Can Sugar Outlast A Tornado?

By Gerard Wilson: On Saturday Jan. 24th, 2009 boxing fans will be treated to a non PPV world title bout, which will provide plenty of intrigue. Will Shane Mosley make a case that he is still relevant at age 37? Will Antonio Margarito continue his reign as one of the top 2 fighters (the other being Paul Williams in my opinion) at 147 lbs? We will definitely have our answers when Antonio Margarito defends his WBA Welterweight title against “Sugar” Shane Mosley, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles..

When we last saw “The Tijuana Tornado” in the ring, he was celebrating a career defining win over Miguel Cotto. The Cotto fight garnered mainstream focus on Margarito, as he overcame the early rounds’ brilliance of Cotto.

In turn, we witnessed Margarito unleash a vicious body attack that overwhelmed Cotto in the 11th round. The fight versus Cotto served notice to this writer that there were few established boxing “stars” who would risk taking on Margarito.

Shane Mosley has always been a fighter to “take on all comers”. I remember his 4 fights against 2 fighters that were avoided throughout the early of portion of this decade: Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright. I gained the same type of respect for Mosley in those 4 losses, in which I gained for Evander Holyfield for taking on the toughest opposition. In a day and age where many well known fighters go out of their way to avoid “bad stylistic match ups”, it has always been refreshing to watch Mosley not avoid those types of fighters.

Now we come to this Saturday’s match up. On paper, this fight looks like an uphill battle for Shane Mosley. Antonio Margarito is the younger fighter (at age 30), bigger fighter, and some could even argue the hungrier fighter. However, Shane Mosley is a proud “warrior” in the ring and has been on this big stage before and has big fight experience on his side. For Mosley, I question if he will be able to mix a blend of boxing and brawling and have success. Simply put, I feel that is his only chance to win the fight, as he is clearly the better “technical fighter”. Also, one has to wonder if Mosley’s new trainer Nazim Richardson brings anything to the table to present Margarito with problems. This is no slight on Richardson, but veteran fighters like Shane are hard to change in terms of style. One has to ponder if Shane’s big heart will suck him into a brawl.

Margarito is a pressure fighter, who comes forward every second of every round. He has the ability to methodically break down his opponent with pressure and volume punching. This type or pressure led to the demise of notable fighters such as Kermit Cintron (twice) and most recently Miguel Cotto.

Many feel that Margarito is susceptible to being attacked to the body, as he leaves it open. Recently during a conference call, Mosley was asked about attacking Margarito to the body: “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, different parts positioning. I think that’s what Nazim is very good at -- pinpointing different spots of the body and (giving me shots). So I think it’s going to be, well I know it’s going to be, a great night.”

Other fighters who had a plan to attack Margarito’s body abandoned the plan, due to Margarito’s pressure. Shane will need to avoid making the same mistake that Miguel Cotto made, and that is to “head hunt” on Margarito.

With all of this said, I am going to go with conventional wisdom and pick Margarito to win a competitive fight by decision. However, it would not shock me if Mosley were able to pull off the upset.

Article posted on 23.01.2009

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