The Weird and the Wild: Sizing up Mosley vs. Mayorga 2

Boxing is often the bizarro world of sports. In fact, if you were to create an itinerary, and then jumble it together until it was completely incomprehensible, you’d get an idea about how boxing works.

The sport is generally ruled by the three C’s – corruption, collusion, and confusion. It’s in this cluster-fucked mess that strange or unexpected fights sometimes emerge. Fights like Shane Mosley vs. Ricardo Mayorga 2, which will go down Saturday night, on Integrated Sports pay-per-view.

Initially met with a mixture of exasperation and incredulity, some fans have grown somewhat intrigued by this bout. If we take a deeper look, you can start to see why.

By the time Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga met in late September, 2008, Mayorga’s shtick was pretty well worn. Many fans got their first glimpse of Mayorga in early 2003, when he strolled to the ring like he’d been challenged to a fight by a nine-year-old.

Except, he was fighting Vernon Forrest, who at the time sported a 35-0 record. He also had just dispatched Shane Mosley in consecutive fights. It should have been Forrest who was beaming with confidence. He was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and Mayorga was considered a completely fucking psychotic somewhat unhinged brawler who stood zero chance to win.

Except, Forrest was the one who looked a bit unsettled. He got really unsettled after Mayorga started winging bombs from nine rows back. He had no idea how to handle the lunatic hurricane that flailed away on him. Three rounds into the fight, Mayorga was a world champ.

But this was five years later, and in that five years, Mayorga had parlayed that one epic performance into huge fights with Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya. He hurled homophobic insults and smoked cigarettes while training. He trash talked his way into huge paydays.

Unfortunately for him, those paydays also led to brutal, nasty knockout losses. A bloated win over horribly faded Fernando Vargas set Mayorga up for the showdown with Mosley, who was trying to rebound from a narrow loss to Miguel Cotto at 147.

Mosley vs. Mayorga was, for the most part, pretty unpleasant to watch. Mayorga was as crude as ever, but largely ineffective, missing with most of the bombs he tried firing off. Mosley’s timing was off as well. He won rounds by out-boxing Mayorga, but “El Matador” was winning rounds himself, no doubt helped by the fact that he appeared to weigh around 180 pounds on fight night.

Finally, Mosley exploded in the 12th, decking Mayorga late and then annihilating him with a leaping left hook with one second left in the fight. Mayorga had now been stopped by three of the best fighters of his era–Trinidad, De La Hoya, and Mosley.

Photo by AP/Gus Ruelas

Mayorga then took a couple years off, and then, incredibly, mouthed his way into another big fight. This time, he scored the privilege of being stopped in the 12th round by Cotto. He then tried his hand at MMA, which did not go well. Somehow, he wasn’t found dead in a ditch somewhere or locked up in a Nicaraguan prison. Instead, he climbed back into the ring and has rattled off a couple of wins over horrid opposition.

Mosley scored a sensational win over Antonio Margarito, before age and a long layoff precipitated a quick decline. He dropped fights to Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and finally Canelo Alvarez in 2012. One more loss, this time to Anthony Mundine, a guy he would have ruined in his prime, sent him into retirement.

For awhile.

Ironically, despite being retired since late 2013, Mosley’s stature in the sport is on a massive upswing, thanks to a newfound candidness on social media. Mosley has always been considered to be one of the sports nicest guys, to the extent that he often seemed a bit naive about some of the things happening around him.

Apparently, he found some new perspective, because the man is angry. In fact, he’s pretty much a must-follow on Twitter at this point. So is whomever is purporting to be Mayorga’s account, basically because it’s filled with more of his unhinged ramblings about smashing somebody in “dos rounds.”

So yeah, the fight was born out of social media. Funny thing is, it might actually end up being pretty damn good. Both men are years removed from their best selves, and the promotion has been teetering on the edge of “circus side show” since its inception. And $50 dollars is a lot of money to fork over, especially for a fight between two guys in their forties.

Of course, there’s a fight a couple of weeks after this one, one that Floyd Mayweather’s team has been trying to convince us is worth the PPV tag, where Mayweather will make his swan song by fighting Andre Berto’s reanimated corpse. I don’t know if Berto could beat Mayorga at this point, let alone the best boxer in the world, so it seems pointless to criticize the price here.

Maybe Mosley has slowed down enough that Mayorga will be able to land a few of those grenades he’ll launch from a couple miles away. And Mosley, who even at his nicest, never needed an excuse to knock somebody stiff, appears ready to dole out a serious fuckin pounding. Perhaps he’ll forget trying to box and go straight into trying to bounce Mayorga’s dome into some pretty ring card girl’s lap. Seriously, I could watch that cigarette slap all day long.

Nobody asked for this rematch, but we’re getting it anyway. It might be the perfect remedy to a summer of boxing that has left a lot to be desired, unless you count the ubiquitous-but-mostly-boring-as-shit PBC cards.

Mayorga is demented enough to make knitting exciting, and obviously he wants some payback for getting flattened all those years ago. And aside from his fight with Sergio Mora, the one where Mora avoided Mosley like he had just broken free from a leper colony, Mosley has always been pretty fun to watch. The age-induced erosion of his speed and skill only makes the fight a bit more interesting.

Don King, Mayorga’s former promoter, tried like hell to shut this fight down, but as of this writing, it appears to be a go. However, Mosley himself seemed uncertain as to whether or not the fight would go down with little more than a week to go, so that certainly didn’t help the promotional aspect. Couple that with the fact that there is another PBC card Saturday night to challenge it, this time an extremely intriguing matchup between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares on ESPN, and Mosley vs. Mayorga 2 is not expected to set any PPV records.

Frankly, Mosley deserves better.

Shane Mosley’s legacy is secure. He’s a lock to be enshrined into the Hall-of-Fame, and he’ll go down as one of the most dominant Lightweights of all time. He’s past his prime, and he’s fighting a guy who hasn’t been relevant in years. But if anybody deserves one more fight, it’s him.

He has always been a fan-first fighter, a throwback who went for the home run even when singles and doubles would do. He found in Mayorga the perfect dance partner to come back against, a crazed brawler who himself has nothing to lose.

Sometimes, when neither guy has anything to lose, the winners end up being the fans who come out to watch.

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