Mosley - Mora: No Draw

By Julie Cockerham - The pay-per-view bout between Shane Mosley and Sergio Mora seemed appetizing enough to generate at least modest buys on the surface. If for nothing else, the under card was stocked with better than the usual filler material. Most notable was the appearance of the red headed Mexican prospect, Saul Alvarez, who gave a solid demonstration of his promise by knocking out Carlos Baldomir. Alvarez has a game and brave approach, but Golden Boy should take its time in placing him against any seasoned contenders.

For his part, Alvarez showed wisdom, admitting in his post fight interview to Larry Merchant that he was in no rush. Oscar De La Hoya had earlier drawn comparisons between himself and Alvarez when he emphasized his strong appeal with the ladies. Hereís to the hope that there will be no hasty responses to the jingle of excess pocket change. Hereís to the hope that Alvarez will be given time to develop, and will not be thrown at his tender age into the territory of a wolf with his bite still intact. The sport canít afford to throw away prospects so carelessly. It doesnít need the additional trouble..

As for the main event, it promised to deliver with at least marginal interest the resolution to the common link between Mosley and Mora, the puzzle that was the late Vernon Forrest. Both fought him twice. Mora won a majority decision against Forrest in June 2008, then lost the rematch via unanimous decision three months later. Mosley lost both of his fights with Forrest by unanimous decision back in 2002.

Every boxing fan has an opinion on the current condition of Shane Mosley. Heís up in age for the profession, no doubt, and that unavoidably brings about a gradual (sometimes rapid) decline in all that was golden in a fighterís arsenal. Even as a younger man, Mosley was cited for his difficulties with maneuvering against taller opponents. What would a reduced Sugar make of that disadvantage now? Mora had the height advantage here, but he didnít use it. In truth, any legitimately threatening traits that were attributed to Mora before the bout didnít show up on that night.

Yet, somehow, the display between the two fighters ended in a draw.

Lousy, unconscionable, and sometimes downright horrifying decisions are not a modern invention in boxing. Anyone following the sport for any length of time has seen them. But nowadays, these crooked results bear greater insult. Unseemly issues abound; one more is pure overkill.

The climate is not a good one. Intrigue within the heavyweight division does not exist. Itís a well publicized problem, because casual fans in past years have been galvanized by the excitement of big men busting each other up in significant and memorable bouts. Without the dynamic and foreboding presence of a heavyweight star, many of the casual fans have sought greener pastures. There are too many belts and too many belt holders. The dream of unifying a division has a less solid grounding in reality than it used to. Undisputed champions are rare. Those were the men whose faces became recognizable to the general sports fan.

In a sport that requires such discipline and fortitude of its practitioners, itís a tragedy when the rewards are not given out in kind. The judgesí panel is a dangerous place for a fighter to entrust the evaluation of his labor. For the boxer, it is a risk to assume the integrity of these observers, or rely on a fighting style that only leads to points accrual, because even the smartest and slickest performers can be foiled by a surprising judgment. Itís hard to prove from a distance what goes on behind the scenes, but compelling evidence in these cases is offered up shamelessly with each confounding score.

What of the fighter who is not commercially popular in the generic sense? What of the fighter who doesnít guarantee to produce millions of dollars, but who fights hard, and who wins by a comfortable margin to the eyes of acute and experienced onlookers? The judgesí cards should guarantee a favorable result for that fighter, but they often donít. Marketability is crucial, and in cases of bad decisions, its importance resonates more powerfully than reality.

With the fight between Mosley and Mora, one must ask what the judges were seeing. One had it even, one had Mora ahead by two rounds. Only one judge had Mosley winning by a margin of four rounds. How can it be? Sergio Mora spent his entire time in the ring in flight. He was not controlling the ring, nor was he purposefully dictating the tempo of the action. In the earlier rounds, he rarely threw punches. If his tactic was to be aggressive while in regress, he should be reminded that there are few boxers who can effectively control the action moving backwards. Floyd Mayweather does this effortlessly, but the difference between Mayweather and Mora is glaring. Backward movement is good for counter punchers with excellent defense, timing, and balance. It can serve to lure the opponent into a trap, creating only an illusion of retreat and imminent surrender. But this was not what Moraís actions succeeded in doing.

Instead, Mosley was forced to chase Mora around the ring. In the corner between rounds, he appeared more winded by the sprinting than he did by any other exertion. Throughout the fight, Mosley kept punching, and though he didnít enliven the audience with a blistering connect rate, at least he was fighting. Mora didnít come to life until the later rounds, when he remembered his fists had a purpose, and he let them go with little effect.

Mosleyís reaction to the result was eerily passive. He should have been more supportive of his own performance. At this stage of his career, his days of courting the powers that be are far behind him. He is a fighter with his own legacy already carved out. There is no one left to impress. The sadness is that the lone draw that marks his record was actually a clear win.

It was an unsatisfying end to a tragic conclusion.

Article posted on 20.09.2010

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