Sugar Shane Mosley sounded mellow, like he’d just finished getting a full-body massage, and was sipping a chamomille tea, rather than like a man gearing up for what promises to be perhaps the most brutal trenchwar of his 14-year professional career.
“I can’t wait for this fight to happen,” Mosley said on a Tuesday conference call to hype his Nov. 10 showdown with Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a match that the promoter Oscar De La Hoya referred to as the probable “fight of the year.”
That assessment, which is an interesting slight to the Dec. 8 Floyd Mayweather/Ricky Hatton bout, also overseen by Golden Boy, is shared by a large faction of fight fans.
They’re curious to see how the young gun Cotto, with his sledgehammering bullishness, will fare against the slickest boxer he’s every faced, Mosley. Will the combo-tossing vet, at 36, age overnight, as fast as you can say “TKO stoppage, round eight,” though we all concede he has rebounded nicely from a down period in 2005/2005 when it looked like maybe packing it in would be for the best.
Mosley’s dad, Jack, played the role of s— stirrer, accusing Cotto of being scared to fight his son, of hitting low on purpose, and of being in concert with that person or persons who tried to re-dredge Mosley’s BALCO/performance enhancing-drugs-usage dirty laundry.
The father, who got kicked to the curb as trainer and mentor in 2005, supposedly caught in a triangle with Mosley’s wife, said his son is back to where he was, speedwise.
“He’s getting his speed back to where it used to be,” the father said. “It fell off when he was lifting weights and things, his slow twitch muscles.”
The 27-year-old Cotto is “not as fast, does not hit as hard, is not as strong as Shane,” the father said, in an assertion that may well be only 33% correct. We’ll see come Nov. 10.
“Shane is too powerful for Cotto,” he stated.
“Cotto is worried sick at fighting Shane, just look at his eyes,” he said.
I wanted to follow up on that statement, but some members of the media sometimes tend to monopolize these calls, asking two, three, four questions at a time, as though they are the only ones on the call, and nobody else wants to file.
“Cotto might have some jitters,” he said. “The title of the promotion is Fast and Furious, and that fits Shane. Cotto’s worried about fighting Shane. They think age is a factor, it’s not a factor at all.”
If that is so, a vigorous tip of the cap must go to Jack and his son, and his son’s superior genetic makeup. Shane stated on the call that he’s going all organic, supplement free for this fight, and he’s feeling groovy, clean and mean.
To be certain, Mosley hasn’t looked close to the end of the road in recent outings, whatever fuel may have been propelling him. He suffered back to back losses to pound-for-pounder Winky Wright in 2005, and was underwhelming as he tried to figure out his weight class and training regimen in 2005 in wins over solid vets David Estrada and Jose Luis Cruz. It’s debatable how much stock a fan or analyst should put into back to back wins over Fernando Vargas in 2006, but anyone and everyone has to be impressed with the Mosley who took a UD12 from Luis Colazzo, ten years his junior, in February.
The Mosleys tried mightily to remind, or convince, writers that SSM has heavy in his fists, too. And he does have 37 stops in 44 gloveups, yes. But SSM has just two stops, both coming against Vargas, in his last 11 beefs. My subjective injection of two cents here: SSM does not have equal pop to Cotto, who has 25 stops in 30 pro matches.
But again, on Nov. 10 we’ll see whose claims play out, and whose retain the credibility of the denials of a Republican Senator caught in a public bathroom stall playin’ footsie.
Mosley isn’t portraying this tussle as the be all, end all. The first match with Oscar De La Hoya—he won that one, SD12, in June 2000, he said, and his first title win, against Philip Holiday, in 1997, both rank higher in importance for SSM.
The California-based vet didn’t really duck questions about BALCO, but was he able to deflect the question or sidestep it with credibility?
Mosley has admitted publicly that he took designer steroids, unknowingly, before his second fight with De La Hoya, in 2003. A month ago, SI.com laid out specifics on Mosley’s usage, stating that he took designer steroids, and a hormone used to artificially boost one’s red blood cell count, and thus, one’s stamina.
Mosley countered that he’d been misled on the substances he took by Victor Conte, the man who ran a “sports nutrition center” in California, which was shut down by authorities. Conte went to prison on a steroid distribution rap.
Mosley’s dad insinuated that the rehashed allegations on his son’s use of banned substances surfaced via Team Cotto “because of insecurity.”
Mosley looked to close the steroid issue by labeling the usage of the ‘roids, which he was “basically tricked into” using, as a “disadvantage.”
“I don’t see it as a hindrance to my reputation, I’m a standup guy,” he said.
The father tossed his own allegation, that every time Cotto gets buzzed, he throws a low blow. SSM, though, tried to minimize his father’s slap, and offered that maybe Cotto went south because he was “woozy” and “blurry.”
“I don’t buy that low blow thing,” he said, disputing his father’s theory.
Mosley is typically a gentleman sort, who steers clear of personal attacks leading in to fights. Maybe some astute readers can delve into their memory banks, and share with us if Jack Mosley has gone this route of trash-talking before. Is he trying to get into Cotto’s head, fire up his son?
SPEEDBAG SSM would still like a crack at PBF, who he says is ducking him whenever the subject comes up.
–Twice Jack Mosley brought up his son’s fine performance against Wilfredo Rivera. Is that pertinent? SSM was jumping from 135 to 147 in one fell swoop…but it happened back in 1999.
—Ole Jack was in fine form, with his sharpest stick poking into the hornet’s nest. He said that Cotto would be one of the smallest guys his son has fought in awhile.
–Shane said he’s pumped, as his son Shane Jr. is contemplating jumping into fighting with both feet. Interesting, as so much of the time fighters tend to steer their kids away from their vocation, towards less violent pursuits.
–Cotto will have more on his plate than he did against Zab Judah, who SSM said has less disciplined in rennet years, and is prone to throwing one punch at a time after petering out in the second third of a fight. “I’m not up from 140 pounds, like most guys Cotto’s beaten or stopped,” he said.