Boxing

Margarito-Mosley: Keys to victory, 4 to explore, and official prediction

By Vivek Wallace: Tonight's showdown between welterweights Antonio Margarito (37-5, 27KO's) and 'Sugar' Shane Mosley (45-5, 38KO's) should go down as nothing short of an absolute war! This epic battle pairs the former king of the welterweight division and the man who currently owns the title. Fortunately for fight fans around the globe this one won't be a pay-per-view telecast because this fight embodies everything a fan of the sport would want to see, and everything those borderline fans need to see to make a final conversion. As we prepare to see this potential "fight of the year" candidate unfold, we take a last glimpse at "keys to victory" for each man, four potentially pivotal elements surrounding the fight in our "4 to explore" segment, and finally, an official prediction..

Antonio Margarito - Keys To Victory: For Antonio Margarito, things boil down to the two P's in the pod. Pressure and patience. Margarito will need to exercise that same iron-clad will we saw against Cotto that basically exudes the words "if you won't fall now, we can always yell timber later"! Mosley will go to the body and do many other things to frustrate him, but as long as Margarito maintains the poise he did against Cotto, it'll be all for not. One other thing that will be pivotal for Margarito is his ability to cut off the ring and nullify escape angles that Mosley will undoubtedly pursue when things start to get hot. Later in the fight, another key to victory for Margarito will come with his patented uppercut. Mosley is susceptible to the quick body-head combination, particularly on the left side. If Margo can set the trap early by landing the right jab, then follow it up with a left hook to the body and the right uppercut, we may see Mosley more stunned than we ever have. Mosley has been susceptible to big right hands fairly often in the past, so if he comes in expecting it, it won't be there for Margarito as easily. If Margarito lays the traps properly, he will get the opportunity to land his 'money' shot - the uppercut, which is effective with both hands - and potentially get Shane in trouble. All of these things are vital, but if Margarito can somehow find a way to stick to this gameplan and remain patient with pressure, there's no way he loses this fight.

Shane Mosley - Keys To Victory: For Shane Mosley, there are a number of things that will be key for him, but one thing in particular could outweigh them all. That one thing is his current mindset. A man in the midst of steroid allegations and family struggles that appear to be headed to divorce court isn't exactly the guy you want to sit down at a table with a number two pencil and and a scan-tron to take the biggest test of his life. Most professionals would feel they'd be able to "put things to the side" when preparing for such an event, but lets be real, that's indeed too much weight for one brain to take. Assuming he's able to move beyond that concern, the next major key for Mosley is gonna be his ability to turn the tides on Margarito. Nasim Richardson made Bernard Hopkins do that to Kelly Pavlik. I expect the same gameplan tonight. Some think footwork for Mosley would be more vital and for a brief while it may, but the best results for him will come if he can disengage the 'bomb' by using its main ingredient against it. No one - (in recent times) - has ever made Margarito fight going backwards. He was able to force Cotto (another fighter who never experienced that either) to do the same and it paid dividends for him. Mosley will have to press the action at points and hold his ground firmly. The speed of Mosley and his rapid combinations will allow him to potentially get the nod with the judges in close rounds, so if he's able to stand his ground and not be pushed back too much for too long, that'll effectively take away the whole 'effective aggression' argument from Margarito which is his lifeline against a guy who's easily faster than him. If Mosley can stay in the pocket enough to land combinations and not be pushed around, he will do enough in the mind of the judges to solidify a victory.

4 To Explore

Midnight Snack - Will Margarito's early and often trips to the 'rib-buffet' make Mosley a dead man walking by the championship rounds of the fight? If worn down, we may witness the first time that Mosley actually gets stopped.

Film Projection - Miguel Cotto refuses to watch his opponents by breaking down film. Mosley is the exact opposite. Could this one difference be thee difference in the execution of a team strategy designed to propel Mosley to victory?

On your mark, get set.... - Antonio Margarito was burned by starting late against Paul Williams. Can he afford to make that same mistake against a fast puncher like Mosley? Or better yet, will he be dumb enough to do it, I guess is a better question.

Changin' Faces- Will Mosley be setback mentally between rounds by seeing a new face in his corner and an old face missing from the crowd? (referring to wife Jin - who apparently won't be present)

Margarito/Mosley - Final Prediction: The term war of attrition is a bit out-dated and over-used, but truthfully, I can't find a better way to narrow down the way I see this fight playing out. You have two fighters who have roughly two or three trips to the deck between them, neither in which has ever been knocked out, and everything in the world to fight for between them. What more could a fight fan ask for? I can see this fight going either way. I started out leaning Margarito; Curved that prediction to team Mosley....Now, I guess I'm right back at square one! After breaking down some fight footage and reviewing other material, one thing in particular stands out. Since 2001, Shane Mosley has only knocked out Fernando Vargas and Ricardo Mayorga - which was a last second of the last round deal. The fact that Mosley was actually losing on one of the score cards, and only ahead by a point on the other in a fight against a guy whose aggression pales in comparison to that of Margarito's was enough to make me 'lean' like the tower of Pisa. Solidifying the pick for me was my son, who most may remember stands 7-0 in the last seven mega fights. He called for a Margarito KO, which I wasn't initially bold enough to do, but what can I say? I think this victory becomes the '8th wonder' in a row for him, and once again it appears the little guy may be on to something!

Antonio Margarito - 11th round TKO

(Got questions or feedback? Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, follow his work at 8CountNews and The Examiner, or show some love at Myspace).

Article posted on 24.01.2009



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