The New and Improved Shane Mosley Wrecks Antonio Margarito in Nine

Shane MosleyBy Frank Gonzalez Jr. Saturday night in Los Angeles, 30 year old, former WBA Welterweight titlist Antonio “Tijuana Tornado” Margarito (37-6, 27 KO’s) saw his iron chin turned to tin, as he was beaten in every round by 37 year old “Sugar” Shane Mosley (46-5, 38 KO’s), who peppered Margarito with his jab and hammered him with his right hand, silencing the pro-Margarito crowd at the Staples Center as he broke Margarito down, culminating in a knockout in the ninth round.

If this fight reminded anyone of Hopkins’ performance against Kelly Pavlik a few months ago, the common denominator is Mosley’s new trainer, Nasim Richardson, the same guy who trained Bernard Hopkins for his fight against Pavlik, which produced a similar result, minus the knockout. Seems that Richardson is big on being aggressive and fighting the full three minutes of every round. It worked like a charm for Mosley against the slower Margarito, who was unable to land many clean shots and whenever he did, Mosley answered with double the trouble.

Shane Mosley has always been a very good fighter, with quick hands, good body work, respectable power, ring savvy and he’s a nice guy who’s easy to root for. But what he showed on Saturday night was ‘the new and improved’ Shane Mosley—a most dangerous fighter. As usual, Mosley looked to be in great shape and forget about steroids, I doubt Mosley is comfortable taking castor oil after the whole BALCO scandal, which has been a source of much stress for the new WBA titlist.

Mosley seemed to build on the strategy he used against Cotto, only with more focus on being the aggressor. The strategy was simple, take the fight to Margarito, keep the jab popping to set up the right hands and keep him out of any kind of rhythm. Mosley gets an A for execution. I have been watching him fight for many years and this was the most impressive performance I’ve ever seen from him.

After his fight with Ricardo Mayorga last year, Mosley looked sluggish as both guys stumbled into the late rounds of a fight where Mosley scored a knockout with one click left on the clock. It was an impressive victory with an asterisk, since Mayorga is quite faded by now and actually was able to go a full twelve rounds against Mosley, who has clearly taken better care of his body than Mayorga has over the years.

Margarito’s last outing saw him lose a majority of rounds to Miguel Cotto, who boxed outside, darting in and out with offense and doing a lot of running in between. Cotto certainly didn’t have the kind of chin that could withstand too many shots from the bigger Margarito, who pressured Cotto all night and taxed all his stamina by the late rounds, which is when Margarito usually seems to get stronger. After getting tagged repeatedly in the tenth, Cotto was ripe for the KO in the eleventh, when he took a knee twice and ultimately surrendered in the prayer position.

In Football, they say, “on any given Sunday.” The same applies in boxing because on any given night, who knows who will beat who in a well matched fight. The thing is; I didn’t expect Mosley to bring so much energy and focus into this fight, especially after what I saw in his last outing. But a new trainer and a barrage of personal problems somehow found Mosley focused like a laser beam and showing great stamina against a man who usually gets stronger in the late rounds and can definitely take a punch. Mosley landed so many punches that Margarito went down in the eighth round and was saved by the bell after beating the count.

Margarito’s corner wanted to throw in the towel but Antonio implored his corner to let him continue. In the next round, Shane went for the finish and blasted Margarito from pillar to post until the referee, Raul Caiz Sr. stepped between them to stop the fight only 43 seconds into the round. Mosley wins by TKO 9. Wow!

And so the picture changes again at Welterweight, possibly the most exciting division in boxing. Too bad boxing don’t do allow for unified champions anymore. In a perfect world, there’d be a tournament between the major belt holders, which includes Andre Berto (WBC), Josh Clottey (IBF) and Miguel Cotto, who is being set up to win the WBO title in February when he fights little known Michael Jennings (34-1, 16 KO’s) for the vacated WBO strap. Cotto supposedly will fight a rematch against Antonio Margarito a few months afterwards. It will be interesting to see what adjustments both fighters make in that one. If Margarito is smart, he will learn from this loss and be a better fighter for it. Same goes for Cotto after losing to Margarito last year

There’s been some talk of Manny Pacquaio wanting to fight at Welterweight and that could add some pepper to the soup. Tall Paul Williams is another guy who floats from division to division and is a dangerous proposition for anyone from 146-160 pounds. And it’s only January! 2009 could be a year of great match ups. Time will tell.

Congratulations to Shane Mosley! He showed that he still is a major force to be reckoned with at Welterweight. The way Shane beat Margarito was so impressive that if the ‘new and improved’ Shane Mosley can repeat that kind of an effort, he could be the best fighter in the division.

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Article posted on 25.01.2009

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