LAS VEGAS–I’m trying to write this in a very unusual spot right now. One of the Tropicana girls dancing around the ring has just stuck my face in her cleavage and I can’t exactly see my computer screen, so you’ll have to excuse any typos that may appear. It’s not exactly like a Super Bowl week, but being in Las Vegas during a big-fight weekend comes pretty close. You have your over abundance of celebrities, your characters that usually frequent Vegas during big fights, and your fight fans, the ones who follow and know the game. To them, it’s like Christmas in May to see something this unique. Especially when one of those fighters is undefeated Floyd Mayweather, gradually becoming the face of this generation’s best, and someone like Shane Mosley, who you know will force Mayweather to fight and possibly give “Money” the greatest challenge of his career.
I know it’s boxing, and I know where the sport stands on today’s overall sports landscape. But when you have two special fighters like Mosley and Mayweather facing off against each other, it can supercede everything that goes on–yes, even the Kentucky Derby and a Phillies-Mets weekend.
It’s the classic storyline of one fighter portraying himself in a brash, cocky, arrogant, new-wave way, like Mayweather, against the quiet, calm, confident, old-school Mosley. Yes, many see Mayweather winning this fight, some here in Vegas have even placed the odds in Mayweather’s favor as high as 4-to-1. But that’s a crucial mistake for anyone who looks past Mosley as a 38-year-old with little left. Not true. First off, Mosley enters the ring Saturday night with a Philly edge in his corner, trainer Naazim Richardson, who’s gone from a background face in boxing to someone people actually recognize walking down the street from his exposure on HBO’s 24/7 .
Richardson is a master strategist who has been devising a plan for some time to defeat Mayweather. And “Brother Naazim” has the perfect tool in the willing Mosley, who’s accepted and bought into everything Richardson has been preaching.
Mosley, in some respects, will be fighting for his life. A loss and he could be forced back into gatekeeper status, a boxing term for fighters who are still dangerous, yet not dangerous enough for world-class fighters anymore. Mosley has that incentive pushing him. Mayweather has the fear of facing someone who can almost match his speed and is more powerful than he is. Mosley is clearly the stronger man, Mayweather is clearly the better boxer, whose defensive skills are the best in boxing history.
It’s what makes this fight so intriguing. There is some curiosity attached to it. Mosley is very capable of beating Mayweather. Actually, I think it can happen. I think Mosley can corner Mayweather early, nail him with something hard enough to stun him, and then we’ll see a different Floyd Mayweather than we’ve ever seen before, someone who fights back and has more courage than most fight observers gave him credit for.
We have a chance to see a fight–a good fight.
Now that I’ve had my face plucked from the flying cleavage, I can concentrate on the fight. Hey, isn’t that Leonardo DiCaprio over there sitting next to Mike Tyson?