“Sugar” Shane Mosley is pretty much the forgotten man in this media circus. After all, this is the Manny Pacquiao Hour, a one-man act that doesn’t have room for a sidekick. Mosley is just a little trimming, extra frosting, a guy left out in the cold peering through a greasy window at the celebration he never got invited to. It almost feels like he’s an afterthought in this fight, someone who was needed to fill an empty chair when they started snapping photos for the history books.
On a recent conference call promoting their May 7 WBO welterweight title fight at a sold-out MGM Grand in Las Vegas (Showtime PPV), Mosley sounded like someone in a funeral parlor talking about the deceased. It wasn’t what he said, it was how he said it. Quiet, soft-spoken, polite and deliberate, you kept wondering if he just woke up from a long nap.
Naw, it was just Mosley being Mosley.
Asked if being the underdog provided a little extra motivation for him in the fight, Mosley said he doesn’t read too much into it.
“I don’t care if people are seeing me as an underdog or not,“ he said. “What matters is what happens in the ring. The only thing that matters is May 7.”
While Mosley didn’t provide any deep insight into the fight and how he planned to win it, his faithful trainer, Naazim Richardson, didn’t hold much back. When Mosley’s age was brought up, Richardson sounded like he already had the answers written down somewhere.
“Most of you saw the Erik Morales fight,“ Richardson said, referring to the recent, fight between the 34-year-old Morales and the 27-year-old Marcos Maidana, won by Maidana on a majority decision. “And most of you saw the (Jean) Pascal-Bernard Hopkins (who is 46) fight. And we keep counting these guys out. These aren’t just old men who box. These are legendary fighters who have age on them now. There‘s a difference between a legendary fighter who has age and an old boxer. When these guys were in their prime, they were exceptional. Michael Jordan could probably still come out now and make the starting five on any team in the NBA. We discount these older guys but we forget they were special. When special gets old, you can still be extraordinary.“
But you can’t get back your prime, and Mosley is a few years passed his.
Still, he’s a big name and that‘s why Top Rank booked him. He’s never been stopped, and he still has some pop left in both hands.
“If Shane hits you solid, you’re going on the defensive,” Richardson said. “I don‘t care how much of a gladiator or how tough you were before. When Shane tags you, you’ll be a defensive fighter. No one has ever asked for their money back after watching a Shane Mosley fight.”
Bob Arum got right to the point on Mosley, saying the reason they picked him to fight Pacquiao is “because we’re in the entertainment business and we know that Manny Pacquiao against Shane Mosley will be one hellacious and entertaining fight.”
Arum says that’s why Top Rank picked Mosley to fight Miguel Cotto, and why they picked Mosley to fight Antonio Margarito in January 2009.
“Shane is an all-action fighter and when he’s in with a guy who is an all-action fighter as well, you’re going to see fireworks.“
But he is 39.
And then you look back at his last two fights - a decision loss to Floyd Mayweather a year ago and a draw to Sergio Mora in September - and say he’s on the downside. But Mosley has a different way of looking at it.
“I don’t think those fights have anything to do with what I do against Pacquiao, because styles make fights,“ said Mosley, who did some chasing against Mora and Mayweather. “But if it wasn’t for those two fights, I probably wouldn‘t be here today. So those fights were needed.”
This guy always thinks the glass is half full.
But so does Richardson, who said they have a comfortable game plan that Mosley has bought into.
“We look forward to this contest and to solving the Rubik’s Cube of boxing, which is Manny Pacquiao,” he said.
Tough puzzle to crack.