In one of the more entertaining boxing movies to come out in the past decade, Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone played two former rivals who decide to come out of retirement in their 60s for one last “Grudge Match” against each other. Reality will copy fiction later this month, when former champions Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga face off in their own “Grudge Match,” a rematch of their exciting 2008 battle.
Mayorga and Mosley are both a couple decades younger than De Niro and Stallone, but this promotion still has all of the same show business flair. Mayorga has long been one of boxing’s most colorful and pugnacious stars, frequently sounding like a professional wrestler at his press conferences, usually chain smoking cigarettes.
Mayorga’s familiar cigarette was present at the press conference for the fight last weekend. Predictably, he blew smoke in Mosley’s face and just as predictably, Mosley slapped it out of his hand, provoking a melee.
Let’s be clear, this fight has absolutely no relevance in terms of any title picture. Mosley is one of the top pound-for-pound stars of this century and Mayorga’s wild, brawling style has always made him a tough opponent. When the two fought in 2008, Mayorga rocked Mosley early, before Mosely re-took control in the last two-thirds of the fight, stopping Mayorga with a second remaining in Round 12.
Mosley followed that win with a stoppage of Antonio Margarito in 2009, which made him the lineal welterweight champion. That led to major fights with both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. But he was hammered by rising star Saul Alvarez in 2012, and even acknowledged after the bout that it might be time for him to step away from the brutal sport.
Still, great fighters tend to have trouble saying goodbye. Mosley fought twice more after the Alvarez fight, going 1-1 in 2013. But in his second fight of that year, he had to quit in his corner with back spasms. Middle age had clearly caught up to him.
Mayorga fought as recently as last December, but hasn’t had a relevant fight since getting stopped by Miguel Cotto in March 2011. In the time since then, he has lost an MMA fight and knocked out a couple of journeymen.
As much of a fan as I’ve always been of both fighters, I’m very conflicted about whether or not I’m going to be willing to shell out good money to watch two fighters who are no longer relevant. At the same time, there’s a good chance this one will be action-packed, for as long as it lasts.