Up in the coolness of the mountains Sugar Shane Mosley and Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Duran combined efforts for the upcoming fight.
A few fans here and there through social media wonder aloud why Mosley continues.
“I love to fight. I have the chin, the heart, the will, I have everything but I was just missing some of the stuff that I had before that made me great,” said Mosley.
Duran has stepped in to add his knowledge and support.
Pomona’s Mosley (49-9-1, 41 KOs) seeks to show fans when he faces David Avanesyan (21-1-1, 11 KOs) on Saturday, May 28, at Gila River Arena that he’s not a shadow of his former self. CBS Sports Network will televise the fight from Glendale, Arizona.
Mosley and Duran share more than old stories. Both are considered to be among the best lightweights who ever put on gloves in their prime. Mosley won titles in the lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight division. Duran won in the lightweight, welterweight, super welterweight and middleweight division.
Both fought well past 40 and both have a fierce pride in their craft.
“I know that in Duran’s mind he believes he can beat anybody, even right now,” said Mosley. “I’m the same way.”
Though Mosley may not say it openly, a few years back may have contributed to his continued journey in the unforgiving world of prizefighting. In my opinion, it all happened when he was declared the next opponent for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2012.
The media press conference took place at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. A packed crowd was allowed into the theater. Many were loud, drunk and shouted things throughout the proceedings.
As Mosley was announced a very loud guy shouted “Mosley you’re a bum. You’re over-the-hill!”
The rest of the crowd turned silent. As Mosley walked through the theater aisles to the stage you could sense it both angered and hurt the fighter. Here was a guy once on top of the boxing world after defeating Oscar De La Hoya in front of 18,000 people at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. No one had ever or has ever knocked out Mosley. Yet, here was some guy shouting derisive comments.
What could he do?
Several weeks later Mosley fought the red headed Mexican in Las Vegas and lost. In one particular round Canelo landed a body punch flush to the belly of Mosley. It was a near miracle that the Pomona fighter remained standing.
He fought on until the final bell. That was Mosley. He never quit in a fight.
Mosley would then go on to defeat Mexico’s tough Pablo Cano but then he chose to fight and would lose to Australia’s Anthony Mundine in a junior middleweight fight. During the bout he suffered a severe back injury and could not continue after the end of the sixth round.
Injuries are to blame, he says of the past four years.
Now health has finally returned and by adding Duran to his camp he’s going old school again. No more cross training and psycho babble preparation.
“It’s the older style I did when I was younger versus the newer style. People are doing weights, I kind of ventured into that when I fought Vernon Forrest the first time. My style started changing. I got a strength and conditioning coach and started doing weights and stuff. I started changing for the worst I thought,” said Mosley who looks much slimmer than he did two years ago. “I was physically strong already. I could already hit hard and that was with technique. I got this strength and conditioning coach, and then life’s struggles with a divorce, and that kind of crap, it just took me the other way. I went from being one of the great fighters to being not average, but just one of the good fighters. It took me off course a little bit.”
Duran watches Mosley go through his training and sparring with the eye of a wise veteran who was formerly taught by the wizard of boxing Ray Arcel. A sort of rite of passage has come into Mosley’s camp.
“Now, with Roberto Duran, it took me to being on the old course where I used to be. I have the greatness already inside of me,” Mosley says about Duran’s influence.
Facing Mosley will be a young 27-year-old Russian fighter known for his strength inside the boxing ring.
“He’s a great young talent. He’s an interim champion. He’s pretty quick,” said Mosley assessing Avanesyan. “But he’s more so working on his physical stuff.”
While talking, you can sense an antsy feeling from Mosley as if he wants the fight to take place immediately. That young twitchiness he displayed in the 90s was never more evident than now.
Duran sees it too.
“It’s going to be a surprise for the people what Shane Mosley can do,” said Duran after his own workout run in Big Bear Mountain. “He gave me an opportunity and Mosley is going to surprise America.”
Listening to Duran talk about Mosley reminds me of that day in Hollywood when a certain loud Canelo fan made humiliating comments out loud about the Pomona boxer.
I wonder if Mosley pictures that fan every time he steps in the ring.
Check out the results “Avanesyan Upends Mosley’s Title Bid In The Arizona Desert” at The Boxing Channel.