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Billy Vargus discusses Mayweather vs. Mosley and a Philly Family

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V As In Victory With Billy VargusBilly V

Boxing is a sport that is supposedly dying. But there’s still nothing quite like the electricity and anticipation generated when two of the very best meet mano-a-mano in the ring. Saturday’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Sugar Shane Mosley is a substitute for the fight everyone really wanted—Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao—but it’s a very good matchup in its own right. It should be an exciting fight, and it also has that extra dimension of being a classic good guy-bad guy showdown.

Throughout the HBO  series 24/7, which documents the fighters’ lives, we’ve seen Mayweather as the poster child of the me-first, hip-hop generation; flashing huge wads of cash, adorned with millions of dollars of bling-bling, and always talking trash. He doesn’t seem to have any true friends; when he goes out, he goes alone, except for the 7 security guys who surround him. Yes, seven.

Mosley, in complete contrast, seems to be very down to earth and views the people in his camp as family members. Maybe that’s because they are. His trainer is Brother Naazim Richardson, a Philly guy who, when he’s not working with Mosley or Bernard Hopkins, can be found at James Shuler Gym in West Philly training amateurs, little kids, pretty much anyone who wants to learn. I’m not sure if he ever leaves the gym, except maybe to change his clothes. A couple of years ago he had a stroke, and the doctors told him to stay out of the gym. But a day after he was released from Temple Hospital, he went back to the gym anyway.

Naazim Richardson has trained his own sons, one of whom, Rock Allen, fought in the Olympics. He also trains his own nephews, Mike and Karl Floyd Mayweather and Sugar Shane Mosley. Photo: http://boxing.fanhouse.com/2010/03/02/floyd-mayweather-shane-mosley-in-hbos-24-7/Dargan. Karl, who is 7-0 as a pro, will be fighting in the co-Main Event at the Arena in South Philly a week after the Mosley fight. But right now, the three Philly fighters are busy serving as sparring partners for Mosley. In the 24/7 documentaries, we see Mosley hanging out with all of these Philly guys, thanking everyone for being part of his camp. Brother Naazim told me he actually doesn’t like seeing his son and nephews get so much face time on TV; he wants them to pay their dues in the ring before getting so much publicity.

For much of his life, Mosley was trained by his own father. When he decided to make a change, he contacted Brother Naazim, who has teamed with Bernard Hopkins to find ways to dismantle several of boxing’s brightest stars. Right away, Naazim proved valuable, as he caught Mosley’s opponent, Antonio Margarito, trying to use hardened plaster in his gloves. Between that, and a great fight plan put together by Naazim, Mosley tore up Margarito, who had looked unbeatable in his previous win over Miguel Cotto. Now, Brother Naazim and Sugar Shane are hoping to pull off an even more incredible upset Saturday against the undefeated Mayweather.

But they know there’s only one way that’s likely to happen—if Mosley wins by a knockout. After all, the world wants to see Mayweather-Pacquiao, and there’s not much chance the judges will give a decision to Mosley. “In my heart, I think he has to stop him,” Naazim tells me, although his rBrother Naazim trains Sugar Shane Mosley.easons have more to do with the general approach of boxing judges. “The judges have it set in their mind, you have to catch Floyd.” They expect Mosley to fight a certain way, and if he doesn’t, they won’t score the rounds for him, even if he’s more effective.

Whether Mosley, a 9-2 underdog, can pull it off remains to be seen. Mayweather brags that he’s better than Muhammad Ali, but while Ali danced a lot, he also threw lots of punches, sometimes more than 100 in a round. Mayweather punches only when he’s forced to by an oncoming opponent. He has a good jab, but doesn’t use it enough. He’s not better than Ali, and he can be beaten.

 

With Brother Naazim guiding him, Mosley can make a real good fight of it. However, I don’t think he’ll win a decision, and I don’t think he can knock Mayweather out. But I do think he’ll show everyone that boxing can still be a great sport and boxers can still be great people.

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Billy Vargus is an Emmy Award Winner for Best Sports Anchor for 2008 and 2009. (Mid-Atlantic region, covering all of Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware.) Bill has been a TV sports anchor in the Philadelphia area for 18 years with the last 12 coming at Fox 29. He’s also had stops at Channel 10, Channel 12, plus at other television markets around the country.He has also served as the pre-game host for all Seventy-Sixers games in the past and also has acted in films, TV shows and commercials.

He can be contacted at billv@philly2philly.com