Sugar Shock: A Return To Glory

By Tom Donelson
Updated: January 25, 2009

IOWA CITY — Shane Mosley came into his championship fight with enough controversy flowing around him. An admission of past steroids use came out in the pre fight hype (even though he denied that he was aware of what BALCO was providing him.)

When the BALCO scandal first came out in 2003, Mosley’s name popped up but he denied any steroid use. And if that was not enough, his wife left him (and his ex acted as his manager.)

Plus to add to all of this, Mosley fired his dad for a second time in his career. He’s had more than his share of burden on him and he was facing one of the more feared Welterweights in Antonio Margarito.

Mosley, working with Bernard Hopkins’ trainer Naazim Richardson for the first time, came out of the first round with a different look. He jabbed and jabbed Margarito before nailing him with solid rights.

He added a right hand to the body and Margarito, a notorious slow starter, looked slow and confused. The first round was solid round for Mosley. The turning point of the fight did not occur in the ring but outside as Naazim Richardson forced Margarito to rewrap his hands after an illegal substance was found on the Mexican hand.

This substance, when wet, hardened and essentially turned his hand into bricks. So Margarito’s efforts to hardened his hands failed and then Mosley’s skills took over. He controlled the fight from the very beginning and never gave his opponent momentum.

Margarito consistently moved forward but he simply marched into a Mosley buzz saw as his combinations bounced off Maragrito’s head. As one of the HBO’s announcer noted, Margarito’s strategy appeared to break Mosley’s hand with his chin.

His strategy was to win the second half of the fight and tire Mosley but as Emmanuel Steward observed, Mosley always had a history of getting stronger as a fight moves just as Margarito.

In the past, Margarito could count on being the stronger fighter over the second half but against Mosley, he was fighting a strong fighter who would not tired.

As the early rounds moved on, Margarito was falling behind on the judges’s card as Mosley’s boxing skills manifested itself. After six rounds, it was hard to award any round for the Mexican champion.

The seventh round proved to be Margarito’s last hurrah. He came out with the idea of changing the momentum as he threw combinations, with a few rights connecting. Mosley countered back with his own right and both fighters landed equal amount of punches.

While Mosley scored with the more accurate and sharper punches, Margarito’s own activity allowed him to capture one round or at least one round on Harold Lederman’s HBO card.

Margarito began the eighth as he began the seventh but Mosley’s strength took hold. With sharp combinations, Maragrito retreated and with a minute left, a Mosley left hook sent Margarito reeling back to the rope.

Sensing the end and as HBO’s Jim Lampley reported; Mosley was just one more solid right from ending the fight. He put everything in his punches as he pursued Margarito.

Margarito appeared helpless under the onslaught with seconds left in the round, a Mosley right sent him down and the proud Mexican made it back to his corner barely.

As Margarito’s corner revived their fighter, a debate ensued as some members of the Margarito camp wanted to end the fight. He wanted to finish the fight and not have it end with him sitting on the stool.

Mosley assailed Margarito with fierce combinations. He retreated for the last time as Mosley combinations bounced off his chin. Mosley landed one last right at the same time the referee stepped in to stop further damage.

Mosley won because he adapted to his opponent, made adjustments to past styles, and added to his past arsenal. In the past, he used his jab more as a distance finder as oppose to real weapon.

Against Margarito, Mosley jabbed effectively and this set up his other combinations including his right. Another strategy is that he never allowed Maragrito to trap him on the ropes, but he was not predictable.

There were times that he boxed but there were times he fought on the side and his body shots slowed Margarito. Throughout the bout, Mosley clinched in a timely fashion and this served to slow him even further.

Margarito’s big weapons have always been his ability to throw punches in bunches. Against Cotto over the second half of their fight, he often threw 100 punches a round.

But he never approached no more than 80 punches in this fight. Mosley’s accuracy made it difficult for Maragrito to move forward without getting hit.

At 37, Mosley showed the ability to reinvent himself and his strength has always been underrated. He’s only been down once in his career and never knocked out. As a lightweight, he was at his very best but his strength allowed him to move to the Welterweights.

Mosley is now the king of the Welterweight and there is one fight left for him –Mayweather. With Manny Pacquiao fighting Ricky Hatton in May, the only big fight open for Mayweather is Mosley.

Both fighters are similar size and while Mayweather is the quick of the two; Mosley’s strength may give him advantages in close fighting and he still have quick hands at 37.

Mosley’s victory shows that there is a place for a smart fighter with skills. In boxing, brains beat brawns and Mosley’s fighting instincts defeated the younger Margarito’s full throttle style.