This was an ugly fight that brought no credit to the sport and certainly no glory to anybody that was involved, except maybe Michael Buffer, whose “let’s get ready to rumble!” was as rousing as ever. These guys had a fight in January and the Champ got the nod; this time around Mr. Mosley was determined to make it a formal dance in boxing gloves, a twelve round push-clinch-waltz devoid of pugilistic merit, a slim chance back-door rematch victory. It was not to be.
Sugar charged in relentlessly for twelve rounds, determined not to get pounded outside by the long-limbed Champ if he could at all avoid it. If he could score a punch on the way in, the more the better, but more often he just charged in and tied Mr. Forrest up. To his credit, Sugar never seemed to be going for the head butt, although he sometimes settled for the odd forearm or a scrape of the laces. It took him two full steps to get inside the Champ’s broad reach, and one he was safely in the Champ’s arms he seemed relieved to have made it safe to shelter, squirming around, dancing, as it were, waiting for the referee to call the break, with the expression and demeanor of a person in a Renaissance painting of Hell .
Vernon Forrest is a very talented boxer with a perfect record, now 35 -0 with 26 KO’s. He’s a tall, solid welterweight who can take a punch and give out considerable punishment. He was frustrated in the early going by Sugar’s desperate wrestling maneuvers, but he showed poise and adaptability in this fight. In the later rounds, it was Mr. Mosley who tired somewhat and Mr. Forrest found the distance and began pounding the smaller man outside, landing some dangerous looking punches with great effect. Mr. Mosley was not at all productive in the last two rounds.
The announcers, typically horrible for the boxing game, made much of Mr. Mosley’s “perceived aggression,” and his tendency to try to steal rounds by launching a desperate last second flurry at the end of each round. I hate guys that make a big show right before the bell and then strut to their corner with their hands erect in triumph as though they had just won something, when for two-and-a-half minutes of the round they were getting their asses kicked mercilessly. At least the judges weren’t going for it. The decision for Mr. Forrest was unanimous.
After the fight, it was very gratifying to discover that both men were fine sportsmen. Mr. Mosley, upon losing, immediately gave up his arrogant manner and became very gracious, smiling at everybody and shaking hands all around. The two men posed for pictures together and had only generous things to say about each other. It was a great pleasure to see, unlike the fight itself.