I will feel no remorse, no guilt, just the smug satisfaction of a bet well made, when I cash my tickets on Sugar Shane Mosley.
And frankly, I felt none of the usual doubts as the so-called "controversial" bout headed into the final two rounds. I knew Mosley had won. All I was wondering was if he could stop Oscar de la Hoya and let me cash my small side bet, at 6-1, on Sugar by KO.
All you other wise guys who cashed in on the stronger fighter, don’t let the unwashed masses discolor your pleasure. Mosley won fair and square, and only the discolor commentators on HBO and the large Golden Boy fan club could think differently.
I am not a "hater." Osama bin Laden, maybe, Oscar de la Hoya, never. I have too much high regard and respect for a man who did not let Bob Arum (well, maybe there’s a little hate in my life) keep him from fighting real fighters.
Yes, I admire Mosley. But that’s not why I scored the bout 8-3-1 for him. I had it even after seven rounds. De la Hoya was fighting defensively, much more so than he did against Felix Trinidad Jr. in the early rounds. Then, he moved side to side, but would stop and attack with well-timed combinations before moving to safety.
Against Mosley, a man who had beaten him every which way three years earlier, he took half-steps backward and flicked jabs, sometimes-double jabs, sometimes even triple. The first time vs. de la Hoya, Mosley just had to wait. Oscar had promised a knockout and was moving in, allowing Mosley to get off three-four-five punch combos. Mosley couldn’t do that against the taller Vernon Forrest and he couldn’t do that against a retreating de la Hoya.
Thus, I believe many thought he was being "out boxed." The two were exchanging feints, not punches, reminiscent of the early going in Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns I, when the bloodthirsty booed two great young boxers. Mosley was looking to time de la Hoya’s jabs. Besides landing the only real punch in the opening round, a left hook to the chops, he saw that he was able to go beneath the jabs with right hands to de la Hoya’s side. This would be the singular most important punch of the fight.
While de la Hoya was avoiding confrontation, Mosley was landing those debilitating right hands with increasing frequency. De la Hoya started to wilt, leading to more right hands to the side. The distance between the two fighters decreased round after round. It was all Mosley down the stretch.
De la Hoya was hurting. You could read it on his face, see it in the way he trudged back to his corner. When the fight ended, I had none of those usual worries whether or not I would get the decision. Then I was shocked when it was announced all three judges had it 115-113. Too close. Could they....."
No, they got the right winner. Duane Ford, who may be the best judge working these days, would say later, "If you want to criticize me, it was that I was too lenient for Oscar." He also said he went into the fight hoping de la Hoya won.
As for CompuBox, as if that is evidence (how come, Oscar, it wasn’t when Pernell Whitaker outlanded you?), it is just a couple of guys trying to count punches on a computer pad. It is not a "computer" scoring a fight; it’s two human beings, both sitting on the same side of the ring, both employed by HBO. Enough said.
It’s time to move on to other things. Not better, other.
Next weekend, the honest folk at HBO will present a night of "young" heavyweights. Well, most are younger than George Foreman, who maybe should not have allowed to take punches to the head late in life. They are not very good, except maybe for the tall left-handed Cuban Juan Carlo Gomez, who faces the European champion, Sinan Samilsan of Turkey. Sam is promoted by the leading German company, Universum, which used to have Gomez, so maybe Peter Kohl knows something about Gomez we don’t. Gomez is a tall, elegant undefeated southpaw who was longtime cruiserweight champion. Maybe, though, he is not really his listed 30 years. Maybe.
That’s the most interesting matchup for me. The headliner, especially in Buffalo, is hometown hero Joe Mesi vs. DaVarryl Williamson. In the other match, Shelly Finkel’s Dominick Guinn, coming off a KO of Michael Grant, faces old friend Duncan Dokiwari. Gomez, Mesi and Guinn are favored by minus $3.40, minus $2.10 (down from $2.5) and minus $3.50, respectively.
If I were fooling around, I’d parlay the dogs in this one. But I’m not sure I can take a night of HBO discolor commentating.