by Charles Jay
This fight, I suppose, is a rite of passage for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who has fought some people who were known, but no one as well-known or accomplished as Shane Mosley, or on this big a stage, as his WBC 154-pound title defense is the main support for the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto bout at the MGM in Las Vegas.
Photo: Tom Hogan/ Hogan Photos
This is a familiar boxing script; the young up-and-comer, seeking to achieve superstar status, engages in a “stepping stone” fight against the much older former champion who is looking for that last moment of glory. So were faced with the proposition of a passing of the torch, at least if we want to add a bit of drama to the scenario.
Mosley doesn’t exactly hold the torch at the moment; in fact, he hasn’t won a fight in over three years, since he blasted out Antonio Margarito after the “loaded gloves” discovery in Los Angeles in January 2009. He is unquestionably fading, and is coming back from a year off to boot. Will he go quietly? Or will be bring all his experience to bear and pull off a surprise?
Canelo Alvarez is much different than a lot of 21-year-olds in that he isn’t a guy who exactly suffers from inexperience. In fact, for his age, he’s had an awful lot of fights, and more than half of his 40 pro bouts have come after reaching main event status. No, his roster of opponents doesn’t compare to that of Mosley, but there are some capable fighters on the list. And when you give him the “eye test,” he comes out favorably.
Alvarez has a lot of savvy for someone his age. You can see that he is well-schooled, and he’s got a lot of cute little moves that some guys go their whole career without picking up. But he’s a paradox, in that despite all that wisdom, he sometimes seems dead set on keeping his opponent in the fight, because he makes himself available to be hit. That’s the kind of thing that, when all is said and done, could keep him a cut below the superstar class a lot of boxing observers are hoping he reaches. He may turn out to be a lot closer to a Miguel Cotto than an Oscar De La Hoya. Not that we’re saying a fate like that would be so bad.
Can Mosley, at age 40, beat a guy like that? I tend to think he can’t. At the beginning, I saw Mosley as a speed/energy fighter who could overwhelm opponents but could also come and go from the scene. After his first loss to Vernon Forrest I figured we might not hear much from him. He’s done a little better than that. After losing his blazing fastball, he’s still been quicker than a lot of guys, and managed some wins with guile. Still, I wouldn’t call him the craftiest guy I’ve ever seen. In other words, he’s not going to pull a “Jimmy Young” on Alvarez.
Mosley is 8-7-1 with a no-contest (against Raul Marquez) in his last sixteen fights. During that time he’s had a few rough trips, though he’s never been halted inside the distance. What hasn’t been seen by fans, however, is wear and tear that comes from many years of heavy sparring, and Mosley was known to do a lot more than most. That’s the kind of thing that can contribute to a fighter showing up “old overnight” (or in Mosley’s case, older) after being inactive for a year.
It is hard for me to imagine Mosley putting together enough sustained offense over a 12-round period to win a decision. That having been said, he still has a fighting chance here. That’s because he can still hurt when he hits; he rocked Floyd Mayweather with that right hand (May 2010) and scored a knockdown over Pacquiao (last May). Seeing as Alvarez is not going to be extremely elusive, it wouldn’t shock me to see Mosley land a big shot or two, and of course when that happens, anything can follow.
I’m just saying it’s not likely, and that’s not a daring statement by any means. Sure, Alvarez has to give this one his complete attention, but if he’s able to maintain his focus, I see him outworking Mosley en route to a decision win, close or otherwise.