Like a boxing virtuoso, Sugar Shane Mosley attempts to recapture welterweight glory on Saturday against former welterweight champion Brooklyn’s Luis Collazo.
Pomona’s Mosley has grabbed world titles in the lightweight, welterweight and junior middleweight divisions, and now he ventures back into the realm of 147-pounders at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The fight for the WBC interim welterweight title will be shown on HBO.
Few prizefighters, especially at age 35, have been able to move up to a heavier weight division with any semblance of prior glory. But like a jazz pianist, he can play in any musical genre, be it classical, pop, blues or bebop.
Mosley has the chops.
Take his first victory over Oscar De La Hoya when the East Los Angeles fighter emerged as Southern California’s preeminent sports figure. During their encounter that took place in Los Angeles, the rhythms and speeds tossed at the Pomona fighter dazzled. The timing caught Mosley off-key, but soon, Sugar Shane improvised into another style and upset the timing and momentum of his present business partner. He won by split-decision.
You have to view Mosley as boxing’s Bud Powell, a jazz genius on the black and white piano keys capable of laying out Chopin’s etudes or nocturnes as easily as bebop classics. It’s this kind of wide variety that gives the Pomona boxer an edge.
Mosley (43-4, 37 KOs) can box with the slickest of boxers or bang with the heaviest hitters of the day. Night or day, he straddles both sides of the pendulum.
Now comes Collazo, the Puerto Rican southpaw with the New York hipness that has befuddled many prior foes. Even his defeat against England’s Ricky Hatton was razor thin. Once the Brooklyn slickster grooved into his rhythm he deflected most of the Brit’s roughhouse tactics and power punches.
It was point and counterpoint.
“The Ricky Hatton fight was a defining moment for Collazo,” said Carl King, vice president of Don King Promotions. “He reminds me of a young Hector Camacho.”
Collazo (27-2, 13 KOs) held the WBA title when he met Hatton last May 2006. Though knocked down by Hatton in the first round, that would be the only time the Brooklyn fighter would be on the floor. By mid-fight, Collazo was implementing his own style of counterpunching and moving slightly to his right with his guard tight.
It confused Hatton.
“I wish it would have been a 15 round fight,” Collazo said of his loss to Hatton. “I was wearing him down. One more round and I would have knocked him out.”
The 25-year-old Collazo became a boxer because of his dad’s influence.
“My dad was a big fan of Roberto Duran and Salvador Sanchez,” said Collazo, who won 14 national amateur titles. “I’m just glad I’m a boxer.”
Small for a welterweight, Collazo uses his defense and quickness to catch opponents at the proper moment. It’s all about timing, he says.
“Maybe I don’t have a lot of power but all I have to do is hurt you and win,” he said.
His close loss to Hatton opened the eyes of those who perceived Collazo as a soft-hitting defensive specialist incapable of clashing with the big boys of the prizefight world.
“I called out Antonio Margarito, I called out a lot of the welterweights,” Collazo says. “Nobody wanted me.”
Timing is everything
When Mosley sought a bout with IBF welterweight titleholder Kermit Cintron, it was seemingly signed, sealed and delivered. But the negotiations tumbled due to contractual problems for the New Jersey fighter Cintron.
In came Collazo.
“I’m always in the gym. I’m the type of fighter who is ready for any opportunity,” he said. “This is my profession.”
With less than 30 days before the scheduled date, both Mosley and Collazo quickly accepted a contract to meet each other.
Both are listed as five-feet-nine-inches. Mosley fights orthodox and Collazo fights left-handed.
“I know what kind of fighter Luis Collazo is,” says Mosley with the assurance of a musical maestro. “He’s a southpaw and I’ve fought two southpaws. He’s a young tricky southpaw and is hard to handle.”
Fighting a southpaw is tantamount to playing piano with a right hand dominant and switching to left hand dominant. A whole new mindset is needed.
“There are different angles to hit fighting southpaws,” Mosley says. “But I’m hitting pretty hard and I’m pretty quick.”
Jack Mosley, father and trainer of Shane, says fighting a southpaw can be difficult but the conductor of their match will not be Collazo, but his son.
“Shane is back at 147 pounds where he has tremendous speed and tremendous power,” said the elder Mosley. “At 147 pounds he’s a dangerous man.”
Sugar Shane steps into prizefight arenas with a supreme confidence in his ability to assess a situation and improvise on the spot. Grand finales are his forte.
“I’m coming back down to welterweight to claim what is rightfully mine,” Mosley says. “It’s going to be great.”
Collazo, a quiet and rather respectful athlete, but no less confident, looked over at Mosley while speaking and quickly inspected and sized up his opponent.
“I know he has done a lot for the sport,” said Collazo of Mosley. “But his time has passed.”
Mosley smiles when listening to the words of younger fighters. He’s familiar with the talk and babble of hungry fighters looking to upset the timing of veteran prizefighters.
“We have similar but different styles,” Mosley assesses quickly. “He’ll be looking to gain some respect and I’ll be looking to stop him.”
Which way will the metronome tick?
Hispanic Causing Panic meet Vicious
It’s a wonder that Juan “Hispanic Causing Panic” Lazcano and Vicious Vivian Harris have not already met. The two have been living on the top-10 lists of professional boxing for many years.
On Saturday they fight an elimination bout for the WBC title currently held by Great Britain’s Junior Witter.
Harris ((27-2-1, 18 KOs) recently stopped former lightweight champion Stevie Johnston at Temecula in a performance that proved dominating. Though he lost the WBA junior welterweight title to Carlos Maussa in a sub par performance, the Guyana native seems to have regrouped and looks dangerous again.
Lazcano (37-3-1, 27 KOs) was one of the first fighters to stop Johnston more than three years ago. The Sacramento fighter via El Paso has a history of going into the trenches to work. Probably his biggest battle to date was two years ago in a world title fight against Mexico’s Jose Luis Castillo. People forget that fight was very close according one judge and those in attendance. Though Lazcano looked physically beaten he traded brutal punches with Castillo for the entire 12-round distance.
It should be a terrific junior welterweight battle.