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SHAME, SHANE Mosley's Legacy Is Stained By His Poor Effort Against Pacquiao…WOODS

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PacquiaoMosley_Hogan_8It's not just Hopkins. Many fighters I talked to shook their heads and scoffed at Mosley's showing against Manny. It's not just super critical fightwriters and sarcastic fans who want to see buckets of blood who looked down on Mosley's (non) effort. (Hogan)

I've held off writing this, for a few reasons.

Mostly, I was still trying to figure out what it was that I saw on Saturday night at the MGM in Las Vegas. But also, the part of me that holds considerable respect for Shane Mosley, and what he has done in the ring, didn't want to be too harsh.

I didn't want to come down too hard of Mosley, who turned in the most disappointing performance of a stellar career. Or, should I saw, stellar to a point.

Because after a few days to mull, I have to say, Mosley did some damage to his legacy on Saturday night. Somewhat appropriate for the locale, which features no shortage of available ladies to engage in untoward behavior for a fee, Mosley basically traded on his reputation and history, and gave it away for a pile of cash. For a fat fee, Mosley allowed himself to be whacked around by Pacquiao, and most shamefully, the “john” in this sordid arrangement, the fans, didn't get any bang for their buck.

I'm not so proud of offering up this analogy, but days later, I'm still feeling a bit dirty for being involved.

Going in, I thought and put it on record that I thought Shane was shot. I thought he'd get beaten down worse than Margarito did against Pacquiao. He showed me little against Mayweather two fights ago, and less against Sergio Mora in his last bout. But I for sure thought he'd give his best effort against the Congressman. I figured, and he'd given me no reason to think otherwise as a future first ballot Hall of Famer, that he'd do his best to win the fight against Pacquiao. I believed him when he said he'd attempt to use his power to touch the Filipino, I believed him when he said, “I’m expecting a very exciting fight on May 7 and a lot of big fireworks.”

Sue me, I believed him.

People can bust my chops if they want, say I'm naive, that I should have known better. But I make no apologies for not assuming everything I hear from a fighter is just hype. Yeah, sorry I haven't transformed into one of the bitter ultra-cynical fightwriters. No, at the very least I presumed Shane Mosley, who I saw as being 3/4 of the way to shot, would try to make an exciting fight. I presumed he would, if not go out on his shield, then do everything in his power to try to win.

From my seat on Saturday, it didn't look like he did that. It looked like he was there to pick up a check, first and foremost, and beyond that, his aim was to not get knocked out.

By the way, this column isn't purely meant to put Shane on blast. You read my fightnight report; I gave Mosley immense props for being so adept defensively. He moved his head and his feet often and swiftly enough to give Pacman some problems finding him. Unfortunately, that defensive wizardry only bolsters my case against Mosley for not giving his all, and basically cheating the fans at the MGM and those who ponied up for the PPV. If Mosley has enough athleticism and strength and stamina to defend as he did for 12 rounds, then he darn sure could have used a helping of those attributes to go on the offense, and throw more than 37 paltry punches a round.

No, he didn't live up to the contract, to the unwritten but well understood code of the fighter. He didn't do everything in his power to win. That's my take on it. And that's Bernard Hopkins' take as well.

I asked Hopkins on a Tuesday conference call put together to hype his May 21 rematch with Jean Pascal if he watched Pacquiao-Mosley, and what he thought of it. He said he was struck by how many times Mosley went to touch gloves with Manny, before and during rounds. “When fighters are touching gloves every round, it's a sign of submission,” said the 46 year old hitter who attempts to be the oldest man to win a title in two weeks. “It's called body language.” If he saw Pascal doing what Mosley did, Hopkins said, he would know he had him mentally, and would then try and finish the job physically. “He submitted early, after the knockdown.”

Top Rank has taken some flak for the fight, but I'm not inclined to rake them over the coals. You'll notice that promoter Bob Arum never oversold the fight, or not beyond the bounds of reason for a salesman, anyway. He said Mosley had a chance, that he was more dangerous early, but he told me before the scrap that Pacman had a decent chance to stop Mosley. I called Top Rank's Carl Moretti to see if really, behind closed doors, Arum wasn't mad at Mosley for not giving his all, for not battling in the mode of a Hall of Famer, instead of a guy going through some motions to pick up a payday. “I don't know if I'd say Arum was “pissed,” Moretti said. “I'd say he was disappointed. “We all thought we'd get a better effort from Mosley.”

Moretti comes off a bit kinder to Mosley than I. He stated that many times guys just don't know what they have left til fight night. “It's a lot easier to try and win when you're not fighting Pacquiao,” he said. He theorized that Mosley was trying to survive, not get knocked out, so he could fight another day. “Because there wouldn't be another payday after that,” he said. Isn't that really cheating the people who bought the fight, I wondered aloud in response. Were people paying to see Mosley save up his best effort for another day, to protect himself so he could secure another check? The “c” word, “cheating” is a rough attack, I know, but Moretti understood where I was coming from.

If Mosley were to wave adios after this fight, to me, his legacy would be stained a bit. For me, for 16,000 at the MGM, for 1.5 million who watched it on pay per view, for the millions and millions who logged on to thesweetscience.com and boxingchannel.tv to read about and view Pacquiao-Mosley coverage, this non-effort will stick in their minds. On May 7, Shane Mosley had an opportunity to strike a blow for himself, for soon to be 40 year olds, and for all people who had been dissed and dismissed as a used up shell of themselves. And he didn't have to win to be seen as a winner. He just had to compete, and give his very best effort. And he didn't do that, and that's on him.

I'm not certain he gets it, either. At the post fight press conference, he didn't seem to. Maybe he did, but the prospect of cashing the check washed away any pricks to his pride or conscience. He said he it was a “great fight;” dismissed the possibility that there were shots available to him that he couldn't pull the trigger on; said he didn't hear the six or so occasions when fans booed the cruddy action in front of them; said he'd vacation and “enjoy the fruits of my labor” for a few months; said losing to Pacquiao is “not I think a big deal because he's the pound for pound king,” and finally blamed  blisters for his lack of success.

If he had come clean, admitted that he fought to survive, and not thrive, then that would have spoken volumes. Of course, in the fog of the aftermath, we can understand a lack of clarity. So there's still hope for Mosley. He can come out with a statement, admit that he didn't do what he promised he would do, didn't live up to his resume and his history. I won't hold my breath for it, but it would be a nice gesture. To all the people who bought into the hype, who ponied up their hard earned cash for the PPV, or a lifetime-dream-of-a-trip to see their Filipino idol, Pacquiao, in Vegas, to all the fighters who would've been overjoyed to get the same opportunity, and would have lived up to the fighter's code, it would be a nice gesture.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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