At age 37, Shane Mosley’s better days appeared to be behind him following a narrow loss to Miguel Cotto in November 2007 and an unimpressive victory over Ricardo Mayorga four months ago.
That all changed with his domination of Antonio Margarito.
“Well, I did it again, right here at the Staples Center – the king of Cali,” a giddy Mosley said after taking Margarito’s WBA welterweight title via a technical knockout at 43 seconds of the ninth round Saturday night.
“Everything that we worked on came to pass,” Mosley said. “I wasn’t really expecting a knockout. It happened.”
Did it ever. And in most convincing fashion.
The bout was Mosley’s second at Staples Center. He won a 12-round split decision over Oscar De La Hoya on June 17, 2000 in the first boxing match held at the downtown Los Angeles arena to win a version of the world welterweight title for the first of three times. He’s also been a champion in the lightweight and junior middleweight divisions.
All things considered, this triumph might have been more impressive.
“It was an amazing performance by Shane,” said Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which promoted the bout along with Top Rank. “A lot of people counted him out. He turned back the clock.”
Margarito was coming off an impressive victory over the previously unbeaten Cotto six months ago to win the WBA welterweight crown and leave the 30-year-old slugger being touted as one of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters.
But Mosley dominated the man known as the “Tijuana Tornado” from start to finish, handing him the first knockout of his career.
“I think my speed was too much for him,” Mosley said. “I was fast, I have a lot of power in my punches. He’s very strong and powerful, he comes at you. I’m also powerful. People underestimate my strength. (Ricardo) Mayorga, (Fernando) Vargas, these guys are big. I’m able to knock them out. Margarito didn’t feel nearly as big.”
Mosley said he’d love another shot at Cotto, but would take on all-comers. He also mentioned the possibility of meeting the winner of the Manny Pacquaio-Ricky Hatton fight, scheduled for May 2 in Las Vegas.
A rematch with Margarito would also seem to be a possibility.
“Right now, I’m the man to beat,” Mosley said.
Mosley brought in Nazim Richardson to train him for this fight, replacing his father, Jack. That move couldn’t have worked out any better.
“I said before the fight I knew (Margarito) was something special, so we put a special game plan in,” Richardson said. “Shane Mosley’s an excellent athlete. Shane Mosley’s an excellent student.”
Margarito, of Tijuana, Mexico, didn’t win a single round on one judge’s scorecard, one on another and two on the third before the ninth. The Associated Press had Mosley winning every round but one.
“I feel OK. I was just getting caught over and over,” said Margarito, who was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons.
Margarito started slowly against Cotto last July, but came on to dominate his opponent before stopping him in the 11th round. He got off to another slow start, but Mosley made sure he wouldn’t get untracked.
Margarito fans at ringside, perhaps understanding their fighter was in trouble, began a pleading “Margarito, Margarito” chant as the eighth round began, and the Mexican boxer’s corner came to life when he landed his most solid blows of the fight to that point.
But Mosley staggered the champion late in the round, and floored him with a barrage of punches as the round ended. Margarito wobbled to his feet to beat the count to 10, but looked like a beaten man as he sat in his corner.
Mosley continued to force the action in the ninth, and finally Margarito’s corner threw in the towel when the fighter was unable to defend himself. Mosley landed 18 power punches and 21 overall to none for Margarito in the final round.
Mosley, who weighed the maximum 147 pounds, raised his record to 46-5 with 39 knockouts. Margarito, who weighed 145.8 pounds, dropped to 37-6 with 27 knockouts. Mosley landed 178 punches to 108 for Margarito and 118 power punches to Margarito’s 78.
Both fighters earned around US$2.4 million. The bout was held before an announced crowd of 20,820 – largest to attend a sporting event at Staples Center since it opened in October 1999.
“It was a great night for me,” Mosley said. “Hopefully, there are many, many more.”