Different Fighters, Different Directions

By Tom Donelson
Updated: September 28, 2008

Gloves IOWA CITY — Andre Berto put his imprint on his fight against Steve Forbes when a right hand upper cut sent Forbes’ mouthpiece flying high into the air. This punch symbolized the difference between the two fighters.

The wily professional, Forbes used all his defensive skills to avoid the sledgehammer punches of Berto. But while he avoided most of the punishment; he couldn’t avoid enough of Berto’s punishing punches.

Forbes has always fought bigger fighters and without that big punch, he rarely beat the top fighters in his division. He had one championship belt at 130 pounds but when traveled north of that division; he never rose to championship level.

What Forbes offered Berto was a chance to see how he has progressed against an aging boxer. He’d never had been stopped despite lacking the big punch and often fighting in a division beyond his natural weight.

Forbes had already survived a fight with Oscar De La Hoya and now was ready to challenge the younger fighter. In the first two rounds, Forbes showed his skills and tricks as he often nailed Berto with quick combinations.

But in the third round, Berto went to the body and used his hand speed to get off his attack first. Instead of waiting, Berto decided to put his destiny in his hand and threw his combinations first.

Punching to the body and then to head, Berto started to wear down the older boxer. An eighth round uppercut showed the difference between the two fighters. When Berto punches landed, you could hear the punch connecting in the upper realms of the arena.

Forbes’ punches had little impact upon his younger the challenger and when the final bell sounded, the results were preordained. Berto walked away with a unanimous decision.

Berto with his WBC belt put himself in the upper elite of the welterweight division but at 5-feet-8, he would have trouble with the bigger welterweights just as Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito.

Many at the arena were talking a Luis Collazo-Andre Berto bout; the one big fight for team Berto could be against former undefeated Miguel Cotto.

In the second bout, Shane Mosley did what he always does fight the big names of his division and take on all comers. Ricardo Mayorga’s high point was his victory over Andrew Lewis in 2002 and his two victories over Vernon Forest.

He never reached those heights as he never improved from those heady days. His raw style was based on overwhelming his opponent with power right hand with an occasional left but during the second Forest fight.

Those limited skills showed as Forest lost a close decision. After that, he often found himself outclassed by Oscar De Lay Hoya and Felix Trinidad among others. After the Forest’s two bouts, Cory Spinks exposed Mayorga and took his title.

Mayorga has always been a crowd pleaser as his smoking and drinking often overshadowed his boxing skills and there was always those moments in which he will simply insult his opponent.

As for Mosley, he is still skilled enough to fight the best; even in defeat and his overall skills. In the early rounds, the cavemen tactics of Mayorga had Mosley off his heels and he kept moving forward as Mosley had a hard time to dissect the wild throwing Mayorga.

In the fourth round, Mosley started to put his combination together as he started to figure out the more crude style of his opponent. In the fifth round, Mosley threw a beautiful hook off his jab and his right found a target on Mayorga’s left side of his fight.

In the sixth round, Mosley gave what Mayorga asked for, right crosses and left hook. With the apparent edge in technical skills becoming more obvious, Mayorga simply gave up on defense and signal to Mosley, “hit me” and Mosley obliged.

In the eighth, Mosley slowed down and allowed Mayorga the appearance of being in the fight even though most of his sledgehammer punches often hit air. Mayorga had one choice, turn into a brawl and hope for the best.

The strategy may have won him the eighth, but in the ninth, Mosley sharper punches won the round. Brawling and mauling, Mayorga stayed in the fight even when being outpunched.

In the last minute of the last round, Mosley showed the magic as he finally solved the riddle of Mayorga as a right hand buckled his knees and after that a left hook, shook the Nicaragua.

A right hand with 20 seconds left in the fight sent Mayorga down and then immediately after the fight resumed; a sharp left hook ended the fight as Mayorga hit the canvas just one second before the final bell.

Mayorga survived 35 minutes and 59 seconds but he could not survive one more second to send the fight to the scorecard. For Mosley, he still showed that he has the skills to fight at the elite levels and his next goal is to battle Antonio Margarito but Margarito is schedule to fight a rematch with Cotto.

As for Mayorga, who knows his future? He’s a crowd pleaser both in and out of the ring but at 35, he doesn’t have the skills to fight the very best but he can still has the power to threaten an occasional opponent.

As HBO’s Jim Lampley noted, Mayorga has managed the trifecta; losing to Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Shane Mosley all by knockout.

Shane Mosley’s goal is a few more big money fights for like his business partner, Oscar De La Hoya, he fights only big fights and big opponents. As long as Mosley can fight at the high level, he will fight.