Jason Quigley went all in in Las Vegas tonight and came away with the narrowest of victories to reinvigorate his career.
The Donegal middleweight squeezed past son-of-a-legend Shane Mosley Jr in an enthralling fight at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay Hotel.
Quigley picked up a majority decision win and the WBO-NABO ranking title following a gruelling contest in which he grew into the fight, using all his guts and guile in the closing rounds to grind out the victory down the stretch.
The pair were initially meant to fight in Moscow on January 30th on the Kovalev-Melikuziev undercard and then California on February 13th only for, respectively, a Sergey Kovalev failed drugs test and a case of COVID-19 for Quigley to force postponements.
Mosley did get out in February, winning the WBO NABO belt at super middle (although weighing just 161.5lbs) with a fifth-round swollen-eye stoppage of Cristian Olivas. This was the American’s fourth win on the spin after being dominated in The Contender Series 5 final by Brandon Adams – who was subsequently dominated himself by Jermall Charlo.
By comparison, Quigley had not fought since stopping Fernando Marin last January – his second quickfire stoppage win under the tutelage of Andy Lee following the Tureano Johnson defeat.
While his pedigree both in the pros and amateurs outstripped that of Mosley, the fight had been packaged as a 50-50 ‘last chance saloon’ affair and that is indeed how it played out.
Quigley came to the ring sporting a shiner on his right eye and the more-aggressive Mosley quickly added some damage to the left in the opening round.
Attempting to find his timing, it was a better second for Quigley – who had Wayne McCullough in the corner after coach Lee had U.S. Visa problems – but he was struggling to work out the sharp American.
The fight began to open up in the third and an unintentional low blow from Quigley forced a pause – which was followed by some closer-quarters exchanges. The left hook of the Ulsterman was working well but the fast-starting Mosley was landing the greater number of punches.
Mosley upped the aggression in the fourth but this seemed to play into Quigley’s gloves and he began to land heavy shots for the first time in the contest. However, Mosley hit back with a well-timed right-left combo that stiffened Quigley’s legs.
Quigley did not appear to be firing on all cylinders as Mosley pushed on in the fifth but he traded admirably and landed a nice bodyshot at the bell.
Moving into the second half of the bout, the pair exchanged big hooks at centre ring. A good round for Quigley, he kept on his toes and picked nice shots, making his first real visual dent in Mosley.
Really coming into his own, Quigley moved and punched well in the seventh, hurting and spinning Mosley in the corner. His familiar-named foe came back with a big shot and then another that sent Quigley into the ropes but the Ballybofey boxer ended the round with his own huge right hand as the temperature continued to rise.
The pace slowed at the start of the eighth as the two 30-year-olds tried to land from range in a close round. Mosley looked solid but the cleaner individual punches seemed to be coming from Quigley.
Both landed massive right hands to start the ninth and penultimate round. Quigley controlled the mid-part of the stanza before the pair combined for another furious finish.
Into the final round and needing a strong finish, Quigley landed a succession of right hands that backed Mosley up. The Nevada slugger responded with his own flurry that impacted Quigley before the exhausted Finn Valley warrior came back with his own clean shots in a cinematic finish.
Going to a cards with any result being a possibility, it was a majority decision for Jason Quigley (97-93, 96-96, 95-95) who fell to his knees in delight.
The razor-tight win sees Quigley improve to 19(14)-1(1) while Mosley drops to 17(10)-4(0) albeit following the best performance of his career.
Ranked #15 with the WBC beforehand, Quigley will no doubt add a lofty WBO position to his arsenal as he chases big fights. Golden Boy stablemate and Dennis Hogan and Spike O’Sullivan defeater Jaime Munguia is one such target – assuming he comes through Maciej Sulecki on June 19th – as well as WBO champ Demetrius Andrade whom he sent a tasty call-out towards in the post-fight interview.
However, following tonight, a rematch with Mosley Jr is perhaps the fight that most will want to see next.