There’s been a lot of afternoon sit-ups in the recent life and times of Sugar Shane Mosley. They’re part of the job description, part of the grand plan dealing with the welterweight division and what Mosley has to do to climb back to his place as its rightful ruler.

A few years ago, Mosley was a pure 147-pounder. And he was good at that weight, owning the WBC share of the championship with wins over guys like Oscar De La Hoya, Wilfredo Rivera, Antonio Diaz and Shannon Taylor.

But then a funny thing happened to Sugar Shane on his way to boxing immortality. He ran into Vernon Forrest.

Twice.

And suddenly, the plans for legendary status were folded up and placed on a back shelf.

Hoping Forrest was just a rare anomaly in the fight game, a mere quirk in the pugilistic solar system, Sugar Shane moved up a weight class and fought Winky Wright. And again, he lost.

Twice.

And that’s pretty much how Mosley is remembered. Not for the 35 knockouts he scored in his first 38 fights, but for the four losses (and a no contest) in his last seven fights.

Tomato can numbers if you don‘t turn the page and look back a few years.

Now it’s time for Mosley to get back to whatever it was that got him there at the top in the first place.

He fights undefeated junior-middleweight Jose Luis Cruz (32-0-2, 27 KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder on Sept. 17 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight, on HBO pay-per-view, is headlined by the Robbie Peden – Marco Antonio Barrera super-featherweight unification title fight.

“I’m in tremendous shape and ready to go,” Mosley said on a recent conference call. “I‘m back down to 147 and I feel real good.”

He said his hand speed and his foot movement are back, and even if he was fighting at 157 pounds instead of 147, he’d still come in at 150 to keep his speed.

“And moving around keeps my rhythm going,” he said. “Everything has been really smooth.”

Cruz, who has fought mostly in Mexico, isn’t one of those guys you just shrug your shoulders at and brush off. You don’t get 27 knockouts in 32 fights without being able to bang at least a little.

Asked if he’d ever faced anyone with the speed of Mosley, Cruz, who probably wondered just how fast those hands are, said he probably hadn’t.

“I haven’t fought anyone as fast as Mosley,” he said. “But there’s a first time for everything.”

I already like the guy.

Mosley, meanwhile, has the scoop on Cruz.

“He throws a lot of hard shots,” he said. “And he likes to come in head first, so I’ll have to stay away from his head. I expect him to come straight at me and he’ll want to mix it up. He throws a pretty good punch. He also throws a good right to the body, but my stomach is in great shape. I’ve been doing a lot of sit-ups.”

Welcome back. Hope you can stay for awhile.