Mosley, Mora and fans all lose
LOS ANGELES -- Nobody won. Not Shane Mosley, not Sergio Mora and certainly not the fans, who suffered through their awful junior middleweight fight, which was declared a split draw on Saturday night at Staples Center.
The 13,591 fight fans at Golden Boy Promotions' Mexican bicentennial celebration card booed throughout the fight, except during brief bursts of action in the late rounds. Many rounds were close, because there was not nearly enough happening to satisfy the crowd, which cheered throughout the knockout-filled undercard.
When Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer joked about a rematch immediately after the fight, none of the ringside reporters laughed. Then he turned serious when asked what he thought.
"I think we had a great Saul Alvarez, a great Victor Ortiz and a great Daniel Ponce De Leon (who all won on the undercard) and the main event was what it was," Schaefer said.
In the end, the judges couldn't agree on a winner between the Southern California natives. Judge Kermit Bayless scored it 115-113 for Mora while David Denkin had it 116-112 for Mosley. Judge Lou Moret had it 114-114. ESPN.com scored it 117-111 for Mosley, who appeared quicker and busier and worked Mora's body very well.
"We both fought hard. It was a good fight, so it was a good decision," said Mosley, who tried to make points with the heavily Mexican crowd by wearing the green, red and white of Mexico's flag and having "Azucar" -- Spanish for his nickname "Sugar" -- stitched into his waistband. "He's not a big puncher, so he had to box more."
While Mora, a former junior middleweight titleholder and 2005 winner of "The Contender" reality series, claimed victory, he also said he essentially backed off because he thought he was winning.
Ever hear that one before?
"I came to win. I wanted to win but my respect for Shane got in my way," said Mora, 29, who split two title fights with Vernon Forrest, who beat Mosley twice. "I should have listened to my corner. They were telling me it was a close fight, but I thought I was winning the fight. So because of my respect for him, I loosened up and didn't want to hurt him.
"He threw really good punches. He hit me with some hard shots. He's a smart fighter. I think going 12 rounds with Shane Mosley says something in and of itself, but honestly I thought I won that fight."
If you examine the CompuBox statistics, Mosley had the edge. He landed 161 of 522 blows (31 percent) while Mora connected on just 93 of 508 punches (18 percent).
The result is not going to enhance either fighter's marketability.
Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), the former lightweight, welterweight and junior middleweight champ, is 39 and was coming off a lopsided decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May in the year's biggest fight.
Before the fight, Mosley said he hoped beating Mora would set him up for a fight with Manny Pacquiao or rematches with Mayweather and Miguel Cotto.
But in his second subpar performance in a row, the likely future Hall of Famer is clearly fading fast and those fights appear unlikely.
He chalked up his performance to struggling with a taller, bigger man. Mora (21-1-2, 6 KOs) was coming down from middleweight for the 154-pound fight and could not make weight. He was officially 157 pounds at Friday's weigh-in.
Mosley, who made $1 million, also received an additional $57,000 from Mora's $285,000 purse because he missed weight and was penalized 20 percent by the California State Athletic Commission.
While there will not be an HBO replay of the fight (be thankful), HBO Latino, the network's Spanish-language outlet, will air a replay, along with the Alvarez-Carlos Baldomir and Ortiz-Vivian Harris undercard fights, at 10 p.m. ET next Saturday.
Mosley was coming back up from welterweight, where he had fought his five previous fights. He used that to explain his performance.
"This is a different fight because he's a middleweight and coming down and I had to move up," Mosley said. "This would be different if I was fighting someone my same size and height."
Mosley opened a cut over Mora's right eye in the fourth round on an accidental head butt, but it did not appear to hamper Mora.
The fight was filled with wrestling and holding and Mora running from Mosley. There were times when Mora opened up with some right hands, but his punches never seemed to do any damage to Mosley, who looked very tired in the final two rounds.
"He moved and ran away a lot and rested and held," Mosley said. "There was also a lot of head butts and it really affected me. He was moving so much it was hard for me to get my shots off. I still want to fight someone my weight and my size like Cotto. He won't run as much."
Cotto outpointed Mosley in a razor-close welterweight title bout in 2007. Cotto moved up to junior middleweight and won a belt by stopping Yuri Foreman in June. He does not have a set opponent for his first defense, which is supposed to be Dec. 4.
However, a rematch with Mosley would likely be hard to make given the bad blood between Golden Boy and Cotto's promoter, Top Rank.
After Mosley's performance, however, would people even want to see it?
Maybe, maybe not. But certainly more than a rematch with Mora.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.