Remember in the movie “Shane” when the blond youngster shouted out to Alan Ladd’s character, “Shane, come back.”
Well, the Pomona icon is returning to the boxing ring.
Sugar Shane Mosley (46-8-1, 39 Kos) has hung up the retirement duds and has reloaded with world titles on his mind. First on his enemies list is Mexico’s Pablo Cano (26-2-1, 20 Kos) on Saturday, May 18 in Cancun, Mexico. USA FOX and FOX en Espanol will televise.
Mosley (seen in above Carlos Puma photo) used to be like the character in the Hollywood film classic. Most of his opponents were taller and he often fought amid hostile crowds. And like the sharpshooting film hero, Mosley was deadly accurate with his attacks.
Of course age takes its course and the razor sharp reflexes become like worn out rubber bands. The thunderous knockout shots become more like pushes and the 100 gallon tank full of stamina suddenly has a slight leak.
That’s kind of what happens to ageing warriors.
But Mosley has heard it all and rationalizes that for the past three years his body was wracked by injury, especially the all-important legs. Without wheels no one really has a chance against elite fighters. And let’s face it: most of the fighters Mosley faced are among the elite.
“I retired because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do due to injuries,” said Mosley, adding that problems with his Achilles, groin pulls and various ailments kept him from performing to his own standards. “I wondered: what if I’m at my top potential? And the more I started healing and coming around I realized I could return.”
Detractors will say that Mosley is making excuses and that he hasn’t won a fight since defeating Antonio Margarito in the now famous loaded gloves fight. That was way back in January 2009. But if you look at the opponents he faced, there is no embarrassment in losing to Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. And don’t forget he was paid pretty handsomely for those confrontations.
Fans forget why prizefighters fight in the first place. Most think it’s just to prove that one fighter is tougher than another. They forget money plays an important part of the equation. Mosley was fighting for million dollar purses. Let me repeat. Million dollar checks were cashed by Mosley for each one of those fights.
In many ways Mosley is just like the character in the film “Shane.” If you remember the movie Shane was a hired gun and retired to find a new way of life. Then he ran into his past and realized gunfighters are gunfighters. Well, that’s Mosley. He has been one of the best gunslingers in the sport of prizefighting and he’s returning to do what he does best.
Mosley has been lacing up gloves professionally for as long as I’ve covered the sport on a regular basis. We both began in the sport in 1993. He along with Oscar De La Hoya started their pro careers in the same year I began covering it professionally as a writer for a large metropolitan newspaper.
Back in those days you could catch Mosley slugging it out with guys like Julio Cesar Chavez, the late Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez or Zack Padilla in the now defunct Brooklyn Avenue gym in Boyle Heights. The Main Street Gym was still around but would be declared unsafe after the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. There weren’t as many boxing gyms as today. You can credit De La Hoya and Mosley for bringing the sport back. Together they were like lightning in a bottle.
Around 1999 as I helped a boxing magazine get off the ground, I ran into Jack Mosley, the father and trainer of Sugar Shane. I and my publisher convinced the Mosleys to arrive in East L.A. around 5 a.m. on Sunday so we could do a photo shoot in the middle of Whittier Boulevard. Yes, you read that correctly. It was still dark when Jack, Shane and sister Serena Mosley arrived outside the magazine office. We had Shane wear a wife-beater shirt and then posed him in various stances and positions in the middle of the main drag in East L.A.
The reason we were able to convince the Mosleys to drive from Pomona was that we promised De La Hoya would see the article and the photo. That was enough for them.
At the time, one of the guys working for us also worked for De La Hoya as a body guard. He always talked to the welterweight champion and we knew that when our story and photos were complete, the East L.A. prizefighter would indeed see them.
Our offices were located on Whittier Boulevard near McBride Street. De La Hoya grew up right around the corner as did Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez and vice president Raul Jaimes. It was just one of those things.
Mosley posed right in the middle of the street. We timed the signals and ran out there though few cars were passing at that time. Our photographer Carlos Puma is one of the best and captured some great photos of Mosley in poses that suggested challenges to De La Hoya. By the time we finished a crowd of people gathered with many recognizing Mosley. Some posed with Mosley and others asked for his autograph.
We also took photos with the Mosleys on the middle of Whittier Boulevard. Puma captured some great shots. After the photo shoot we remained in close touch with the Mosleys and De La Hoya’s camp. One day we got the call from Jack Mosley that negotiations had started. According to our inside guy, De La Hoya asked for the fight. He has a lot of pride and was not going to have a career avoiding fighters. He would prove over and over again that he did not duck the hard fights, if they made money. Mosley and De La Hoya made money.
De La Hoya was ranked number one pound for pound and Mosley was in the upper three or four rankings. They met in June 2000 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was the first main event ever held there and would prove to be the best in my opinion. The place was electric and every movie star, sports celebrity and sportswriter in boxing was at the event. Muhammad Ali got the biggest cheer and Halle Berry got the most whistles that night. Of course, most know that Mosley defeated De La Hoya by split decision and became the number one fighter pound for pound according to numerous publications. Web sites were still a new thing but a few existed.
Now, 13 years later, Mosley is looking to reload and once again wreak havoc on the 147-pounders. He’s remains confident. No one has ever knocked out Mosley and that’s a pretty impressive credential considering the talent he’s faced over 20 years.
“My goal is to win the world title and be the most dominant force in the welterweight division,” Mosley said last week from Big Bear Lake.
Mosley 2.0 coming up.
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