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Even L.A. Veterans Agree: Shane’s Back on Top

BY David A. Avila ON February 13, 2007
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Sugar Shane Mosley’s decisive victory over Brooklyn’s Luis Collazo left many spectators shaking their heads in wonderment.

Even Collazo had to bow his head at his victor’s performance.

“That’s why he’s a champion,” Collazo said graciously before heading to the hospital to check his injured left hand.

Mosley’s electrifying performance sets up a wealth of potential welterweight showdowns against the top fighters in the world. The Pomona boxer captured the interim WBC welterweight title that was vacated by Floyd Mayweather Jr.

WBO titleholder Antonio Margarito, IBF titleholder Kermit Cintron and other welterweights have been notified.

“I want the Antonio Margaritos, the Miguel Cottos and the Kermit Cintrons,” said Mosley immediately following his unanimous decision win on Saturday. “Tell all the welterweights I’m back.”

Before the Collazo fight, many felt Mosley was drifting toward mediocrity despite back-to-back victories over Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas. Experts felt the Pomona boxing legend was a spent bullet and the velocity of his punches was slowing down.

In other words, he was ripe for an upset.

But the return of Mosley to the 147-pound division after jumping back and forth to 154-pounds and the re-emergence of his father Jack Mosley training him has been like déjà vu. Mosley looked like the same boxing version spreading fear among welterweights with decisive knockouts in 2000.

“That was the old Shane Mosley,” said James Gogue, a manager and trainer out of Texas who was present at the Las Vegas fight on Saturday. “He looked fast.”

Rudy Hernandez, manager and trainer for lightweight contender Jose Armando Santa Cruz, said Mosley’s win opens up a lot of opportunities for potential fights.

“There’s a lot of hungry welterweights in that division,” said Hernandez, whose younger brother Genaro Hernandez sparred hundreds of rounds with Mosley a decade ago. “He doesn’t look 35. He’s getting older but he gives the public what it wants.”

Even during the official weighing fans and experts saw a different Mosley as he stepped on the scale. He looked sleeker and younger for some reason. Inside the ring, he showed the world that even topnotch fighters like Collazo will have trouble dealing with his speed, power and experience.

“I feel real strong at this weight,” said Mosley.

At times Mosley’s speed looked inhuman. His movements and pressure confused Collazo who was able to land counter lefts in the first four rounds, but after that, he couldn’t seem to pull the trigger.

“Don’t square up, you’re squaring up too much,” shouted one of Collazo’s supporters from New York.

It was good advice, but Mosley’s quick slide movements to his left and right dazzled Collazo and pretty soon it was the Pomona fighter’s fight. From the fifth round onward, it was difficult to find something positive in the Brooklyn fighter’s game.
Perhaps the third round was the most telling when a rocket right hand from Mosley landed flush and Collazo was still standing.

“I hit him with a right hand and nothing happened,” said Mosley. “I was surprised. He could take a punch. I kept hitting him with rights but he hung in there.”

Don’t expect other welterweights to withstand that kind of blistering attack
Mosley displayed, especially in the eighth round. The Pomona speedster showed dizzying hand speed and landed right hands flush. A left uppercut toward the end of the round served as a reminder to Collazo who couldn’t find the antidote.

“I tried my best,” said Collazo.

It was vintage 2000 Mosley aged to perfection.

“Shane is never in a boring fight,” said Hernandez. “He’s good for boxing.”

Juan Lazcano loses

In the most competitive match on the Las Vegas fight card last Saturday, junior welterweights Juan Lazcano of El Paso and former world titleholder Vivian Harris of Guyana battled for 12 rounds. Harris won by unanimous decision but eked out a victory in the last two rounds.

Referee Tony Weeks deducted a point from Lazcano in the last round of the title eliminator, but despite the bad timing of the point deduction, the Texan did not step on the gas during the last two crucial rounds.

“Get on him,” shouted Lazcano’s trainer Freddie Roach who was 10 feet away from my seat. “Get on him now.”

Lazcano lost the fight in the last two rounds according to the judges who tabbed it 115-112 twice and 114-113 for Harris.

The failure of Lazcano to increase the pressure in the last two rounds reminded me of Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez attempting to wrest the featherweight world title from Freddie Norwood in 1999. In that fight Marquez did not increase the tempo and lost the fight because of the last two rounds that saw him fight conservatively. Just like Lazcano.

Riverside Heavyweight Wins

Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola stopped New York’s Zakeem Graham at 2:42 of the third round of their heavyweight clash in Selden, New York.

Arreola (18-0, 17 KOs) looked much quicker than Graham and used a left hook to drop the New Yorker in the second round. After that, Arreola pummeled Graham with punches until the referee decided to call the fight.

Henry Ramirez, who trains Arreola, said a potential fight on the May 5 fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a possibility.

Since dropping to 229 pounds, Arreola looks more dangerous than ever. Can he be the first heavyweight of Mexican ethnicity to win a world title?

“I want to win any title I don’t care if it’s a small title or not. That’s my goal this year,” Arreola said before his victory on Friday.

Rhonda Luna victorious

In a junior lightweight rematch Rhonda Luna (11-0-1) captured a majority decision over Sosadea Razo (5-8-1) at the Irvine Marriott Hotel last Thursday. One judge scored it a draw while the other two had Luna winning convincingly.

It was a rematch. Both met previously in the ring almost two years ago. That fight ended in a split-decision for Luna. The crowd responded to the all-out action by throwing more than $200 in the ring.

Luna,s brother Jacob Luna is an attorney who practices in Riverside.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 7 p.m.,Verno Phillips (40-10-1) vs. Eddie Sanchez (15-5-2).

Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Giovanni Segura (16-0-1) vs. Jesus Martinez (17-4).

Fri. Fox Sports Net, 8 p.m., Tony Thompson (28-1) vs. Timor Ibragimov (21-1-1).

Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Gary Stark (18-0) vs. Mike Oliver (17-0).

Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m., Jose Lopez (34-7-2) vs. Paulino Villalobos (26-35-2).

Sat. HBO, 9:45 p.m., Paul Malignaggi (21-1) vs. Edner Cherry (21-4-2); Ishe Smith (18-1) vs. Sechew Powell (20-1).

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