Shane Mosley: The day I almost KO'd Floyd Mayweather

Mayweather's iconic win vs. Mosley showed why he's undefeated (1:11)

Mark Kriegel recalls Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Shane Mosley and Mayweather's ability to always come through under pressure. (1:11)

Shane Mosley landed a left jab to the body followed by a right cross to the head. Boxing commentator Bob Sheridan called it "the best punch of the fight," just 53 seconds into the second round. The crowd rose to its feet. Mosley had rocked Floyd Mayweather.

Less than a minute later, Mosley landed another right hand to the side of Mayweather's head that buckled Floyd's legs. It looked like the fight could be over, but when the round ended, so did Mosley's chances.

Despite the result -- a unanimous decision victory for Mayweather (118-110, 119-109 twice) -- the second round of this contest on May 1, 2010, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will forever be remembered as one of the toughest of Mayweather's career. Mosley punctured the usually impenetrable defense of Mayweather and actually had him shaken up. It was a sight so rare it remains a part of Mosley's legacy.

Ten years later, Mosley, a champion in three different divisions and a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame's 2020 induction class, looks back at the moment that helped define his career.

Editor's note: Mosley's thoughts were edited for length and clarity.

The lead-up

My last fight before I fought Floyd was in January 2009, where I knocked out Antonio Margarito. I'm still not sure why I didn't fight after that. I think the first reason was there was nobody to fight, but then Andre Berto came up and I was supposed to fight him in late January of the next year. So I was in training camp for him and the Haiti earthquake happened a few weeks before the fight, and he pulled out of it.

I actually got injured in that camp, but I was going to go ahead and fight him anyway. That was going to be my fight. So now the Andre Berto fight isn't going to happen, and [Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions at the time] said, "Do you want to fight Floyd?" I said, "OK, let's do it."

I took the fight because I knew I was getting a little up there in age -- four months shy of my 39th birthday -- and if I was ever going to fight Mayweather, that was going to be better than waiting a little longer in my career.


When I was up in Big Bear [California] training I was doing what I wasn't supposed to do -- snowboarding. I went over a jump, fell on my tailbone and pulled my groin a little bit. I had to deal with that the whole time I was in Big Bear.

But at the same time, I was working really, really hard. I would push hard, doing all the bag work and everything else I needed to do, but I wasn't able to run like I was supposed to.

I had to do the fight. I was into camp. If I pulled out of it then, I would've never gotten the chance to get that fight. So I was thinking, "You know what? These are the fights I have to have. I do have the power, the knowledge, all the things to be able to win the fight." It didn't matter who it was. That was my mentality.

I believe that earlier, like in '97, '98, it would've been a different fight. Especially in those years because I was at my peak as far as having great sparring. I was sparring world champions, I was in the gym with all the great guys, and my mentality at that point was so strong. I was a better fighter, fighting more often.

The fight

The only thing I remember as I walked to the ring was thinking, "OK, I know that I'm the bigger, stronger guy. So I'm going to have to go after him and walk him down." Also, before I entered the ring, I was hurt with that groin pull. So I knew it was going to be a little difficult, and I had to get to him quickly.

The last thing I'm thinking about as I see him across the ring is what shot I'm going to hit him with. What's going to be the power shots? I knew he was fast, so how am I going to get to him? I'm going to try to trick him into a shot because he's a master defensive fighter. I'll try to touch him a little bit to the body because I know he's going to be really fast on his feet.

At the beginning of Round 1, I try to jab him to the body, try to lean in, get in the same shot. But it's just the beginning of the fight, you don't know what's going to happen yet. I know he's an excellent fighter, I wanted to see how good his power was -- and it was pretty good in that fight. I wasn't expecting him to actually punch as hard as he did.

I don't know if I was feeling any ring rust, I think it was more of my legs. They were stiff. I wasn't as fluid as Floyd was. He looked more comfortable and I looked stiff, and I believe that's from the groin pull. I don't want to make any excuses from it.

The second round

I felt pretty good about the first round. I was able to land shots, and that was important for me to be able to touch him. A lot of people can't touch him, so if I could touch him then maybe I could get him with a great shot.

In the second, he's starting to feel confident that he can take my shots and he's coming to me a little bit more. I'm thinking, "Oh, that's good," because I really didn't get a chance to hit him [hard] yet. He's trying to be a little bit stronger, be more aggressive. I think his aggression turned against him because he sort of stepped to me a little more -- and that's when I was able to catch him with the big right hand.

"And then with the next right hand, I buckled him a second time. I was like, 'Oh, he's ready to go out. I'm ready to knock him out. He can't take my power.'" Shane Mosley

The first shot I hit him with, I threw the jab to the body and came over the top with the right hand. It wasn't a casual right hand, but it wasn't my hardest. It's like I just threw it to land, and it wobbled him. I'm like, "Oh, it wobbled him already. That's pretty good, that's a good sign." So that let me know I could knock him out pretty quickly. I hit him with a clean shot, and he's still trying to come at me.

And then with the next right hand, I buckled him a second time. I was like, "Oh, he's ready to go out. I'm ready to knock him out. He can't take my power." He was getting ready to throw a quick check hook, but I caught him before he threw it. So I'm thinking, "He's going to run into something, I know it." So I was hitting him to the body, I was trying to wear his body down.

The second time he was hurt, and if I would have caught him with another clean shot, the fight would've been over. He would've been knocked out. I was trying to set it up because he had his head up high and he was holding and doing all kinds of stuff. So I'm thinking, "OK, I'm going to trick him, I'm going to hit him to the body pretty hard, and then he's going to put his hands down and I'm going to clock him with a left hook or right hand up top, whatever one comes first."

And it just didn't happen. He kept his hands pretty high. The body shots were hurting him a little bit but not like they should have. I never got the chance to get that next shot that I wanted.

The rest of the fight

[After Round 2] my trainer Naazim Richardson said something like, "You got him hurt, you need to set it up the same way: jab to the body, overhand right. Set that up again."

I thought I would finish him in the third. Thinking I'm going to be able to catch him with something else and he's going to go, even though I knew that I couldn't move as much. He was kind of coming at me, so it would make it easier for me to catch him, actually, because it was like he was trying to stand up to me, instead of just trying to box.

He changed his pattern and started being more cautious and being more wise about his boxing instead of trying to bully me or muscle me around. In the second round, I wish I would have gone just a little more balls out, just try to hammer him out because I believe I had him.

I believe [Mayweather's trainer] Roger Mayweather -- God bless him -- was telling him, "What are you doing? You're sitting there, you're not boxing and you're not doing what you're supposed to do," and Floyd switched it up. I think that helped him.

I knew Floyd was tough, and it did impress me that he was able to recover that quickly, but you look back at Floyd's history, I mean, he's been in the ring with a lot of great fighters, and he grew up the way I did. He has a little bit of the new age, and he has a lot of the old age -- the old school boxing. He's been schooled by Roger, Floyd Sr. and Jeff Mayweather. All three of them fought, and so he had a chance to have the new age stuff with the amateur point system and program, and the old school, so he knows both.

After the third round, going into the fourth, I was like, "This fight is turning a little different," even though I'm positive about my punching power, my speed and ability to knock him out. I've knocked guys out in round 11, 12. It doesn't matter what round it is, I'm always dangerous. But I was like, "Aw, man, he's starting to gain momentum," and I knew that for one, he has the youth on his side, and I'm injured.

I started finding myself waiting for the big shot, waiting for him to make a mistake so I could crack him again. I knew we had a lot of rounds. So he's hitting me with shots, I'm touching him here and there, and I'm thinking, "There's going to be another time where I'm going to be able to get him. And when that time comes, I'm going to seize it and be all over him."

Rounds 4 through 12 went fast. I knew I wasn't covering ground. I thought I would catch him again, but that time never came.

I was very frustrated by the eighth round, because I knew I was losing the fight, and it's going to be hard to catch him with the shots I wanted to. It felt like he had his rhythm, he had his groove. I didn't have my groove. I was stiff, I was tight, I just couldn't do anything. Maybe it was because he was so fast and so ready, so fluid and loose. There was nothing I could do.

What's so tough about facing Mayweather?

You have to break Mayweather out of his comfort zone. You have to change up, you can't have the same pattern. Mayweather gets his opponents into a pattern where they continue to do the same thing because they feel safe in that pattern, whatever it is.

Most of the time, Floyd's opponents are just attacking, and they get hit with shots. They feel safe in that pattern, and he just outpoints them. So the thing is, you have to box him a little bit, you've got to punch him a little bit to dismantle Mayweather. People fell into a pattern of chasing him around, and all they did was attack, attack, attack.

I don't know if his physical strength is underrated, it's more that when you attack Floyd, he knows how to make your aggression work against you.

Even though you're stronger than him physically -- and I was stronger than him -- it doesn't mean anything because he doesn't give you that opportunity because he runs you into the shot. I have a great chin, but his power was a little stronger than I suspected. It's not so much his strength, it's really his speed and how he runs you into it and how he places his shots. His power wasn't as hard when I was moving around a bit, then when I tried to come at him, I felt it.

In terms of dealing with the shoulder roll, it's not as tough if you have fast legs and you have youth, and you have speed and you're able to touch him. It's not that tough, but it is tough. Miguel Cotto was able to hit him, Oscar was able to hit him, there's a lot of people that were able to touch him. [Jose Luis] Castillo in the first fight did a great job of touching him, a lot.

Landing combinations on Mayweather is the toughest thing, because once you land one shot, he's out the way. You land one shot, he almost drops his head to the ground to duck out of the shot. Like Pacquiao fought him, he hit him once, but it was hard for Pacquiao to land a lot of shots, and that's what he does, he throws punches in bunches, and it was hard for Pacquiao to throw punches in bunches against Mayweather.

You have to be in great shape, you have to be 100 percent on top of your game. You can't be in there at 70, 80 percent, you have to be in there 110, 200 percent because the way he works out, the way he trains, the way he approaches a fight -- he's terrified to lose.

He's got confidence that he's going to win, but he's terrified to lose.

The aftermath

After the fight, Floyd gave me my just due, and he talked about how that shot in the second hurt him. It was the hardest he's ever been hit. He did give me my just due with that. I was always close with his family, it wasn't like we had bad blood. The bad blood was more, like, for promotional reasons because Floyd knows how to promote fights, act crazy, and throw money around.

You know what Floyd does, all that stuff. I understood that. So as far as promoting fights is concerned, he's good at promoting fights. It's kind of like Muhammad Ali, he knew what he was doing.

Floyd was faster and had more mobility, more speed than me. I only had power over him at that point in time. I had beaten Margarito 14 months before. Margarito wasn't as fast. I was able to slip and potshot him and do different things. At that time, Mayweather's reflexes were better than mine, it was better and faster because he had the youth and all that stuff.

I mean, for me just to buzz him, it kind of defines the fight with me and him. Castillo, I believe, probably had a better fight with him. Oscar De La Hoya had a better fight with him than I did. But that right hand that I hit him with, it's like no one had ever done that to him and they wouldn't get close to him.

So I guess that's a victory by itself. Marcos Maidana hit him, but he didn't hit him like that!