Second billing on the Mayweather vs Cotto card is a fascinating clash between the old school and the new. The latest golden boy of Mexican boxing, the handsome 21-year-old freckled ginger Saul Alvarez puts his WBC version of the light middleweight title on the line, going up against 40-year-old multidivision titleist “Sugar” Shane Mosley. It’s a clash of styles and generations with the hard-hitting young Mexican a prohibitive favourite in the outright betting but there's an interesting bet available on the fight going under 9.5 rounds at 3.4. There are a few reasons why I think this is the bet to take.
There's no doubt that Sugar Shane Mosley is not the fighter he was. Since his crushing defeat of Antonio Margarito in 2009 he's fought three times – heavy losses to Mayweather and Pacquiao and a draw with the awkward but ordinary Sergio Mora. Mosley still starts quickly and for the first few rounds looks the every inch the dazzling slickster with the heavy punch and killer instinct he always was. But the magic wanes from the middle rounds onwards. It was clear that he had nothing left for the final third of the Mayweather fight and against Pacquiao he wasn't even trying, content to merely avoid serious punishment and survive. Can you imagine the young Mosley doing that? Nope, me neither.
And yet for the opening rounds of any fight he's still dangerous. He rocked Mayweather twice in the second round and put the great man in the most trouble he's seen in his career. Floyd is nothing if not a master of defence and he was able to ride out the storm, regroup and win a comfortable decision but what happens if Alvarez, a fighter with limited experience at championship level, gets similarly rocked by Mosley right hands?
Seasoned Alvarez watchers will recall him in trouble in the first round against José Miguel Cotto, Miguel Angel Cotto’s much less accomplished older brother. Power is the last thing to go in an older fighter and if Alvarez can get hurt by Cotto, he can definitely get hurt by Shane who was always one of the best finishers of his generation (at the time of his first fight with Oscar De La Hoya the unbeaten Mosley had achieved 32 of his 34 wins by knockout). He not only dropped Antonio Margarito (something Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto could not do) but knocked him out. Guys who step in the ring with Shane Mosley have a funny habit of getting separated from their senses.
Alvarez for his part is no slouch either, ending 29 of his 39 fights inside the distance. While big names have only come recently on his resume Alvarez has been fighting professionally since he was 15, has looked better with every fight and in his last outing put a fearsome whipping on Kermit Cintron before the fight was stopped in the fifth round. Although known for having a strong jaw Mosley was knocked down in the third round of his last fight against Pacquiao and it's entirely possible that at the end of his career the punch resistance is not quite there for him. Alvarez counterpunches well and has a brutal punishing body attack that shocked many in the Cintron fight (by the looks of things Cintron among them).
Two heavy hitters enter the ring Saturday and one's best chance is an early KO before he gets gassed. When you get boxers with knockout records like these two facing off it's no surprise if the fight doesn't make it to the final third. Under 9.5 rounds at 3.4 is worth a punt.