Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sugar Shane Is Back!

by Lee Payton

Sugar Shane Mosley assured himself a place in the Hall Of Fame last night at Staples Center with a shockingly brutal thrashing of the consensus top welterweight in the world, Antonio Margarito. It was the kind of complete beating that left many wondering if the now former champ would ever be able to fight on this level again. Even with everything Mosley has accomplished during a glorious career, his 9th round TKO of the game Mexican may go down as his greatest achievement.

Margarito was supposed to be too young, too strong, too active and too tough for the old man, who was coming off an uneven performance against Ricardo Mayorga, in which he saved the evening by scoring a last second (literally) knockout. At 37 yeard old, it seemed to most like the end was near for the fearless pro from Pomona. He was up against some heavy odds and there were many that were actually fearing for his health going into the fight. Mosley showed that not only is he the better athlete, but also the more powerful man.

He did things to Margarito that most thought would be impossible. Part of the fight plan was obviously to use his edge in strength to bully Tony around in the clinch and force him back to break up the forward momentum that Margarito depends on. It also messed up his rhythm, and was the main reason why he could never get close to throwing the amount of punches he needed in order to win the fight. In my opinion, Shane had already won half the battle by implementing this strategy. The rest was up to Shane's fists.

The vast gap in overall speed and power decided the winner on this night. Mosley consistently beat Margarito to the punch with quick jabs and powerful overhand rights that bounced off his head. Whenever The Tijuana Tornado was able to get inside, his work was erased by bombs that got a reaction from the crowd.

Shane was so dominant that you could make a case for him winning the first 7 rounds. Margarito bravely came forward, but ate something huge everytime he got something going. By the 6th, the lethal shots to the body that Shane had been whacking him with, were starting to show. He had been softened up enough that his thick legs were starting to sag and his spirit began to dwindle. He was clearly getting more than he expected from the old timer.

To his credit, the scrappy Margarito came out for the 7th and may have taken it, but he was still being punished with powerful blows that snapped his head back violently. Something had to give eventually.

It was more of the same in the 8th round until Margarito started to grind his way inside, with just over a minute to go. Shane seemed annoyed at the little spurt and responded with a vicious right to the ribs that doubled Margarito over. Sensing that he had a wounded man in front of him, Mosley's killer instinct kicked in and he went for the finish.

At this point, the Mexican fighter could no longer defend himself, as he was blasted with a series of overhand rights. With 10 seconds left in the round, Mosley pounced on his prey again, landing a couple of perfect left hooks to go with three hard rights that put Margarito down. He rose on rubber legs and walked drunkenly back to his corner.

In these desperate moments, Antonio Margarito showed what kind of mans he is. He begged his corner not to stop the fight with him on his stool. They reluctantly honoured his request and one terrifying assault later, his night was finished. Sugar Shane had done the impossible.

With this monumental win, Mosley grabs another title belt, guarantees himself a place in Canastota, moves up on the pound-for-pound lists, and sets himself up for some lucrative opportunities in the future. Big money fights with Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao and maybe even Floyd Mayweather, are now serious possibilities.

37 year old welterweights are not supposed to be able to do what Shane Mosley just did. Margarito earned his reputation as one of the toughest guys in the sport, and Shane made him look rather ordinary. What you have to remember about Shane is that he is a gym rate. He lives a healthy lifestyle and is extremely competitive. 37 for him is 32 for most fighters because of his professional approach to boxing. He's a true throwback who would be right at home in any era.

On a personal level, January 24, 2009 will go down as the most satisfying night of my boxing life. Holyfield's taming of Tyson was special in it's own way, but I was too young to have witnessed The Real Deal's entire career. I first saw Shane in 1997 and he has been "my guy" ever since.

It hasn't always been easy. There was a period of time where his magic seemed lost, and I've had my fill of people trying to convince me that he was over the hill for the last few years, but Sugar Shane never stopped working so I never stopped believing.

When all is said and done, Shane Mosley will be remembered as a very special fighter. It's his rare combination of determination, grit, discipline, fighting spirit and athletic firepower that makes him one of the most accomplished and respected warriors of his time. And he's on top of the world, once again.

- Lee Payton e-mail


glockw0rk said...

war, shane!

Lee Payton said...

indeed. bring on Money!

The Narrator said...

Your damn right Sugar Shane is back!