By Jake Donovan
Almost despite itself, the show goes on for Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga.
The pair of aged former champs square off in a sequel to their Sept. ’08 clash, with part two taking place Saturday evening at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The show will be distributed live through Integrated Media Pay-Per-View (Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET, $49.95 SRP)
Back when they first met seven years ago, Mosley (47-9-1, 39KO) scored a literal last-second knockout, dropping and stopping Mayorga just before the final bell to end the 12th and final round. The win came some 10 months after what was believed to be the end of his days at the top level, when the former three-division champ fell just short versus then-unbeaten welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto.
Instead, he parlayed the win over Mayorga into not just one more big payday, but a career resurrection. Antonio Margarito became the first to defeat Cotto, stopping him in the 10th round of their first fight in July ’08. Accusations of cheating retroactively surfaced, but not until the moments before his Jan. ’09 HBO-televised clash with Mosley, when Margarito’s team was caught attempting to load his handwraps.
From there it became easy pickings for Mosley, who delivered a heroic beatdown en route to a 9th round knockout win. It was his last great performance, going 1-4-1 in his last six fights. Losses to Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez were to be expected; more towards the disappointment end were his draw with Sergio Mora and the final fight of his career in Nov. ‘13, a 7th round injury stoppage loss to Anthony Mundine in Sydney, Australia.
Of the belief that his career deserved better than to end on a ring stool on the other side of the world, Mosley decided he had more left to offer the sport. He spent the better part of the past year trying to find the perfect time and place for a rematch with Mayorga, who hit his career ceiling in the mid-2000s.
Mayorga’s rise to fame was entirely attributable to a pair of wins over Vernon Forrest, the first man to beat Mosley. The first win over Mayorga over the late Forrest came in their Jan. ’03 welterweight unification bout, scoring a shocking 3rd round knockout. The rematch six months later was far more competitive, but with the Nicaraguan brawler claiming a narrow decision win.
A career-best year was upended, however, by second-generation boxer Cory Spinks, who became World welterweight champ with a decision win over Mayorga in their three-belt unification bout in Dec. ’03. Another title reign came in 2005, when Mayorga picked up a vacant 154 lb. belt. The reign was short-lived, as he suffered a 6th round knockout loss in what served as a widely celebrated comeback fight of Oscar de la Hoya, who returned in May ’06 following a 20-month ring hiatus.
Mayorga insisted he was done following a Mar. ’11 knockout loss to Miguel Cotto, but of course became just one of many tall tales told by the troubled brawler. He has since scored two wins over non-descript competition, and was aided to victory by Mosley over Don King in a Miami courtroom to allow this fight to happen.
Doing his part to “sell” the fight, Mayorga returned to his old antics throughout fight week. His infamous ass slap of Mosley’s girlfriend during Tuesday’s press conference produced conflicting takes on whether or not the incident was staged.
Not drawing any sympathy, however, was his lack of discipline in the gym, as Mayorga was reportedly 15 lbs. over the contracted 158 lb. limit heading into fight week. Mosley agreed to modify the maximum limit, though with Mayorga force to pay 20% of his guaranteed purse of $250,000 in order to weigh in at basically whatever weight he could make.
Onto fight night, for those who dare to watch.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: SHANE MOSLEY vs. RICARDO MAYORGA
Jake Donovan (Mosley UD): Seemed to be the course of action in the last fight until Mosley landed a last-second home run shot. He hasn’t shown that type of power in more than five years. Unless Mayorga is completely weight-drained and lifeless, the guess here is he finds a way to hear the final bell, but winning very little of the fight in the process.
Michael Gibbons (Mosley TKO9): Real prediction is TKO1 to any fan who pays $50 for this show.
Peter Lim (Mosley TKO9): Father time seems to have eroded Mosley and Mayorga equally so both are proportionately older, slower, creakier versions of their former selves. This will simply be a lamer, tamer version of their first encounter. Mayorga's machismo will keep him competitive for the first half of the fight but he will incrementally fade and run out of steam in subsequent rounds. Mosley will pace himself better and stop Mayorga, who appears more exhausted than hurt, in the ninth round.
Takahiro Onaga (Mosley UD): I must admit I'm not taken in by this one at all. I see Mosely winning a dull battle between very shot fighters.
Cliff Rold (Mosley KO): He knocked him out while both were still relevant. Don't see any reason for a change on the old man circuit.
Victor Salazar (Mosley late TKO or Dec): The build up to the fight is probably the most entertaining portion of two faded veterans choosing to fight again. The drama of a possible Don King suit and Mayorga slapping Mosley’s women’s ass is about all the action worth of noting in this fight. Maybe Mosley can get a knockout of what looked to be an overweight Mayorga or maybe it goes to a decision. With a price tag of 49.95 attached to this fight, I assume many fight fans’ eyes will be glued to Mares-Santa Cruz over this bout. Either way Mosley wins, whether you pay to watch or not.
Reynaldo Sanchez (Mosley UD): At some point, Mayorga will have to find a way to knock out Mosley. The power is the last thing to go on a fighter, and he doesn’t have any chance to win on points. Two different life styles, and two different boxers. Perhaps Mosley has the physical conditions to go to 12 rounds if he needs to.
Alexey Sukachev (Mosley UD): This is such a patethic fight! But I'd go with Mosley who is a better boxer and maybe a bigger puncher. This time, however, Mayorga will go the distance.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.
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