Let’s be totally honest with ourselves for a second here. Shane Mosley is a world class fighter with many marquee victories; Antonio Margarito is not.
Granted, Margarito is an excellent fighter with one of the toughest chins this division has ever seen, he still isn’t an “all time” fighter like Shane is.
This discrepancy in talent was made painfully clear tonight as “Sugar” Shane Mosley put the screws to the top dog in boxing’s best division.
From the opening bell, Shane out-jabbed Margarito and smothered his advances by staying close and holding when he had to. His counters to Margarito’s heavy, but slow, punches were perfectly timed and he truly did some damage to the Mexican warrior.
Most importantly, Mosley went to the body and was able to tire Margarito so that not only would Margarito start slow, but not have enough energy for the middle rounds when he usually stages his comebacks.
The first eight stanzas produced a decent fight. Mosley was winning, albeit in some rounds closer than he wanted to. The notable exceptions were the fourth, which I gave to Margarito, and the seventh, which although I gave to Mosley I felt could go either way.
In fact, I felt that in the seventh, Margarito had finally built up some steam and was going to do some serious work soon. He did actually. The eight was a round I would give to Margarito. I felt, at the time watching the fight, that he was getting back into it.
Then came the last 30 seconds.
Mosley hit the Tijuana Tornado with three mean right hands and all of a sudden one thinks “Hey, Mosley just evened up this round.”
Follow that with a 20-second beating and Margarito finally goes down, is barely able to beat the count, and suddenly, the bell rings. What a way to end the round.
For the ninth, Mosley came out for blood, and Margarito was dripping with it. Twenty consecutive punches in the first thirty seconds and Margarito finally goes down for good. The stoppage was a smart idea.
So how does a 4-1 favorite lose this badly? Where does this leave Margarito? What happens now at welterweight? Let’s take these one at a time.
First, Shane Mosley is a hell of a fighter, and Nassim Richardson is one hell of a strategist. When the right plan is put in action with the right tool, you get a 37-year-old boxer knocking out a 30 year-old puncher.
And before Margarito gets written off, any normal human being, heck any normal fighter, would have been knocked out by Mosley much earlier. The guy is tough and hung in there for as long as he could and then some. He’ll remain a force to be reckoned with in this division for a few more years.
As for what happened at Welterweight? Until the “Ring” ratings come out, we can’t be sure, but right now it looks like the No. 1 contender to the vacant title will be Shane Mosley, and the No. 2 contender will be Cotto, leaving the space open for a Pay-Per-View rematch that would attract a lot of attention.
And for whoever wins that one, guys like Williams, Berto, Collazo, Clottey, and, yes, Margarito still loom as viable contenders.
This was a big fight that shook things up and somehow made the sweet science even sweeter, at 147 pounds at least. So let’s all take a deep breath….good, exhale. Now, get ready to enjoy another great year of fights.