The first time Joe Goossen ever witnessed the speed and fury that is Sugar Shane Mosley, the fighter was a 12 year old, 80 pounder going toe to toe with Goossen’s own 12 year old protégé, Rafael Ruelas.
“He showed his championship ability even at that age,” said Goossen. “Shane and I have known each other for a long time.”
That was 1984 and the bout was part of Goossen’s first annual Blue and Gold tournament. Mosley won that fight. While Ruelas went on to become a world champion, Mosley went on to become a superstar.
On Saturday night, some 20 years later, Goossen and Mosley will be fighting out of the same corner. In the opposite corner will be Winky Wright, the man who holds the junior middleweight title and the key to Mosley’s future in the sport.
Boxing often makes for strange bedfellows, but there seems to be nothing strange about this pairing. Mosley and Goossen broke their first camp together yesterday and they seem to be in absolute harmony.
In an earlier interview with TheSweetScience.com, Mosley said, “I’m brand new.”
Goossen shares his optimism. “I’m very confident,” the trainer said. “I’m very high on Shane’s level of competition. I believe he will perform past the expectations I had for him.”
Mosley, a three division champion with a 39 3 record, will be attempting to reverse his March 13 unanimous decision loss to Wright. This marks the first time in his career that he will be entering the ring for a fight during which he was not trained by his father Jack.
But Goossen has some experience in the realm of revenge. Earlier this year he guided Diego Corrales to a rematch victory over Joel Casamayor (who was ironically trained by Goossen in their first fight).
In addition to physically preparing to beat Wright’s southpaw style, Goossen had to prepare Mosley on the mental aspects of conquering the conqueror.
“The mental part of it has to do with the truth,” said Goossen, meaning that the fighter and trainer have to identify what was working, what wasn’t and determine how to correct it.
“Then, when you’re at the point when you know what you have to do this time, that you understand it and you feel comfortable and confident executing it, that gives you back the mental edge,” said Goossen.
Goossen promised a different Shane Mosley. Or perhaps, more precisely, one not so different from Sugar Shane’s early days.
“I wanted Shane Mosley to be the Shane Mosley I remember,” he said. “The one who for years in the ring was the best fighter in the world. I wanted to recapture the style that was electrifying.”
Goossen would not go into detail or give away strategy for the upcoming fight, but said training camp entailed hard work and attention to the little things that a fighter does to acquire success.
“We worked on a lot of detail,” he said “We focused on the basics. We were very diligent in our work. And Shane was an incredible participant. I don’t want to say student, because Shane knows as much as anyone. But when you see that hunger and desire to focus, it gives, me a trainer, tremendous confidence.”
At least for the rematch, Mosley will have already endured 12 rounds with one of the game’s best southpaws. Although Goossen wouldn’t identify them, he said Mosley sparred with four different southpaws throughout the duration of training camp.
“It’s hard to deal with them because you never see them,” said Goossen. “They have a built in advantage over righthanders. They see so many more righthanders than an orthodox fighter sees southpaws. That’s one of the reasons everyone avoided (Wright). Who needs to fight a southpaw?”
Goossen’s parting shot for his fighter went like this: “He’s in a very aggressive mood. When I say that, I mean a controlled, intelligent aggression. He’s back to that frame of mind of doing what he was doing when he was at his best.”
» Read Wright – Mosley II Fight Predictions from TheSweetScience.com staff