Mayweather-Mosley Release First Statements Since Fight Signing
Now that both men have officially signed on for their May 1 superfight, Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley have begun the inevitable subtle trash talk against each other.
In the wake of his sensational knockout of Antonio Margarito last January, Mosley had launched a campaign to get Mayweather in the ring, even going as far to call out Floyd face to face in the ring following Mayweathers decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez. Contrary to experts, Mosley thinks hell secure an easy victory since he sees no advantages in this fight for his opponent.
I have always wanted to fight Floyd and now it is finally coming true, Mosley said a prepared statement. I am already in great shape and ready to show everyone on May 1 that I am stronger, faster and better than he is. I will have no problem beating him.”
Mosleys lack of activity as a 38 year old fighter has been noted as a knock against him going into the Mayweather bout. By fight night, hell have been out of the ring for 15 months facing an opponent who relies heavily on movement, especially against larger opponents.
“I’ve been in training camp, sparring, staying in the gym working,” Mosley told the LA Times. “I’m ready. I’ll go back to training, and believe me, people will see the good Sugar Shane. There’s no rust on me. I never stay away from the gym too long. I’m a fighter, I love boxing, its what I do.”
On Mayweathers end, the undefeated multi-division has done a 180 in his assessment of Mosley. Last year, Floyd on ESPN TV and in this very column derided Mosley as a steroid abusing, washed up athlete.
Reluctantly, Mayweather acknowledged Mosleys formidable skills, but maintained hes still a level below him.
“This one is definitely for the fans as I wasn’t going to waste anyone’s time with a meaningless tune-up bout and asked to fight Shane immediately, he explained. I have said ever since I came back to the sport that I only wanted to fight the best. I think Shane is one of the best, but come May 1, he still won’t be great enough to beat me.
At 32 years old, Mayweather faces his own inactivity issues, having fought just one bout since December, 2007.
Look for an official press conference within the week, rumored to take place in New York City. Both men are also said to be in Miami for Super Bowl weekend to beat the promotional drums.
Glen Johnson Scores Impressive KO on ESPN
41 year old Glen Johnson (50-13-2, 34 Kos) proved last night that he still is a force in the light-heavyweight division with a 6th round KO of #7 RING ranked contender Yusef Mack (28-3-2, 17 Kos) on Friday Night Fights.
Johnson pressured Mack all night and forced the younger man to go straight by jabbing his way in and working hooks. Mack would counter sparingly on the inside, and attempt to roll with the hook Johnson rained on him.
Early in round 4, Mack unwisely traded on the inside and got the worst of it, being forced to retreat. Mack rebounded in the second half, scoring well on the inside with hooks on a slower Johnson.
In the 6th Johnson trapped Mack in a corner, and caught him with a hard overhand right counter to score a knockdown.
Johnson was patient, and methodically wore Mack down further with hooks to the body before pinning dropping him again, this time with a left jab-straight right.
Mack hit the canvas shortly thereafter on a short left, prompting the referee stoppage.
The win earns Glen Johnson an IBF title shot against undefeated Tavoris Cloud (20-0, 18 KOs).
Tavoris Cloud is a tough fighter, an all-action guy. The type of guys I like to fight, Johnson said in his post-fight interview. They come in there no-nonsense and go about their business and that works well with me cause I do the same thing. I think thats going to be an explosive fight and a fan-favorite fight. Im looking forward to fighting him.
DeMarco-Valero Go To War Tonight
One man will be left standing and the other viciously KOd when WBC lightweight titlist and knockout specialist Edwin Valero (26-0, 26 KOs) makes his second defense against Antonio DeMarco (23-1-1, 17 KOs) tonight (February 6) on Showtime.
Because of 2001 motorcycle accident, Valero failed MRI in New York and has struggled to get sanctioned to fight in the US. To date, Texas is the only seat that has cleared him to fight.
Because of this, Valero has built a strong internet following as nearly all of his fights have been confined to Youtube. Of his 26 KOs, 19 have been in the first round.
De Marco is a tall lightweight at 510, and has rose to prominence after a strong 2009 that saw him post 3 stoppages over solid competition in Almazbek Raiymkulov, Anges Adjaho, and Jose Alfaro.
This is a crossroads fight and huge test for each fighter. Both are the best pugilists of each others resume. DeMarco has never seen power like Valeros but hes also been tested and excelled in several firefights. Valero has steamrolled most of his competition easily and itll be interesting to see how he handles DeMarcos height.
As far as Im concerned this fight is 50-50, and itll be surprising to see this go more than 6 rounds. Because of DeMarcos has had better tests in his career, Ill go out on a limb and say he pulls off the upset.
Adamek Continues Heavyweight Experiment
Cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek (39-1, 27 KOs) also fights tonight in Newark, New Jerseys Prudential Center against Jason Estrada (15-2, 3 KOs).
This will be Adameks second fight in heavyweight, following his easy 5th round KO of faded Andrew Golota last October.
The Polish champ has upped his weight to a ripped 220 pounds. But it remains to be seen if his frame can support the weight without sacrificing speed and stamina.
“Cruiserweight was more difficult for me. I always had a problem getting to the weight, Adamek told ESPN. I feel very good at this weight. I feel faster. The difference in training is the sparring partners are heavier, 240, 250 pounds, but I feel stronger because my weight is natural.”
If he wins, HBO has confirmed they are looking to have Adamek face Chris Arreola on April 24.
“Estrada is a good boxer, but I am serious about this fight. I need to win. It is very important in order to move up for a heavyweight title, Adamek explained. We have this fight. Right now I concentrate on that. Maybe in April, Arreola. We’ll see. Maybe one more fight after that and then I will be ready for a championship fight. Right now I must win against Estrada.”
As you can tell from Estradas KO record, Adameks promoter Main Events selected an opponent with a low likelihood of testing their fighters ability to take a heavyweight punch. This fight will serve as a tune-up for an Arreola fight, and a gauge of how well Adamek carries the extra weight. If he looks bad, there will be an evaluation of whether hes better suited for cruiserweight.
The fight can be seen online for $9.99 at gofightlive.com. The expected live turnout is 10,000.
News and Notes
– Rafael Marquez has promised the mother of all wars in his fourth bout with Israel Vazquez on May 22. If he wins, he wants Juan Manuel Lopez next. My punch is much more powerful. If I beat Irsael, Im going to look for a fight with Juan Manuel Lopez. I can beat him. I am looking to get the big fights in the 2 or 3 years I have left in the game.
– The management of junior middleweight contender James Kirkland is hopeful that he can be back in the ring by August. Last year, Kirkland received a 24 month jail sentence for illegally purchasing a firearm as a convicted felon. Hes had six months shaved off for time served, and is looking to get another 100 days off due to good behavior. His last bout was a 6th round TKO of Joel Julio in March 2009.
– The German press are buzzing that WBC champ Vitali Klitschko may face former WBA champ Nicolai Valuev on May 29. Since WBA champ David Haye is tied up with a mandatory defense against John Ruiz in April, Vitali may be trying to post a better win over a common opponent to build to a showdown later this year.
Mythical Matchup of the Week: Aaron Pryor vs. Kostya Tszyu
The junior welterweight division may not have the glamour or history as the weight classes its sandwiched between (lightweight and welterweight), but the 140 pound class has produced some legendary fighters since its modern creation in 1959.
Two of those elite fighters are Aaron Pryor (39-1, 35 KOs), who ruled the division in the early 80s, and Kostya Tszyu (31-2, 25 KOs), who cleaned out his weight class in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Pryor was a whirlwind of a fighter, throwing dozens of punches at a time and drowning opposition in never-ending pressure.
Unlike many fighters of that mold, Pryor had power and secured many early and mid round KOs
He first hit the national scene with a dominant destruction of legendary champ Antonio Cervantes to win the WBA title. The aged Cervantes was wily enough to get a flash knockdown in the 1st, but got an unmerciful pounding in the subsequent 3 rounds before a needed ref stoppage.
Pryor was an active champ making 10 defenses (8 by knockout) from 1980-1985. Two of those defenses were epic battles with fellow Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, who was attempting to be the first man to win titles in 4 different weight classes.
Pryors downfall was not an opponent, but drug abuse. When he tried a comeback in 1987 after 2 years out, he suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Bobby Joe Young, and only fought 3 insignificant bouts over the next 3 years before retiring due to eye problems.
Kostya Tszyu was started quickly in the early 90s due to his amateur background (which includes a win over the late Vernon Forrest), facing former world champion Juan La Porte in just his 4th bout. By his 14th, Tszyu had won the IBF title by knocking Jake Rodriguez in 6 rounds.
A stalking, extremely heavy-handed puncher, Tszyu seemed primed for a long reign beating vets like Roger Mayweather before being upset by Vince Phillips in 1997, losing an exciting 10th round TKO to Vince Phillips.
Tszyu credited the fight as a learning experience in pacing and won the WBC title the in 1999 by KOing slick boxer Miguel Angel Gonzalez.
He strung off eight defenses with several notable KO victims in Julio Cesar Chavez, Shamba Mitchell (2X), Jesse James Leija, and Zab Judah.
Like Pryor, inactivity hurt Tszyu in the end. Plagued by injuries, he only fought 2 bouts over 2 years (2003, 2004) before being faced with a hungry Ricky Hatton in 2005.
In his UK backyard, Hatton grinded down the normally durable Tszyu over 11 hard rounds with mauling and low blows. Making no excuses, Tszyu never fought again.
As seen above, both men have unquestionable credentials, facing the best top opposition throughout their careers.
Pitted against each other, Pryor and Tszyu offer contrasting skill sets that will force adjustments and memorable exchanges.
Pryors punch activity and intelligent pressure will pose huge problems for Tszyu, who would be forced into fighting backwards and defensively for much of the fight. The issue is not the pressure alone, but the fact that Pryor uses many angles to turn opponents, and when focused was great at slipping punches and countering on the inside.
Tszyus possessed great accuracy, and his challenge would be creating the space to drive him his outstanding right hand which would do damage. Pryor had a great chin, but he could be stunned and dropped early (Cervantes, Arguello) when he got too wild with his pressure attacks. Case in point, see the shot below that dropped Pryor against Akio Kameda in the first round.
Tszyu and Pryor are both good hookers, but Tszyu usually throws much straighter punches. More often than not, Tszyus punches would land first if given the space. Its unclear if Kostya is strong enough to push Pryor off like he did Sharmba Mitchell in their first bout, but hell want to do whatever possible to get Pryor to mid and outside range. There, Tszyu can seek to put him on the end of his best punch, like he did to Zab Judah in his most famous KO.
Itll be a taxing battle for both men, but I feel Aaron Pryor has a style thats been proven a nightmare to Tszyu with lesser skilled opponents. Even in his prime, Tszyu struggled and was KOd when Vince Phillips crowded him and made him fight going backwards. Hatton added more fouls, but did the same thing years later. Tszyu was still able to land bombs on Ricky, but in most instances he was leaning backward and not getting full extension and power.
With Pryor, Tszyu wont get the punching space he needs to be most effective. In addition, Pryor would maintain angles and keep turning Tszyu to prevent the powerful Russian from getting set. However, Tszyus too good to get completely shut out, and Im certain Pryor would get dropped at some point by Tszyus right, which was many times set up beautifully by Kostyas hooking jab.
My prediction is Aaron Pryor by TKO10 in a war that sees him dropped early.
Aaron Pryor Highlights
Kostya Tszyu Highlights
Pryor’s Opinion of Tszyu