Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sugar Shane Can Win, And Here's How... Part 2

by Lee Payton

Shane Mosley will attempt to make history this Saturday night, when he enters the ring with relentless Mexican fighting machine, Antonio Margarito, who is seen as the #1 welterweight in the world. The Tijuana Tornado is in the middle of a scary prime, and he is a prohibitive favourite to prevail, but Sugar Shane has never backed down from anyone.

In part 1, we examined the last time these two men were between the ropes. We also touched on their fighting reputations, and came to the conclusion that this fight will be something new and could be something special. In part 2 we'll take a closer look at how they stack up against each other and discuss some of the intangibles that Shane might be able to take advantage of on fight night.

© 2008 Ray Kasprowicz

Now for the physical ingredients. Here is a list of some important categories, and who I think holds the edge in each.

Age- Advantage Margarito. He's 30 to Shane's 37. Not much can be argued there. I'll just say that Shane is a dedicated prize fighter, who is always in shape. Tony is a similar kind of gym rat, but he has taken more than his share pf punches over a hard career, and you never know when that can show up.

Size- Even. Some would say that Antonio is bigger, but I disagree. Sure, Mosley boiled his body down to lightweight, but he was really a welterweight during his reign. Both are 147 lbers who have dabbled in the jr middleweight division. They are also basically eye to eye.

Power- Mosley has the bigger single shot. Margarito can also punch, but not quite as hard.

Hand Speed- Mosley, without a doubt.

Foot Speed- Mosley again, though he plants his feet most of the time these days.

Body Punching- Margarito goes there more often these days. His commitment to the ribs may bring out some of Mosley's best work downstairs.

Chin and Durability- Even. There is titanium in the jaws of both men.

Output- Margarito. Though I don't think he'll be allowed to get to the number he prefers as often as he has in the past.. I trust that he'll throw more punches than Shane in every round, or close to it.

Stamina- Margarito throws more punches so I'll give it to him. Both have done great work late in fights.

Defence- Mosley. Fitting that this category is listed last, as both warriors are offensive-minded fighters, but Shane can slip slower shots when he wants to so the edge goes to him. It's quick fighters that have hit him most in the past.

The score is 4-4-2. The fight looks a lot closer than Shane getting beat up and stopped late now, doesn't it?

Sometimes you can correctly pick a winner by recognizing what the fighters typically depend on to win, Then you can decide whether they are likely to find what they are looking for this time around.

Margarito depends on being bigger, stronger, tougher and not only outworking his opponent, but being the much busier fighter. It also helps if the guy can't take his punch over the short or long haul.

In this case, he's not bigger, stronger or tougher. Those are a wash. He will be the busier fighter, but as we covered earlier, Shane can do some things to keep him from achieving his desired activity level, like taking advantage of clinches, getting off first, and moving here and there to set up pot shots. In order to negate the flashier fighter's best work, I think Tony probably wants to be throwing about 90 punches a round, and I just don't think he'll get there in 6 or more of the 12 rounds this time. His opponent is a very tough customer, so erasing a solid lead with a stoppage will probably not be an option. He's going to have to start and finish fast this time.

Mosley depends on being faster than his opponent. These days, he needs their cooperation in there as well, because his mature legs don't like chasing movers. He prefers to bite down and fight it out, so quick cuties also annoy him. He's at his best against slower guys who will either stand in front or come to him all night. The tricky part is that Antonio Margarito comes as hard as anyone in the sport and too much pressure can bring out age in a hurry.

It looks like Shane's speed might be the telling advantage, so far.

Some would insist that Margarito is a better fighter in close and Mosley would be playing into his hands by standing his ground, but I think he can take advantage of some of the openings Tony leaves when he goes on the offensive. When he lets go, he typically does it with both hands and because of this, his face out there to be hit. If Shane stays in there, he can line up bombs that should wow the judges and those in attendance. There really is a lot of time and space to launch between those punches and the older man should still have the speed to get there.

The fact that Shane actually has a real boxing guy heading up his corner for this one could also boost his chances of pulling off the upset. Naazim Richardson knows his boxing and was the lead man for Bernard Hopkins when he undressed both Antonio Tarver and Kelly Pavlik. I'm sure that they studied enough tape and have come up with a realistic fight plan that the two believe in.

Mosley may also be the hungrier fighter that night. He wanted to make this fight more than Margarito did and it's been awhile since he was on top. He's intensely competitive, so I expect him to lay it all on the line. I expect both men to be at their best.

With all that said, I'm going on record as picking Shane Mosley by very close decision, though I do think a draw is a very real possibility. It might even be worth throwing a few bucks on. I don’t believe that he is as far gone as many others, nor do I think Margarito is just going to overwhelm him. Suggesting that there might be a knock out or a stoppage seems almost preposterous, in my opinion. This is a 12 round fight if ever there was one.

When all is said and done, Sugar Shane Mosley will have earned a decision over the top welterweight in the world by fighting his fight. He's not going to stick and move or stink out the joint by holding excessively. It's not in him. He's going to make his weapons matter most on this one important night. It will be close and hard-fought, but Shane will have put just enough sugar in Margarito's gas tank to beat him to the finish line.

Lee Payton


Bucket! said...


El Terrible said...

This writer is pretty good. too bad he chooses boxing as a topic to write about.