Nov 7, 2000
Less than five months after decisively beating Oscar De la Hoya for the welterweight championship of the world, Sugar Shane Mosley returned to the ring with a vengeance. In less than six rounds he used his seemingly endless arsenal of weapons to not only tear apart Antonio Diaz, but make it look easy. If De la Hoya knows what's good for him, he'll stay away from the sport and count his millions, because Shane Mosley is the new king of the division.
Antonio Diaz has never won a world title, and in a recent win over Emanuel Burton he seemed lucky to get the decision... but no one questioned his ring credentials. With solid wins over Ivan Robinson and Mickey Ward at 140 lbs., Diaz had earned a reputation as a durable fighter who could box, but liked to brawl. When an opportunity to fight Mosley at 147 was offered, Diaz quickly accepted. Not only was it a big payday, but making 140 had become an increasingly difficult task. Indeed, when Diaz stepped through the ropes to face Mosley, he outweighed him by two pounds (157 to the champion's 155).
But once the fight began, Diaz looked completely outclassed. Mosley immediately swung two lightning quick left hooks at Diaz, touching him on the face with each. Mosley followed his early aggression with a heavy jab and a couple of rights to the body that landed with a sickening sound. Diaz was watching Mosley with the same amazement as the ringside fans. Mosley was in typical form, not only firing quick shots, but throwing every blow with an almost exaggerated effort. Diaz blocked many of these punches with his head.
Mosley's fluidity was in full effect, and he switched to southpaw without warning on several occasions in the opening round. And this was no clowning. Mosley landed looping right hooks and some biting left hands from this stance. Then, before you could admire his work, he was back in a conventional position. Antonio Diaz had no answer.
Mosley continued to work Diaz over in the second, and was doing so unopposed. Diaz looked tight in every way. His gloves were held closely to his face (Mosley landed punches through the guard anyway) and he repeatedly shook out his arms and kicked out his legs in an effort to wake those limbs up. Diaz did land one big punch in the second round, a flush left hook that Mosley walked right through. Unfortunately, that hook followed a gigantic Mosley overhand right. Mosley's punch seemed to hurt more, because Diaz did not follow up his first contact. Instead, he stood there waiting for Mosley to hit him again. Mosley obliged.
Near the end of the round, Mosley was working a jab that was thrusting forward with serious power and followed it up with a wild right hand that cracked Diaz on the face. Moments later, Mosley fired another right, this one catching Diaz across his left cheek. The punch shook Diaz' legs, and Mosley tried to follow up. The champion threw a few punches as he closely circled Diaz, spinning him as he moved. The two turned together until Diaz stopped, putting him out of position. Leaning forward, and with Mosley on his left side, Antonio caught a Mosley right on top of the head and went down to his knees. Since Diaz was leaning, it looked as though the punch pushed Diaz down. But he was already dazed from the flush right that preceded it, and referee Arthur Mercante, Sr. picked up a count.
Between rounds, Diaz' corner was begging him to throw some punches. Soon after the bell began the third round, Diaz pushed in Mosley's chin with a nice straight right hand. But Mosley roared back with a steady diet of blistering right of his own. Mosley was beating Diaz down by landing this punch over and over, but it became a routine. Mosley would fire the punch, land it, and then stop and reset his footwork before trying it again. Since Diaz wasn't firing back, Mosley could do as he pleased. But after one such punch, when Mosley was extremely casual in the way he admired his work, Diaz answered with a quick combination, three to the body and a nice hook upstairs. Finally Diaz was fighting back.
Stretching his arms out even more often, Diaz now began to let his hands go a bit. When Mosley would launch his single punch attack, Diaz would throw back several punches. And on a few occasions, when Mosley chose to back straight up, Diaz landed some good shots. Although Mosley didn't look the slightest bit fazed by Diaz' alleged power, he was letting Antonio back into the fight. Diaz walked Mosley down the rest of the round, stealing a close stanza on our scorecard.
Shane Mosley does so many things right, but one of his biggest advantages is his ability to adjust. Following his father's specific instructions to not move backwards, Mosley wisely used the ring to start the fourth, and Diaz again found himself unable to make contact. Mosley wasn't very active to begin this round, either. If Diaz wasn't going to make him fight, Mosley seemed content to pick his shots. Mosley made it clear that he was still looking for an opening for a big right hand, and got Diaz thinking about it, too. Bang. Mosley catches Diaz by surprise with the left hook. After landing a few, Diaz was again in retreat. After one vicious left hook, roundhouse right combo, Diaz backed into the ropes, and Mosley thought he was hurt. Mosley now let his hands go. Looking like a Roy Jones highlight reel, Mosley threw everything but the kitchen sink at Diaz, who eventually took a few steps to his side and fired back. Diaz survived the attack, and eventually the round... but Mosley was in the driver's seat again.
The fifth began with both men looking for a break. Mosley appeared to be breathing very hard, although he did little more than feint in the first minute of this round. Diaz, searching for a way to get his own game going, also did nothing. Finally, Diaz attempted a one-two and Mosley uncorked a flurry on him. Out of nowhere, Diaz was taking cover under a hailstorm of fists. The Madison Square Garden crowd ate it up. After Mosley had battered around Diaz for awhile, he again slowed down the pace. This was excellent ring generalship. When Mosley wanted to brawl, they brawled... and when Mosley wanted to sit back and chop Diaz down, he did so. Mosley was still breathing hard after his attack, but did not stop the offense. Mosley would step forward on flat feet to put his entire body into a brutal jab, and raked Diaz' sides with punches thrown at full force. Diaz looked like a sparring partner.
Mosley spent the sixth round chopping Diaz down some more. Right hand leads, left hook leads, uppercuts to the sternum, overhand rights over Diaz' infrequent and lazy jab, you name it... Mosley threw it. Mosley's combinations were reserved for his all-out attacks, but his one and two punch offerings were landing with accuracy and force. Then, finally, Mosley broke Diaz down.
The punch that started the end was another of the looping rights that Sugar had been landing all night. Diaz, gloves pinned to his chin, ducked low to avoid the punch. He didn't duck low enough. Mosley's glove careened off the top of his head, and Diaz crumpled to his knees again. But this one was no push. Diaz arose on wobbly legs. Mosley was all over him. Mosley rushed at Diaz and again let his hands fly freely. He pummeled Diaz on the arms and landed another flush right hand. Diaz was driven back into the ropes, where Mosley continued to throw punches. A replay showed that he threw close to 30 punches in the seconds following the mandatory eight count. Some were short, and plenty missed... but a number of the punches were hard, and many were landing. Diaz' knees were not firm, and two attempts to clinch were thwarted.
Mosley saw that Diaz was still up and stopped his flurry. Again he chopped at Diaz like a lumberjack trying to finish off a tree. Mosley landed a couple of bruising blows before again sending Diaz to the canvas. Mosley threw yet another big right hand, and caught Diaz right on the ear. His knees jolted, and he the wobbling caused him to dip under Mosley's follow-up left hook. But instead of pushing himself back up out of the bob, Diaz' dip simply continued until he was down on his knees again. Mercante had seen enough and waved the fight over without a count.
Some will complain that the fight was stopped prematurely, but not this observer. Diaz was getting hammered, and each of the final two knockdown came when Diaz' brain disconnected long enough for his legs to decide on their own to fold up. He might have been able to stand up by eight, and he might have even been able to convince some refs to let him have one more chance... but Antonio Diaz had no chance of surviving the round. Mosley would have simply mugged him again, and he could have been seriously hurt.
Simply put, Shane Mosley (now 36-0/33) deserves the pound for pound title. The manner in which he breaks down opponents is a sight to behold. He has unbelievable speed, but retains good solid leverage with his blows. His defense is highly underrated (he avoided many of Diaz' attempts by simply shifting his weight or turning at the waist). He can box, he can brawl, and he is always physically prepared. While a rematch with De la Hoya is the fight on everyone's lips, the stiffer challenges might come from Vernon Forrest, as well as the likes of Judah and Tszyu when they migrate north of the junior welterweight division. But does anyone think that Forrest will fare any better than Diaz? Judah could match Mosley's speed, but can he take the incoming? Wouldn't Tszyu's only chance be that Mosley hurts his hands on his hard head? Mosley reigns. 'Nuff said.
As for Antonio Diaz (35-3/24), he can blame the loss on his inexperience at 147... and his rugged style will continue to earn him paydays. If I was a matchmaker, I'd get Diaz into the WBA 147 rankings and in line for a title shot against the soon-to-be-named champion of that sanctioning body. The competition will be easier, there is money to be made, and if he can secure a few solid wins, Diaz is right back in the picture. He's a good kid with good skills who just happened to be matched with a possible hall of famer with extraordinary talent.
After all, there is no shame in losing to Sugar Shane Mosley.