Great fighters believe in themselves when no one else does. It’s what drove them before they hit it big in the sport they love, arduous days toiling long hours for little or no reward other than the pride of knowing they did their best. It’s what vaulted them to the top of the sport, and it’s ultimately what kept them there once they made it.
Every time I’ve talked to Shane Mosley over the past year, he’s told me he’s coming back to the ring. Mosley, age 43, is now set to fight Ricardo Mayorga, age 41, on August 29 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. The bout, a rematch of a 2008 Round 12 knockout win for Mosley, will be available live on pay-per-view.
Mosley was adamant he will return to vintage form.
“Of course! I can do this,” said Mosley. “I’m sharp. I’m fast. I’m sparring with everybody. I mean from 168 on down: I’m talking about the top guys.”
Mosley told me before his opponent was named he already had a prediction for the fight.
“Somebody is getting knocked out.”
Long before Mosley told me of his comeback plan, I had heard a rumor about the future Hall of Fame fighter. A notable boxing historian told me Mosley was the consummate gym rat, one who traveled all over the country and the world all throughout his career to spar and workout with other fighters. I was told that if a boxing gym existed, Mosley had probably been there to hone his game.
Mosley confirmed it.
“Very true. I go all over the world and train at every gym. I sparred with Carl Frampton the other day in England. I’m getting ready to spar with Shawn Porter [for the Adrien Broner fight]. I’m always working.”
Mosley is one of the better fighters of his generation. Host of HBO Boxing telecasts Jim Lampley has referred to him as arguably the greatest lightweight since Roberto Duran, high praise for a fighter who also won world titles at welterweight and junior middleweight.
At his peak, Mosley was damn near unbeatable.
An aging Mosley stuck around long enough to lose handily to the best fighters of the next generation, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. But Mosely said it wasn’t his age that was the problem. Rather, it was that he suffered injuries before both bouts.
“I had a pulled groin when I fought Mayweather. I had a popped Achilles tendon when I fought Pacquiao. So all the fights after Margarito, that was a little downhill for me.”
Mosley is 1-4-1 in his last six fights. He hasn’t been in the ring since a 2013 shellacking by Anthony Mundine. But like most great fighters, Mosley still believes in himself, even if no one else does. He said his time out of the ring, time spent staying in shape while training his son, Shane Mosley Jr., as well as notable middleweight Curtis Stevens, has done his body good.
Without the nagging injuries he suffered over last few years, Mosley wholeheartedly believes he is still an elite fighter.
“Now I want to fight again because I feel so much better. My body feels rejuvenated now. I just feel so sharp, so good. I know I can beat these guys. I’m in there working with all the champions from 168 down to 122. I know I can do numbers on lot of people.”
On August 29, we’ll see if Mosley can do a number on Mayorga. The fan-friendly brawler is nowhere near his peak, so if Mosley is truly back to fighting form, he should annihilate Mayorga within the distance.
And a win there could propel Mosley, the aging fighter who still believes in himself, into the types of fights he craves. He’s recently called for rematches with Mayweather and Pacquiao, and has used Twitter to call out everyone from Amir Khan to Paulie Malignaggi.
Consider Mosley-Mayorga 2 an audition for him. Mosley doesn’t care if you don’t believe in him. He’s going to do it anyway.