Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mosley KO’s Mayorga For The Second Time

The rematch between former world champions Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga faced obstacles before the two fighters could even enter the ring. It faced a legal challenge from Mayorga’s longtime promoter Don King who sought an injunction to prevent the fight for taking place. The fight also faced competition in the form of the Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares bout, which took place on the same night, at the same time, and at a nearby venue from where Mosley and Mayorga were to do battle.

Mosley and Mayorga however, would overcome the objection of King in the week leading up to the fight so the bout could take place as scheduled on Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, CA. The first fight between the two in September 2008 was a highly competitive bout from start to finish. Mosley was victorious in that fight stopping Mayorga in dramatic fashion with just one second remaining in the fight.

In the near seven years since that battle however, an argument could be made that both fighters have declined with each suffering losses and having gone through stretches of inactivity. One may have been justified to wonder what the forty-three year old Mosley and the forty-one year old Mayorga had left to give as fighters at this stage in their respective careers.

Prior to this bout, this observer stated that the question I had going into this fight was what versions of the fighters would show up. Mosley at his best is a fighter who uses a good mix of hand speed and punching power, who also has the ability to execute his offense in spurts of combinations. While not being the most technically sound fighter, Mayorga is a fighter who is always dangerous and has an unorthodox brawling style.

A storyline of two former world champions turning their attention to each other one more time, each looking to resurrect their careers is one that can produce a memorable fight. With the legal struggles behind them, with a competing event nearby, and with questions regarding what each fighter had left to give, it was time for Mosley and Mayorga to enter the ring and do battle.

It was a bit surprising to see Mayorga, who had boldly predicted a first round knockout begin this fight being tentative. It was not surprising however, to see Mosley have success almost immediately in establishing his jab and finding a home for his right hand. Mosley, who was fighting for the first time in nearly two years clearly still had his hand speed.

Mosley continued to dictate how the fight was being fought as the rounds went on and was able to land his right hand seemingly whenever he wanted. Mayorga attempted to get under Mosley’s skin by taunting him and dropping his hands presenting Mosley with an open target. Despite the familiar tactic that Mayorga has used periodically throughout his career, it did not succeed in getting Mosley out of his fight plan.

As the fight entered the fourth round Mosley was able to have success in landing to Mayorga’s body. Although Mayorga would occasionally attempt to rush Mosley with offense, he was unable to land effectively. The primary difference in this fight was Mosley’s ability to dictate the pace, execute his offense in combination, and generally make Mayorga miss with the majority of his offense.

Mosley was able to open a cut over the right eye of Mayorga in round five with a jab. The end would come in round six when Mosley was able to connect with a left hook to the liver of Mayorga in the closing seconds of the round. Although Mayorga complained that he had been hit by a low blow, Referee Raul Caiz, Jr. counted Mayorga out. Official time of the stoppage was 2:59 of round six.

Shane Mosley advances to 48-9-1, with 40 Knockouts. Ricardo Mayorga falls to 31-9-1, with 25 Knockouts.

Also on this card, in a bout for the IBF Women’s World Jr. Featherweight championship Yulihan Luna fought to a hard fought ten round split decision draw with International Female Boxing Association Jr. Featherweight (IFBA) world champion Maureen Shea.   This was an extremely close fight that saw plenty of exchanges between the two fighters. Shea seemed to dictate the pace of the fight in the early rounds by consistently pressing the action and attempting to cut the ring off from Luna.  Luna meanwhile attempted to play the role of counter puncher through much of the first half of the fight.

Both fighters were able to have periods of effectiveness throughout the fight.  As this observer has stated numerous times over the years when it comes to close fights where each fighter is able to be effective and there isn’t much to separate one fighter from the other it will often boil down to what a judge prefers based on clean punching, effective aggressiveness, ring generalship, and defense. 

In this fight I thought Shea was able to get the better of the action particularly when she was able to push Luna back, close distance, and get on the inside. Luna meanwhile, was most effective during periods where she was able to use her movement to offset Shea’s pressure and use her jab and get her punches off first. 

It was not surprising in the eyes of this observer to see a close decision at the end of what was a very competitive fight. As tends to be the case in close fights, it was also not surprising to see differing scores among the three official judges.  Judge Steven Hicks scored the fight 97-93 in favor of Luna, Judge Michael Tate scored the fight 98-92 in favor of Shea. The third and deciding Judge David Mendoza scored the fight even 95-95 resulting in a split decision draw.

Unofficially, I scored this fight 96-94 in favor of Maureen Shea.  This was a very difficult fight to score and it is understandable how one could see an argument in favor of either fighter. The way Shea was able to dictate the action in the first half of the fight is what gave her the edge on my scorecard, but there really wasn’t much to separate the two fighters.

Yulihan Luna advances to 12-2-1, with 1 Knockout. Maureen Shea advances to 24-2-1, with 12 Knockouts. 

This fight was the first Women’s world championship fight to be featured prominently on a pay-per-view Boxing card in the United States in more than a decade.  It is my hope that the spotlight of the sport is focused on Women’s Boxing more in the future.  These two fighters gave it everything they had in what was an entertaining contest and it would not surprise me to see a rematch between the two, possibly on a future Shane Mosley promoted card. If a rematch is signed this observer hopes it will be broadcast on television.

In a Lightweight bout Joel Diaz Jr. scored a fourth round stoppage of a very “Game” Luis Arceo.  Diaz generally got the better of the action in this fight opening up cuts over both of Arceo’s eyes and dropped Arceo with a one, two combination midway through the fourth round. Although a bloody Arceo was able to beat the count, the fight was stopped by Referee David Denkin.  Official time of the stoppage was 1:27 of round four.

Joel Diaz Jr. advances to 20-0, with 16 Knockouts. Luis Arceo falls to 28-14-4, with 18 Knockouts.

It will be interesting to see where Diaz goes from here in the Lightweight division.  A challenge that can be present for a young prospect as they move up the ranks is to see how they respond to a fighter who provides them with some resistance. Luis Arceo more than showed his mettle in this fight and did provide some resistance for Diaz.  We will see what the future holds for Diaz as he continues his climb up the Lightweight division.

In non-televised action in a Cruiserweight bout Dimar Ortuz, who fans of BKB: Big-Knockout Boxing might recognize fought to an eight round split decision draw with Victor Barragan.  Official scores were 76-74 in favor or each fighter on two scorecards, while the third scorecard was scored even resulting in the draw 75-75.  Dimar Ortuz advances to 10-0-2, with 7 Knockouts. (Traditional Boxing Record)  Victor Barragan advances to 12-8-1, with 3 Knockouts.

In a Super-Middleweight bout Ronald Ellis scored a second round stoppage over Jas Phipps. Official time of the stoppage was 1:15 of round two.  Ronald Ellis advances to 12-0, with 10 Knockouts.  Jas Phipps falls to 5-6-2, with 2 Knockouts.

Although the rematch between Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga did not resemble their closely fought first encounter, it did provide Boxing fans entertainment even though Mosley was able to dominate much of the fight. The only similarity of course between the first fight and the rematch was that Mosley stopped Mayorga with one second remaining in the sixth round.

As for Shane Mosley, I believe the most important thing will be whether or not he can stay active. If Mosley can remain active and more importantly continue to win, it will be interesting to see whether or not he will be able to move himself back into title contention. It will also be interesting to see what the future holds for Ricardo Mayorga going forward. Mayorga has always been an entertaining fighter win or lose, but one has to wonder what may be left for him at this stage in his career coming off of another setback.

The struggles this card faced ultimately did not prevent the rematch between Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga from coming to fruition. Although it will be interesting to see how the pay-per-view numbers in the United States and Canada compare to the ratings for the ESPN televised Premier Boxing Champions card headlined by Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, this observer believes considering all the obstacles that were present for a time for Mosley-Mayorga II the card, which was promoted by Shane Mosley’s GoBox Promotions should be considered a success.

We will see what the future holds for both Shane Mosley the fighter and the promoter.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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