In anticipation of the Shane Mosley vs. Fernando Vargas fight scheduled for Feb.25, Sugar Shane and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya spoke to the press via conference call from their training camp in Big Bear (CA) on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
Oscar de la Hoya: Hello everyone and it is very nice to be able to talk to everyone. Thanks to the media for being on. I am extremely proud to be promoting this great show between Sugar Shane Mosley against Fernando Vargas. These are two fighters that I know very well and I can tell you one thing – this is going to be a very exciting fight. Being a fighter, I can tell you that both Vargas and Mosley are going to come out really strong and they are going to be in the best shape ever because they both know that this is an opportunity to really shine and take their game to the next level. People have speculated in the past that Shane hasn’t looked the same and this and that. Well, many fighters know that when you have an opponent that is not a big name and it is not a big championship fight it is sometimes difficult to get motivated – and I’m sure Sugar Shane is motivated for every fight, but it’s not the same training for a Fernando Vargas. The way he trains for this fight is just different than the way he trained for his last fight. So this is going to bring out the best in Shane Mosley - the Shane Mosley that beat me twice – the Shane Mosley that is going to come out fast and that’s why it is going to be such a great, great fight.
Then you have Fernando Vargas, who says he is going to put the pressure on right from the get-go. And knowing Fernando Vargas up in the ring – yes, he is going to come out strong, so it is going to call for a really good fight.
I’m proud to be on board and happy to be promoting this event. Now, without any further ado, I would like to introduce to you welterweight champion of the world, the lightweight champion of the world and the junior middleweight champion of the world, Sugar Shane Mosley.
Sugar Shane Mosley: Thank you Oscar. Yes, all the things Oscar said are true. I guess we will both be fighting for the kids from California. Fernando Vargas is going to come and he is going to fight very hard. I am training very well. This fight is very special to me because I want to bring back the old style of the way I have been fighting. I think the fans are going to have a chance to see a great fight between me and Fernando.
Is your father going to be around?
Sugar Shane Mosley: My father is always around me in his spirit and in his heart. Even when I go over his house he is always doing things. He’s a father first and a trainer second. He always gives me great advice.
How does he feel about this fight?
Sugar Shane Mosley: My father, even when he was back training I always made my own decisions on who I would fight. Even if the task seemed a little hard, I’m always up for the task.
How do you feel about the size?
Sugar Shane Mosley: It could work both ways. If I wasn’t preparing like I was, then he would have an advantage because he would be bigger. But I am preparing myself for a bigger guy like him 0 I think it will be a disadvantage for him because he will be a lot slower. He is going to feel weak trying to make the weight and I feel like I am on top of my game right now – very sharp and I think right now I am the favorite.
It sounds as if Fernando is using you as a steppingstone to get to Oscar.
Sugar Shane Mosley: That is a big mistake. Sometimes fighters make mistakes like that. When he enters the ring and finds out he is not much stronger than I am. He may be bigger but he won’t be stronger – that might mess with his mind a little bit. I think the speed, as well as the movement, he wont’ be able to do the things he did with the fellas that he just fought in his last two fights. He is making a big mental mistake by trying to look past me trying to get to Oscar. And I’m not sure he’s even on Oscar’s radar.
Will your chin withstand the punches?
Sugar Shane Mosley: Well, you know in any fight, if I get caught on the chin I could go down. But my chin has held up for me before in a lot of fights. Fights where I went down then fought through that the whole fight. His punching power and the way he throws his punches, yes he can sustain that in the first second or third round or whatever, but we will still have twelve rounds to fight, and he has to fight for twelve rounds.
What is the one thing that may turn the fight?
Sugar Shane Mosley: I think in his best interest, you probably want to do what he says he is going to do and that is attack. But that is also a disadvantage because he has not been known to attack for twelve rounds. It all depends on how hard he has trained and what type of shape he is in. I know I am in one of the best of shape I have been in. I haven’t trained this hard in a long time. I think that my strength, along with my speed and quickness and my left jab, is going to be a great tool because I use that very well.
What weight is in your future?
Sugar Shane Mosley: Welterweight is my home.. If I had to make welterweight for this fight, I would be able to do it. I will be at welterweight for the remainder of my career, but there will be fights at 154 – challenges that I will take. I think welterweight is where I will stay.
Oscar, what will it take for you to fight him again?
Oscar de la Hoya: I respect Fernando Vargas and that fight will never, ever happen. Fernando Vargas has his hands full with Sugar Shane Mosley and my advice would be do not even look past this fight because it is just not going to happen. If he is thinking about fighting me, it is not going to happen. It should be a big concern because Mosley is in the best shape of his life and for Vargas to be looking past him is going to be very dangerous for him.
Do you think Vargas is taking a big risk?
Sugar Shane Mosley: I don’t play into Vargas being hurt although it is probably true, I just look into doing my job the best way I can and to be the best when I get out there. He is taking a big risk trying to get to Oscar through me. I won’t play that role. When I go in there, especially for this fight, I go in there for war…To seek and destroy. This is the type of fight that people are going to talk about for a long time. He is talking about the way he is going to look but he needs to know how I’m going to look in this fight because I prepared myself for this fight. FOR WAR.
Do you have a lot to prove?
Sugar Shane Mosley: I don’t know if it is really a crossroads fight. I know that in my mind, at this particular time, I am ready for war. To go out there, attack, win, knockout. Short. I am not going to go for anything less than that.
I don’t know if you’ve been listening to what I have been saying in the last couple of minutes, I am not a 154-pounder, so I couldn’t care less about the WBA eliminator. I am not fighting for a title. That is Oscar. He is fighting Mayorga at 154 to win a title. I will come up occasionally to play with the 154-pounder every now and then.
Have you talked strategy with Oscar?
Sugar Shane Mosley: No, I haven’t talked any strategy with Oscar. Basically I watched the fights with Oscar and Fernando and I saw different details that worked with Oscar and I will definitely be using those different techniques in the fight with Fernando Vargas.
You watched the fight with Oscar present?
Sugar Shane Mosley: No, I watched it alone, not with him present. It wouldn’t hurt that we sit down and talk about certain things, but this is a battle between me and Fernando.
Oscar de la Hoya: Obviously during fight week we will talk but Shane is such a professional and I am 100% sure that he has studied my fight with Vargas many, many time over and I’m sure he knows that the right hands work good against him and I’m sure that he knows that he’ll fade at the end. He is a professional, a fighter that studies these things.
Do you have a desire to go to Shane?
Oscar de la Hoya: I am not in this business to be like every other promoter who is in the fighter's face. I am a fighter first and I know how it feels when a promoter is on your back and in your face all of the time. You have to let the fighter train and do his job and let the trainer do his job. During fight week I can talk to Mosley and give him a few tips here and there. A little helping hand, not that he needs it.
Mosley has done everything there needs to be done in the gym with his trainer and I’m sure they have the perfect game plan and that’s how professional they are.
How would you counteract pressure?
Sugar Shane Mosley: Vargas has tried to pressure everyone he has fought but I will not be surprised he throws in a little boxing here and there. Danny Smith is more of a boxing trainer. He is not one to teach you to come at the fighter. I think others are better suited for that style. If he keeps preaching that he is going to go after me, it makes you kind of wonder: Is he really going to come after me or is he really going to box me, like he’s been doing the last couple of fights? If he’s going to box me, then I’ll be ready to attack. If he’s going to come after me, then I’ll be ready to fight.
I think Fernando has a lot to prove. He has to focus at the task at hand and that is Sugar Shane Mosley beating his face. The speed and punching power and stuff that I am going to display on him. He needs to concentrate on the battle, not what is going to come after the battle. That is a big mistake. I am coming straight to battle. I am coming straight at Vargas and not another fight at welterweight or a fight over here or over there. I am thinking about fighting Fernando Vargas and thinking about destroying Fernando Vargas.
Does that mean you are looking for a knockout in this fight?
Sugar Shane Mosley: Definitely.
Oscar de la Hoya: Mosley fighting at welterweight will be able to beat anybody. Once he gets past Fernando Vargas, obviously welterweight is his division and he will be able to fight anyone he wants. And everyone is going to want to fight him.
Is it important to you to be world champion again?
Sugar Shane Mosley: It is important for me to be the best fighter out there. And take the fights that people want to see.
Oscar, why never fight Vargas again?
Oscar de la Hoya: The reason why I say never is that I am satisfied with the win that I got against him. It was a great fight and I was able to knock him out. Also, Mosley is in such tremendous shape and has such focus that he is going to finish him off. There is no reason for me to fight him anymore – my deal with him is done and over with and I am moving on to other things and he should too. He should just focus on the task at hand – thi sis a very difficult fight and he should be 100% focused on the task at hand. I’m sure he is, but don’t look past this fight because the Sugarman is coming right at you.
Is it over in the Hispanic community?
Oscar de la Hoya: There are mixed emotions. Great fight yes. I knocked him out convincingly and people really don’t talk to me about that fight – they don’t discuss that fight with me. There are other fights that people talk about that they want to see. Like it Tito unretires, which is never going to happen. The talk is not of Vargas. The fans know that he is in tough with Shane.
Sugar Sugar Shane Mosley: People are saying he is bigger and stronger but the Hispanic community and boxing fans know that Shane Mosley is going to come out to fight.
Do you think he will underestimate your strength?
Sugar Shane Mosley: Yes. He will underestimate the strength. He can be heavy and all that type of stuff, but he has to have the strength. There is a difference between being heavy and being strong. I am a strong person. That doesn’t equate to punching power, but it is just physical strength. I think he will be surprised that he won’t be able to do the things he could do as far as moving me around or pushing me around. That is going to be his first problem.
I watch a lot of films, especially of Vargas. I look at all of his fights and get his habits down. What he like to do the most – like throw a lot of body shots and movement. I think he was trying to bully Oscar a lot and he got himself tired, hurt and then got knocked out. With Trinidad, the macho thing got him in trouble. I think he tries to revert to boxing to try to get away from the macho thing.
He thinks that his weight and his strength is going to be able to overtake me. And it won’t happen that way. He could come out and start boxing and I am prepared for that. He could come out slugging and fighting and I am prepared for that. Whatever he wants to do, I am willing.
Does looking ahead to Fernando drive you?
Sugar Shane Mosley: That really didn’t drive me. I really don’t particularly care what Fernando is thinking. My mind is set on what I am going to do in that ring. That is to be victorious and be animated and very strong and powerful and fast. I can’t wait to get in there and fight. Right now I am waiting for the time to come.
It will be another feather in my cap. Fernando has fought all of the great fighters and done very well, but he’s come up short with a few.
For a fight of this magnitude, people want to see a good fight. I am not going to sit there and slug it out with him – I am not going to box until one of us drops down – that’s just not smart fighting. I think it will be a great fight because Fernando is going to bring it out of me where he’s going to attack and I will be forced. You can’t let a guy bully you around the ring and not get his respect. So I will get his respect.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV