Weekend Afterthoughts: Who “Deserves” To Win Between Shane Mosley And Sergio Mora?; What It Means To Have HBO On Your Team; Eminem Vs. “The Warriors;” More

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Sergio Mora takes a punch from Shane Mosley during the 10th round of the Middleweight bout at Staples Center on September 18, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The fight ended in a draw. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

One common rejoinder from some fans and writers alike to the Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora draw on Saturday is that it was a fair result because neither man “deserved” to win.

I beg to differ, on two levels.

The man who “deserves” to win a decision is the man who wins the most rounds. That’s the main standard for whether anyone “deserves” anything. Reasonable people have certainly differed on who won the most rounds in this particular junior middleweight fight, but I think those on the side who think Mora won the most rounds are wrong.

CompuBox statistics aren’t the end-all be-all, but they confirmed what I saw with my eyes. Some have said Mosley mostly swung and missed. But Mosley landed 161 punches to Mora’s 93, or 56 percent more. He landed more in every round but one, the 11th, where they tied; Mora only landed in double figures in three rounds. Some have said Mora landed the “scoring” punches, and it’s true that in some rounds, he landed a crisp punch or two. But Mosley landed almost double the number of power punches, and some of those weren’t just “power” in name — they were hard shots, harder than anything Mora even could throw. And he was more accurate, too, landing 31 percent to Mora’s 18. This isn’t about me blindly scoring a fight for the aggressor. I’m a fan of counterpunchers and boxing technicians. I thought super middleweight Andre Dirrell easily beat Carl Froch last year.

But there’s also a problem of false equivalence. Even if you think it was a close fight, it’s not right to say that both sucked and therefore neither deserved to win.

Mora wasn’t trying very hard and Mosley was doing everything he could to win. I think if Mora had tried, he probably would have won, actually. How do I know Mora wasn’t trying very hard, besides my eyes? Because he said so. “I thought I was winning, so I didn’t fight as hard because I have respect for Shane,” Mora said. “I didn’t want to hurt him.” Also, don’t mistake Mosley’s refusal to criticize the decision as acquiescence that he was in a close fight. Mosley was being a gentleman in the immediate aftermath, like he always does. Look at his Twitter feed and notice how he’s become more vocal. Ultimately, even if you think there were close rounds, there’s no reason to give those close rounds to the man who was running away and holding on for dear life. When there’s a tie on other merits, the more willing combatant should win the round.

If anybody can’t get worked up over Mosley-Mora being ruled a draw, I can’t blame them. It was a boring, unappetizing fight that doesn’t offer much inspiration for passion. But saying neither man deserved to win gives one man too much credit and the other not enough. Neither man was scintillating, but they sucked in different ways, ways that matter. One tried; one didn’t. And while neither delivered a great performance, one man landed better, more often and more accurately — round by round and over the course of the entire fight.

As for the rest of the weekend:

  • Scorecards. If you’re interested in how each judge scored it, here you go.
  • Mosley’s standing. Mosley’s standing with me doesn’t take a hit because of the draw — I think he won — but because of how he looked in the draw, i.e., the criticisms I had about him not pulling the trigger and running out of steam badly in the late rounds. I imagine that in my next pound-for-pound update, he’ll be gone. Over the last year and a half, he is 1-1 and looked pretty bad stamina- and trigger-wise in both bouts. There’s not a major name at 147 or 154 I’d pick him to beat right now. I think he’d be competitive with many of those names, because he still has a little left, but not enough to be effective for 12 rounds.
  • HBO’s role. With the way HBO’s commentators savaged the fight, I wonder if Golden Boy is reconsidering getting them involved. But I think they shouldn’t have held back in that regard. The fight was terrible, and journalistically, Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant wouldn’t have been doing their jobs if they hadn’t described it accurately. On the other hand, maybe they shouldn’t have been rooting SO hard for Mosley. Mosley certainly was the sympathetic figure in Mosley-Mora, but “go, Shane, go” is the opposite of the kind of thing Lampley should say, and I’m hard-pressed to think of another sport where that kind of commentary would fly.
  • Naazim Richardson. If Mosley trainer Richardson isn’t the best talker in boxing today, I don’t know who is. According to Merchant, this is what he said in the pre-fight meetings of the light-punching Mora: “Mora couldn’t knock a glass over with a running start.”
  • Victor Ortiz’ rebound. It was nice to see Ortiz get a good reception from the crowd before and after his junior welterweight win against Vivian Harris. I confess I have a weak spot for fighters who suffer a devastating loss/embarrassment but show the capacity to rebound from it. It’s not just emotionally. It’s because I’ve noticed boxers do recover from these kind of incidents pretty frequently. Look at where fellow junior welterweight Amir Khan is now after the Breidis Prescott incident. I think Ortiz is on his way back from the Marcos Maidana loss, and certainly has won back some fans. I wager middleweight Daniel Jacobs will be back after the Dmitry Pirog fight, too. Time will tell.
  • Next for Saul Alvarez. The junior middleweight has re-signed with Golden Boy, and since it’s worked out for him so far, the pairing makes sense. As friend of the site Scott Kraus and I were discussing in the comments section the other day, the Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight for Alvarez is the one that makes sense — it would generate a gajillion dollars in Mexico — but probably won’t happen because Top Rank is keeping things in house almost exclusively these days, since I bet Golden Boy would make Alvarez-Chavez in a second. I know both are young, but I honestly see no down side for either party. They’re at about the same level in terms of their career achievements, with Alvarez maybe a bit ahead, and I don’t think anyone would hold it against either man for losing to the other under the circumstances. It’s all fanciful to talk about, though, I guess.
  • Harris vs. Mora ring walk. Harris came out to Eminem’s “I’m Not Afraid,” which friend of the site David P. Greisman has accurately identified as the most overplayed ring entrance song in our time. It must stop. It must. It exacerbated a crappy showing for Harris, whereas Mora’s ring walk — which began with lines from the cult classic movie “The Warriors” — was the only thing good about what he did Saturday night.
  • My strange fame. Because of this, I ended up in an Eric Raskin column on Ring’s website where the following passage was published, the strangest ever published about me: “Thanks to a link provided in a tweet from boxing writer Tim Starks, we end up watching a YouTube clip of a chimp raping a frog as Mosley enters the ring. If the main event provides half as much action, it’ll be a fine fight indeed.” Which I pass along not only because I get a kick out of seeing my name mentioned by others, but also to remind you to be reading Raskin’s work as often as you can. He’s one of the best that there is. (As another friend of the site Maria aka haloprime aka The Queensburry Wench quipped to me on Facebook in response to Raskin’s piece: “Sadly, interspecies despoilment provided more action & entertainment than HBO’s main event.”)
  • Jorge Arce-Lorenzo Parra (junior featherweight). It was a draw, then it was a win for Arce, now it’s nothing. It may be about corruption, or it may be about wild incompetence. Neither are good.
  • Wilton Hilario’s fouling. Friend of the site beccapooka issued a righteous indictment of the foul-filled performance of junior lightweight Hilario Friday, and because I didn’t give it the attention it deserved in my column over the weekend, I wanted to make sure everyone saw it. Seriously. Not cool, Hilario.
  • Philosophy and landlords. I left these two items out of my Quick Jabs column yesterday: Gordon Marino’s entertaining piece about boxing and philosophy, and a great line from Michael Marley, who said of Floyd and Roger Mayweather, both accused of beating up women in abodes that they reportedly owned — “Between Floyd and Uncle Roger, I don’t see either one being named ‘Las Vegas Landlord Of The Year.'”
  • Knockout of the weekend. Lastly, I leave you with the four big KOs from Saturday. For my money, the Frenkel-Maccarinelli knockout is the biggest.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.