Commentary

Keeping tabs on Margarito-Mosley

Shane Mosley's last untainted title-fight victory came in July 2001. Antonio Margarito recently toppled the fighter who beat Mosley more than a year ago. One thing is certain before Saturday's bout: Kieran Mulvaney has lots to blog about.

Updated: January 25, 2009, 12:40 AM ET
By Kieran Mulvaney, Darius Ortiz | Special to ESPN.com

Saturday, 11:03 p.m. ET -- Round 9

I can't believe they let Margarito out of his corner. Margarito is still being hurt. That's it. It's over. Mosley with the upset! Mosley fought the perfect fight.

Saturday, 10:58 p.m. ET -- Round 8

Mosley lands a jab to the body, then to the head. Mosley just misses with a right. That one probably would have sent Margarito's head into the upper deck. Mosley lands a flurry, then holds on. Margarito fighting with more vigor now. Margarito tries to leap in but Mosley stands his ground. Mosley lands a right hand that stuns Margarito. Margarito eats right after right after right and is staggering like a drunk. Margarito is down. He's laughing but he's hurt. The bells ends Round 8 but Margarito doesn't know where he is. Unbelievable.

Dan Rafael's score: 10-8, Mosley
Darius Ortiz's score: 10-8, Mosley

Saturday, 10:54 p.m. ET -- Round 7

Ladies and gents, we might have an upset on our hands. Raul Caiz calls a time out. I see scissors. Raul, this is no time for a haircut. Oh, it's a loose wrap. Mosley lands a right hand that would have put King Kong to sleep. Margarito still moving forward but with little bad intent. A straight right snaps Margarito's head back. Mosley winds up and unloads a left. He just can't miss Margarito. Margarito starting to rally. Both men trade against the ropes and Mosley holds Margarito's head down. Margarito eats another right hand at the bell.

Dan Rafael's score: 10-9, Mosley
Darius Ortiz's score: 10-9, Mosley

Saturday, 10:51 p.m. ET -- Round 6

Round 6, more of the same. Sugar's sweet right hand can't seem to miss Margarito's mug. Margarito's head doubles as a pinata at the moment. Crowd cheers as action picks up in the stands. Margarito lands a jab but it's half-hearted. Mosley is the one coming forward. Margarito driven into the ropes. Mosley looks so much more fresh and so much stronger. Another right hand lands flush. Margarito is taking a hellacious beating. Mosley leaps in with a right just at the bell.

Dan Rafael's score: 10-9, Mosley
Darius Ortiz's score: 10-9, Mosley

Saturday, 10:47 p.m. ET -- Round 5

Margarito trudging forward but Mosley is using his jab to disrupt his flow. Margarito lands glancing blows and Mosley ties up. A counter left hand stops Margarito in his tracks. Mosley is just moving too much. This is vintage Mosley. Mosley leaps in, misses and ties up again. Margarito just can't get any work done. Mosley's confidence keeps rising. A counter left hand wings Margarito around. Mosley actually looks like the stronger fighter. Mosley just too fast and too sharp.

Dan Rafael's score: 10-9, Mosley
Darius Ortiz's score: 10-9, Mosley

Saturday, 10:43 p.m. ET -- Round 4

After three rounds, Dan and I have it 30-27 Mosley. Margarito ducks a jab and just misses with a hook. Bernard Hopkins screaming orders from the third row. Margarito using a bit more head movement so Mosley goes back to the body. Mosley doing his best to stay off the ropes. Another energy-sapping body blow. Margarito throwing but not really landing. Another pair of body blows by Mosley. Mosley lands a right hand, then locks up. Smart move. Margarito desperately tries to make room. A straight right lands flush for Sugar Shane at the bell.

Dan Rafael's score: 10-9, Mosley
Darius Ortiz's score: 10-9, Mosley

Saturday, 10:39 p.m. ET -- Round 3

Mosley is now throwing the right off the jab. A fight breaks out in Round 3. Both men exchange bombs before Mosley clinches. Both men doing a lot of work in the clinch. Mosley backs out and goes to work with his jab. Margarito lands an uppercut then complains about a headbutt. Mosley shrugs his shoulders. Margarito seems a bit distracted. A pinpoint right hand to the head by Mosley stops Margarito in his tracks. Mosley fighting a smart fight: He backs out of the range of Margarito's jab, then leaps in when Margarito stops punches. Both men trading bombs in the center of the ring as the bell sounds.

Dan Rafael's score: 10-9, Mosley
Darius Ortiz's score: 10-9, Mosley

Saturday, 10:35 p.m. ET -- Round 2

Both men exchange jabs to begin the round. Margarito leaps in with a jab but Mosley shuffles out of the way. Mosley investing in the later rounds by working Margarito's flanks. Mosley might be the shorter man but he's jabbing on equal terms with Margarito. A mean right hand followed by an uppercut gets Mosley's attention. Now it's Margarito's turn to work the body. Mosley is warned for using his head just before the bell.

Dan Rafael's score: 10-9, Mosley
Darius Ortiz's score: 10-9, Mosley

Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET -- Round 1

Boos rain down as the hometown boy, Shane Mosley, is introduced. Margarito looks psyched in his corner. Final instructions. They touch 'em up. It's fight time.

Margarito looking to establish his jab. Both men lock up. Margarito coming forward. He's on his toes and throwing bombs from the get-go. Mosley doesn't back down and is taking the fight to Margarito himself. Mosley leaps in and just misses with a left hook. Mosley lands an uppercut, then digs to the body. Fantastic combo by Mosley. Margarito complaining about headbutts. The men lock arms and unload with their free fists. A flush left hook gives Margarito something to think about. Margarito smiles and marches forward. Margarito lands a jab and Mosley flurries. Good round for Mosley.

Dan Rafael's score: 10-9, Mosley
Darius Ortiz's score: 10-9, Mosley

Saturday, 10:25 p.m. ET -- Ring walks

Rihanna's "Live Your Life" blasts through the arena. Must be Margarito on his way to the ring. Just kidding.

Next up, the Tijuana Tornado himself. Wonder who the crowd is with? Kieran's words: "Dude, this crowd is off the hook. Really, really loud. Fantastic! One of the loudest I remember. Very pro-Margarito."

Will they be cheering at the end of the night? Stay tuned.

Saturday, 10:20 p.m. ET -- Shades of Hopkins-Trinidad?

Just when I thought I'd seen it all. Check out Dan Rafael's news brief.

Saturday, 10:10 p.m. ET -- Fight time

Boxing fans, this one's been a long time coming. Antonio Margarito vs. Shane Mosley. Tijuana toughman vs. California cool guy. Face-first brawler vs. wily veteran. Joe Dirt mullet vs. clean-cut shape-up. Let'd do this!

As for a prediction: Margarito looked shredded at the weigh-in, but something tells me it'll take him a while to get started once he's in the ring. When he gets rolling though, it's only a matter of time before the energy-sapping body shots and neck-snapping uppercuts do Mosley in. I'll go with Margarito by Round 11 TKO, with Mosley's corner stopping the fight.

Saturday, 10 p.m. ET -- Home stretch

Heavy-handed Russian Matvey Korobov just bludgeoned Jose Florentino to a first-round defeat, and with that brought down the curtain on the undercard bouts. Only the main event remains.

The Staples Center crowd is already near to capacity, roaring as it watches every one of Korobov's heavy blows replayed on the JumboTron.

It's a nice atmosphere here and I'm expecting a loud crowd when the main event fighters come out.

Can Shane Mosley turn back the years and the Tornado at the same time? Or will Margarito's relentless aggression prove to match for the Sugar Man? Follow the action with Darius Ortiz's round-by-round right here.

Thanks for sticking with me this week. It's been a pleasure, as always.

And with that, I hand you over to Mr. Ortiz. Darius, take it away, my man.

Saturday, 9 p.m. ET -- Filling up

The Staples Center is still far from full, but it's filling up rapidly. There are already far more people here than would be in their seats at the same stage of a typical casino fight card. A nice healthy buzz is building in anticipation of our main event, now about an hour away.

Saturday, 8:45 p.m. ET -- I'm afraid of that Ghost

Robert Guerrero didn't display even a hint of ring rust despite his 10 month layoff.

A beautifully placed left uppercut to the liver dropped Edel Ruiz to the canvas for the count after 43 seconds of Round 1.

Just a couple more bouts until the main event …

Saturday, 8:35 p.m. ET -- Flashy

The signs that the ring card girls are holding up between each round are different than usual. Instead of the usual printed deals, these are electronic LCD doo-hickeys, like they use at soccer matches when the coaches are about to make substitutions.

Sorry, I don't have any photographs of the ring card girls to illustrate my point.

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET -- Broner forced to work for a win

Young Adrien Broner just came through the kind of fight that every young prospect needs.

The flashy lightweight from Cincinnati rocked opponent Jose Lugo with his fast, hard punches in Round 1, but they make them tough in Los Mochis and Lugo dug in deep.

At times, Broner sensibly contented himself with circling and throwing in stinging punches from the outside, looking for openings when they presented themselves. But even when he appeared to have Lugo in trouble again, the designated victim refused to topple, instead whacking Broner with some hard shots. It also looks like Broner hurt his right hand in the final round; he hardly threw it at all after shaking it following a hard punch.

In the end, though, the skill level was too great.

Taken the distance for the first time, Broner ran his ledger to 6-0 with a unanimous six-round decision, which the pro-Lugo crowd jeered.

Saturday, 8 pm. ET -- Viva Mexico

[+] EnlargeMargarito fans
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesAntonio Margarito fans know how to make their presence felt.

It's already pretty clear that this is going to be a very pro-Antonio Margarito crowd. Every Mexican fighter is being cheered loudly, even the ones brought in to get beaten up. Everyone else is being booed lustily.

Saturday, 7:40 p.m. ET -- And away we go

We are off and running here at Staples Center, with the first undercard bouts underway.

There was a nice crowd milling around outside the venue already as I walked in, and there is already a smattering of fans. I haven't been to Staples much before, and I must say it's an impressive venue. Outside, it is the center of a range of bars, restaurants and other entertainment called LA Live that friends in the city tell me has gone a long way to revitalizing downtown Los Angeles.

Inside the arena, there are a couple of touches I'm not used to -- luxury boxes specifically, not something you see at the MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay, but of course common with multi-sports facilities such as this one. And the lower level seats seem nice and close to the action.

Meanwhile, I am settled in to Media Row 4, Seat 11, and we're ready to blog the night away.

Saturday, 4:15 p.m. ET -- Darchinyan

[+] EnlargeVic Darchinyan
Chris Cozzone/Fightwireimages.com Speaking his mind: Trash-talking Vic Darchinyan had the forum to himself during the news conference to announce his Feb. 7 fight with Jorge Arce.

Only one of the participants in Feb. 7's 115-pound title fight between Vic Darchinyan and Jorge Arce showed up for their scheduled news conference today.

"I see there is no table set for Jorge Arce," Darchinyan promoter Gary Shaw said. "I assume he's not here, and he's not going to be here. I'm sorry for the lack of respect. Bob [Arum] says boxing's not dead. Maybe Arce's career is dead."

Darchinyan has rebounded impressively from his 2007 knockout defeat to Nonito Donaire, with a dominating stoppage of Cristian Mijares last time out. Shaw compared Darchinyan's defeat to Donaire to Lennox Lewis' loss to Hasim Rahman, insisting that Darchinyan simply was overconfident and the loss would prove beneficial to his career in the long term.

Darchinyan himself was his usual, confident self.

"I wish Arce can give me a couple of good rounds before I knock him out … I'm going to demolish him badly and knock him out," he said.

"The last fighter that said he was going to demolish and knock out one of my fighters out was Oscar De La Hoya," countered Arum, Arce's promoter. "And you all saw what happened."

Saturday, 4 p.m. ET -- TV Azteca

Top Rank and TV Azteca held a news conference at the Wilshire Grand this morning to formally announce their new TV deal. "Everyone knows when Telefutura pulled the plug on its boxing programming, it left a big hole," said Top Rank's Bob Arum, referring to the demise of the popular but now deceased "Solo Boxeo" series. But the new series, he insists, will be "bigger and better."

The series does not yet have a name, and Arum said the final time slot and day of the broadcast have yet to be determined. The likelihood is that the series will air on Saturdays, but will kick off with a show Friday, Feb. 6, featuring Jesus Soto-Karass against Carson Jones.

The program will air simultaneously in the United States and Mexico. The action will be called by Adrian Garcia Marquez and former junior middleweight titlist Raul Marquez.

Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET -- A prediction for Shane

[+] EnlargeShane Mosley
AP Photo/Reed SaxonSweet! Some boxing pundits believe Sugar Shane Mosley has enough left in the tank to outbox Antonio Margarito.

Eric Rosas writes in to offer a prediction that goes against the grain of conventional wisdom:

I believe that the key to the fight for Shane Mosley will be his boxing ability. Mosley is a far superior athlete and must use his skills in order to come up with a W. Although he is the smaller man, big men can be beat by utilizing a higher work rate. The game plan is simple: do what our pound-for-pound king (Manny Pacquaio) did to the Golden Boy. Box him, turn him and pot-shot him and do it often! Defense is the key against Antonio Margarito. This seems to be a second coming of the Meldrick Taylor vs. Julio Cesar Chavez fight in my eyes.

I'll be at the Staples Center and I am extremely excited to watch this fight! Good luck Shane!

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET -- Ones to watch out for

[+] EnlargeMatvey Korobov
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhFight fans will want to keep an eye on amateur standout Matvey Korobov.

I bumped into Dan Birmingham in the lobby of the hotel last night. He's best known as the trainer of Winky Wright and, formerly, Jeff Lacy; tonight he'll be in the corner of highly touted Russian super middleweight prospect Matvey Korobov. Korobov is 2-0 with 2 KOs as a pro but has an extensive amateur career of over 300 bouts, including victory over fellow prospect Daniel Jacobs.

I'm also looking forward to catching my third glimpse in the ring of young Adrien Broner, a lightweight from Cincinnati. He has fast hands in the ring and a charismatic, relaxed way about him outside the ropes. He is 5-0 with 5 KOs.

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET -- Let's get ready to rumble

A capacity crowd of 18,000 is expected for tonight's welterweight clash between Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley. According to Staples officials, tonight will be only the second time the arena has opened its upper seating for boxing. The first occasion? Julio Cesar Chavez against Ivan Robinson in May 2005.

Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET -- A happier Ghost

Two days before he fights Edel Ruiz in his first bout in 10 months, Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero already has the best result he could hope for, courtesy of his wife, Casey.

[+] EnlargeRobert Guerrero
Chris Cozzone/FightWireImages Reason to smile: Things are starting to look up for Robert Guerrero.
"She got her blood tests yesterday, and the doctor says he can't find no more leukemia cells in her body," he told me after he weighed in for his fight against Edel Ruiz on Saturday, the chief support bout before the welterweight title fight between Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley. "Man, that's the best news I've had all year. All I've done is I've just smiled ear to ear since I heard that."

Although promotional problems have also been involved -- Guerrero left Goossen Tutor and recently signed with Golden Boy -- a large part of the reason the former two-time featherweight belt holder has been out of the ring has been his desire to take care of Casey while she battled cancer.

"The one thing about being out 10, 11 months, is I got to support my wife, I got to be with her through the treatments, helping her with the kids and being a husband to her. I think it's a blessing in disguise. The only thing that counts is she's healthy."

In his previous two contests, Guerrero, then a featherweight titleholder, had knocked out Martin Honorio and Jason Litzau, building up something of a head of steam, but prior to taking time off had already decided to move up to 130 pounds.

"The extra four pounds makes all the difference," Guerrero said. "I didn't feel like I had to make weight. I just stepped on the scales." Guerrero weighed in half a pound under the limit for Ruiz.

Should he be victorious on Saturday, Guerrero is already slated to appear on the attractive HBO March 7 tripleheader in San Jose, along with Joel Julio versus James Kirkland and Victor Ortiz versus Mike Arnaoutis. Golden Boy plans to line him for up for a title shot in his new division in short order.

Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET -- No cause for concern

Some confusion and controversy at the weigh-in. Shane Mosley initially appeared to weigh in at 147 pounds, but commission officials ruled the needle had shifted to 147.2, so he was asked to step off and back on the scale. He did so, and the official weight was given as 147.2.

[+] EnlargeAntonio Margarito
Chris Farina/Top Rank No bones about it: Antonio Margarito had little trouble making the 147-pound limit.
Mosley went away to lose those two-tenths of a pound. Meanwhile, Antonio Margarito weighed in at a surprisingly light 145.8.

"I always make weight easily. It's his job to make weight. It's his problem," said Margarito.

"Two-tenths of a pound doesn't win or lose a fight," protested Mosley's colleague, Bernard Hopkins. "That's taking your underwear off."

Five minutes later, Mosley returned and made weight.

Friday, 5:30 p.m. ET -- Before the weigh-in

There's a nice crowd developing at the weigh-in at the Nokia theater across from Staples Center. Despite the weather, there's a decent turnout of fans to watch the event before the event. Undercard fighters weigh in first, and Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito will be on the scales just after 6 p.m. ET.

Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET -- How do they look?

Chris Lamb writes in to ask:

Did you see anything at the press conference yesterday that leads you to believe that Shane Mosley is not distracted, and that -- maybe -- Antonio Margarito is a little bit complacent, and not quite as prepared as he should be!?

Honestly, Chris, I've given up trying to glean information about fighters' mental states from such things as prefight news conferences and weigh-in staredowns. I've found it's easy to read too much into little things, and who knows what is going through a fighter's head?

I will say, though, Margarito looked supremely confident and relaxed. Overconfident? Complacent? I don't know. He certainly gave Shane Mosley plenty of credit and acknowledgment. As for Mosley: He came across as he always does -- friendly, affable, mostly smiling. As much as it is possible to tell when someone is wearing a suit, he does appear to be in terrific shape. Then again, he always looks in tremendous shape.

Friday, 2:45 p.m. ET -- Dwelling on Oscar

Although Oscar De La Hoya attended the Wednesday news conference in West Hollywood for Saturday's Affliction MMA pay-per-view, he was absent at Thursday's news conference for the welterweight bout between Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito, leaving Golden Boy duties to Richard Schaefer and Bernard Hopkins.

[+] EnlargeOscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley
Al Bello/Getty ImagesWhat could have been: What if Shane Mosley, left, hadn't rallied late against Oscar De La Hoya in their '03 rematch?

Perhaps he didn't want boxing journalists to bug him about his future, or perhaps he didn't want to be a distraction, especially given the questions about Mosley having taken the drug EPO prior to their 2003 rematch.

That latter point raises an interesting question: What if Mosley hadn't taken EPO? Would he still have been able to rally down the stretch and overtake De La Hoya's lead? What if he hadn't, and De La Hoya had held on for the win?

To take that one step further: What if De La Hoya had been awarded the win almost everyone feels he deserved against Felix Trinidad? How different might the Golden Boy's career look now?

Of course, if every other fight had been exactly the same (which it wouldn't have been) there would still have been the controversial wins over Pernell Whitaker, Ike Quartey and Felix Sturm.

As good as De La Hoya's career was, one wonders what more could have been.

Friday, 2:05 p.m. ET -- Random shouts of victory

[+] EnlargeAntonio Margarito
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesAntonio Margarito can expect his usual throng of supporters to be cheering him to victory come Saturday.

Somewhat out of character, I spent the evening at one of the cooler spots in downtown L.A. last night: on the roof of The Standard hotel. (You can tell The Standard is cool because its name is upside down on its signage. If that doesn't scream hip, I don't know what does. Wait, do people even say "hip" now? Am I just exposing my extreme lack of coolness?)

Anyway, as I walked out of the elevator at the top, one of the folks who was getting into the elevator to head back down turned around, looked at me and shouted, "Margarito's going to win!"

I have no idea if he recognized me from my blog or whether it was just a random exclamation of the kind that people sometimes make. Or perhaps it was my long-lost Uncle Elmer. Or maybe it was Antonio Margarito.

Friday, 1:30 p.m. ET -- Another day, another weigh-in

It's lunchtime for folks on the East Coast, morning here on the West. I'm sitting here with my daily enormo-coffee, waiting for the media room to open and the day to begin.

As a sign that this isn't quite a mega-event, the media room is relatively small -- just a few round tables with notepads and (thoughtfully) breath mints. Yesterday, it was taken up mostly by Top Rank PR folks, examining a seating plan of the arena floor and going through their usual thankless task of assigning places for writers and photographers.

There was chatter about flights to Manila; of upcoming fights; of which media would be going to New York on Feb. 21 (to watch Miguel Cotto fight Michael Jennings) and which would be going to Youngstown, Ohio (to watch Kelly Pavik against Marco Antonio Rubio) the same day.

Early indications are, not surprisingly, that more people will be at Madison Square Garden than the Chevy Centre. Yours truly is undecided.

I'll pop my head in there shortly to see what's what. And then, of course, at 6 p.m. ET, we have the weigh-in.

Friday, noon ET -- More e-mail

As smart as Shane is and as much as he knows how to box, I see him squaring up too often in this fight and paying the price … I can't see him "boxing" for 12 rounds and circling away from Margarito for 12 rounds … Margarito will eventually catch up with him, and I think he stops Shane late in the fight. Whether it be by the onslaught of body shots he'll absorb, or that his legs and shoulders run out of gas, Mosely will be stopped around 11 rounds.

A differing opinion from Peter O'Leary of Boston:

Margarito seems to come in with his hands flailing when his opponent backs up. Mosley needs to time him with some shots to keep him off balance. I honestly think Shane still has what it takes to stop this guy. Also, great move by Mosley with hiring Nazim [Richardson]; he has a knack for finding flaws. I never, ever would've predicted the destruction of [Kelly] Pavlik by B-Hop [Bernard Hopkins]. It goes to show you that if you have the right plan and stick to it, age can be just a number.

Friday, 9:30 a.m. ET -- Some e-mail

Christopher Leonard writes to kieranAKVegas@gmail.com:

What's up, Kieran? Thanks for keeping us updated! It seems like you're not liking the atmosphere in Los Angeles compared to a Vegas fight, for the obvious reasons. In your opinion, do fights seem to be better in places like Los Angeles with L.A. fighters, or in New York with megastar fighters? Vegas doesn't seem like a good place for the real fight fans to me, but I've never been there.

[+] EnlargeKelly Pavlik
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesYoungstown fans get to see their favorite son, Kelly Pavlik, firsthand in February.

Christopher, I enjoy covering fights in Las Vegas because I'm so used to it -- I must have covered 30 or 40 there over the past five years or so -- and because the folks at the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay do such a great job. Plus, everything being on site makes life so much easier.

But I didn't mean to give the impression I'm not digging the atmosphere here. Now that the fight is just two days away, the hotel is filling up with fight folks, and it's like yet another gathering of the boxing family -- a seriously dysfunctional boxing family.

I think it's great for boxing and for fans to have more fights in places like L.A. and New York … and Youngstown and Houston and Pensacola and St. Louis and Little Rock and Memphis, for that matter. Not every fight has to be in Vegas. As I mentioned in a recent podcast, I think only the very biggest fights should be in Las Vegas, and fans elsewhere in the country deserve more opportunities to attend big-time fights.

Thursday, 6:45 p.m. ET -- The Officials

The referee for Saturday's bout will be Raul Caiz Sr. Judges will be James Jen-Kin, Maximo DeLuca and Nelson Vazquez.

And with that, we pause the blogging for the day. We'll be back with more tomorrow; we plan to have an interview with Robert Guerrero, who is in the co-main event, and other news and information from around the fight center. Until then.

Thursday, 6:30 p.m. ET -- Nazim Richardson's Plea

Nazim Richardson, longtime cornerman and now chief second of Bernard Hopkins, has been training Shane Mosley for his welterweight title tilt with Antonio Margarito on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeAntonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto
AP Photo/Eric JamisonWill boxing pundits still be calling Antonio Margarito a monster if he loses to Shane Mosley?

"I know my position," Richardson said. "My position is not to teach Shane Mosley how to fight. Jack Mosley did that and did a great job. My job is to find holes in Antonio Margarito and exploit them."

Afterward, sitting with Mosley as his fighter talked to journalists, Richardson made this request:

"After this fight, please don't de-fang, don't de-claw Margarito. I don't want anybody to say he was exposed. You say he's a monster; let him be a monster after the fight also. After this fight, put Shane back to where he belongs. Margarito's a beast, nothing less. So when Shane Mosley beats him, recognize who Shane Mosley is."

Thursday, 6:10 p.m. ET -- Margarito

Antonio Margarito sure does have the look of a superstar about him these days; he's got that ultraconfident swagger of a man who truly believes he can't be beat. He'll smile plenty, and he clearly loves the fact that he is getting his due, but he's all business as well.

"We came here, we did our work," he said. "We know Mosley's a very good fighter, we know he's a very experienced fighter. There's no secrets here; we know each other very well. I prepared myself very well and I'm confident I'm going to win this fight."

Thursday, 6:05 p.m. ET -- Mosley

The thing about Shane Mosley is, he always looks like he's just happy to be here. You would never imagine he is preparing to go into unarmed combat; it's almost like he's at a high school reunion and Antonio Margarito is an old classmate.

That said, it was interesting to see his lawyer Judd Burstein sitting next to him, in case anyone asked questions relating to matters that rhyme with MALCO. And Mosley wasn't afraid to assert, through the smiles, that he will be victorious Saturday.

"I don't just feel sharp; I feel special," Mosley said. "I feel like I have a cape on. I feel like I'm going to fly. Margarito has power, but I got him a little bit on speed."

"I think this is going to be a great fight," he continued. "I just can't wait to get in the ring. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised at the result of this fight."

Thursday, 6 p.m. ET -- The News Conference

In a break with tradition, today's news conference for Saturday's Shane Mosley-Antonio Margarito bout was open to the public. There wasn't exactly an avalanche of attendees, but there was a nice sprinkling of folks to cheer on their respective fighters. It makes for a more lively atmosphere, especially as, frankly, we generally get most of our quotes afterward, when we talk to the fighters individually, so a little bit of shouting and cheering during the newser itself doesn't hurt.

As usual, Top Rank president Bob Arum said some words, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer reciprocated, Dean Lohuis of the California commission and Kery Davis of HBO said their thing and Robert Guerrero (who is fighting in the co-main event) talked for a little.

[+] EnlargeBernard Hopkins and Felix Trinidad
Al Bello/Getty ImagesBernard Hopkins, left, knows a thing or two about foiling plans and pulling upsets.

Bernard Hopkins, president of Golden Boy Promotions East, mostly talked about Bernard Hopkins. He's still stung by the fact that so many media picked him to lose to Kelly Pavlik.

"All you experts who say certain fighters should quit, well, I think maybe some of you journalists aren't as good as you used to be and should retire," he smiled. He advised against writing off Mosley because of his age (because the same mistake had been made in advance of Hopkins' fight versus Pavlik), and compared Antonio Margarito to Felix Trinidad (who, said Hopkins, was "knocking out everyone until he met some guy called The Executioner.")

But he does have a point; I think there are times when we, as media and as fans, tend to predict a boxer's next fight based solely on his previous fight. And it doesn't always work that way.

Thursday, 5:50 p.m. ET -- Schaefer's Not Buying It

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, representing Ricky Hatton's interests in the proposed fight with Manny Pacquiao, isn't buying Bob Arum's renewed optimism over the fight's future.

"I have no reason to believe that I'm going to get a signed deal on my desk," he said. "I think it might be wishful thinking by some people, but I have no indication that Pacquiao's going to sign. Arum's telling me it's going to happen, but you know Bob's told me for the last 10 days, every morning, 'Tomorrow morning you're going to have a signed contract.' I don't blame Bob, because Bob was told by the people in the Philippines, and guess what? They're telling him the same thing. What do you think?"

As for the suggestion that the difference this time might be that Arum has said he could fly to the Philippines?

[+] EnlargeRicky Hatton
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesHow long can Ricky Hatton wait for Manny Pacquiao to sign on the dotted line?
"He probably won't show up," said Schaefer of Pacquiao. "Bob hasn't been able to talk to him for two weeks. Freddie Roach hasn't been able to talk to him for two weeks. It's more games. It's what they like to do -- play games. They have a track record; I'm not making this stuff up. You guys all know it. The guy likes to play games."

And if an agreement did show up? Would Hatton still be interested?

"I talked to Ray Hatton [Ricky's father] about that, and he made it quite clear that they want me to go full steam ahead with negotiations for the other potential megafights. They have conversations with Wembley Stadium for a summer showdown. Our press tour next week is canceled. The bottom line is, if I have a signed contract in front of me, I will call Ray Hatton and I don't know what he will say. I don't."

Schaefer cited Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather or the winner of the Feb. 28 bout between Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz as possible opponents.

And so it goes. With that, we'll return to the actual fight that is going ahead Saturday.

Thursday, 5:45 p.m. ET -- Arum Says It's Back On

Less than twelve hours after stating that the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight was "dead," Bob Arum today told journalists it looked like it was back on, and that he planned to fly to the Philippines and talk to Pacquiao directly.

"This has been a cultural experience for me," he said. "If there is any fault, part of it is mine because you have to treat different cultures differently. You can't give a Filipino a deadline, you can't back him against a wall, because you're threatening his masculinity," he rationalized.

Arum said the fight would still be held at the MGM Grand on May 2, as originally planned.

Given that all sides had declared the deal over with yesterday, what happened to change things? Did Pacquiao's people reach out?

"The talks were never dead, baby," asserted a man who has never been afraid to contradict himself when necessary. "We're texting like mad all the time. Text, text, text. It's free now, that's how you do things now. Text, text, text."

Had there been any contact with Floyd Mayweather's people about Money May stepping in to the breach?

"The chances of Floyd Mayweather staying retired are very slim," said Arum, who alluded to the fighter's alleged financial difficulties. "But I'd like him to show some balls and fight [Antonio] Margarito."

Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET -- A Reminder

Don't forget to keep those e-mails coming about Saturday's fight. Send them here and I'll use as many of them as I can.

Thursday, 4 p.m. ET -- Arum on Mosley

Top Rank president Bob Arum says he is looking forward to this Saturday's blockbuster welterweight title bout between his guy, beltholder Antonio Margarito, and challenger Shane Mosley.

[+] EnlargeMosley and Mayorga
Harry How/Getty ImagesBob Arum feels Shane Mosley, left, has little hope of defeating Antonio Margarito.

"It's going to be a great fight, a great event," he smiled (inasmuch as Arum smiles).

He has little doubt, though, that his fighter will prevail.

"I talked to Richard Schafer [CEO of Golden Boy Promotions], and he says Mosley is in great, great shape. But based on how he looked in his fight [a 12-round knockout of Ricardo Mayorga, during which Mosley struggled at times], I think he's a long shot."

Thursday, 1:30 p.m. ET -- Oops

Turns out, I was wrong. Turns out, it does rain in Southern California. Turns out, it's raining now. The venue for today's news conference has moved indoors as a result; we'll have news and updates from that as soon as we can get them to you, probably around 5 p.m. ET or so. (The newser is scheduled to start around 3 p.m. ET).

Thursday, 11:30 a.m. ET -- Arum on Pacquiao

Just when I thought I was going to pass the entire week without seeing or hearing anyone else associated with Saturday's card, I bumped into Top Rank president Bob Arum outside the hotel. Although Saturday's Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley battle is obviously at the forefront of everyone's minds, Arum has spent a good deal of the past days and weeks attempting to rescue the putative May 2 clash between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton.

[+] EnlargeManny Pacquiao
AP Photo/Jae C. HongUp in smoke: Manny Pacquiao's proposed showdown with Ricky Hatton is a dead deal, according to Bob Arum.

Negotiations for the fight finally broke down Wednesday due to an impasse over purse percentages. Pacquiao wanted a 60-40 split in his favor, Hatton wanted 50-50, and although there was some movement on the part of Hatton's people, it wasn't enough to satisfy the PacMan.

"I've been through it all before," Arum said, shrugging off the sputtering negotiations. "That's why I never spend the money until I have it.

"I'm really surprised the kid did that," said Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, referring to the Filipino's failure to sign an agreement that Arum and others felt was highly beneficial to both parties. "I thought there was posturing, but that we'd get the fight done."

I asked Arum if he would keep the May 2 date anyway.

"No, why the hell would I want to keep the date?" he replied in his inimitable way. "To match him with some nobody? He could maybe fight [contender Edwin] Valero, which I think is a dangerous fight, but we can't do that in Nevada." (Valero is not licensed to fight in Nevada because of previous brain scan irregularities).

What if Pacquiao changed his mind and decided to go ahead after all? Could the fight be resuscitated?

"It's dead," said Arum. "Hatton's people are going in another direction."

Thursday, 9:45 a.m. ET -- Ready to Go

Folks are always interested to know what the atmosphere is like leading up to fight night. When the fight is held in a location separate from the main hotel, as it is here, it's sometimes difficult to say. In Las Vegas, fans generally stay in or near the casino that is hosting the fight; in Los Angeles, the fight is at Staples Center while the principal base for everyone associated with the card is here at the Wilshire Grand. Visitors could be staying anywhere, though -- and probably won't be arriving until later in the week anyway. Add to that, of course, the fact that there will certainly be a strong contingent of Angelenos in the crowd, and they won't be showing up until fight night at Staples. As for whether there is a buzz in the neighborhood -- well, yes, it's Los Angeles.

But, particularly because I arrived early, I wondered for a while if I had been the victim of a practical joke, whether everyone else was partying at the Sheraton down the street. I kept thinking I saw familiar members of the boxing circus in the lobby, only for them to morph into somebody completely different as I approached.

The only person I've seen regularly is some guy whose room is at the opposite end of the corridor to mine. I swear, every time I open my door and head for the elevators, he does the same. It's freaky. Either I'm being tailed by a really bad spy, or I've somehow woken up in a David Lynch movie.

Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. ET -- More Tomorrow

The pace picks up tomorrow, with the final prefight news conference and the opening of the media center. We'll be there blogging, so please send the e-mails.

Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. ET -- More E-mail

Keep those e-mails coming. We'll be using them over the next several days.

Brian Hammett writes from Montana:

Mosley has a great chance of winning if he boxes from the outside. Basically, stick and move for 12 rounds and try not to get caught up in a slugfest with Margarito. If Mosley tries to slug it out with Margarito, I think he gets punished in about the same fashion that Cotto did. We must all remember that Margarito has a granite chin and if you're not conditioned to move for 12 rounds, he's just gonna walk you down and pound at you until you fold to his iron fists. … Lastly, if Mosley loses, I really think he should hang up the gloves for good. If he can't beat the second-best welterweight, then he surely doesn't stand a chance against Clottey, Williams or even a rematch with Cotto. I also think Berto might be too quick for him, too. Mosley has a lot of ring years and he's getting old. He can't fight at that elite level anymore, and he needs to call it a day like Oscar and Calzaghe.

Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET -- Your E-mail

Joseph Rodriguez from San Antonio writes in to offer his thoughts on Saturday's WBA welterweight title bout between titleholder Antonio Margarito and "Sugar" Shane Mosley:

This is my take: I think Margarito has to overcome both the inevitable rust and weight loss. Rust can be worked off after a few rounds. The weight loss and six months of inactivity, which I believe is the longest of his career, will be more of a factor.

The outcome of this fight all depends on what type of fight Shane Mosley fights. No disrespect to Margarito, but he is and has been a one-dimensional fighter. His greatest asset is that no one fights his type of dimension better than him. My pick is a Margarito [split decision]. Shane isn't disciplined enough to box and use his foot- and hand-speed advantages and will trade. However, I don't think Mosley loses by KO. Not today and not ever.

Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. ET -- The Steroid Thing

Recent controversy concerning Shane Mosley's use of performance-enhancing drugs before his rematch with Oscar De La Hoya in 2003 has not, says the former champion, derailed his preparation.

"Actually, I put that stuff aside since 2004," he said. "People want to bring it up, and I don't even listen. I don't listen to it; I put it all aside. You know if I have to sign something on that, that's it … but I put that in my shelf, that's somewhere in another field. I don't even … actually I don't even know nothing about what's going on right now about that, I don't even listen to it. My whole thing is Margarito. I don't even care."

[+] EnlargeShane Mosley and Miguel Cotto
Al Bello/Getty ImagesMosley hinted at retirement after his defeat at the hands of Miguel Cotto in November 2007. But he now says he can envision fighting for as long as another five years.

Wednesday, 12 p.m. ET -- A Long Road Ahead

Shane Mosley seems serious about his talk of rejuvenation. Although most observers figure that Mosley, while still a legitimate contender, is clearly in the final year or two of his career, the man himself -- who had earlier hinted that his defeat at the hands of Miguel Cotto in 2007 might be his last bout -- says he plans to keep on keeping on.

"I kind of take it on a fight-by-fight basis, but I can see myself going for another four, maybe five years … 2013, 2014, something like that," he said recently. "[Until I'm] around 40 years old, 39, 40, somewhere in there."

Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. ET -- Mosley Changes Trainers

Shane Mosley insists he is fully focused on WBA welterweight title holder Antonio Margarito, whom he meets at Staples Center here in Los Angeles on Saturday night -- and that he will need to be, given Margarito's ferocity in the ring. But were Mosley to be in any way distracted, he would certainly have good cause.

[+] EnlargeShane Mosley and Jack Mosley
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesFor the second time in his career, Mosley has cut professional ties with his father and trainer, Jack.
For one thing, he is reportedly in the midst of marital discord. In addition, for the second time in his career, Mosley has dumped his father, Jack, from his corner (the first time was after Winky Wright defeated Mosley in 2004), in favor of Bernard Hopkins' confidant and trainer Nazim Richardson.

"I just needed a different look, and me and my father were butting heads a little bit. I just needed a different change of pace and stuff, and I think that has worked out very well," Mosley told reporters last week. "You know with Nazim, he trains fighters that are amateurs and professionals. So he has both backgrounds, and sometimes when we turn pro we start forgetting different things about some of the things that got us to where we were at as the champions, [we] start lagging on different things.

"And I think that with his knowledge of training fighters on both sides of the spectrum, he has a broad view of everything. He sees a lot of different things, he watches a lot of films, watches a lot of fighters fight -- like I said, amateur and professionally. So I think that kind of rejuvenated me, bringing me back to life."

Wednesday, 11 a.m. ET -- It Never Rains in Southern California

After several cold weeks in Washington, D.C., it's nice to be in the balmy environs of the City of Angels for a few days, and back into the big-fight swing of things. Not that I necessarily needed to be here quite so early, as it turned out. Because I have largely covered only pay-per-views over the past couple of years, I'm used to the final prefight press conference being held on the Wednesday of fight week. Holding the presser earlier in the week allows for an extra day of media coverage, an extra day to sell the fight.

But this Saturday's Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley clash is on HBO World Championship Boxing, so the press conference will be held Thursday, across the street from the Staples Center, where the fight will be held.

The weigh-in will be Friday afternoon, as usual, and Saturday morning will see a pair of news conferences, to formally introduce the Top Rank/TV Azteca television deal and to kick off the final buildup for the Feb. 7 Vic Darchinyan-Jorge Arce fight. Given some of Darchinyan's proclamations so far, the presser should be lively and entertaining -- and of course, we'll have plenty of updates.

Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. ET -- The Case for Antonio Margarito

•  Margarito is a beast. He is strong and relentless. Is there any way Mosley can hold him off?

•  Margarito is a tall, strong welterweight. Mosley has traditionally had problems with taller, stronger fighters. (See: Wright; Forrest, Vernon.)

•  Although Mosley is a fast, skilled boxer, he is also a fighter. Especially as he has aged, he has shown a willingness to stand flat-footed and trade. Will he do that against Margarito, and if he does, will it prove to be a disadvantage?

•  Since 1996, Margarito is 22-1 with one no-contest as a welterweight, and 28-2 with one NC overall. Since 2005, he has beaten Kermit Cintron (twice), Joshua Clottey and Miguel Cotto. Mosley's last world-title win was a close points decision over Oscar De La Hoya in September 2003, and that win has been tainted by his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs beforehand. That means his last legitimate win in a world-title bout came against the overmatched Adrian Stone in July 2001.

•  What about all the external distractions buzzing around Mosley? He has separated (professionally) from his father for the second time; there are the questions about steroids. … Has any of this affected his preparation for the fight?

Wednesday, 10 a.m. ET -- The Case for Shane Mosley

•  Mosley has faster hands than Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto, whom Margarito just defeated.

•  Cotto fought in a way that made him especially vulnerable to Margarito: Firing off punches, then retreating; and leaning forward as he retreated, leaving himself especially vulnerable to Margarito's patented uppercuts. Mosley doesn't -- and won't -- fight that way.

•  Mosley has a world-class chin. He buckled under pressure against Cotto, but came back to finish strong when the two men fought at Madison Square Garden in 2007.

•  Mosley has the experience, foot speed and hand speed to trouble Margarito. He can keep the Mexican turning and prevent him from being able to pound away at him, the way Mosley was able to against Cotto.

•  Margarito is basking in the glow of his victory over Cotto. There have been some rumors that it has been a struggle for him to boil himself down to 147. Has he taken his eye off the ball?

Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. ET -- Margarito Talks to the Press

After Shane Mosley had spoken with the media, Antonio Margarito had some things to say, too:

"I really don't see that I have any advantages anywhere against him, I just think that my preparation, the way I work, the way I always come prepared for fights, that will carry me over. I know what I need to do to win fights, and I always come to do that. They say Mosley is old and all of this … I really don't see it. I think he's a great champion, I think he's a great fighter and I'm not going to underestimate him. I know what he's done and I'm coming in prepared because I believe this is my moment, this is my time to shine.

[+] EnlargeAntonio Margarito
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesWith his TKO victory over Cotto in their WBA welterweight title fight in July, Margarito entered a new stratosphere in boxing.
"Without a doubt, the Cotto fight was the best win of my career because he was, at the time, probably the best welterweight in the world. So my beating him obviously was the biggest fight, because now I'm the best one.

"You know, everywhere I go now it seems like I'm coming up to people, everybody wants my autograph, everybody wants to take a picture with me. I think it is more people coming up to me, and I think you can see that reflection on my popularity with the way the tickets are selling. I think without a doubt I've taken another step in my career."

Wednesday, 9 a.m. ET -- Mosley Talks to the Press

Shane Mosley spoke with reporters via conference call late last week. Some excerpts and highlights:

"If Margarito's body is open and he's giving it to me, then I'm going to take it. We definitely worked on that, and when you fight guys like Margarito you have to work on everything. You can't just work on boxing and movement, you have to work on punching as well, and targeting different spots of the body, different parts of the head.

"I'm not particularly trying to run away from his pressure, I'm trying to get my shots in, too -- but when I want to get them down, not when he says, 'Oh, you know, we want to fight now.' Maybe I don't want to fight in that second, maybe I want to turn the corner and then fight again.

"You know, I probably even feel more confident and comfortable than I did when I fought Oscar the first time. I feel comfortable and I'm confident that I'm going to do my job. I'm confident that I'm going to look spectacular. I'm confident that I'm going to be at my best. I'm confident that the fans around the world are going to be surprised and they'll be shocked. So I'm just very confident, and I'm trying not to be too confident and trying to keep my level head before I get into the ring."

Darius Ortiz is ESPN.com's boxing editor.
Kieran Mulvaney covers boxing for ESPN.com and Reuters.