Home > Boxing > Mayweather Jr. vs. Mosley: Pre-fight analysis

Mayweather Jr. vs. Mosley: Pre-fight analysis

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This Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, arguably the best boxer in the world Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. faces off against former pound-for-pound king, ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley. Most people had been hoping for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao but after that fell through due to a row over drug testing, Sugar Shane stepped in to the breach and we now have an intriguing match-up on our hands. Sport report breaks it down.

Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. 40(25) – 0

The Grand Rapids native comes from a boxing family. His father once fought Sugar Ray Leonard and his uncle, and now trainer, Roger Mayweather was a two weight world champion, but Floyd Jr. is the true star of the family.

Little Floyd, as he is known in family circles, is a supremely gifted athlete and perhaps one of the most naturally gifted boxers ever. HBO’s Jim Lampley has called him the best fighter since Sugar Ray Leonard and with the possible exception of Roy Jones Jr., it is hard to disagree. Many have accused the five weight world champion of ducking difficult fighters, an accusation he flatly refutes and wins over the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, Oscar de la Hoya, Zab Judah, Sharmba Mitchell, Arturo Gatti, José Luis Castillo (twice) and the late Diego Corrales suggest he is justified in his denial. Mayweather is now in the twilight of his career and so Saturday’s fight with Mosley is crucial. If the money man wins, a fight with Manny Pacquiao and a $30 million payday must surely await.


Plenty. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a defensive master. Many have likened him to a puzzle you just cannot solve and it is his defensive skills that have allowed him to remain unbeaten at the highest level. He fights out of a so-called Philly Shell defence, using the left hand to block and the right side of his body to roll punches. It has been extremely effective for him and Compubox numbers show that he is incredibly difficult to hit.

He has very fast hands and is also fleet of foot but his biggest strength is his brain. It is akin to a boxing computer, constantly analysing his opponent and finding a way to win. Whilst not a big puncher, his power is underrated, 25 of his wins have come by KO after all.

Excellent conditioning. Floyd is a gym rat and always turns up in supreme shape.


It is difficult to find any obvious weakness in Floyd but if one looks closely, one can see that he is only human. He is a very much a back-foot footer who likes to pot-shot and so has struggled somewhat when faced with relentless pressure. Castillo used this in their first fight and came close to beating him and De la Hoya may have won had he been able to sustain the pressure he applied in the early rounds of their 2007 battle. This may be down to a physical weakness of Floyd’s: bad hands. It is no secret that he has bad hands and there is a suspicion that as a result, he is unable to fight for three minutes of every round.

Although Floyd has very fast hands, he has at times struggled against people who have the same ability in this department. Zab Judah looked to be quicker than him and in the first four rounds in particular, he seemed to have difficulty and was caught with straight lefts out of Judah’s southpaw stance.

He is perhaps still a little undersized at welterweight, particularly compared to Mosley.

‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley 46(39) – 5(0)

The 38 year old from Pomona has enjoyed an illustrious career which has seen him win world titles at three different weights. Nobody can accuse Mosley of ducking anybody as he has taken on all comers. He boasts wins over Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Margarito, Jesse James Leija, Fernando Vargas (twice) and Oscar de la Hoya (twice). He has however, been on the losing end in big fights against Miguel Cotto, Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright (twice) and the late Vernon Forrest (twice). At 38 years of age, Mosley really is now in the last chance saloon.


Shane is extremely experienced having performed at the highest level for over a decade. He will not be drawn in to doing anything stupid by Mayweather’s pre-fight mind games and as we all know, the mental battle is often more important than the physical one in boxing. He will not be overawed by the occasion.

As well as mental strength, Mosley has physical ability. As his record of 39 KOs suggests, he is a big puncher and let’s not forget, he has knocked out Fernando Vargas who is a genuine light-middleweight. Like Mayweather, Mosley has fast hands, although his speed has been dulled somewhat by age and he is extremely versatile. Unlike Mayweather, Mosley is more comfortable boxing on the front foot throwing punches in bunches but he is a skilled boxer who can turn counter-puncher should the occasion call for it. He has out boxed boxers and out slugged sluggers and it is in this department that he has an advantage over Mayweather.


Much easier to hit than Floyd and this could prove crucial against one of the sport’s most accurate punchers. Whilst Mayweather probably lacks the power to knock Mosley clean out, he could wear him down or force a cuts stoppage if he connects enough.

Much has been made of Mosley’s age going in to the fight but of greater concern is the nature of some of the fights he has been in. He has been involved in blood and thunder wars with Cotto and de la Hoya and has taken sound beatings at the hands of Winky Wright and Vernon Forrest. These things take their toll eventually.

No coincidence that the three fighters to beat Mosley have all had very good jabs. He struggles to get to fighters who use a solid jab to fend him off and to set up the big shots and this is something Mayweather will no doubt look to exploit.

His recent form has not been great. For a start, he has now been inactive for almost sixteen months and although he completely dominated Margarito before stopping him in the ninth, his performances prior to that fight were far from ideal preparation for a fighter of Floyd Mayweather’s calibre. He toiled against Nicaraguan wild man Ricardo Mayorga before finding a last second KO punch and lost to Miguel Cotto previous to that. They say every great champion has one last great fight in him, maybe Margarito was Mosley’s.

Final Verdict

Make no mistake about it, Mosley is most definitely a live opponent here and will no doubt pose some problems for Mayweather. This is the best fight Mayweather could have taken after the Pacquiao fight fell through but one that he will expect to win.

I expect Mayweather to have some problems early on as Shane looks to employ the power boxing that took him to the top of the pound-for-pound tree, but I do feel Mosley will be unable to sustain such a ferocious work rate for twelve rounds. Just as he always does, Mayweather will use his slick defence and supreme boxing brain to find a way to win on points.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. to win by Unanimous Decision

Fight to watch on the undercard: Daniel Ponce de León vs. Cornelius Lock

Categories: Boxing
  1. John Platt
    April 30, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Ha – Whenever Mexican’s step into the ring you can expect Fireworks! I know ppl are quick to point out the lack of quality in the Heavyweight division at the moment, but we are blessed with talent from Supper Middle – Lightweight at the moment its keep us all hooked!

    I’ve always liked Mosley & I think if he played the media game a bit cuter he’d be a global star – I sit him in the same paddock as messers Cotto, Marquez, Holyfield, Hopkins – Exteremely good figthers but not quite all time greats.

    Time for Floyd & Pac Man to settle the differences & give the mass market what they want…

    • May 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm

      Haha. I’ve always wondered if there’s something wrong with me for getting excited at two little Mexicans bashing seven shades out of one another, no doubt Marquez and Vazquez will produce the goods.

      You’re right about exciting divisions but the one I’m most intrigued by is actually featherweight atm. Lopez is in there now, as in Caballero after they stepped up. Marquez and Vazquez have come up from super-bantam too. Add this to the guys already there like John, Rojas and Gamboa and it get real lively down there. See my article on Juanma Lopez in which I discuss this in more depth

  2. April 29, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    You seem to think along much the lines as I do. No way Mosley will make Hatton’s mistakes as he is a much better fighter but Floyd will just be that bit too good. I’m glad you recognise the quality of Floyd’s opposition as most people blindly buy in to the ducking idea.

    I think you are a big fight fan John so don’t forget Rafa Marquez vs Vazquez IV is coming up on May 22nd. First two were barn burners so don’t miss it!

  3. John Platt
    April 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Good call with the unanimous shout – How Floyd typically wins the big ones.

    I expect Shane (much like ODH did) to come out all guns blazing & take the fight to Pretty Boy but I feel this has perhaps come 5 yrs too late for Sugar Shane. Maybe he’s been involved in too many brutual encounters & simply wont be able to maintain the tempo for 12 rounds. Floyd on the other hand will bide his time, pick off his shots & roll his shoulder as only he knows how.

    Don’t expect Mosley to make the niave mistakes Hatton did but I think his high energy tactics will see Mayweather dominate the second half of the fight & win on all 3 cards. Certainly not by knockout though – I think Mosley is too big & strong to see the canvas here & Mayweather wil be wary of that power & will have to be at his sublime best.

    Respect to both fighters – Mosely already has the legacy & yet again climbs between the ropes against a true great. Floyd on the other hand continues to demonstrate that, despite his arrogance, it’s backed up with the catalogue of victories against all comers!

    Can’t wait!

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