INGLEWOOD, CALIF. -- It was far more fun than it was supposed to be for a rematch of a fight from 2008 featuring two fighters well past their respective primes. But, sometimes, those are the best fights.
After a truly bizarre (and often embarrassing) promotional build that was more WWE than boxing, Shane Mosley (48-9-1, 40 knockouts) successfully came out of a two-year hiatus to score a knockout over rival Ricardo Mayorga (31-9-1, 25 KOs) in a wildly entertaining showdown that saw Mosley put the Nicaraguan down at the 2:59 mark of the sixth round with a well-placed body shot. Mosley stopped Mayorga at the end of the 12th when they met seven years ago.
Mosley again proved to still be the better man.
No, it wasn’t the Shane Mosley that was a pound-for-pound fighter 15 years ago. Nor was it the Ricardo Mayorga who defied the odds with his defiant style and shocked the world by beating the late Vernon Forrest to become the WBC, WBA (Super) and The Ring welterweight world champion in 2003. Those versions are distant memories. However, glimpses of the traits that made both fighters fan favorites came out at The Forum in front of a couple thousand fans on Saturday night.
The fight was heavily criticized for its pay-per-view asking price of $50 to see a pair of past-their-prime fighters, when a highly anticipated showdown and possible Fight of the Year candidate between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares was on free television not too far away at the Staples Center. The pre-fight antics that ranged from a seemingly manufactured feud that began on twitter, to the allegedly staged butt slap that Mayorga planted on Mosley’s girlfriend at Tuesday’s press conference, drew little more than disparagement from boxing writers and fight fans alike. However, when the two squared off, almost all the condemnation became an afterthought.
The 43-year-old Mosley- -- last seen getting stopped by Anthony Mundine in November of 2013 -- still proved that he has something left, while Mayorga proved that he could still take a punch, and looked like he enjoyed it. With Michael Buffer introducing the fighters, celebrities such as 50 Cent and Bow Wow seated ringside, and a small but spirited crowd cheering the action, it managed to at least look relevant despite Mayorga and Mosley being a combined 5-6-1 in their previous 12 outings.
From the outset, it was Mosley slamming an overhand right and jab into Mayorga’s face. But Mayorga -- who came in seven pounds over the 158-pound weight limit at a hefty 165.4 pounds -- wasn’t simply going to roll over for Mosley. At the very least, he was going to make him work for it.
Mosley was in control throughout the first two rounds as he popped the cigarette smoking Mayorga with the jab and ripped him to the head and torso with combinations. Despite being clearly outclassed, Mayorga threw caution to the wind and decided to entertain.
The 41-year-old stuck his chin out, danced and dared Mosley to hit him in the third while returning fire with the wild and wide punches that “El Matador” has been known for. Mosley, however, was unfazed by Mayorga’s antics and continued to pepper his foe with power shots. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. had his hands full as Mayorga kept him busy complaining about low blows and head butts.
Mayorga did his best to remain competitive in the fourth, when he caught Mosley with a few wide punches, but Mosley would not be deterred. In the sixth, Mayorga and Mosley engaged in some heated back and forth action that actually saw Mayorga stun Mosley with a chopping right hand. Though just as he gained momentum, Mosley grounded that assault with a left hook to the body that put Mayorga down on one knee.
In obvious pain, Mayorga remained on the canvas while he was counted out.
It was the first knockout victory for Mosley since knocking out Antonio Margarito in 2009. Mosley stated afterward that he’s ready to get back in the ring as soon as November.
“It felt good to give the fans a fun fight,” Mosley said while explaining how he dealt with Mayorga’s reckless antics in and out of the ring. “He talked a lot with his mouth, but I talk with my fists and I was definitely going to go for the knockout and that’s what we got.”
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