Pomona’s Sugar Shane Mosley returned to the boxing ring after a less than one-year retirement and defeated Mexico’s hard-nosed Pablo Cano by unanimous decision.
It wasn’t easy but Mosley’s win was emphatic and proved he still can fight.
“I’m not washed up,” Mosley said by cell phone the day after.
The win by Mosley (47-8-1, 39 Kos) over Cano (26-3-1, 20 Kos) took place in Cancun, Mexico, where the Mexican contender was the beneficiary of the pro-Mexican crowd. It helped but couldn’t deflect those blows coming from the former lightweight, welterweight and junior middleweight world champion on Saturday on the Golden Boy Promotions fight card.
Many boxing fans frowned when they learned that Mosley (seen above versus Canelo in 2012 ) was returning to the boxing ring after announcing his retirement late last year. But the certain-to-be Hall of Fame inductee when he retires gave an impressive performance.
It was Mosley’s first win since January 2009 when he defeated Antonio Margarito by knockout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The fight was back and forth during the early going in the world famous resort beach area.
Cano is not an easy opponent. He had fought Erik “El Terrible” Morales on late notice and gave the Tijuana warrior all he could handle before his own corner stopped the fight in the 10th round in Las Vegas. Then last October, the Mexican slugger gave WBA welterweight titlist Paul Malignaggi a terrific struggle but fell short.
Malignaggi said before the fight that Cano was a shrewd boxer with very good power.
Mosley discovered the same thing when he entered the ring against Cano. Though the Pomona boxer had the advantage in speed and experience, Cano’s strength and power proved obstacles early in their fight until changes were made in the fight.
“I was surprised by his power,” said Mosley, who had faced a number of powerful fighters in the past such as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. “I had to make some adjustments.”
Those adjustments were the difference in the fight as Mosley changed the tempo and tactics round by round. Cano was befuddled and tentative once the rhythm of the fight was altered by the more experienced Mosley.
Because the fight was under WBC rules, the scorecards were read midway through the fight and Mosley was told by his father Jack Mosley that they were behind in the fight. That changed their game plan and instead of jabbing and moving, Sugar Shane went into attack mode.
“I was going for the knockout,” Mosley said after discovering that the judges might favor Cano. “I hurt him about five times. Twice I nearly had him out.”
Blistering right hand leads caught Cano walking into punches as he marched forward attempting to overpower Mosley. But during the last four rounds it was obvious that the rugged Mexican fighter was in danger of being knocked out. His corner advised him to slip into a defensive mode.
Cano began to move and give more angles. No longer was he attempting to knock out Mosley, instead he was trying not to get knocked out.
Mosley dispensed with defensive measures and opened up with an all-out attack that had Cano reeling and holding on. Left hooks, overhand rights and the immense pressure put on by the Pomona fighter dazed Cano who held on tight despite numerous warnings by referee Jay Nady. But he survived the attack.
After 12 rounds Mosley was ruled the winner by 115-113 scores on all three judge’s cards and won the WBC International title. Mosley has bigger goals now.
“It was a tough fight,” said Mosley, 41. “He could box, but I think I beat him better than Paul Malignaggi did.”
Earlier this year a proposed fight between WBA titlist Malignaggi and Mosley was scrapped because the Southern California prizefighter had not defeated a top 20 fighter or any fighter since 2009. Both of those blocks were removed on Saturday with the solid win over Cano.
“I still need things to work on to get to championship form,” Mosley said. “Pablo was a good fighter and I’m happy to be doing what I like to do.”
Mosley is eager to show what he can do.