Five keys for Shane Mosley
Plotting a path to victory for Shane Mosley against Canelo Alvarez
As sports science and medicine reach new heights, it's not uncommon to see athletes excel well beyond their best years, sometimes facing opponents young enough to be their children. That would seem to be exactly the case for Saturday's Canelo Alvarez-Shane Mosley junior middleweight title bout in Las Vegas -- except that the age disparity between the 21-year-old Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KOs) and the 40-year-old Shane Mosley (46-7-1, 39 KOs) isn't nearly so dramatic when you consider that Canelo turned pro at age 15 and he already has 40 fights.
But quantity and quality, whether they be measured in years or experience, are separate issues. Alvarez has faced several solid contenders with winning records in the past few years, but Mosley's competition -- most of which he has dominated over the course of his career -- comprises a veritable laundry list of great fighters of his era. The former three-division champion remains the only man to have notched two defeats against Oscar De La Hoya, one of a crowd of former and future champions Mosley has beaten.
With Canelo's 154-pound belt and quite possibly Mosley's future in the sport at risk, here are five keys to victory for Mosley on Saturday:
|If the answer is yes, then he needs to use it. In boxing's pre-Floyd Mayweather Jr. days, Mosley's speed was the industry standard, and it appeared evident against Manny Pacquiao in his most recent outing that this once formidable weapon is all but gone. Whatever is left of it has to be on full display against Canelo if Mosley wants to survive, let alone excel, on Saturday.|
|For a fighter nicknamed "Sugar," the sweetness is obviously implied, but Mosley needs to get spicy in this bout. Maybe even acidic. He needs to try a different approach, a slight departure from the colorful boxing style he favored in his earlier days, and just concentrate more on doing damage. Trying to dazzle Alvarez with an embellished boxing exhibition won't cut it. Mosley needs to put bad intentions into every one of his punches, not just a select few.|
Mix it up
|In each of his previous three fights, Mosley faced some serious punchers (Mayweather, Sergio Mora and Pacquiao) and went the distance, and he has yet to be stopped in a 20-year career. He should be unafraid to move forward and mix it up with Canelo on the inside (where the Mexican star is virtually untested) and find out whether his power, chin and grit can make up for what he has lost in hand speed.|
Check your hit list
|Mosley is a boxing virtuoso, capable of creating his own strategy on the go, using a more orthodox approach or even mirroring his opponent's style to beat him at his own game. So it stands to reason that his arsenal is comprised of many combinations and moves. But Mosley needs to stick to the basics and make the most of his best tools rather than improvising and relying on his versatility. The upstairs 1-2, lateral movement, two-fisted attacks on the ropes -- the basics must be there, and only then should Mosley give any consideration to building on that foundation.|
Experience means something
|For years, Mosley was called "The Mexicutioner" because he seemed incapable of losing to a Mexican fighter (Mora nicked Mosley in a boring draw in September 2010 that should have gone to Mosley; Oscar De La Hoya came close on two separate occasions). Does Mosley grasp the Mexican boxing identity better than other fighters? It's possible, and perhaps he can lean on that edge -- or at least use the perception of it as a confidence booster -- to make a difference against Canelo.|
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.