MOSLEY MASSACRES MARGARITO
In yet another example of an older fighter turning back the clock to defeat a prime opponent, Shane Mosley shocked the world when he outclassed and destroyed Antonio Margarito to claim the WBA Welterweight Championship in a nine-round drubbing before the largest crowd in Staples Center history.
There was never any doubt that Mosley, at his best, had the speed and boxing ability to take Margarito apart. But the fact that he was able to do so at the age of 37 was downright shocking.
Mosley had a great deal of incentive to win this fight, coming off a divorce from his wife, a steroid controversy that never seemed to go away for too long, and a sub-par performance against the limited Ricardo Mayorga back in September that had most experts writing him off as over the hill and far past his best. Mosley is certainly past his best, but, as he showed against Margarito, he’s still good enough to handle some of the welterweight top dogs.
From the opening bell, Margarito was never in the fight as Mosley fired crisp shots at him from both hands. Within the first minute, Mosley had Margarito doubled over and on wobbly legs. The champion tried to shake it off by complaining about a headbutt, which prompted Referee Raul Caíz Sr. to tell Mosley to stop talking and watch his head on the inside. Mosley knocked Margarito’s head up with a solid right hand and an uppercut shortly thereafter, having his way with the much slower Margarito. He unloaded on Margarito with a six-punch combination as the Mexican went into a shell against the ropes, looking befuddled. Margarito acknowledged the punishment with a nod, but Caíz again decided to warn Mosley for talking for some reason.
Margarito’s corner tried to calm him down after the humbling first round, but round two was even worse for the champion. Mosley was comfortable enough to control Margarito with a jab while mixing in hard, drilling right hands to the head. Also taking effect on the champion were the multiple body shots Mosley was piling up. The Mexican contingent of the crowd grew upset when Mosley bulled Margarito into the corner, and Caíz warned the challenger for it, drawing a protest from Mosley, who felt he was using his holding tactically. Caíz brought the fighters together and asked that they conduct themselves like gentlemen, the last thing anybody watching a boxing fight wants or expects to hear.
Mosley started the third round by landing three clean right hands on Margarito’s wide open dome. From there, Mosley dug in, almost wildly, to Margarito with hooks to the head from both hands as Margarito covered up. Mosley seemed to feint with a five-punch combination before slamming Margarito’s head aside with a huge right. Margarito grinned in response, missed a rally of shots, and ate a big right-left combination across the face. He grinned again but chose to back off on the second go around, catching a body shot and a one-two across the face. The Mexican fans chanted, “Mexico,” but their man was being obliterated as he took flush shot after flush shot from the faster, more skilled veteran. Margarito stepped into another big time right across the chin, grazed Mosley with one of his own, and took another one yet somehow stayed on his feet. Mosley saluted the crowd following the most dominant round of the fight thus far.
For the first minute of the fourth round, Mosley handled Margarito with nothing but a jab, despite never being a great jabber at any point in his career. Margarito landed a good left hook but quickly walked into a huge right from Mosley that knocked his head away. Another left hook landed for Margarito, though Mosley came right back, beating him to the head and body with combinations, including a vicious one-two across the face, followed by a hard left hook of his own. Another right hand knocked Margarito’s head to the side. Right before the bell, Mosley put everything into an incredible straight right hand that landed flush on Margarito’s face. Margarito grinned and nodded, thankful to have a chin if nothing else going for him.
The power punches Miguel Cotto landed on Margarito throughout their summer brawl paled in comparison to some of the shots Mosley had landed through four rounds and would continue to land all night. The jabbing, followed by crisp power punches continued in the fifth round as Mosley seemed to be taking Cotto’s game plan and utilizing it more effectively by holding rather than moving. Margarito slung a wild right and walked into a left hook. He did score with a three-punch combination, though the steam appeared to be coming off of his power punches. The challenger scored with three right hands even while mixing it up inside and making it easier for Margarito. Two more jarring straight right hands thudded on Margarito’s thick skull, and, in an odd move, Caíz took the liberty of separating the fighters and suggesting Margarito take a deep breath to regain his composure. There wasn’t any letup from Mosley, however, as he landed two big left hooks, a body shot, and another left hook. Margarito missed with a jab and absorbed a thudding right hand that slammed his head back.
Mosley wasted little time in popping Margarito with a jab, followed by a big time one-two that snapped the champion’s head sideways to open round six. Margarito attempted a jab and ate a hard counter right to the face for his troubles. Margarito tried fighting back but couldn’t get past the challenger’s jab, both to the body and head. With a minute to go in the round, Margarito was retreating for one of the few times in his career, having accumulated too much punishment to keep attacking. A right over the top of the head saw Margarito teeter into the ropes, looking weary. He scored with an uppercut and a left hook to Mosley before taking a huge right hand bomb to the head while lying on the ropes. Margarito then turned off the ropes and traded big right hands with Mosley that brought the crowd to its feet. Mosley dodged a jab and hammered home another huge right hand that nearly took Margarito’s head off.
Early in round seven, Mosley again ripped Margarito with a hard one-two. The champion then got a badly needed breather as Caíz had the tape on Mosley’s glove cut. When the action resumed, Mosley landed another hard one-two to Margarito’s face, followed by another right to the head. The champion continued to go round after round without landing anything of significance; meanwhile, Mosley creamed him with right hand after right hand. Somewhere in the midst of being hammered by Mosley’s combinations, Margarito managed to land a good left hook. A right-left from Mosley connected before the bell and canceled out Margarito’s late rally. Despite Margarito having his best round of the fight in the seventh, it would take a merciful judge to award it to the champion.
Mosley stuck a jab to Margarito’s body and came up with one to the head to begin round eight. The challenger followed up with a sharp one-two to the head. Mosley landed another hard right to Margarito’s head against the ropes. Margarito then began firing back and landing good shots, but Mosley gave a smirk and shook the punches off. Mosley pulled away from a right and countered with an uppercut across Margarito’s nose before ripping a left-right combination that hurt the champion – perhaps for the first time since Daniel Santos hurt him back in 2004. The crowd went wild as Margarito staggered sideways and absorbed another right to the head. A three-punch combination to the head followed, then a right-left across the face against the ropes. The champion turned off the ropes and caught another big right hand across the mouth from Mosley, grinned, and ate another right hand. Mosley stepped in and connected with a left hook – the same punch he used to fell Mayorga – and Margarito stumbled into the ropes, now out on his feet. Mosley hammered home three huge right hands to the head, and the Mexican warrior finally went down, crash landing on his hands and knees and nearly taking Mosley down with him.
Margarito rolled onto his side and appeared to be grinning as Caíz counted him out. He somehow found the will to push himself first onto his knees, then back onto his feet and beat the count. Margarito, clearly in no condition to continue, told Caíz he was fine, and the referee allowed him to. Fortunately for Margarito, the bell rang to save him from being knocked out then and there. In the corner, Margarito’s camp desperately tried to revive him with water over the head, then suggested stopping the fight, but Margarito wanted to continue. They, too, allowed him to.
Mosley wasted little time in ambushing Margarito with combinations to the head to begin the ninth round. A body shot and a jab followed, and Mosley made a face as if to suggest Margarito shouldn’t be allowed to go on. Four hard rights to the head had Margarito back on the ropes as the challenger looked to finish things himself. Three right-left combinations had Margarito in big trouble once more, and Caíz finally stepped in to stop the fight, and just in time, too, because the proud Mexican took another right hand to the head and immediately crumbled to the canvas on his knees as the referee tried to save him.
Mosley took the opportunity to bow to each side of the ring, honoring the fans who had supported and believed in him one last time. Margarito, on the other hand, looked upset with Caíz, though he had no valid complaint for the stoppage, the first of his career. He quickly took a seat to allow a doctor to examine him, closing his eyes and shaking his head in defeat.
It will perhaps go down as the biggest moment of Mosley’s boxing career given the circumstances he brought with him into the ring and the fact that everyone had written him off. With Paul Williams floating around 154 and 160 pounds, Mosley has a justified claim to being the best welterweight in the world. A rematch with Cotto would be great for the sport and surely determine the number one man in their division. Margarito, meanwhile, has bigger problems than just losing his title and probably his rematch with Cotto in the summer.
DOUBLE WHAMMY FOR MARGARITO, CAUGHT CHEATING
Not only was Margarito humiliated and destroyed in the ring, but his career may also have taken an irreparable blow outside of it.
Thanks to the well trained eye of Mosley’s veteran trainer Naazim Richardson, Margarito was prevented from applying illegal hand wraps in the dressing room prior to the fight, according to HBO. The evidence was seized by the California State Athletic Commission on the spot, meaning the incident was not something inconsequential. This only added insult to the injury Margarito absorbed after suffering his first knockout loss.
Being caught in the act of attempting to cheat will almost assuredly bring into question everything Margarito has accomplished in boxing. Fans, experts, trainers, and former opponents will automatically assume that Margarito applied the same tactics in previous fights, making one wonder whether Margarito would have ever become successful without them. He will most likely face a suspension, thus losing his payday with Cotto and probably being forced to sit out the rest of the year after which time fans may no longer respect and want to see him again.
Jose Luis Castillo’s career quickly spiraled out of control after a much less serious but still disgraceful attempt to cheat Diego Corrales on the scales back in 2005. Castillo now takes part in petty fights, trying to make back some of the money he was fined for his repeated debacles at the scales. What Margarito allegedly attempted to do was downright dangerous and should not be taken lightly.
Tags: Antonio Margarito, Boxing, Shane Mosley