By Julius Secker: The fight between Floyd Money Mayweather Jr. (40-0) and Sugar Shane Mosley (46-5) on May 1st at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will be one of those rare occasions. This will be the first time since Felix Trinidad-Oscar De La Hoya, where you will have two consensus top 3 current- pound for pound fighters going in to battle each-other. And it will be a battle between two guys who were once considered the best in the sport. (Mayweather was considered the best from 2005 until early 2008, while Mosley was considered the best from late 2000 to the beginning of 2002). It is also a fight between 2 future hall of famers who have won titles in multiple weight divisions.(Mosley 3, Mayweather 5) In fact, this is the most important fight between non heavyweight American fighters since Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard.. Folks, this fight is that big. This is a fight between 2 of this generations best fighters, probably both in the top 10 pound for pound over the last twenty years. Mosley and Mayweather may be past their best,(Mosley more so then Mayweather) but so were Hagler and Leonard when they fought. To put it mildly, this has the makings of a classic. Or at least we can hope for one.
You can count on your hand over the last 20 years, when two of the consensus current top 3 fighters pound for pound stepped into the ring. In 1999 Felix Trinidad took on Oscar De La Hoya in battle of 2 and 3.(Roy Jones Jr. was the consensus number 1) While Julio Cesar Chavez took on Pernell Whitaker in 1993 in a battle of 1 vs. 2. I can’t think of any other times this has happened in the last 20 years.( I believe Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manual Marquez in 2008 was a battle of 2 vs. 4 at the time) There have been other huge fights between great fighters, but most didn’t have this much significance as this one will. While it would have been great to see Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather go at it in a battle of 1 vs. 2. This fight is every bit as important for legacy as a Pacquiao fight would have been for either fighter.
Also from 154 pounds on down. These are 2 of the top 3 American fighters since the Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Aaron Pryor era. (Pernell Whitaker is in the top 3 as well) Some may try and argue that Oscar De La Hoya belongs, but he is 0-3 in his attempts against Mosley and Mayweather. This is actually a contest of the best fighting the best. Legend on Legend. A win by either fighter would elevate each historically. Plus it even makes the showdown between the winner and Manny Pacquiao that much bigger.
All great fights and match-ups need great history to make a potential classic. Leonard needed Hearns, Hagler needed Hearns, and Leonard needed Hagler. Great fighters need each-other to prove their worth. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley need each other right now, not only to make a ton of money, but to add to their legacy. Their history began at the end of 1998. It was when Floyd Mayweather Jr, a spectacular Jr. lightweight champion, took home the Ring Magazine fighter of the year award. But another equally brilliant fighter, only fighting 5 pounds above Mayweather took home the Boxing Writers Association fighter of the year award. His name was Sugar Shane Mosley. Thus the debate began, who would win if they ever fought. The potential match-up even made the cover of KO magazine in 1999. I remember the barrooms discussion, who had faster hands, Mosley or Mayweather Jr? Who was more stylish? Who was better?
As the years passed, both earned wins over the brilliant Oscar De La Hoya, but they still never crossed paths. Much was made of who was ducking who. Mosley said Mayweather, Mayweather said Mosley. And eventually it all came to a head last year, when Mosley called out Mayweather after Money’s fantastic win over Juan Manuel Marquez. After that event and the Mayweather-Pacquiao fallout, the fight became a natural once again.
This is a huge event that warrants the cover of Sports Illustrated, ESPN magazine etc. It probably won’t get it, because some people are still sour about the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr fight not happening. And because boxing is not anywhere near the status it once was. But make no mistake, this fight is as good as it gets now a days.
This fight is Mayweather’s brilliance vs. Mosley’s power. Mosley’s aggression and desire vs. Mayweather’s skill and grace. It Mayweather’s defense vs. Mosley’s offense. Mayweather’s trash talk vs. Mosley’s mild mannered demeanor. Ying vs. Yang. Mayweather likes to the be the villian, while Mosley wants to be the hero. If you like Star Wars, think of Mayweather as Darth Vader, and Shane Mosley as Luke Skywalker. The question is will this be the Empire Strikes Back, or will it be the Return of the JedI? Can Nazim Richardson be Yoda for Mosley? Or will the Mayweather empire continue domination of the sport? It is May 1st and it is as good as boxing gets. Mayweather is the betting favorite while Mosley is the live dog. So I guess, I should ask the question, who are you picking?