Mosley Drops Margarito in the 8th & Stops Him in the 9th!

Shane MosleyBy Paul Strauss: Tornadic Winds dissipated under a Sweet Cool Front at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA. A capacity crowd found out Antonio Margarito is human after all. Nazim Richardson said it best between rounds when he told Sugar Shane, "Knock the grease off of this dude!"

Sugar followed orders and proceeded to do it with a variety of punches. Every time the Tijuana Tornado would try to build up any speed, the Cool Front would break him down. It started that way and continued from round one until the once thought invincible Tony wilted under the onslaught at 2:15 of the ninth round.

Boxing is great..............first Hopkins upsets Pavlik; then the Pac Man stops the Golden Boy, and now the granite jawed Margarito is stopped by a 37 yr old fighter, whom many thought had seen his better days. Wow! And, we're not even through the month of January yet. What a great year of boxing this portends!

Strategy was the key to this fight. In the post-fight interview, Larry Merchant attempted to get Sugar Shane to "encapsulate" his fight plan. Shane's initial reaction was to chuckle a bit, not because he thought it was a foolish question, but because he knew it wouldn't be that easy to provide a simple explanation. The fight plan or strategy involved doing many things, some of which were small, but important and necessary.

One of the first things Shane pointed out was the obvious, and that was recognition of the fact that Antonio Margarito is a warrior and would be "coming into Shane's punches". Not only did that mean Shane didn't have to look for him, it also meant the force of Shane's punches would be magnified by Tony's forward motion.

Larry Merchant also asked Shane to rate his performance on a scale of one to ten. Shane said he didn't know, and would like to see a film of the fight before he could realistically do so, but he quickly added, "My punches were a 10!" He used them all too....i.e. jabs, body shots, straight rights, looping rights, left hooks, hooks off the jab, range finders, uppercuts and so forth.

Sugar Shane started the fight with good movement, a stiff jab to the body and head, and hard right hands to the body. When Margarito made any attempt to be the aggressor, Sugar Shane would tie him up, unlike Miquel Cotto, who when landing effective shots would then attempt to back out, or move to the side. That strategy played right into Margarito's hands, as it allowed him to follow right after him, keeping up the pressure, and unloading with his own shots, especially with the left hook and uppercut.

Sugar Shane made good use of his own right hand, going both to the head and body, which not only hurt Margarito, but also kept Tony's left occupied with defense, and negated its use. Shane did a great job of reading Margarito's telling movement before he unloads with the left, which enabled Shane to beat him to the punch. Tony tends to first paw out with a right, using it as more of a detraction than a hard punch. Then he leans in and to his left before unloading with his left uppercut. Shane would read the move and time his response perfectly.

Much of the time Sugar Shane also nullified Margarito's attempt to come straight in with his head low by getting under with his own head. There were several minor clashes of heads, but neither fighter was penalized. There also was only one incident when the referee warned about "roughhouse tactics". That occurred as a result of both fighters trying to muscle the other on the inside. After the warning, it no longer seemed to be a problem.

Mosley convincingly won every round until the fifth, when both fighters slowed a bit, catching their wind. But, Mosley would still stay off of the ropes, and in fact if his back touched them at all, he would propel himself forward with counters, or tie up Tony, rendering him ineffective.

In between rounds, Nazim reminded Mosley to stay with the game plan, and not to forget about the body. From the third round on, Margarito's corner was telling him to relax and not to clinch. They also wanted him to throw his right hand more, explaining to Tony that Shane was open for it. The fifth round ended with a good exchange.

Sugar Shane started out the sixth round by landing a very good right hand. There was another clash of heads, and then Mosley landed a hard left jab to Tony's body. Soon, Shane had maneuvered Tony against the ropes, and was able to keep him there. That was obviously foreign territory for the Tornado, who was used to moving forward, chewing up everything in his pathway. At the end of the round, Tony's corner knew something was amiss, asking him, if he was tired? He said, “No”. Nazim's instructions to Shane were simple.........”Stay with the game plan!”

The seventh round once again had Tony with his back against the ropes, so his actions in the sixth were not an oddity, and something that was not going to be remedied. No, Mosley was definitely controlling the action and Tony was frustrated and tired; although, he did manage a rally at the end of the round. His corner once again pleaded with him to relax and to attack and to attack again.

But, when the eighth round started, Mosley came out of his corner, and winked to someone in the audience. He was the relaxed one, and he was the one ready to attack. Manny Steward commented that Mosley couldn't miss with the right hand, and he couldn't. Well, he almost couldn't, with the exception of a wild right uppercut that missed by a lot, but it only set up a long left that landed right on the button. It was the beginning of the end. Margarito was visibly hurt, and Mosley pressed the attack, knocking Tony down as the round closed. The bell sounded, giving Margarito a bit of a respite.

At that point, Margarito's corner considered having the fight stopped, but Margarito wanted to go down fighting, so he came out for the ninth. He tried to valiantly fight on, but he was getting tagged with just about everything Mosley was throwing. Tony's Achilles heel had been discovered by Shane and his team, and the telling arrow(s) found their mark. One more mythological figure was dealt with in the squared circle. The factual basis read stoppage at 2:15 seconds of the ninth round. All the pre-fight hyperbole and references to possible distractions meant nothing, as once again Sugar proved to be Sweet!

Article posted on 25.01.2009

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