Commentary

Floyd on the money against Mosley

Originally Published: May 3, 2010
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:

Saturday at Las Vegas
Welterweight
Floyd Mayweather Jr. W12 Shane Mosley
Scores: 119-109 (twice), 118-110
Records: Mayweather Jr., 41-0, 25 KOs; Mosley, 46-6, 39 KOs

Rafael's remark: Simply put, Mayweather painted a masterpiece against Mosley in the biggest fight of the year barring Mayweather facing Manny Pacquiao in the fall. The first round could have gone either way. Mosley nearly knocked Mayweather out in the second round. Then "Money" regrouped like a champ and shut Mosley down. Easily. It was maybe the most telling moment of Mayweather's career, to see him face down adversity in a major way and come back so strong. Overall, it may be the most impressive performance in an illustrious career in which Mayweather has beaten many good opponents en route to championships in five divisions.

Other than the second round, when Mosley was able to land his powerful right hand several times and badly buckle Mayweather, he had zero answers. In fact, according to CompuBox statistics, Mosley landed 13 power shots in the second round. Then he landed just 29 more the rest of the fight. Maybe it was Mosley's age and the long layoff. The three-division champion and future Hall of Famer is 38 and had not fought since his January 2009 upset knockout of Antonio Margarito to begin his second welterweight title reign. However, we elect to view it more as Mayweather's sheer brilliance than any decline in Mosley. The critics -- including a particular ESPN.com boxing writer -- can't have it both ways. We can't say that Mayweather needed to fight an elite welterweight for the first time in his career before the fight in order to get credit for his greatness and then, when he finally does, disrespect the win by saying Mosley is a shot fighter. That is not fair. So Mayweather gets the full credit he deserves for a tremendous victory. His talent was never in doubt for one second. We just wanted to see him actually do what he said he could do. And you know what? Mayweather, 33, a Las Vegas resident from Grand Rapids, Mich., looked great doing it.

The cool thing was that even after the second-round rough spot, Mayweather didn't retreat into safety-first mode. He didn't get on his bike and just try to box his way to a decision. Instead, he stayed aggressive. Despite it being so one-sided, Mayweather made it a pleasing fight to watch for the star-studded crowd of 15,117 at the MGM Grand and the untold millions watching on pay-per-view. He stood in and went after the Pomona, Calif., native. Mayweather, the 4-1 favorite, cranked up his underrated right hand and nailed Mosley with it repeatedly, almost whenever he fired it.

By the way, it just goes to show you what alphabet titles mean in this day and age. Nothing when it comes to the sport's top stars. Mosley's alphabet title was not at stake because Mayweather did not want to pay the sanction fee. Who can blame him? Does he really need to waste money for another belt to prove his greatness? No. It's a beautiful thing when you can have this kind of huge event and leave the bloodsucking organizations, the miserable WBA in this case, out in the cold without a payday. Mayweather, who made $22.5 million to Mosley's $6.75 million (and that's before their cuts of the pay-per-view profits) is a hero for that alone.

Mosley sounded like retirement might be an option for him after the fight. If that's the case, he had a great career. If you don't remember how great he was, go back and look at his fights from when he was a mesmerizing and dominant lightweight champion in the late 1990s, maybe the best since the heyday of Roberto Duran.

Mayweather, meanwhile, has one more giant hurdle in front of him. That would be Manny Pacquiao, to whom Mayweather is also his last giant hurdle. They got close in December and January to making the fight only to see it implode over drug testing. Who will give in this time? Who knows. But the fight, one of the biggest in boxing history, needs to happen. This time around, there could be more issues than just Mayweather's insistence on strict Olympic-style testing, which was utilized without any problems for the fight with Mosley. Both sides will likely open other issues that were buttoned up last time. Do you think after doing a huge pay-per-view number with Mosley that Mayweather is going to easily accept a 50-50 split again? There will be other issues, too. Hopefully, sanity will prevail and the Top Rank/Pacquiao side and Golden Boy/Mayweather side will be able to get it done professionally and quickly, although don't expect anything to happen too soon, especially with Pacquiao's congressional election in the Philippines not happening until next week.

If you missed Mayweather's brilliance, or just want to see it again, HBO replays the bout on Saturday night (9:45 ET) along with live coverage of the Paul Williams-Kermit Cintron junior middleweight fight in Carson, Calif.

Junior middleweight
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez TKO9 Jose Miguel Cotto

Records: Alvarez, 32-0-1, 24 KOs; Cotto, 31-2-1, 23 KOs

Rafael's remark: With Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez near the end of his career, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales way past their best and Antonio Margarito disgraced, there is room at the inn for a new Mexican top dog. Golden Boy thinks Alvarez, just 19, can be the guy. His popularity is growing steadily in Mexico and he makes entertaining bouts. When Golden Boy signed him in January, the idea was to keep building him in Mexico but also to bring him to the United States for significant exposure. While Alvarez had fought twice before on smaller cards in the States, this prime co-feature slot under Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley was a huge stage. Matched against Cotto, a veteran two-time lightweight title challenger and the brother of Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto, Alvarez had a chance to shine. He didn't quite shine, but he made a good fight and got the job done despite some very anxious moments. Cotto clobbered Alvarez with a left hook in the first round, nearly ruining Golden Boy's big plans for Alvarez, who was reeling and fell into the ropes. Referee Tony Weeks should have ruled it a knockdown because the ropes held Alvarez up. Cotto, a 1996 Olympian, continued to fire shots and hurt Alvarez with a right hand for a big opening round. Alvarez, who had no amateur experience and has been boxing for just four years, showed a lot of heart to survive. He even rallied to score a knockdown in the second round when he nailed Cotto with a right hand, which forced him to touch the mat with his gloves. Alvarez steadily pulled away until he finished the fading Cotto by hammering him with a bunch of right hands, which forced Weeks to step in with nine seconds left in the ninth round. A good, solid win for Alvarez, who'll need to tidy up his defense a little if he's going to have a prayer of becoming a serious factor at either junior middleweight or welterweight.

Featherweight
Daniel Ponce De Leon W10 Cornelius Lock
Scores: 97-93, 96-94 (twice)
Records: Ponce De Leon, 39-2, 32 KOs; Lock, 19-5-1, 12 KOs

Rafael's remark: Mexico's Ponce De Leon, 29, had made six defenses of his junior featherweight title before running into Juan Manuel Lopez in June 2008. Lopez dusted Ponce De Leon in the first round. Since then, however, Ponce De Leon has reeled off five consecutive victories against some decent opponents, including this solid win against Floyd Mayweather Jr. protégé Lock, 31, of Detroit. Lock, who has lost two of three, was in it to win it but didn't have enough firepower against Ponce De Leon, who landed the more damaging shots during the somewhat entertaining bout. Ponce De Leon was outboxed in spots, but despite a cut over his left eye in the fourth round, he did a good job of taking care of Lock, who had a chance for some dramatics in the final round. Lock rocked Ponce De Leon but could do no more than just hurt him.

Welterweight
Said Ouali TKO1 Hector David Saldivia

Records: Ouali, 27-3, 19 KOs; Saldivia, 31-2, 24 KOs

Rafael's remark: It was a meaningless fight on a brutally disappointing undercard (what else is new?), but at least it was fun while it lasted. The HBO PPV opener was a wild shoot featuring Ouali, a native of Morocco living in Las Vegas, pulling the mild upset over Argentina's Saldivia. Saldivia, 26, was making his American debut and hoping to impress. Early on, it looked like he would when he dropped Ouali, 30, with a right hand, the first real punch of the fight. Saldivia tried to finish him but Ouali is a tough guy and survived a brutal assault before landing a left hand out of nowhere, which knocked down Saldivia, who was hurt worse than Ouali had been and went down for the second time on a right hand. Again, Saldivia made it to his feet, but he was wobbling badly, forcing referee Russell Mora to call it off after 107 intense seconds in a round-of-the-year candidate.

Saturday at Oldenburg, Germany
Cruiserweight
Marco Huck TKO10 Brian Minto
Retains a cruiserweight title
Records: Huck, 29-1, 22 KOs; Minto, 34-4, 21 KOs

Rafael's remark: In December, Minto, 35, of Butler, Pa., made a lot of fans with the way he fought Cristobal Arreola on HBO. Although Arreola knocked him out in the fourth round of a spirited fight, Minto made it exciting. But he was simply too small to compete with Arreola. So Minto decided to dedicate himself to making cruiserweight and landed the title opportunity against Germany's Huck. Once again, Minto gave it his all in a crowd-pleasing fight, but fell short. Huck, the more talented fighter, made his third defense and did it pretty easily using his grinding, physical style. He was ahead by wide margins -- 90-81, 90-79 and 88-81 -- when Minto's corner called the fight off just after the bell rang to begin the 10th round. Minto had taken enough. Huck, 25, dropped him in the third, fifth and ninth rounds while nailing Minto with power shots throughout the bout. After the fight, Minto was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Huck won his 10th fight in a row since being stopped by American Steve Cunningham in the 12th round of a 2007 title defense. Cunningham, who became a free agent recently when his contract with Don King expired, has signed with Sauerland Event, which is also Huck's promoter. An eventual rematch (which would be a unification bout) could be on the horizon if Cunningham defeats Troy Ross in their mandatory bout for a vacant title.

Light heavyweight
Karo Murat W12 Tommy Karpency
Scores: 117-110, 116-111 (twice)
Records: Murat, 22-0, 13 KOs; Karpency, 19-2-1, 11 KOs

Rafael's remark: Murat, 26, of Germany, continued to position himself for a title opportunity. The former European champion, who owns solid victories against former titleholder Gabriel Campillo and Cristian Sanavia (twice), dropped Pennsylvania's Karpency, 23, in the second round on a left hand and rolled to the points win.

Saturday at Merida, Mexico
Junior featherweight
Tomas Rojas TKO4 Jorge Cardenas
Records: Rojas, 33-12-1, 23 KOs; Cardenas, 14-11, 9 KOs

Rafael's remark: Rojas, 29, of Mexico, had won an interim title in July 2009, defended it once and then faced champion Vic Darchinyan in a mandatory fight in December. Rojas did very well in the first round and was doing well again in the second round. Then Darchinyan knocked him stiff. Making his comeback from that huge knockout loss, Rojas faced countryman Cardenas, 28, and had no problem with him in this "Top Rank Live" main event. Rojas dropped Cardenas twice in the first round, once in the third and twice more in the fourth round, including a digging right hook to the body that caused referee Jesus Manuel Erosa to call off the mismatch. It was the fourth consecutive fight in which Cardenas was knocked out.

Friday at Las Vegas
Lightweight
Robert Guerrero TKO8 Roberto Arrieta
Records: Guerrero, 26-1-1, 18 KOs; Arrieta, 35-16-4, 16 KOs

Rafael's remark: It was nice to see Guerrero, a former junior lightweight and featherweight titleholder, back in the ring after an eight-month layoff, which was caused in large part by the leukemia his wife, Casey, is battling. Guerrero, 27, of Gilroy, Calif., had looked terrific last August in dominating South Africa's Malcolm Klassen to win a junior lightweight belt and planned to move up to lightweight for a shot at an interim belt against Michael Katsidis on March 27 in an HBO main event. However, Casey took a turn for the worse, and Guerrero withdrew in order to care for her. He returned to the ring because she is doing much better since her January bone marrow transplant. His return coincided with the long-awaited return of live boxing on Spanish language network Telefutura, which relaunched "Solo Boxeo Tecate" (thanks to Golden Boy and ubiquitous boxing beer sponsor Tecate) after canceling the series at the end of 2008. Considering all that Guerrero has been through and the layoff, he looked pretty good against an opponent interested more in trying to survive as long as he could than winning. Guerrero dropped Argentina's Arrieta, 34, in the fifth, second and eighth rounds of the lopsided fight before referee Jay Nady ended it. Arrieta has lost two of three. The victory sets Guerrero up for a possible major fight in the fall. There's a chance he could challenge the winner of the July 31 lightweight championship rematch between Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz. Whichever guy wins, a fight against Guerrero would be very good.

Junior welterweight
Frankie Gomez TKO2 Ricardo Malfavon

Records: Gomez, 2-0, 2 KOs; Malfavon, 0-2

Rafael's remark: Gomez, 18, of East Los Angeles, was a heralded amateur who won a U.S. national title and a silver medal at the world amateur championships in 2009 before electing to turn pro rather than stay amateur and gun for a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. Golden Boy signed him to a lucrative pro contract and Gomez turned pro in April with a third-round knockout on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins-Roy Jones rematch. Returning to action less than a month later, Gomez blew out Malfavon, 27, in short, dominant order. Gomez put him down with a powerful right hand in the second round and then punished him during a big follow-up attack until referee Russell Mora stopped it.

Heavyweight
Deontay Wilder TKO3 Alvaro Morales

Records: Wilder, 10-0, 10 KOs; Morales, 4-8-5

Rafael's remark: The 24-year-old Wilder was the lone U.S. Olympic boxing medalist in 2008, claiming a bronze medal. As a pro, he's a huge project with a lot of raw potential, but he needs work. A lot of work. Wilder has the size (6-foot-7), but still needs to add bulk. He turned pro at 207 pounds and is up to 218. Another 20 pounds will do him well. But he also needs to refine so many aspects of his game, and trainer Mark Breland is working on it. It could take awhile. Besides excellent right-hand power, pretty much everything else needs work. He was wild and reckless against Morales. Had poor balance and footwork. Looped his right hands. Threw uppercuts from a mile away. Frankly, he looked bad despite getting the job done against Las Vegas resident Morales, 26, who was a flabby 291 pounds and had almost no skills. Despite Morales' lack of ability, at least he made Wilder work a little compared to the complete stiffs he has fought so far. Morales became the first man to take him into the third round and ended his first-round knockout streak at eight. Morales tagged Wilder with a few nice shots in the first round, probably the first time he's been hit with anything decent in the pros. Wilder, however, hit him with several right hands and was winning the fight in the third when he cracked him with another right. But he also pushed him to the canvas, drawing a warning from referee Jay Nady. No official knockdown was scored, but when Morales got to his feet he was wobbly and his corner threw in the towel.

Friday at Tokyo
Bantamweight
Fernando Montiel TKO4 Hozumi Hasegawa
Unifies bantamweight titles
Records: Montiel, 41-2-2, 31 KOs; Hasegawa, 28-3, 12 KOs

Rafael's remark: It's rare for titleholders from Mexico and Japan to meet. Usually, their promoters like to keep them at home defending in easier, but still lucrative, bouts. Oddly, this fight came together, something of a dream bout for the hardest of hard-core fight freaks. Hasegawa, 29, has been one of Japan's finest for several years. He was considered by many to be worthy of inclusion in the lower portion of the pound-for-pound top 20 and had defended his title 10 times. Montiel, 31, one of Mexico's best, is a three-division titleholder and is still highly regarded despite some inconsistent performances in recent years. Before we get to the fight details, it should be noted that Hasegawa was not going to take Montiel's WBO belt if he had won. The Japanese Boxing Commission does not recognize the WBO, meaning that if Hasegawa won, he would have simply retained his WBC version of the title. But because Montiel won, he unified the 118-pound trinkets.

Hasegawa, a southpaw, had been on quite a run, scoring five knockouts in a row inside four rounds against some credible opponents. Between that fact and his being at home, Hasegawa was the clear favorite. Through the first three-plus rounds, it looked like he'd coast to a win, even though it turned out he had suffered a broken jaw from a Montiel uppercut in the first round. Yet he continued to fight and was faster than Montiel, outboxing him and tagging him with enough shots to hold a lead on all three scorecards, 30-27 on two and 29-28 on the third. However, Montiel landed a hammering left hook to the face with seven seconds left in the fourth round. Hasegawa went reeling into the ropes and Montiel pounced. He landed several more shots, snapping a defenseless Hasegawa's head back. He was out on his feet as American referee Laurence Cole jumped in to stop the fight just as the bell to end the round was ringing. It was a shocking ending and silenced the pro-Hasegawa crowd of about 15,000 at the famed Budokan Hall, while Montiel and his team joyously celebrated. Hasegawa said he hoped for a rematch.

Junior featherweight
Toshiaki Nishioka TKO5 Balweg Bangoyan
Retains a junior featherweight title
Records: Nishioka, 36-4-3, 23 KOs; Bangoyan, 15-1, 7 KOs

Rafael's remark: Japan's Nishioka, 33, made it 4-for-4 for knockouts in title defenses as he took care of inexperienced and untested Bangoyan, 23, of the Philippines. Nishioka, a southpaw, had some quality opponents, including his best win in his first defense when he survived a first-round knockdown to knock out former bantamweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez in the third round on his Mexican turf last May. Referee Gelasio Perez docked a point from Bangoyan in the fourth round for repeatedly hitting Nishioka low. Since Japan embraces the WBC's wretched open-scoring system, it was known that Nishioka was ahead 40-35, 39-36 and 38-37 after the fourth round. Early in the fifth round, the faster Nishioka caught Bangoyan with a left hand to the face and he went down on his rear end. Bangoyan was in bad shape but continued despite shaky legs. It was only a matter of time before Nishioka would score the stoppage during the follow-up attack, and that's just what happened as Perez stopped it at 1 minute, 14 seconds.

Friday at Miami
Bantamweight
William Gonzalez TKO2 Jose Luis Araiza
Title eliminator
Records: Gonzalez, 25-3, 21 KOs; Araiza, 27-2, 18 KOs

Rafael's remark: In December 2008, Nicaragua's Gonzalez, 29, gave a good account of himself in losing a majority decision to then-titleholder Joseph Agbeko in an excellent fight. Since then, Gonzalez has won four in a row, including this impressive blowout of Mexico's Araiza, 31, in the Telemundo main event. The victory sets Gonzalez up for a mandatory shot against unified titleholder Fernando Montiel. Gonzalez took care of Araiza in punishing fashion. He dropped him with a nasty left in the second round and then dropped him again with a right as referee Tommy Kimmons called it off.

Friday at Chicago
Super middleweight
Marcus Johnson W10 Derek Edwards
Scores: 98-92 (twice), 97-93
Records: Johnson, 19-0, 14 KOs; Edwards, 25-1, 13 KOs

Rafael's remark: Johnson, 24, of Houston, was a top amateur who just missed making the 2004 U.S. Olympic team by losing to eventual gold medalist and pro titleholder Andre Ward. Johnson's pro career was held back due to a lack of exposure from promoter Don King. But now that he is with Lou DiBella, he's at least getting an opportunity to be seen, such as in this "ShoBox" main event on Showtime. Johnson didn't dazzle, but he turned in a methodical and workmanlike performance in outpointing Edwards, 30, of Winston-Salem, N.C., who didn't seem to want to engage. That seemed fine by Johnson, who took what was available and worked his jab throughout the boring fight.

Super middleweight
Donovan George W8 Osumanu Adama
Scores: 79-72, 77-74, 76-75
Records: George, 20-0-1, 17 KOs; Adama, 17-2, 13 KOs

Rafael's remark: Fighting in his hometown, George, 25, and Ghana's Adama, 29, put on a helluva show. They battled tooth and nail all the way in a very entertaining back-and-forth scrap. George, who was out of action for 21 months between 2008 and 2009 due to legal difficulties, was taking a step up in competition after facing very soft opposition. Adama, 29, was a 2000 Olympian for Ghana, but has fought sporadically in the 10 years since those Games. Still, he gave a tremendous effort in the loss, his second in two trips to the United States. Although one scorecard was quite wide, it was a highly competitive fight. The difference, it seemed, was that George, using a sweeping right hand, knocked Adama down late in the seventh round. Nice win for George, a charismatic fighter we'd like to see more of. Adama's four-fight winning streak come to an end.

Super middleweight
Edwin Rodriguez KO6 Kevin Engel

Records: Rodriguez, 15-0, 11 KOs; Engel, 17-3, 14 KOs

Rafael's remark: Rodriguez looks like a bright prospect. The 24-year-old, a Dominican Republic native who lives in Worcester, Mass., won a national Golden Gloves and U.S. national title in the amateur ranks and has looked good so far in his two-year pro career. He also looked superb in his last fight, an ESPN2-televised first-round blowout of typically durable George Armenta. Engel, 30, of St. Louis, a former kickboxer, was actually a step down from Armenta. But even though Rodriguez didn't blow Engel away like he did Armenta, he still looked promising despite a rough moment early in the third round when Engel briefly stunned him with a left hook. Rodriguez took a few other unnecessary shots that he could have avoided with a little more attention to defense. In the sixth round, Rodriguez put Engel away with a debilitating right hand to the body. Engel went down, spit out his mouthpiece and took the full count from referee John O'Brien while on all fours.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.