Mayweather vs. Mosley Proved Mayweather is More Than Talk
For all his sublime defensive skill and artistry, arguably the one fundamental characteristic required of any ‘all time great’ that Floyd Mayweather had yet to really show in his glittering career was heart.
On May 1, against WBA welterweight champion Sugar Shane Mosley, that changed.
Having just edged a tight, tenacious opening round at the MGM Grand, ‘Money’ survived arguably the first genuine crisis in 41 fights when Mosley rocked him not once but twice with a sweeping straight right and a pulverising right hook in round two.
That Mayweather managed to hold, spoil and block his way to the end of the round and then dominate the remaining ten stanzas so heavily gave the biggest indication yet that he has a fighter’s heart to go with his brilliant boxing brain.
This is not to say that he has never had to show character or strength of mind before.
Certainly in his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo he was outworked in what was probably his most difficult fight so far.
He also emerged from his record-breaking battle with Oscar Dela Hoya sporting a very rare swollen eye, illustrating that for all his illusiveness, he has still been forced to absorb the odd full-blooded shot.
Zab Judah also made Mayweather’s legs dip in their controversial encounter with flush single shot but could not land another convincing blow to truly test his opponent’s resolve, and DeMarcus Corley had him hurt as well.
But make no mistake; Mayweather had never been seriously and noticeably hurt to that degree before last Saturday night. The Pretty Boy’s legs momentarily did the right hand waltz – a move never seen from him before either in the ring or on Dancing with the Stars – when Shane landed his right hook.
And Mayweather had been holding on grimly moments earlier when Mosley landed his first hard right of the night.
For the first time, albeit for only a minute or two, Mayweather was in genuine danger of being dropped and possibly stopped.
It says a lot about the self-professed pound-for-pound king that despite facing Ricky Hatton, Oscar Dela Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Judah, Castillo, Diego Corrales and Arturo Gatti, Mayweather had never, ever been in that kind of trouble before as a pro.
For all a fighter’s impressive wins and titles, it is only when they find themselves in serious trouble that we find out what they are truly made of.
Fortunately for Floyd, he passed the crucial test and it is a testament to both his courage and skill in the ensuing 10 rounds that the enduring image of the fight is as likely to be him on the verge of stopping Mosley as vice versa.
I have to admit to being a staunch critic of Floyd’s in recent years. His safety-first fighting style and his refusal to take a fight he is not favored to win make him difficult to love in the ring, while his constant self-aggrandising, his obsession with money over legacy and his disrespect towards his fellow fighters make him a hard figure to like outside of it.
But I have to admit on May 1 he earned my respect and finally made me a believer that he is as good as he claims to be.
That we now know he has the heart to go with his skills makes him an even greater opponent to beat than before.
To dominate Mosley, a fighter who makes the top 10 in most pound for pound lists [Proboxing-Fans.com dropped Mosley to number 12 in our pound for pound list following the defeat], so thoroughly showed Floyd is simply on a different level to any of his other pound for pound contemporaries – expect for Manny Pacquiao.
The only ‘negative’ that I can think of, if you care to skew it as that, regarding Floyd’s otherwise sensational performance is that it is now abundantly clear he can be caught, and he can be hurt – if the opponent is fast enough.
That Pacquiao is probably even faster that Mosley, makes the potential mega showdown between Manny and ‘Money’ even more fascinating should it come off.
If it doesn’t it will be a travesty for all true fight fans as it is quite simply the most meaningful match that can be made in the entire sport – and the only real challenge left for either fighter.
But for now let us just give Mayweather credit for a stunning performance.
Forget the cars, the diamond-encrusted watches and the mansions. When it comes to boxing greats, Floyd is the real deal.