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Who's Next?
Mayweather: "If Pacquiao wants to fight, he knows where to find me."

Ringside by Andreas Hale
Photos by Chris Cozzone

Boxing is considered as a brutal sport that is affectionately coined as the hurt business. But on Saturday night in front of 15,117 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, NV, Floyd “Money” Mayweather put on an artful demonstration utilizing superior choreography to orchestrate a brilliant 12-round unanimous decision over “Sugar” Shane Mosley. It was truly a thing of beauty.

Often criticized for not fighting “true” welterweights, Mayweather found himself staring down the green-eyed, double fisted barrel of Shane Mosley. It was supposed to be Floyd Mayweather’s toughest test to date. Shane Mosley’s size, speed and strength were supposed to give Mayweather a challenge that he had never seen before. But what Mayweather turned in was a virtuoso performance that had even Oscar De La Hoya at a loss for words during the post fight press conference.

“We’ve just witnessed the best boxer on the planet. Mayweather is no doubt about it the best. He keeps proving it over and over and over again,” said De La Hoya. “He may just be the greatest boxer of all time.”

Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) didn’t cruise through the night without adversity however. It was a second round scare that was arguably one of the most defining moments of Mayweather’s career thus far. A minute into the second frame, a booming right hand caught Mayweather flush and buckled the legs of the five division titlist. As the arena collective gasped and subsequently cheered Mosley on to get the knockout, Mayweather took a deep breath and weathered the Mosley storm. It was the 38-year-old’s only chance at victory and the window of opportunity slammed shut immediately afterwards. From that point on, Mayweather settled into his game plan and surgically picked apart Mosley with his jab and straight right hand. A dominant performance was punctuated by judges’ scores of 119-109 (twice) and 118-110.

“It was a matter of adjustments and you have to make them quick,” Mosley’s trainer Naazim Richardson said. “There are opportunities against Floyd and you have to take advantage of them. But that window of opportunity closed real quick.”

Mosley – who falls to 46-6, 39 KOs – had the undefeated Mayweather on the ropes but simply could not put away the future hall of famer. Matters were further complicated when Mayweather swiftly made a defensive adjustment that removed Mosley’s right hand from the equation for the rest of the evening.

"I think after I caught him with that big right hand I opened up to much and played into his hands. I was too tight. When I hit him with the big right hand, I thought I was going to get the knockout,” the former three division champion said. "He started to avoid the punches. He did surprise me. Once I tried to get my timing back, I couldn't adjust and he did.”

From rounds 3 to 12, Mayweather cut angles, pressed the attack and stuffed Mosley full of knuckle sandwiches nearly at will. With the straight right hand catching Mosley flush, “Sugar” turned from a confident former champion to a fighter who second guessed his every move for the rest of the night.

"Mosley has very fast hands, but he doesn't have a jab,” Floyd’s trainer and uncle Roger Mayweather said. “He had tremendous hand speed, but it means nothing if you can’t hit the target. You've got to be able to hit the target. Mosley is fast if he fights somebody slow, but it's different if it's somebody faster.”

It was one of those performances that shut the skeptics up. It delivered enough drama to satisfy those who complained that Mayweather hadn’t been in a true fight. For those that have complained that Mayweather doesn’t bring the fight, look no further than Saturday’s 12 round beating as the 33-year-old constantly pressured Mosley and led the dance. Mayweather was that damn good on this night and appeared to take solace in the fact that his naysayers have again been shut down.

"I've got the will to win under the lights, but we all don't form under the lights the same,” a dapper Mayweather said. "I always say, put them in front of me, I'll beat them.”

That is exactly what he did on Saturday night. He took Mosley’s best and gave it back to him tenfold. Instead of backing up and looking to counter, Mayweather pushed Mosley backwards and got off his punches first.

"Even with the second round, I knew I was the strongest guy from the beginning. Every fighter is totally different,” Mayweather explained. "I think a lot of people are surprised. I just believe in myself, these types of things happen in big fights."

Even more surprising was how swiftly the tide had turned. After making the adjustments to take away Mosley’s weapons, Mayweather went on the offensive and on several occasions rattled Mosley with combinations and pounded him mercilessly with the right hand.

"After a while I think Mosley went into survival mode. All he was trying to do was survive,” Mayweather said regarding how he chipped away at Mosley and was close to knocking him out. "At one point I thought he was going to cough it up, but he held on valiantly.”

The obvious question is “Who’s Next?” and you would be a fool to say anyone’s name but Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather – who would not even speak Pacquiao’s name in the weeks leading up to the fight – had no problems addressing the Filipino elephant in the room.

"If Manny Pacquaio wants to fight, it is not hard to find me,” Mayweather stated. “We were going to make the fight a couple of months back but it didn't happen.”

With the obvious obstacle being the Olympic style drug testing, Mayweather is open to the fight - as long as Pacquiao abides by his rules.

“I just want everyone to be on an even playing field,” he continued. “If every athlete is clean in the sport of boxing, take the test. If Manny Pacquaio takes the blood and urine tests, we can fight. If he doesn't, we won't make the fight.”

It’s the fight the world wants to see. It is also suffice to say that if this fight doesn’t come together, it would be a massive blow to the sport of boxing. Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer appear optimistic about the fight happening, but also agree that Mayweather holds all of the cards in making this fight a reality.

"Mayweather can decide who he wants to fight now. He can decide who, when and where,” De La Hoya said.

Considering that De La Hoya has been in the ring with Mayweather, Pacquiao and Mosley, it would only be right to get his take on who would win between Mayweather and Pacquiao.

“I have to be truthful, Mayweather is on a different level because he’s a student of the game he will dissect you outside the ring and finish you off inside the ring,” De La Hoya said. “He knows how to get in your head and beat you mentally and beat you physically. He can wait for you to make mistakes. Pacquiao makes many mistakes and that will fall into Mayweather’s hands easy.”

If the Pacquiao fight doesn’t come together, an interesting prospect of moving up to 160-pounds to fight WBC/WBO middleweight champion Sergio Martinez could prove to be quite the tantalizing fight. The Argentinean is an equally crafty fighter who is coming off an excellent performance against Kelly Pavlik to claim the titles several weeks back.

“It’s possible,” Mayweather said, surprising everyone that he would even consider a move to middleweight. But with nearly everything from 154 down cleaned out, the challenge would put another feather in his cap and further stake his claim as the greatest ever.

With all that being said, the future of Mayweather and his next opponent is up in the air. But when FightNews.com asked if retirement was an option, Mayweather winked and flashed a smile to let it be known that he is certainly having more fun and fighting is what he loves to do.

"Do I have to fight? No I don't have to fight, absolutely not,” he said smiling."I've been dominating fighters since the 90s, but I always say I'm closer to 40 than I am to 21. I'm not chasing fighters… As of right now we just want to go home, reevaluate a few things, and see what we come up with. As of right now I just want to spend some time with my family.”

But like a true artist, we all expect to see Mayweather back in the ring; for the love of the sport, for the love of his legacy and for the love of “Money.”

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2010 by Fightnews.com.