This coming May 7th former three division champ Shane Mosley 46-6-1 (39) will challenge WBO welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao 52-3-2 (38) in what will certainly be the last high profile bout of Shane's Hall Of Fame boxing career, unless he upsets Manny. By the time the bell rings for round one, Mosley will be four months shy of turning 40 years old. And let's be honest, Mosley has looked every bit the part of a 40 year-old fighter during his last two bouts, versus Floyd Mayweather and Sergio Mora.
Since turning pro in February of 1993 Mosley has fought and defeated the best fighters of nearly two generations. Shane was willing to fight the best boxing had to offer in between 135 and 154. In 53 career bouts Mosley has never been stopped and only his long time career rival, the late Vernon Forrest ever managed to put him on the canvas. During a career that's entering its 18th year, Mosley has given his best effort physically every time out and even on some of those rare nights that he was out-gunned by his opponent, he never quit trying to force the fight. The fact is Mosley has never submitted to any opponent he's ever faced. And with that, a fighter pays a price, and that is Shane has endured plenty of punishment even on the nights he won impressively. Because Mosley wanted to take his opponents' head off with every punch he threw, he was always in position for return fire from them. Mosley fully grasped that in order to do damage to his opponent, he had to commit to his punches, something that cannot be said about some the best fighters in boxing today.
Unlike Bernard Hopkins who's had as many fights as Mosley, Shane has taxed his body more and never really used all of his physical assets as a boxer, due to his stubbornness. Shane was a terrific boxer who loved to fight. Hopkins has never really been beaten up in the ring, whereas Shane has been beaten up more and also administered more beatings than Hopkins.
Another difference between Mosley and Hopkins is, Shane was almost too willing during his career. In order to make a fight Mosley had no qualms about putting himself at a disadvantage during the negotiations. This is opposed to Bernard, who was just as willing, but sought a more level playing field on fight night. For Mosley it was whatever it took to make the fight with the best boxing had to offer. Hopkins was of the same mindset but is/was more judicious regarding the factors outside of the ring.
For all the great things that can be said about Mosley the fighter, he'll probably go down as one of the least appreciated great fighters in history. It's no secret that Shane hasn't been part of many super-fights during his career, unlike Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. All three of them fought widely publicized signature fights during their respective primes and hit the lottery regarding their purse. Shane beat Oscar after he lost for the first time in his career against Felix Trinidad, and because of that it wasn't two undefeated stars facing each other at or near their prime. Seven years would pass before Mosley would partake in the highest profile bout of his career five months before his 39th birthday when he challenged Floyd Mayweather.
It's very rare in professional boxing that a fighter the caliber of Shane Mosley has to wait until nearly his 39th birthday to fight for the biggest purse of their career. And it is due to Mosley's high profile bout with Floyd Mayweather, along with his unimpressive showing in the ring that night, that he won the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes as the fighter who will oppose the Filipino dynamo next. In Mosley, Pacquiao has the perfect opponent at the perfect time. And everybody knows Shane is just an opponent for Pacquiao. But he's an opponent who even at this stage of his career will provide Manny with plenty of motivation. For Pacquiao, winning the fight isn't so much the challenge. No, the challenge is in the task of whether or not he can be the first fighter to stop Mosley. Beating him at almost 40 won't bolster Pacquiao's legacy that much, but everyone will remember if Manny goes on to be the first fighter to stop him.
I've read where some have a hard time with Mosley being the shell of the fighter he once was and getting a fight with the biggest star and pound-for-pound best fighter in the sport. Well I don't. Mosley has paid his dues and many fighters much more undeserving than an old and washed up Shane Mosley have been afforded the opportunity to make a ton of money in a high profile PPV bout.
Here's what we know about the upcoming Pacquiao-Mosley bout. Pacquiao will win it. Mosley will try and win it by knockout and won't stop trying until it's over. It'll be an exciting fight however long that it last. And lastly, Mosley will be highest paid opponent in boxing history. As they say, better late than never. I for one don't begrudge Mosley one bit and of all the fighters who have earned the position to fight Pacquiao next, Mosley deserves the big payday the most even if his role is just as an opponent. Let's just hope that, after the career he's had, he'll be well enough to enjoy it.