Mosley Is Still A Warrior, But Can’t Get Past Avanesyan
By: Sean Crose
The Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona hosted the biggest fight of the legendary Shane Mosley’s comeback on Saturday evening. For Mosley 49-9-1 was, at 44 years of age, fighting an eliminator against the 21-1-1 David Avanesyan. Sure enough, the winner of the fight was going to be the mandatory for a title shot against the winner of this summer’s Shawn Porter-Keith Thurman WBA welterweight title showdown. Indeed, this bout was relevant.
First, however, the CBS Sports Network presented cruiserweights Dimar Ortuz, 10-0-2, and Ricardo Campillo 9-9-1. Clearly, Ortuz was the favorite, but he wasn’t able to finish his man off after hurting Campillo in the first. Still, Ortuz went on the dominate the fight. It was a boring affair to be sure, though Campillo certainly seemed happy to be hanging in there round after round. By the 6th, however, Ortuz was finally able to stop Campillo with a somewhat wild attack.
Afterwards Mosley’s son, Shane Jr, 6-1-0, took on Roberto Yong, 5-7-2, in a super middleweight throwdown. The fight was at times a somewhat chaotic affair, with both men tagging each other wildly. That being said, Mosley Jr effectively kept his range and was skilled enough to take the fight by majority decision. The younger Mosley isn’t a bad fighter, but his last name and pedigree may simply lead to expectations that exceed his talent.
Assured that at least one Mosley would walk away from the night with a victory in tow, Mosley Sr. finally entered the ring to face his Russian opponent (who was the “interim” WBA world welterweight champion – for what that’s worth). Mosley climbed through the topes with the legendary Roberto Duran (who looked pretty good for his age, thanks very much) in his corner. He may have been an advanced 44 years old, but Mosley most certainly looked to be in prime condition.
Mosley also appeared sharp and in control during the first, his jab allowing him to keep distance. Avanesyan was able to land a few times cleanly in the second, yet Mosley remained disciplined, his movements practiced and smooth. It was a tough round to call. Avanesyan continued to land in the third, however, before being taken down by a Mosley low blow. By the end of the third it was clear that the fight was becoming a rough affair.
Mosley picked up the pace to start the fourth. After Mosley appeared to take the first half of the round, however, Avanesyan began coming on strong, landing hard and pushing forward. It was a close fight, a good fight, but Avanesyan was clearly landing the harder shots. A more energetic Mosley rolled through the fifth, however, thus continuing to make things interesting. Mosley then owned the sixth, though he almost lost it due to a late rally by Avanesyan. Still, it appeared the aging legend had done enough to take the chapter.
With the first half of the fight essentially even, things moved into the 7th round, which Mosley dominated. Avanesyan retaliated by chopping his way through the 8th through grinding aggression, though the 9th was far tougher to call (I gave Avanesyan the slightest of an edge). Then, in the 10th, possible disaster struck for Mosley when the referee deducted him a point for hitting low.
Both men went for broke early in the 11th with an explosive flurry of punches. This had become more action fight than chess match. Mosley ended up going back to his corner breathing heavily, however, as Avanesyan had clearly tough guyed his way through the chapter. After getting clinical instructions from Duran, Mosley went out for the 12th and final three-minute clip.
Long story short, Mosley fought gamely until the end. It appeared, though, as if the old warrior was simply too far past his prime to earn the win. Or was he? Whaling away, the former champion landed hard on his foe, making it clear that he wasn’t there to lose. Indeed, I gave Mosley the last round. Who would the judges give the entire fight to, however?
Ultimately, it went to Avanesyan, who won by scores of 114-113, and, inexplicably, 117-110 on two of the judges’ cards. Avanesyan claimed afterward he could best Keith Thurman. Mosley, on the other hand, was a class act in defeat.