|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire|
Jul 20, 2001|
Mosley shows power in tuneup
Michael Grant's career ends in a flash
By Chris Bushnell
Fringe contender Adrian Stone never had a chance against pound-for-pound king Shane Mosley. Lacking quick hands, agile footwork, devastating power, and fluid boxing skills, Stone used the only weapon at his disposal: an awkward stance. By crouching low and keeping his hands tightly cupped over his face, Stone kept Shane Mosley at bay for eight minutes. Then, without warning, Mosley uncorked a series of chopping right hands that left Stone incapacitated on the canvas. It wasn't Mosley's greatest performance, but it was a clear reminder of why Oscar De la Hoya has been avoiding a rematch with the last man to beat him.
While De la Hoya fishes around for an easy fight ("Paging David Reid, you have a payday calling."), Vernon Forrest and "Six Heads" Lewis bank some easy defenses with their new titles, and Kostya Tszyu and Zab Judah delay a move to 147 for a fall showdown, Mosley has been left without any big-name opponents to showcase his skills. Adrian Stone was nothing more than a way to keep busy, and the lack of adequate challenge was obvious in the fight's opening moments.
Mosley began the fight dry, perhaps intending for the first round to be his pre-fight warm-up. The champion approached Stone slowly and tossed out a few light jabs, looking as casual as a fighter starting his first drill on the mitts. Mosley's jabs lacked the heavy snap or the rapid repetition of his best moments. As Stone crouched and bobbed and clinched, Mosley watched him closely. Mosley would occasionally fire off a rapid bomb, such as a blistering lead left hook that caught a squatting Stone flush, but most of the champ's infrequent punches sailed over his ducking opponent's head. Stone occasionally returned fire, including a couple of solid rights to the body, but was mostly content to move his head and convince a circling Mosley that he should pick his spots carefully.
Sugar continued firing single bombs at Stone in the second round, and after a few of them connected, Stone began initiating more clinches after his low crouch got him inside of Mosley's reach. Each time the two fighters became tangled, they would exchange a few short shots before referee Jay Nady could break them. Several times the blows continued past Nady's attempt to force a clinch, with each man taking turns over who would land the final post-break punch. One particularly heavy hook nailed Mosley even after Nady was between the two men. Mosley nodded at Stone that it was a good shot, and then landed an even bigger one after the next clinch was severed. But not even a lightning quick Mosley hook at the end of the round could spice up this otherwise perfunctory contest. Whether it was Mosley's low intensity level or Stone's style, the first two rounds of this contest were anything but exciting.
Mosley made the proper adjustments in the third round, and it soon became clear that the end was near. Instead of struggling to land his trademark overhand right on a crouching fighter, Mosley now pointed his punches upward. As the coiled up Stone plodded at Mosley, he was picked off with a left uppercut to the sternum or straight right thrown at chest level. Mosley's success, while still limited to one-at-a-time shots, stopped Stone's offense. Mosley now only needed to weave a big punch through Stone's permanent defense and the bout would be over. With 1:15 left in the third, Mosley found his opening.
It was a right hand, and it slammed into the side of Stone's bald head and stopped him in his tracks. At first he stood still, as if frozen, then he wobbled slightly to one side. It was a sign that he was hurt, and Mosley - finally - let his hands go. Rather than come in and allow Stone to clinch, Mosley took a step back and then threw himself forward into a big right hand. The punch missed so he tried it again. And again. And again. Six times in a row, Mosley hurled his exaggerated overhand right at Stone, and most of the blows landed. As Stone's crouch sank lower, Mosley tossed a left hook into the mix. The punch pushed Stone's head, minus his defense, into the path of yet another Mosley right. The final shot nailed Stone right on the ridge of his jaw and he dropped flat to the canvas.
Referee Jay Nady didn't even begin a count. Mosley's final punch was so devastating, and Stone's decent so rapid, that Nady waved his hands over his head before the ringside official could count off "One." Mosley KO3.
While Mosley's string of post-De la Hoya opponents has been lacking, his schedule for the next year is ripe with possibility. First up appears to be a fall showdown with Vernon Forrest. Then Mosley will unify against Six Heads Lewis, battle a Tszyu-Judah victor, or finally lure Oscar into a rematch. Mosley weighed a trim 155 through the ropes this night, suggesting that a jump to 154 to face De la Hoya would not be a struggle. Boxing Chronicle picks Mosley (now 38-0/35) over all of these opponents. Let's just hope most of these match-ups can be made.
On the undercard, the career of one-time heavyweight contender Michael Grant came to an embarrassing end when he was dispatched by former sparring partner Jameel McCline in less than a minute. Grant hadn't stepped into a ring since Lennox Lewis demolished him 15 months prior. Before that, Grant had been down early and often against Andrew Golota. So McCline had no illusions about his best chance for victory: quick kayo.
Here's how it went: Opening bell. Grant takes three steps forward with his hands low. McCline throws a perfectly average lead left hook. Grant eats it on the face and flops backwards to the canvas. The mandatory eight count Grant received was four times as long as the fight to that point. Grant initially sat up on the canvas and shook his head. Soon he was on his feet convincing Tony Weeks that he could continue. But it was already over.
As Grant was knocked down, his 254 lb. body collapsed onto his back leg. As momentum sent him onto his back, his right leg eventually snapped out from under him, his foot waving in the wind. Grant had seriously injured his ankle, possibly breaking it. With the adrenaline pumping, he likely didn't feel it at first. In fact, he didn't mention the injury or limp after getting to his feet.
But as soon as the fight resumed, McCline was all over Grant. McCline nailed Grant with an overhand right, and then an uppercut. Grant was now flailing about the ring as he had against Lewis. McCline continued to throw and land while Grant embarrassingly waved his arms in front of him as though he were fighting off an invisible swarm of bees. During this assault, Grant began looking over the punches to the ref. Finally, the fighters tied up long enough for a break in the action. As Weeks separated the men, Grant leaned in an informed Weeks that he had broken his ankle. Weeks waved the fight off. McCline KO 1 in 43 seconds.
Grant's faced was now wrinkled in pain, and after his shoe was cut off, a grotesquely swollen ankle emerged. Whether the injury was a break, a sprain, or a ligament tear would not be determined until after Grant (now 31-2) was carted off in an ambulance... but the injury to his once-promising career will not heal. After all, Grant didn't slip and break his ankle... he hurt himself after being knocked down by the light punch of a journeyman set-up opponent. If Grant wishes to keep fighting, it will be only after another rehab assignment, and it will be only on Cedric Kushner's small-town Heavyweight Explosion cards. If Grant wants to continue, he'll have to spend a few years on this minor-league circuit relearning his craft. It's not an assignment many fighters with several million in the bank can tolerate... and after tonight's exposure, it's unclear if Grant can even notch a victory against mediocre opposition.
For Jameel McCline (26-2-3/16), this was a golden opportunity and a chance at some big money. So wide open is the barren heavyweight picture that McCline instantly becomes a Top Ten candidate. With his 24 fight win-streak and muscular 260 lb. frame, he'll be a natural replacement for Grant in the ratings. Let's just hope he has an easier time finding opposition than Shane Mosley.
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