It isn’t often these days that two future Hall of Fame boxers go toe-to-toe, but that’s exactly what’s happening Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. The best pound for pound fighter in the sport, Manny Pacquiao (52 (38)-3-2), defends his WBO Welterweight title against 39-year-old "Sugar" Shane Mosley (46 (39)-6-1), who has his proverbial last chance at glory. Fight week is upon us, and we’ll start our coverage of the event here by taking a look at each fighter’s last three fights (in chronological order). We’ll save the best for last, so we start with Mosley.
Shane Mosley vs. Antonio Margarito - January 24, 2009 (Mosley TKO-9)
That date is not a misprint. It’s been over two years since Mosley’s last win. And it came against a fighter whose career’s credibility came into question that very night. Coming into the fight, Margarito was heavily favored, based on his demolition of Miguel Cotto six months earlier, and Mosley’s age and fading skills. Soon it was apparent that whatever Margarito did in the past was probably irrelevant. Prior to the fight, Mosley’s trainer Naazim Richardson spotted illegal plaster inserts in Margarito’s handwraps, which were taken out as his hands were re-wrapped three times. Whether or not that had an effect, and it most certainly did, Mosley dominated the fight. He won every minute of the bout, and finally, mercilessly stopped Margarito in the 9th round. The victory gave Mosley’s career a lifeline.
Shane Mosley vs. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. – May 1, 2010 (Mayweather UD-12)
In the second round, it looked like Mosley was in the midst of pulling a massive upset and making the fight one of the more memorable ones in recent memory. In that second round, Mosley landed two flush right hands on the defensive wizard Mayweather, the second of which nearly put Floyd on the canvas. What happened after was so strange. Mosley must have put everything into the second round, because after that, Mayweather simply dominated. Shane couldn’t touch him, and Mayweather counter-punched him to death. The later rounds were vintage Floyd, and Mosley suddenly looked very old and very slow. Many thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Mosley to hang ‘em up after this loss.
Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora – September 18, 2010 (Split Draw)
By all accounts, this was one of the worst fights of 2010. Mora is best known for being the first winner of the boxing-reality series The Contender. His best win coming into the match was a majority decision victory against the late Vernon Forrest, a loss Forrest erased with a victory in the rematch. The Mosley-Mora fight looked like a nightmare from the moment the match was made. Mosley won on one card, 116-12, Mora 115-113 on one, and the other was probably the fairest, at 114-114. All you need to know about how good Mora is is that in his next fight, he lost a unanimous decision to Brian Vera, who has a career record of 18-5.
Mosley’s bland draw against Mora probably isn’t the most fair way to judge where Mosley is right now. It was just a terrible style matchup. Mora refuses to engage, and Mosley makes good fights against guys who like to bang like Margarito and Miguel Cotto. Pacquiao will throw punches, that’s for sure. But Mosley hasn’t won a fight in over two years, and you can make the argument that Margarito lost that fight in the dressing room when he was caught cheating. If you look at Mosley’s last three fights, there isn’t much there that jumps out at you and makes you think he’ll have much of a chance against the best guy on the planet. Mosley does stand a chance though; it’s not a gross mismatch, and we’ll get into why in our full preview on Friday.