It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to address your questions and comments in the boxing mailbag. This week, I address Shane Mosley's draw with Sergio Mora on Saturday in Los Angeles and Mosley's future in the ring, as well as the controversy surrounding both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Antonio Margarito.
Let's get right into it:
There really should be no surprise in regard to what Shane Mosley is attempting or why he hasn't hung them up and walked into the sunset with a Hall of Fame career to look back upon. This seems to be the blueprint or template for all great fighters. Rarely do we see great fighters simply walk away when the getting is good. Often, it's due to poor financial planning or simply believing they need one last great fight to seal the deal, but as fans, we're left to witness yet another fighter who's beyond his prime making for another sad story. Last weekend, I was at my son's high school football game and as I sat there I thought to myself, "I could probably still get out there and play." Although I'm in pretty good shape for a 43-year-old, the fact remains I'm 43 and not 17 or 18. Beyond the physical changes we go through as we get older, I believe it is the mental aspects that tend to make the real impact. Maybe physically I could play a solid half of football at 43, but I would be out there on the field mentally more concerned about cutting the grass before the sunset or cleaning out the garage to make room for a second car. The likes of Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Mosley and others are chasing shadows of what once was, but like the greats that came before them someone had to turn the lights off so there were no more shadows to chase.
It's hard to say no to seven-figure paydays, even if you are unable to fight at the highest level any more. I don't think Mosley's anywhere near his peak at this stage of his career, but he's not completely shot and isn't nearly as far gone as, say, Jones Jr. is. Mora's style was horrible for him and would have been bad no matter when they had fought. I think the beating Mosley took from Floyd Mayweather Jr. also had an impact upon him. Though I believe he's better off retiring, I don't think he will and my guess is we'll see him back in the ring in the late winter/early spring of 2011.
Aren't you being a bit hard on Mosley? He has fought consistently well, even in his losses. He was more than competitive against Miguel Cotto when Cotto was still at the top of his game and he beat Antonio Margarito convincingly. Mayweather managed to weather (pardon the pun) what was essentially not really that big a deal. Yes, Mosley hit him hard, but Mayweather is a great defensive fighter with a good chin. Let's not forget that Mayweather has managed to make Juan Manuel Marquez look as clueless as Mosley and that others have managed to occasionally hit "Pretty Boy Floyd," such as Zab Judah. You would think from the commentary in your article that Mosley did something other fighters had been unable to do and that he really had Floyd in trouble. These points are debatable. Mosley has fought well and become smarter. I am not a fan of his but given his history, I think a fight with Manny Pacquiao could be intense. I might even pick Mosley in that scrap! My point is that Mosley has fought a lot better than your commentary seems to indicate. Getting your hand raised does not always indicate how one is fighting in the ring. Just ask Glen Johnson and Marquez, among others.
Darrell, yes, Zab did hit Floyd on the button, but while Floyd was stung by that shot in their 2006 fight, he was nowhere near in the kind of shape he was in when Mosley hit him with those right hands in the second round in May. I was sitting in the first row at ringside and I can tell you from being only a few feet away, it was a major blow and Floyd was in a lot of trouble. Mosley would have finished him off in other times. The thing you have to remember is that Shane has struggled a lot recently and it's not like he's going to improve at 39 going on 40 years old.
I realize what Don King is saying will sound a little strange to some people, but I think he is right on point in his comments about Floyd Mayweather Jr. A lot of these guys who gain success at a rapid pace fail to understand what they have to do to maintain respectability for themselves and others. Some people can not handle success at this level. Don has been on the other side, so he of all people would know how to handle a situation like this.
Long Beach, Calif.
Have no doubt that Don was making a pitch to sign Floyd to a promotional contract when he spoke to me. That said, there is some sense in what he said. I don't agree with everything that he said and I do believe that a person is responsible for his or her own actions. However, when a young athlete suddenly has wealth and fame beyond all measure, it can be difficult to deal with, particularly without a strong support system. Floyd hasn't had anyone in place to try to help him. He's had mostly yes men around him who ask 'How high?' when he tells them to jump. Ultimately, he's to blame for whatever he does, but I do not believe he's an inherently bad human being.
I read your article in which Don King was making excuses for Mayweather's behavior and I really do not buy it. For one, Mayweather is not from the ghetto. He acts like a wannabe gangster to sell fights and there is absolutely no excuse one can make when it comes to putting your hands on a woman.
Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Floyd did not grow up wealthy, but nor did he grow up in a really bad ghetto neighborhood. I agree that there is no excuse for domestic violence, but remember that he is only accused. It is a long way from a conviction at this point.
Do you think Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko would be better served to just start collecting all the world titles (trinkets really) in the division, similar to the way Roy Jones Jr. did with the light heavyweight belts in years past. I know most of the minor world belt holders would get dominated, but at least we would see some different faces instead of seeing Shannon Briggs and Samuel Peter again.
William, they already have three of the four major belts and can't get the fourth because World Boxing Association champion David Haye has thus far refused to fight either of them. The issue isn't belts. It's about the quality of the challengers and, right now, there are few quality challengers. I think the Klitschkos would destroy Haye and Tomasz Adamek, but at least each of those men has credentials. Hopefully, those bouts will be made soon, for the good of the division.
I'm wondering what is going on with the Super Six fight between Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell that was scheduled for Saturday? Is that still happening or has it been postponed? I think this is a fight with potential to be special.
Spring Hill, Fla.
The simple answer, Abu, is that the fight is not happening on Sept. 25 and that, as of right now, there is no date set for it. The long answer is that there are some shenanigans going on with the promoters and the managers in this case that are holding the bout up. Plus, Ward and Dirrell are friends and aren't anxious to fight each other. This is yet another example of the powers that be in boxing making the sport look more minor league by the day. The biggest fights simply can't get made far too regularly.
I would have to say that in order to finally put to rest the question of whether or not Antonio Margarito knew that his hand wraps were loaded prior to a Jan. 24, 2009, fight in Los Angeles with Shane Mosley, all that needs to be done is to wrap another fighter's hands and insert the same piece with the same material that was in Margarito's wraps. You will find that there is no way in the world that he did not know that his hand wraps were illegal. You cannot put a substance like plaster of Paris into the wraps and not see or feel the difference. Margarito is an out-and-out liar.
Joseph F. Guevara
I believe he knew, too. Unfortunately, though, belief isn't evidence and there is no direct evidence that Margarito knew.
Regarding the Margarito-Pacquiao debacle, match, event, whatever one chooses to deem it, it is obvious that HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg and his network are in a serious pickle here. It's a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. On one hand, if they dump all support from the fight, they run the major risk of losing Pacquiao (one of the biggest seat-fillers in the game). If they support it, they look like greedy opportunists willing to cash in on the controversy. The answer to the dilemma as I see it lies somewhere in the middle. HBO needs to make a stance on the allegations brought forward by the world of boxing, and I do not think a 24/7 special will do this. If anything, allowing a 24/7 to take place may do more harm to the HBO reputation. Can you see any possible way that a four-week made-for-TV special featuring Margarito will do any good? Do you think the pertinent questions will ever get asked or will they simply be touched upon during a ruckus sparring session. Something tells me that HBO will try and mask the truth by the 24/7 as opposed to using it for a fact-finding mission. Either way, HBO in my opinion is in the major hot seat. Their broadcasts have become stale and, in my opinion, biased, but they also lack the merit they once coveted. The support of Mayweather (another cash cow) and now this with Margarito may in fact be the death nail in their reputations. Your Catch 22 reference was spot on.
Mike, there never was a question that HBO Sports was going to broadcast the Pacquiao-Margarito fight. Given that, they had no choice but to address the hand wraps controversy in 24/7. I'll withhold judgment until I see what they come up with . Can they do something good and ground breaking here? Absolutely. They have talented producers, reporters and investigators who have the ability to come up with an insightful and fair look at the controversy. I'll wait until I see what they do before criticizing or praising. As for the broadcasts, I by and large like their work, but I'll concede there is plenty of room for improvement.
- Antonio Margarito
- Pretty Boy Floyd
- Manny Pacquiao