At the crossroads, Mosley and Vargas get set to collide

13.12.05 - By Andy Meacock: Isnít it amazing how things in life can change?. Things change fast. They change fast in boxing also. On February 25th 2006, ĎSugarí Shane Mosley and ĎFerociousí Fernando Vargas will face off at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

This fight is intriguing to me. My birthday is five days earlier and I consider this fight a gift to myself and other boxing fans out there. Itís intriguing in the sense that you have two guys who are arguably faded but yet this fight makes so much sense and therefore generates hype.

Faded, jaded or even damaged. They are harsh words to describe boxers but itís arguable that they are appropriate in the cases of Mosley and Vargas.

In the case of Vargas, you have a guy who has fought the best light middleweight division has to offer. He defeated guys like Winky Wright, Ike Quartey and recently Javier Castillejo. But letís be real here the average fan doesnít remember him for those fights, they remember him for his technical knock out losses to future hall of famers Felix Trinidad and Oscar de la Hoya. Vargasí fight with de la Hoya was a huge PPV success due to the phenomenal popularity of de la Hoya but also because of a well publicised grudge between them.

Vargas learnt a lesson in humiliating fashion that evening. All his trash talking came back to hit him hard like a karma train as de la Hoyaís potent left hook sent him spinning in the eleventh round. It was a tough lesson for young Vargas and a punishing loss. Now credit must go to Vargas who appears to be a much more mature and respectful boxer these days. Iím always pleased to see respect between fighters and Vargas is acting like a gentleman.

The question on Vargas is whether he still has the ability to perform to the same level that he was at prior to the defeats he experienced. I like many am doubtful that heíll ever be quite as aggressive as he was. Many people think that Vargas was thrown to the wolves too soon in his career but I disagree. Chances in life have to be taken when they are there and Vargas was right to step up and accept those fights.

Since those fights Vargas has fought a few times against generally mediocre opposition and hasnít looked dazzling. In fairness to Vargas heís had several problems with his back and his weight, these problems have hampered him but nonetheless Vargas doesnít seem to be the animal he was prior to his losses.

Since returning from injury Vargas has adopted a cautious style that has seen him win fights on points. I wasnít impressed at all by his last fights and not many others were impressed either. Vargas has promised to come out with all guns blazing on February 25th, itíll be interesting to see.

Now when you look at Shane Mosley, you have a guy who has had a lot of success but lost his way slightly in recent years. Mosley was a monster at lightweight. It must be said that he tended to be bigger than most of his opponents but it must also be said that he was lightening quick and had some seriously impressive combinations.

Of course, the fight that people remember Mosley for is his victory in the year 2000 over de la Hoya. It was a truly great fight and Mosley was electric that night. Since that point his career has not looked brilliant. Heís lost four times overall, twice to Winky Wright and twice to Vernon Forrest. He did defeat de la Hoya a second time in 2003 but whatever your view on who deserved the decision, Mosley wasnít that impressive. That fight was a stark contrast to the first time they fought in 2000.

It must be said that Mosley probably didnít belong at light middleweight. He was facing opponents that were naturally larger than him and his power didnít seem to carry that far. He has looked at bit better since returning to the welterweight division but I still donít believe weíve seen a great Mosley fight since the de la Hoya fight in 2000.

So can Mosley find that confidence to be the great fighter we knew a few years back?.

Confidence is very delicate in the sense that it can take years to gain and seconds to lose. I think that when Mosley lost to Forrest it took a chunk of his confidence and I donít think that confidence has fully returned yet.

The truth is that Mosleyís future is as unpredictable as Vargasí future is as we donít know how much these guys have left or if they are damaged fighters.

This is why this is a great fight because both men realise that this may be the last chance that they have to shine. A defeat for either man could spell doom for their careers as they will probably be considered, Ďhas beensí.

Fair or unfair, a defeat for either man will probably be fatal for their career.

So whoís going to win the fight?

This is a tough one to call but Iím going to side with Mosley on the basis that heís faster than Vargas. I acknowledge that his hand speed isnít what it was when he was at lightweight but he is still quicker than Vargas. I donít believe that Mosley has the power to stop Vargas, although Vargasí chin has been questionable in the past. Even if Mosley does drop Vargas then itís extremely likely that Vargas will get back up and I just canít see Mosley stopping Vargas. My prediction is a fairly close decision victory going Mosleyís way but a fight like this could go either way and it has the potential to be an epic.

Article posted on 14.12.2005

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