Pomona’s Sugar Shane Mosley is back home again, but in a way so is Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga.
You see, both Mosley (44-5, 37 KOs) and Mayorga (29-6-1, 23 KOs) have been very successful fighting in California. Neither has ever lost a fight in the Golden State. Mosley is 23 and 0 while Mayorga has been in California rings thrice with no defeats.
On Saturday Sept. 27, somebody is probably going home with their first loss in California when Mosley meets Mayorga at the Home Depot in Carson, California. Expect explosiveness from both boxers who are trying to make a point that they still belong among the elite in the welter or junior middleweight divisions. HBO will televise the bout.
Mosley hasn’t fought in front of a home crowd since he won a close split-decision against business partner Oscar De La Hoya back in 2000. It was the very first pro boxing match ever held in the Staples Center and it came during the Los Angeles Lakers first of three consecutive world championship runs.
He didn’t disappoint that night and provided one of the best welterweight clashes ever seen in the state, rivaling Carlos Palomino and Armando Muniz’s confrontations a few decades earlier.
You can’t count out Mosley, whose whole boxing career including his amateur days has been proving that size doesn’t matter if you have a big heart.
Though Mosley doesn’t hold a world title at the moment - he hasn’t held a world title since 2004 when he lost the WBC junior middleweight belt to the much bigger Winky Wright and was unsuccessful in the rematch – he’s picked off five wins in succession and will earn another world title bid if victorious.
Mayorga is in the opposite corner and the gregarious Nicaraguan maniac knows how to draw a crowd by pushing the right buttons whenever he speaks. For those who forget, Mayorga won his last bout nearly a year ago against Oxnard’s Fernando Vargas. Mayorga is quick to remind.
“I’m the one who won his last fight, not Shane Mosley,” said Mayorga, 34, while in Los Angeles recently. “I guarantee Shane Mosley is not going to win this fight.”
That win against Vargas came in Los Angeles last October. The last time Mosley won was against the fiery Vargas too.
“But I knocked him out,” said Mosley, 37, who accomplished the feat twice.
While flexing his right arm muscle Mayorga looks you right in the eye and explains why he will win on Saturday.
“He cannot take my punches,” said Mayorga, who does possess a wicked overhand right hand that seperated Vernon Forrest and Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis from their senses when it connected in California fights with the Nicaraguan. Even Oscar De La Hoya says Mayorga has a good punch.
But Mosley doesn’t seem worried.
“I’m looking at another two or three years,” said Mosley who plans to make another assault on a world championship. “There’s no reason I can’t continue fighting. I don’t drink or smoke. I keep myself in good condition.”
Mayorga doesn’t think so.
“After I knock him out he won’t be boxing any more,” said Mayorga, while smoking a cigarette and sporting a devilish grin. “Shane Mosley is a good fighter but he’s just too small.”
Size has always been a handicap for Mosley, but just a very minor one. Often he would offset that disadvantage with a blend of speed and accuracy from his punches that would dizzy opponents. If that didn’t work, then he’d take the fight inside for a battle of guts that few could keep pace.
Growing up in the gyms of Los Angeles, a young Mosley would often be asked to spar with guys like Julio Cesar Chavez and other killers in the ring. And every time they asked he’d enter the ring with a smile and go to work with a fury that always shocked those who only knew the friendly demeanor, not the ferocious boxer.
Mosley has always been one of the friendliest people outside of the boxing ropes. It’s easy to understand when you meet his father Jack Mosley, his mom and sisters. Every single one has that unpretentious quality and sincerity that is rare for a sports figure like Sugar Shane.
“Shane is just a nice guy,” said De La Hoya when discussing his last fight a few months back.
You wouldn’t discern that when the two Los Angeles-based fighters tangled twice in four years. They battered each other with neck snapping jabs, left hooks to the jaw and numbing blows to the body.
They’re friends now. That’s boxing.
Mayorga, who eagerly takes the reins of the bad boy figure, actually likes Mosley and said so in a whisper during the press conference to announce their match.
“Hey, campeon, sign this,” said Mayorga with his cigarette in his mouth and smoke blowing all over the crowd.
Of course Mosley signed it.
Mayorga has never been this cordial in any big fight. But that’s the respect he has for Mosley until they enter the ring.
“Mosley has had it,” says Mayorga. “When I hit him with a right hand it will be over. Believe me.”
Mayorga hopes a win over Mosley gets him a return date with De La Hoya. Mosley hopes a win over the Nicaraguan gets him a fight against current WBA welterweight king Antonio Margarito.
“Nobody wants to fight him, I’ll fight him,” said Mosley of Margarito. “First I have to take care of Mayorga.”
It should be exciting while it lasts. Check out Sugar Shane and Mayorga. Years from now people will talk about these two former welterweight and junior middleweight world champions and smile.
WBC welterweight title
Andre Berto, the WBC welterweight titleholder, defends for the first time against former junior lightweight world champion Steve Forbes on the semi-main event at the Home Depot Center.
Berto (22-0, 19 KOs) is still a big question mark in the division. The Florida-based boxer, though very talented, won the title against an opponent somebody dug up from Mexico City that few Mexican boxing fans recognized.
Forbes is no Miguel Angel Rodriguez who had never beaten a top 20 opponent. He expects to show the titleholder a few things.
“I like my chances,” says Forbes (33-6, 8 KOs) with a smile.
Jennifer Barber wins
Southern California’s Barber (8-0, 4 KOs) captured the vacant NABF featherweight title against Brook Dierdorff by unanimous decision after eight rounds last Saturday in Denver. Barber scored a knockdown in the title fight and won impressively.
Fights on television
Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Vicente Escobedo (18-1) vs. Dominic Salcido (16-0).
Sat. HBO, 7:30 p.m., Shane Mosley (44-5) vs. Ricardo Mayorga (29-6-1).
Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?