Shane Mosley: His Last Chance for Greatness
In the lexicon of the world of boxing, the word ‘Sugar’ is a moniker that is reserved
for only a few great fighters. You have to be a pretty special and flashy fighter in
order to adopt the nickname in the first place. Needless to say, you have to be good,
you have to win, and you have to have the heart and charisma of a champion - as
well as public appeal.
In the history of boxing, there was the great Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray
Leonard, who are undisputed all time greats. No one would argue that these two
pugilists earned the right to stitch the “Sugar” nickname on their boxing trunks.
There was also WBC light heavyweight champion Carlos ‘Sugar’ Deleon in the
1980’s and middleweight ‘Sugar’ Ray Seals in the 1970‘s. Seals was a fringe
contender who fought Marvin Hagler twice, losing a decision and then earning a
draw against the Marvelous one in a rematch. Although they were both good
fighters, they didn’t quite live up to the ‘Sugar’ nickname. Not many fighters can.
“Sugar “ Shane Mosley is right on the cusp of all time greatness if he can defeat,
and convincingly defeat, the great Floyd Mayweather Jr. Shane is scheduled to
fight the ’Pretty Boy’ on May 1st in Las Vegas.
Starting out his career as a lightweight in 1993, Shane compiled a 38 and 0 record
with 35 knockouts. Mosley was a pound for pound fighter at the height of his
lightweight reign, but relatively unknown outside the world of boxing fans and
purists. Moving up to welterweight in 1999(skipping the junior welterweight
division altogether), he then faced Oscar De La Hoya in June of 2000 and won a
split decision in a very exciting fight. This pushed Mosley to the forefront of the
American public as well as the boxing public - a status all prize fighters strive for.
Mosley is one of those fighters that any boxing fan knows is a good - if not great
fighter. The problem is, I was forced to describe him as a ”good - if not great”
fighter. He is right on the bubble. If, and only if he defeats Mayweather, will Shane
Mosley be considered great. Of course, that is my humble opinion. Then, if he
fights and defeats Manny Pacquiao, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility, he
will undoubtedly be universally recognized as great. However, let’s not get ahead of
Let’s look at his history. He has beaten Oscar De La Hoya twice, Fernando
Vargas twice, Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Margarito, Luis Collazo, and a solid
Phillip Holiday at lightweight. Not too mention the whole lightweight division when
he reigned in that division over ten years ago.
To play devil’s advocate, many people thought he lost the rematch against De La
Hoya, this writer included. Also, his two wins over Vargas were a bit
underwhelming due to the fact that Vargas was considered a relatively shot fighter
by the time of the Mosley fights. Furthermore, it was reported that Mosley tested
positive for performance enhancing drugs(PED’s) following the 2003 rematch
against De La Hoya. Although Mosley claims he ingested or took these PED’s
unknowingly, it sure hasn’t helped his legacy as a great fighter.
Shane has lost twice to Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright. Then, he lost a close
decision to Miguel Cotto in November of 2008. These losses definitely set Mosley
back quite a bit, but he is a fighter that is most enduring. Shane never stopped
taking challenges from all fighters. He has never ducked anybody. Most boxing
fans and writers are having a hard time envisioning how Mosley will be able to
defeat the defensive specialist and sharpshooter for which Floyd is known. Quite
frankly, so am I, and I am a big fan of Mosley. Maybe will we see something from
Shane that will shock us. I am hoping that is the case.
Coming off a spectacular knockout of the big and strong Antonio Margarito in
January of 2009, Mosley has been considered one of the top three welterweights in
the world. At the seasoned age of 38 (he turns 39 on September 7th), Shane will be
coming off a 16 month layoff by the time he enters the ring against Mayweather.
The fight against Mayweather happened somewhat by accident. With the Pacquiao
- Mayweather negotiations falling apart and Mosley’s January 30th fight with
Andre Berto fight being canceled, it seemed to happen by default.
Not one welterweight champion or contender aside from Andre Berto really
wanted to face Mosley because it was just too risky. Mosley simply destroyed
Margarito and even Mayweather seemed to want to avoid Mosley - even after
Floyd’s dominating performance of Juan Manual Marquez.
So why do you think fighters are so scared of a 38 year old former lightweight
who hasn’t fought in over a year?
Here is why. Shane Mosley is the Cal Ripken Jr. of boxing. He shows up to work
every day and nothing gets in the way of his professionalism. A gym rat of
unequaled proportion, Mosley is in shape year around. He comes to fight, and he
comes to win. He is not afraid of taking a punch, and he is fan friendly. Shane is
accustomed to the big stage, and he is a very experienced and veteran fighter. He
has power and speed, and the uncompromising will to win.
He is the opposite of a beer drinking, weight gaining Ricky Hatton. Shane doesn’t
slack between fights. He has never been knocked out and has never taken any
He has only been down once against Vernon Forrest in their first fight. I don’t
think the sixteen month layoff prior to the bout will be an issue. Mosley always
stays sharp. As a matter of fact, the layoff should help him in an odd way due to his
In the wake of the March 13th fight between Manny Pacquiao versus Joshua
Clottey bout at Cowboys Stadium, boxing fans are in need of a ’great’ fight.
Pacquiao did his job by beating Clottey, now Mosley can step into a super fight if
he beats Mayweather. Most fans and writers, including myself, see this as a great
Pacquiao came to fight and displayed his great hand speed, resilience, stamina,
and the will of a champion. On the grand stage in Jerry Jones’ wonderful state of
the art stadium, Clottey failed to make a real effort to take the fight to Pacquiao. In
the end, Pacquiao won every round on two of the three judges scorecards in an
rather easy victory of the defensive minded Clottey. So what does all this mean?
Pacquiao is considered the world’s best. If Mosley can beat Mayweather, and then
face and beat Pacquiao, Mosley will cement his legacy.
If Mosley can beat Mayweather, it will be a great feat all by itself. If he wins
decisively, it will set him up for an historic bout between he and Manny Pacquiao.
Mosley will be on the threshold of greatness. Something that has always seemed to
have eluded him. Mosley is the type of fighter that searches for that type of rarified
air. He wants to win. He wants to prove himself. He is not scared. He comes
The major problem with this whole equation for Shane is that beating
Mayweather is a task of gargantuan proportion. Mayweather, as most boxing fans
know, is a master defensive fighter with precision counter skills and power. Mosley
will be aggressive because he has that Philadelphia fighter element in his instincts
as a fighter(not to be confused with Bernard Hopkins-who goes against the grain of
typical Philadelphia fighters). Mosley will be offensive with his speed and skill. It
should be interesting to see how Mayweather handles Mosley.
Mosley has a history of being neutralized by defensive fighters. Winky Wright was
very defensive but utilized a great jab to counter Mosley’s aggression. Vernon
Forrest was long armed and tall, and Mosley’s style played right into the hands of
Forrest. Vernon landed the right hand at will on Mosley and the granite chinned
Shane had no answer to remedy the style of a unique fighter. In the end, Shane lost
two consecutive fights to Forest, which diminished his marketability as an elite
Will Floyd shut down Mosley? My boxing knowledge says yes. But knowing
Shane, he might utilize some of that “Sugar” to forge his name into the record
books and true greatness with an upset victory over Floyd. How many people
thought he would knock out and literally destroy Antonio Margarito? This is why I
love the sport of boxing. You just never know.
Andrew Parsons grew up in Southern California and is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton. He is a
contributing writer at www.fightfannation.com. You can also see more of his writing at Vintage
Sports Memor abilia Online where he discusses sports memorabilia including boxing memorabilia.