Mosley's Making It Hard To Remember How Great He Once Was

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On July 22, 2001, he sported a perfect record (38-0) and was the reigning WBC welterweight champion and a former IBF lightweight champ.

He never lost fighting as a lightweight, going 32-0 (29). And when the nineties came to a close and during the first and second years of the new century, he fought it out with Roy Jones as to who was the fighter most regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in professional boxing.

If all that isn't enough, how about the fact that along with Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley is in the conversation as to who is the greatest lightweight since Roberto Duran relinquished the title back in 1978 after beating Esteban DeJesus in their rubber match.

Actually, at 135, I think I'd favor Mosley to beat both Whitaker and Mayweather.

There was a time when Mosley 47-9-1 (39) was among the elite of the elite fighters in professional boxing. Shane could do it all in the ring. He could box rugged and aggressive guys, he had the physicality to out-muscle fighters who tried to box him and keep him at center ring. In addition to that, he could throw every punch with speed, power and accuracy… and last but not least, he possessed a cast iron chin. Some will say his defense wasn't the greatest, but there was a reason for that. And that is, he was always looking to take his opponent's head off, a la Sugar Ray Leonard. Well, in order to do that a fighter must stand in the danger zone where he can be hit back just as hard and commit to his punches. Shane Mosley never feared fighting in the danger zone and always committed to his punches.

Last week it was announced that Shane, 42, will make another comeback and fight former foe Ricardo Mayorga 31-8-1 (25) in Los Angeles on August 29th in a junior middleweight bout. Mosley and Mayorga, 41, fought back in September of 2008, a bout in which Mosley won via stoppage with one second remaining in the 12th and final round. At the time of the stoppage Mosley was leading on two of the three judges’ cards. In a twist of fate, Mayorga broke onto the big time boxing scene by defeating Vernon Forrest twice, once by stoppage, after Forrest proved to be Mosley's stumbling block via his back to back decision wins over him. Forrest owned the style match up over Mosley but couldn't do anything with Mayorga. Yes, styles are almost everything in boxing.

Everyone knows that 1) Mosley is the superior fighter 2) both are shop-worn and not relevant today and 3) the fight and story is really about Mosley's decline and how he continues to chase a ghost. Not many take Mayorga, who had a couple MMA fights and would probably wrestle an alligator if someone was willing to pay him to do it, seriously. Whereas Mosley was a certifiable great fighter who is the antithesis of Mayweather when it comes to managing your career and picking the right fights. Mosley's toughness and belief in himself is partly to blame as to why he sometimes took the wrong fights when the risk-reward was seldom in his favor. Remember when Winky Wright challenged Mayweather and was willing to fight at a catch-weight, and then Mayweather said he wanted a 70/30 split? Winky agreed to the split and seven days later Mayweather was a week old ghost. Sadly, Shane was never that judicious.

Today, Mosley has nine losses on his record and is only 1-4-1 in his last six bouts, going back to 2010. His last win came in May of 2013 against Pablo Cesar Cano. Shane hasn't won a noteworthy bout since he stopped Antonio Margarito during the first month of 2009, and he was an underdog going into that bout. Mosley is/was the type of fighter who was easy to like and root for because he was so tough and skilled, but who was also willing to fight anyone regardless of their record or reputation. The tragedy is, there's absolutely nothing left physically of the great fighter Mosley used to be. It's been more than six years since he could fight a full three minute round. His reflexes are totally shot and you can't miss him with a big shot even if you send him a text indicating what punch you're sending his way. Sure, he still looks to take his opponents out, but there is nothing left of his punch and he can barely put any semblance of a combination together.

As of this writing, the best anyone can hope is for Mosley to lose to Mayorga and not endure much punishment in the process. Then again if that happens, he may continue to fight. And if he blows Mayorga away, he'll convince himself that he can be a factor again and continue to fight. Eventually that will once again put him in the ring with a young killer who will seek to make his name by saying that he beat and perhaps stopped Shane Mosley. After the fight maybe Shane will be interviewed and say he had an off night and will promise to retire for good. Only we probably won't be able to understand what he said. I’m hoping in 10 years he won’t be sitting ringside at a big fight disheveled having us reminisce about the great fighter he once was and saying in passing that it's a shame he didn't get out of the sport sooner.

I hope I'm wrong about these maybes and also hope that boxing fans never forget what a great fighting machine Shane was during his prime. The lightweight who compiled a 32-0 (29) record would've lived with any lightweight champ in history and perhaps defeated 99% of them.

Let's not remember him for the late career losses that he's compiled.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-Radam G :

Like all the greats, Sugar Shane will be remembered for when he was a top dawg. Not the junkyard-doggy pug that he has become. The need for money keeps him in need of da game. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

Vernon ruined him. He is as shot as all get out


-SouthPawFlo :

Too much Heart for his own good.... He shouldn't have even taken the Forest Rematch... But he has taken on the best of the best.... I wish he hands them up and lives through his son.....


-Radam G :

Too much Heart for his own good.... He shouldn't have even taken the Forest Rematch... But he has taken on the best of the best.... I wish he hands them up and lives through his son.....
He might be too much of a dreamer, who is no longer a steamer. He is dreaming of him and his son having a world title at the same time. Neither are near a dime. "Sugar" and "Spicy." That sounds boksing MACK! But Sugar Shane cannot get what he had BACK. Holla!


-stormcentre :

""Actually, at 135, I think I'd favour Mosley to beat both Whitaker and Mayweather"" Not a bad statement. But unfortunately Mosley - at lightweight - whilst some were both great and really entertaining wins, Shane (whether it's his fault or not) has not really given us many
truly memorable and great fights (such as Mayweather V1 & V2 Castillo) against really solid competition to really serve as a gauge for such a comparison/claim; although the claim itself - as it pertains to Floyd and the lightweight division - is not entirely wild. Floyd and Shane at 135 in their primes would be a hell of a fight, but to consider Mosley the successor - at least in my mind - I have to, at least/first, envisage him beating the same Castillo Mayweather did/fought. And I'm not sure about that; meaning that I am not diplomatically saying that Shane couldn't beat the Castillo that Floyd fought - just not sure. Floyd's best (anyway you define "best") fight at lightweight is, arguably, with Castillo. Now I know the "fighter A", "fighter B", and "fighter C", comparisons don't always work. But then neither does guessing about fantasy contests either. Whilst at lightweight I think Shane fought; Brown, Molina, Morales, Leija, Holiday, Gomez, Ceballos, and Ruiz. You could - probably - make an argument to say some of those guys equalled or came close to equalling Castillo. Mosley certainly KO'd more (and almost all) of his lightweight opponents than Floyd; in fact, save for Holiday, if my memory serves me well, I think he stopped them all. Not so for Floyd, as I think Ndou was the only guy out of Floyd's 3 or 4 fights at lightweight (consisting of Ndou, Sosa, Castillo) that Floyd stopped. Before that Mayweather's most recent stoppage win was, I think, a few years earlier at super featherweight against Chavez. One thing is for sure, now that I am thinking and writing about the fight, had Shane and Floyd met at lightweight . . . . Floyd would have had his hands full. It's fair to say, at least to a similar extent that he did with Castillo. As far as Pernell V Shane at lightweight is concerned, I agree; Mosley would be too much for Whitaker at that weight. Shane Mosley possessed other worldly attributes and stamina, not entirely dissimilar to Manny Pacquaio and Roy Jones, to his game at lightweight; some natural others possibly not so. Nevertheless I think Shane is a legend because he not only rematched when it was not the best business move - but also fought dangerous opponents despite that consideration. Shane is probably not doing his legacy any benefit right now, but then, on the other hand, he's probably not going to damage it (too much) either. Boxing is full of fighters and articles depicting how a fighter fighting past his prime is supposedly damaging their legacy, but it rarely plays out like that. Really good and/or great fighters - as history shows us - are more often than not usually remembered for their greatest achievements. At worst Shane will fight on for a few more fights, possibly even step up the competition, more than likely take on a few more decent beatings and/or losses, and perhaps also accommodate a stoppage loss (as he did with Mundine); then as it always is - with pain and humiliation as boxings' ultimate lecturer - Shane will finally realise that not only doesn't he have the style for boxing longevity - but, also, he'll realise that his reflexes, eyes, co-ordination, and some other facets of his game are well and truly in the rear vision mirror. Then he will finally stop fighting, and in the years to come it will actually be easy to remember Shane as the great fighter he previously was. Same as we do for Tyson. Same as we do for Oscar. Same as we do for Ali. Whom, all, fought on way past their primes. :) :) :)


-brownsugar :

True, ..... hopefully Mosely will have the faculties to enjoy his post fighting days.


-leon30001 :

Forrest was an horrific style match-up for Shane...but at least he had the balls to fight him...twice! If his was an era where staying in the same division for a whole career was the norm, I'm confident Shane would have been in the conversation - maybe at the head of it - for greatest LW EVER!


-Radam G :

Forrest was an horrific style match-up for Shane...but at least he had the balls to fight him...twice! If his was an era where staying in the same division for a whole career was the norm, I'm confident Shane would have been in the conversation - maybe at the head of it - for greatest LW EVER!
Wanting revenge is what got to Sugar Shane. He went up to light welterweight in the amateurs to fight the late, great Vernon "The Viper" Forrest so that he (SSM) and Oscar De la Hoya could both make the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team for California. As you know Big Money Oscar made it, but SSM lost to The Viper twice. That did not set well with him, so he wanted payback in pros, but The Viper wasn't having it. And kicked his arse twice again in the pros. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

The nature of his opposition is what did him in. You fight the best each time out, you pay for that at some point.


-stormcentre :

Oscar, as a pro, wanted no part of Forrest. Forrest, when he fought Shane knew the best way to beat Shane's style was with a long, hard, stiff, jab. As Shane slowed down the combined effect of; A) His jab (or lack thereof). B) And his style's (previously successful) reliance on (now absent) superior speed that was capable of covering off on other punches (than the jab) to create openings. Became a major liability for him. Forrest and Wright set, in some ways, a blueprint not only for Cotto to fight Shane - but also to substantiate the above points. Finally, my above post #6 can be amended and/or tempered with the appropriate text after . . . . ""at worst Shane will fight on for a few more fights . . . . ."" . . . . when, if, and after Mosley signs with Haymon/PBC. Should that happen, among the suitable alterations would include the fact that Shane may get to fight a little longer, and also be paid a lot better, than otherwise might be the case. :) :)


-stormcentre :

Oscar, as a pro, wanted no part of Forrest. Forrest, when he fought Shane knew the best way to beat Shane's style was with a long, hard, stiff, jab. As Shane slowed down the combined effect of; A) His jab (or lack thereof). B) And his style's (previously successful) reliance on (now absent) superior speed that was capable of covering off on other punches (than the jab) to create openings. Became a major liability for him. Forrest and Wright set, in some ways, a blueprint not only for Cotto to fight Shane - but also to substantiate the above points. Finally, my above post #6 can be amended and/or tempered with the appropriate text after . . . . ""
at worst Shane will fight on for a few more fights . . . . ."" When, if, and after Mosley signs with Haymon/PBC. Should that happen, among the suitable alterations would include the fact that Shane may get to fight a little longer, and also be paid a lot better, than otherwise might be the case. :) :)


-Radam G :

Shane Mosey Jr has been suspended from da game for coming up full of dat syet in his last scrap. OMG! What a dumb move. "Spicy" is more like his pops "Sugar" than we can imagine. Holla!


-stormcentre :

Apparently - so the story goes - it was a Doctor prescribed product for a Doctor prescribed ailment; that was not brought to the relevant authorities attention. The athletic commission hearing related to this will be very interesting, as I believe there are new and very strict penalties for amphetamines. That said, if the story is to be believed, it appears that all Mosley Jr. really did (wrong) was to not advise the relevant authorities of his seemingly legitimate use of the substance prescribed for his ADHD. Now, I'm not going near how easy it is to be diagnosed with ADHD, as it's quite possible that Mosley Jr. has a legitimate requirement here. :) :) :)