr. meets Mike Tyson. Jones was literally scary-good, combining speed and dominance with a fearsomeness that infused each of his fights with a sort of fascinatingly macabre inevitability. Which is why it's stunning to see the current version of Jones so utterly disarmed against fighters he would have ripped to shreds back in the day. Yes, he's 44. And of course the moves between divisions weren't kind to him. But even just five years ago, when Jones already was in mid-decline, the crushing knockout he suffered against Denis Lebedev (in 2011) would've been unthinkable. There's a reason we now only see Roy on HBO with a mic in his hand.
There’s a pretty strong possibility you’ve never heard of Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis. And even if you have, there’s an equally strong likelihood that you’ve never seen him fight. But one seasoned observer thinks that Pendarvis, who makes his television debut in Friday’s “ShoBox” main event against undefeated Dierry Jean, can go all the way: Shane Mosley.

“He just keeps telling me to keep working like a champ,” said Pendarvis to ESPN.com during a phone conversation from Big Bear, Calif., where he was in training for the Jean fight. “He speaks to me about my vision and hand speed and power. He truly believes I will be world champion. He told me straight out that he’s passing the torch.”

I used to fight a lot when I was little because I had to. I had no choice growing up. Most of my family is from the streets, so it was all around me.

-- Cleotis Pendarvis on growing up in South Central Los Angeles.
Pendarvis, a junior welterweight who with a victory over Jean would become the No. 1 contender for the belt held by Lamont Peterson, first met Mosley when helping the future Hall of Famer prepare for his 2008 bout against Zab Judah. An encounter between Judah and his shower door put paid to that matchup, but, recounts Pendarvis, “Although that fight never happened, I was up there with him for almost two months.”

Recently, Pendarvis (17-3-1, 6 KOs) encountered Mosley while both men were out running. The end result of the chance meeting was that Mosley and Pendarvis sparred with each other in camp in Big Bear -- quality work for a young man about to make his first appearance on TV.

“It’s been real good work,” Pendarvis said. “Shane is Shane. He still can fight. He’s still a crafty veteran, he’s still got pop, he’s still fast. He’s going down in the game as one of the best.”

Jean may be portrayed as the favorite in their contest, not least due to his undefeated record, but, notes Showtime’s Steve Farhood, “Dierry Jean is undefeated but untested at the highest level. Pendarvis has three losses but has more impressive wins than Jean does.”

Outside of an early stoppage defeat, Pendarvis' losses, too, have been close and against solid opposition -- by split decision to veteran Terrance Cauthen in 2010 and by majority decision to Maurico Herrera, who went on to beat Ruslan Provodnikov and give Mike Alvarado a tough test.

Pendarvis admits that he feels disrespected by what he sees as a condescending tone coming from Jean and his camp, but if he has to struggle to be taken seriously, well, that’s OK, he says. His whole life has been a struggle.

“I grew up in Los Angeles, Calif. -- South Central,” he said. “There’s a lot of beasts out there, nothing but Bloods, drugs, pimps and all kinds of things to steer a young man away from becoming someone. I used to fight a lot when I was little because I had to. I had no choice growing up. Most of my family is from the streets, so it was all around me.”

As a child, he was plucked from his mother and placed into foster care -- a decision with which he did not agree and that continues to grate on him.

“I had to deal with losing contact with my family, having my mom taken away from me at a young age,” he said. “It was rough. My mom wasn’t a bad lady; she was really a good mom. It’s just that she made some mistakes, and it was unfortunate that some people really hated on my mom and they didn’t want us to be happy. It was my family that hated on my mom. I have to be honest, a lot of my heartache and pain came from those closest to me. They said that they loved me, and they betrayed me. So I went out into the world and just got caught up sometimes.”

Eventually, he channeled his aggression into boxing. Although he was a promising amateur, his professional career took a while to ignite, not least because he did not have much in the way of promotion.

Over the last two years, however, a supportive team has coalesced around him in the form of manager Warren Wilkerson and Herb Hudson, owner of the L.A. staple Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles and Pitbull Energy Drink. Hudson has placed Pendarvis at the center of his new Pitbull Boxing Promotions, which takes its bow with Friday’s contest and is headed by Rachel Charles, former publicist for Goossen Tutor, Star Boxing and Diane Vara.

Pendarvis reunited with his mother, but tragedy, it seems, is rarely far from his life. She is paralyzed following an automobile accident in 2010. And his little brother is gone, shot dead at age 22 in 2009, shortly before Pendarvis somehow had to focus on fighting Herrera.

Win or lose, though, his tone is charmingly and relentlessly philosophical and upbeat.

“We all have struggles within us. We all have to go through things that are part of life,” he said. “Life is not a journey, it’s a not a rat race, it’s not a marathon, it’s not a sprint. It’s a journey until it’s over. So I just want to give a shout-out to the people who really believe and who really understand. To the kids out there who think their dream has been killed or it’s over: It’s not. Just keep on waking up and keep on believing in yourself. Whatever happens, you’ve got to stay strong.”
Floyd Mayweather Jr. certainly knows how to make the most of social media. He doesn't just post random tweets of betting slips; he knows how to use 140 characters to stir things up.

One day, he's proclaiming that he's likely to fight Devon Alexander on May 4, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Then, yesterday he tweeted: "Me & my trainer (my dad) back working together getting ready for May 4th." To prove the point, there was a photograph of the two standing together, a scene that seemed improbable at best after their bust-up in the gym in front of HBO's cameras on "24/7" in August 2011.

The notion that the two Floyds might reunite in the corner had been mooted recently (even as Roger Mayweather -- senior's brother and, in recent years, junior's trainer -- struggles with health issues). So this is another twist in the ongoing saga of their personal and professional relationship. Of course, they are far from the only notable father-and-son corner team in boxing, and like parental-filial relationships elsewhere, they run the gamut. Here is a short selection of some of the more colorful, sometimes successful and sometimes painful case studies:

1. Roy Jones Jr. and Roy Jones Sr.

At times, the apparent dysfunction between these two has been enough to make Floyd Sr. and Jr. look like Bill Cosby and Malcolm-Jamal Warner (kids, ask your parents). On the plus side, Big Roy did teach his son how to box; against that, he also shot his boy's favorite dog. After years of personal and professional estrangement, Jones invited his father to work in his corner for the third fight against Antonio Tarver. When Jones lost that bout by a wide margin, he essentially said he didn't try to win because he didn't want his father to take the credit.

2. Nonito Donaire Jr. and Nonito Donaire Sr.

Donaire pere trained Donaire fils until an incident during training for the son's November 2008 fight with Moruti Mthalane led to the end of their professional relationship. Despite occasional talk of reconciliation, the father-son personal relationship, too, has become strained, at times very publicly so.

3. Danny Garcia and Angel Garcia

There doesn't appear to be any strain between Angel and junior welterweight titlist Danny. If anything, Angel's love for Danny at times verges on the overwhelming, as his extreme defensiveness of his son leads to intense verbal confrontations with Danny's opponents, including Amir Khan and most recently Zab Judah.

4. Shane Mosley and Jack Mosley

It's easy to forget now, but in 1998 Jack and Shane Mosley became the first ever father-son tandem to receive trainer of the year and fighter of the year honors from the Boxing Writers Association of America. But after losses to Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright, Jack and Shane -- who remained close personally -- broke up professionally before reuniting and breaking up again. They were slated for another reunion if Shane's putative bout with Paulie Malignaggi had taken place as planned this month.

5. Joe Calzaghe and Enzo Calzaghe

An unalloyed success: Enzo steered Joe to world titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight. And after Joe retired with an undefeated record, he and Enzo then formed a promotional partnership. Although Joe had well-documented personal troubles in his immediate post-retirement years, his relationship with his father has evidently remained strong.

LAS VEGAS -- Five things we learned from Saturday's Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Miguel Cotto card at the MGM Grand:

1. There's good, there's very good, and there's great

With every fight, Mayweather is moving up the all-time list. For years, one knock on his record was that, as good as he frequently looked, we didn't know how he would react when he was rocked or when he was in a real dogfight. We know now. When Shane Mosley hurt him badly in the second round of their fight two years ago, Mayweather turned it around and dominated every minute of every subsequent round. When Cotto dragged him into the trenches Saturday night, Mayweather engaged him, firing off the ropes; and when it looked like the effectiveness of that technique was waning after Cotto's blistering eighth round, Floyd changed strategies completely and sailed away with the final third of the bout.

There are plenty of reasons that those fans who don't like Mayweather will find to support their position. But his skills and ability shouldn't be among them. We are watching a genuinely great boxer in his pomp. Whatever our feelings of him as a person, we should allow ourselves to enjoy and marvel at his talent.

2. Seriously, enough's enough. It's time

For all the talk of "that" fight, for all the yapping from both sides, the prospect of Floyd Mayweather fighting Manny Pacquiao has, in the buildup to Saturday's contest, rarely if ever seemed more remote. But now, more than ever, it has to happen. Cotto was the best of the rest and he has been summarily dispatched. Outside of, say, Sergio Martinez or perhaps, in the case of Pacquiao, a fourth meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez, there's nobody left. Assuming Pacquiao makes it past Timothy Bradley Jr. on June 9, Mayweather-Pacquiao has to be next. Even as he poured cold water on the prospect of the fight ever happening, Mayweather admitted that "there's really nobody else out there for me."

3. Miguel Cotto was sold short

Even among those who gave Cotto credit for his skill and experience, who offered the caveat that against almost any other likely opponent, he would be favored, the Puerto Rican star was given next to no chance. One person who didn't sell him short, at least publicly, was Mayweather, and as he stood at the postfight news conference with his face uncharacteristically marked up, it was clear why. Cotto fought with enough intelligence and persistence that, through eight rounds, the outcome of a Mayweather fight was genuinely in doubt. He fought an almost perfect game plan; it's just that on this night, against this man, it wasn't enough.

4. Canelo Alvarez is a work in progress

There was much to be impressed with in Alvarez's victory over Mosley: He was unruffled, he was steady, he didn't panic when an accidental head-butt opened up a cut over his left eye. He planted his feet and threw compact punches with plenty of torque that thudded off Mosley's head with real impact. At the same time, there are still some areas for improvement, as is to be expected from such a young fighter. Alvarez could stand to be more active, to throw more punches, to start earlier. When he threw combinations, they were beautifully effective; he just didn't throw them enough. A case could be made that, after almost folding Mosley in half with body shots in the ninth, Alvarez should have taken it up a notch and tried to finish him. But for all the doubts and incomplete grades, this fight also highlighted the talent that is there, and the reception from the crowd underlined the stardom that assuredly awaits Alvarez as long as the wins keep coming.

5. The ride is over for Shane Mosley

Whatever doubts had been raised about Mosley's commitment to battle after the disappointing performances against Pacquiao and Mayweather, the 40-year-old erased them with his determined effort to stand and trade with the younger, stronger Alvarez. But while he was not afraid to pull the trigger, Mosley's punches lacked the speed and snap that were his trademark when he was at his peak. He looked at times almost as if he were punching through treacle. It is often said that the last thing a fighter loses is his punch, but Mosley had nothing in his arsenal with which to deter his younger foe. As Mosley admitted, when the young kids start beating you, maybe it's time to turn to promoting. Mosley has had a terrific career. It's time for that career to end on the relative high note of making a defiant last stand.


LAS VEGAS -- Canelo Alvarez is listed as a 9-to-1 favorite over Shane Mosley in Las Vegas this weekend. Come Monday, Nazim Richardson hopes everyone remembers that.

Richardson, Mosley's trainer since late 2008, is standing firmly behind his 40-year-old fighter heading into Saturday's 154-pound title fight against Alvarez. Mosley is 0-2-1 in his past three fights, and some believe he's filling the role of a big-name victim to be added to the young Alvarez's résumé.

Should his fighter play spoiler to that scenario, Richardson doesn't want to hear any backtracking or claims that maybe the 21-year-old Alvarez wasn't quite ready.

"When Shane Mosley blows him out the water, please don't reduce Canelo and say he was never ready or he never fought anybody," Richardson said. "You guys are saying this is the next thing coming."

Richardson is already headed into the fight somewhat frustrated by the perception he believes boxing fans and media have of Mosley. For the record, the head trainer had his concerns about sending Mosley into the ring against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in 2010 and 2011, but it had everything to do with a few undisclosed injuries his fighter had and nothing to do with his boxing ability.

The two shy away from discussing the lower back pain Mosley felt leading up to the fight against Mayweather and the Achilles injury he suffered prior to the Pacquiao fight. The last thing either wants is to appear to be making excuses.

Richardson says it's been difficult, though, for his man to receive so much criticism based on two fights in which Mosley wasn't 100 percent and fought two world-class fighters.

"I was just upset with the media and the public," Richardson said. "I equate it like this: If my ball team lost to the Dallas Mavericks and the L.A. Lakers, would they say they shouldn't be on the court no more? Because you lost to the Dallas Mavericks and the L.A. Lakers?

"They're two of the last guys to win the championship. What do you mean we shouldn't be on the court? We're still a viable team."

Mosley claims he is now the healthiest he has been in years, and went so far as to say his speed is better now than it was two years ago when he fought Mayweather.

He'll need to be at his best -- certainly better than what we've seen of late -- to get by what Richardson calls, "a young monster" in Alvarez. If Mosley is successful, the trainer said his fighter had better get proper credit.

"These [younger fighters] grew up on Shane Mosley, so when they fight him, they rise to another level," Richardson said. "I'm expecting that of Alvarez. He's going to do things in this fight we've never seen him do."

FNF's Saul Alvarez-Shane Mosley preview

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
5:07
PM ET

After Friday's highly entertaining "ShoBox" and "Friday Night Fights" cards, and with some potentially interesting scraps still ahead in Atlantic City, N.J., tonight, we're not in too big a hurry to move on just yet, but ...

For a sneak peak at ESPN.com's blanket coverage of Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Miguel Cotto fight week, check out the clip above for analysis from the FNF crew on the Canelo Alvarez-Shane Mosley co-feature.

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