Five things we learned from Floyd Mayweather's unanimous decision over Shane Mosley on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
1. Mayweather gained some major street cred in boxing circles. Quality of competition is a familiar talking point among Mayweather's critics, but anyone who says Floyd is only capable of dominating smaller or less skilled opponents wasn't paying attention on Saturday night. Make no mistake: Mosley is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and a legend awfully close to his prime -- one of the best welterweights of the modern era -- and Mayweather came thisclose to pitching a shutout. Freddie Roach has repeatedly said Mayweather may be a Hall of Fame fighter at 135 and 140 pounds, but he's nothing special at 147. That argument no longer holds water.
2. Mosley's best chance for the upset came in the second round, but nerves betrayed him. When Mosley connected with that powerful right hand early on -- the night's only legitimate OMG moment -- Mayweather needed to grab hold just to keep from hitting the canvas. Mosley followed it up with another thudding right and seemed to have lured Mayweather into the firefight observers believed most conducive to Shane's chances. But Mosley couldn't deliver a coup de grace before the bell and struggled to catch up with the adjustments that Mayweather made between the second and third rounds. He let the moment slip away, and Mayweather's hand speed and pinpoint accuracy moving forward proved too much to overcome. "I started getting tight," Mosley confessed afterward. "I might have started loading up a little too much, and I played into his hands."
3. Mayweather can handle adversity like a champion. For a fighter who's never been in serious trouble in the ring, Mayweather sure handled Mosley's second-round flourish like he's been there before. He landed a number of short, crisp punches in the third to reassert himself and stymie Mosley's confidence. By the sixth, Mayweather had established the pace, using the left jab to set up one right cross after another. As those methodical one-two combos added up, it became clear Mosley didn't have a Plan B. "I couldn't adjust, and he adjusted," Mosley said, "and that's why he won the fight."
4. Some people will say anything to take credit away from Mayweather. In the immediate aftermath of Saturday's fight, some have posited that Mosley somehow overtrained for Mayweather, a consequence of the aborted Jan. 30 fight with Andre Berto that was canceled because of the earthquake in Haiti. Even if there's a kernel of truth to that, does anyone believe it made a difference in the outcome? The discrepancy in talent between the two was obvious from the third round on. The iconic sequence came at the end of the ninth, when Mosley fired a fruitless five-punch combination and Floyd answered with a pulverizing right hand before pirouetting out of range -- a move of savage beauty and exquisite technique.
5. The countdown for Mayweather-Pacquiao is under way ... again. Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao is no longer a dream matchup, it's an obligation: A fight the public has made. It wouldn't just be a showdown between the sport's two best pound-for-pound fighters, it'd be the most delicious clash of styles boxing fans have seen in ages: Pacquiao's oppressive, offensive force against Mayweather, the foremost defensive mastermind of our time. But fans better hope Pacquaio reconsiders the hard-line stance against Olympic-style drug testing that KO'd their scheduled March fight: Mayweather didn't exactly leave the door open for a compromise. "If Manny Pacquiao takes the blood and urine tests, we can make the fight for the fans," Mayweather said. "And if he doesn't, we don't got no fight."
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