LAS VEGAS – The “money” man prevailed once again.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather talked himself up for months. He proclaimed himself better than Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson, citing his unblemished record and invincible defense as the primary reasons.
He even had the Eddie Levert and the legendary O’Jays lead him into the ring. Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) backed up every word as he scored a unanimous decision victory over “Sugar” Shane Mosley (46-6, 39 KOs) in front of a packed house at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The judges scored the bout, 119-109, 119-109, 118-110.
Mayweather’s jab was the difference in this one as he frequently used it to slice through Mosley’s defense and set up his right hook.Things got a little testy in the eighth round as the two began jawing with each other after getting tangled up. Referee Kenny Bayless broke the two up. Mosley began shouting at Mayweather, who responded with a vicious right hook.
"I did what the fans came here to see," said Mayweather. "A toe-to-toe battle. That's not my style, but I wanted to do it."
Mayweather had little trouble fending off Mosley most of the fight. Round two was the only exception as Mosley tested Mayweather early, landing a hard overhand right. That was the end of Mosley’s night, though, as Mayweather proved why he might be the best defensive fighter of this era.
"Look, it's a contact sport and you're going to get hit," Mayweather said of Mosley's blow in the second round. "When you get hit, you have to suck it up and keep fighting."
This was a bout that had far reaching implications. So which fighter needed the bout more?
For Mayweather, the win goes a long way in cementing his status as one of boxing’s all-time greats. For Mosley, a victory would’ve lifted his overall profile into stratosphere also. With Mayweather forever needling Mosley about his connection to BALCO, a clean win would’ve quieted some of his critics.
In terms of money, it’s a no-brainer. This victory sets Mayweather up, at least potentially, for a big-money, mega-fight against Manny Pacquaio. Mayweather’s share of last night’s purse was $22.5 million. A bout with Pacquiao could nearly double that. The obvious snag would be Pacquiao reluctance to take the fight.
Pacquiao, who’s running for office in the Philippines, refused to submit to Mayweather’s demand for random drug testing. Talks were halted between the two camps in late December.
That notwithstanding, several industry sources have said the two camps will start negotiations shortly.
The loss, while a setback, isn’t a career-ender for Mosley. The 38-year-old proved he still had something left. Potential opponents include Andre Berto, who he was scheduled to fight in January. Berto withdrew from the fight to grieve for family members lost during the earthquake in Haiti.
A rematch with Miguel Cotto isn’t likely to be out of the question either.