Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thoughts On Avanesyan-Mosley

The latest step in the comeback of former multi-division world champion and future Hall of Famer Shane Mosley took place on May 28th at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ. Although Mosley was only entering the ring for the third time since returning from a retirement/hiatus in August 2015, the forty-four year old Mosley would opt to take on a difficult task in the form of WBA number one rated Welterweight contender David Avanesyan.

Prior to this fight, this observer stated that this seemed to be a classic matchup of youth versus experience. Mosley, a fighter with a stellar resume and significant skill being pitted against a fighter seventeen years his junior. Even though Avanesyan entered the fight having won twenty-one of twenty-three professional fights and having interim/regular champion status in the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) Welterweight ratings, he had not faced a fighter of Mosley’s caliber and some questioned just how good he was.

What would end up happening when the two fighters squared off was in essence, the definition of what is considered a close and competitive fight. As is often the case when it comes to close fights, there were many “Swing Rounds” where both fighters were able to have success. I felt the first half of the fight was dictated by Mosley by the use of his jab, effective body punching, and ability to control distance. Although Mosley was the fighter dictating the pace early on in my eyes, Avanesyan was able to have his share of moments, which ultimately resulted in my scoring the first six rounds three rounds to two with one round even in Mosley’s favor.

As the fight progressed however, Avanesyan gradually increased his pressure of Mosley and generally was able to land the cleaner, more effective punches particularly when he was able to land his straight right hand, while mixing in periodic hooks. By the middle and late rounds, it was clear that the momentum had shifted in Avanesyan’s favor. Although this was still a very close and competitive fight all the way through, I felt one thing that worked against Mosley as the fight progressed was he became inconsistent with his jab and also had periods where he would smother his offense rather than controlling distance.

It became a question of as I have often referred to over the years of wondering what the three official judges would base their scores on in their own criteria as the fight progressed. Would it be Mosley’s ability to be effective early and have his share of moments even in rounds where it appeared Avanesyan was more effective, or would it be Avanesyan’s cleaner offense that would be the deciding factor?

What some thought might be a deciding factor however, came in the tenth round when Mosley was penalized one point for a low blow. At that point in the  fight although I felt it was close, the point deduction against Mosley ultimately proved to be what would pull Avanesyan ahead on my unofficial scorecard as at the end of the twelve round bout I had Avanesyan winning the fight 115-112.

As what often happens when it comes to close fights, there was a significant difference of opinion as to the scoring of the three official judges as well as fans and experts alike. The closest of the three official judges scorecards came from judge Raul Caiz Sr. who scored the fight for Avanesyan 114-113. Judges Sergio Caiz and Dennis O’Connell turned in identical scores of a significantly wider margin of 117-110 or ten rounds to two in favor of Avanesyan giving him a unanimous decision.

Following the fight, I commented on Twitter that although I felt it was a close fight where there would likely be a difference of opinion, I did not see a score of 117-110 in favor of either fighter, but would not call those scores controversial. It was simply one of those fights where two fighters were able to have periods of effectiveness, but as is the case when it comes to close fights it will boil down to what a judge prefers in their own individual criteria of how they score based on clean punching, effective aggressiveness, ring generalship, and defense.

David Avanesyan landed the cleaner more effective punches in this fight and was the effective aggressor particularly in the second half of the fight. Although the three judges are the only ones who can speak for themselves as to what they scored on, if one looks at the fight objectively, you can see various points of view of how some may feel a fight is close, while others may feel that fight is close, but one fighter was able to do a little bit more than the other in most rounds, which ultimately results in a wide scorecard.

With the victory, Avanesyan retains his number one ranking in the WBA’s Welterweight rankings and will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the upcoming fight between undefeated WBA world champion Keith Thurman and former world champion Shawn Porter. Even though Avanesyan was somewhat of an unknown due to his not previously competing in the United States before this fight, he more than showed that he is a solid contender and it will be interesting to see how he will do against the winner of Thurman-Porter.

As for the forty-four year old Shane Mosley, readers may recall following his loss to Anthony Mundine in November 2013, this observer when discussing whether or not Mosley should retire following what was to date the only knockout loss of his career, I stated that his legacy would not be damaged by the loss and if it were the end for him as a fighter he would have nothing to be ashamed of and closed my coverage of that fight by saying simply “Shane, maybe it’s time…”

It is inevitable and logical that discussion will take place among both Boxing fans and experts alike as to whether or not Mosley will retire following this loss to David Avanesyan. After all, Mosley is forty-four years old and whenever a fighter of an advanced age loses a fight regardless of how the loss came, people will speculate as to whether or not the time has come for that fighter to hang up their gloves. Only Shane Mosley will be the one who will determine whether or not he has competed for the final time as a fighter.

In the eyes of this observer much as was the case after his loss to Anthony Mundine, his legacy will not be damaged and he has nothing to be ashamed of. It is important to remember that even the most legendary of fighters have lost fights from time to time. Mosley fought well in a fight that some criticized against a young, hungry number one contender, who is in his prime. Although some may have criticized Mosley for getting the chance to fight for a potential world championship opportunity, he more than made a good account of himself and was not disgraced in any way. It should also not be overlooked that Mosley handled the defeat to Avanesyan with the utmost class and professionalism. Something all fighters should learn from.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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