'Call Em Out Fridays': It Was Once Sugar, Now It's Age We See In Shane Mostly?
26.09.08 - By Vivek Wallace: In this weeks 'Call Em Out Fridays' segment we delve into the essence of a fighter whom - despite accomplishing many great things - has suddenly found himself with much to prove as he enters the final quarter of a career that has seen many highs and lows. For years, Shane Mosley has been viewed as one of the best the sport has had to offer, however, on the heels of banned substance allegations and a loss to one of the sports newest, yet brightest stars, some have felt a need to publicly question more than his ability to compete.. Out of respect for the fighter and to maintain the integrity of the ongoing litigation there will be no discussion in this article relative to the possible use of banned substances, however, this is a Call Out session, so all the other niceties start and end right there! Like any of my other 'Call Em Out Fridays' segments, we analyze the "Supportive" perspective, the "Critics" perspective, and after I toss my own analysis in the ring we let you, the fight fan, chime in with yours.
Article posted on 27.09.2008
Shane Mosley - (Supportive Perspective): February 11, 1993, the world of boxing gave professional birth to a young man who many expected to be that proverbial once-a-generation type fighter. Blazing speed, better than average power, durable chin, and to top it all off, a mega-watt smile. Prior to reaching the professional level, his speed and style was such an amazement to those who followed him that he was able to somehow seize the coveted nickname 'Sugar', and he wore it with pride like a rolex. What was even more amazing about Shane in the early days was the fact that he didn't approach fights like the typical rook with stellar speed who would use great reflexes to avoid contact. Instead, he openly engaged in combat, mixing it up with fighters, showing that he'd be willing to take a few punches to land a number of his own. This style which his trainer and Father Jack Mosley dubbed "power boxing" would help earn him a reputation for being the perfect all around fighter, matching grit with skills. After captivating audiences, 7 years and a record of 34-0 with 32KO's later, in June of 2000 Shane Mosley would be given the opportunity to do something on a very grand stage. That something was to headline a mega fight card in his own backyard against another fighter who also called this demographic home, the 'Goldenboy', Oscar De La Hoya. The fact that Oscar De La Hoya had lost to Puerto Rico's Felix 'Tito' Trinidad only 9 months prior would not serve as a reason to diminish the magnitude of this fight, as his decision against Trinidad was - and to some still is - heavily disputed. In the end, that fact would make the victory for Shane Mosley even greater as he would become the only fighter to legitimately defeat Oscar De La Hoya without question at the time. Shane saw his name rise to fame and there was very little that he could do wrong in the eyes of most fight fans. Commercials, awards, endorsements, every accolade one could possibly ponder had instantly become a part of Mosley's world. Unfortunately for Shane, the laws of gravity would quickly surface to remind him that "everything which goes up must one day come down". Not even the seemingly immortal 'Sugar' Shane could work his way around this one as fight fans would soon see.......
Shane Mosley - (Critics Perspective): After defending his straps and supremacy three more times, Mosley would find himself on the brink of a very humbling experience. Coming into this fight, according to some insiders, Mosley began to read his own press, believing that he was on another level and in some ways unstoppable. Despite his opponents undefeated record, Mosley apparently couldn't see the 'Forrest' for the trees, as he would walk into a brick wall, shattering the image once built on what was viewed as an nontarnishable legacy at the time. In the eyes of most, despite defeating Shane in the '92 Olympic trials, Vernon Forrest was not viewed as the fighter with the better skills between the two, but after two 2nd round knock downs, the mental game was won, and what was not solidified at that point was later solidified by a sheer desire to overcome the odds. Forrest put on a masterful performance and shocked quite a few people, leaving Mosley in a very vulnerable position as the questions began to mount up. Is he really as strong as we thought? Is He really as good as we thought? Any question one could ponder was asked, cutting Shane's perceptive margin for error in half. Anxious to show that he could indeed overcome this obstacle, Mosley would take an immediate rematch 6 months later, only to net the same results. By this point, Mosley supporters were at a true crossroads, speculating on exactly how good Mosley really was? In his next 10 fights Mosley would go a modest 6-3 with one No-Contest. What was even more telling in that group of fights was that of the 6 he did manage to defeat, all had superb records, but none had truly been tested, and the one that had (Vargas) was already 'shot'. Of the three fights that he lost, two were to a defensive genius, (Winky Wright), and the other was to a fighter who had never been on such a grand stage, yet was able to seize the moment when the opportunity presented itself (Cotto). By now, the veil that once surrounded Mosley was completely lifted and the fear factor surrounding him was far removed, prompting one fighter (Floyd Mayweather jr.) to even label him as an official "sparring partner" at best. Looking back, it wasn't too easy to comprehend exactly how the pendulum swayed so quickly in the career of Shane Mosley, but one thing for sure, those critics who share this view have a very good point when they look at him and openly ask "What have you done for me lately"?
Shane Mosley - (This Writers Perspective): As I see it, Shane Mosley is still able to be competitive in fights only because he has the veteran ring smarts to do so. That being said, his days of being able to easily outspeed fighters I think are officially over. Miguel Cotto has been brilliant and I don't think I enjoyed watching any fighter prove himself worthy of the big stage more than I did watching his ascent to greatness, but never in a million years did I think he would be able to beat Mosley to the punch like I saw in their fight. Yes it was close, but against the old Mosley it never would have been. Age has a way of sneaking up on fighters like a thief in the night, and I think it's safe to say that the street lights on Shane's block are starting to flicker a bit. There's absolutely no doubt about that. He still has the ability to defeat a huge majority of fighters out there, but can he still hold his place amongst the sports elite? I'm not ready to concede on that one due to the fact that according to the Cotto blueprint, any fighter tough enough to take Shane's punch and intelligent in the ring enough to know how to land his own over 12 rounds has a strong chance to win. That wasn't always the case. A prime Oscar De La Hoya failed to defeat Shane twice and an evolving Miguel Cotto was able to get the job done? That puzzles me. Miguel Cotto is absolutely brilliant but his decision making and stamina against Margarito proved to me that he isn't the most formidable opponent out there, yet against an aging Shane, he had enough in the end. That barometer I think depicts an accurate reading of where Shane stands currently on the fight landscape. He's a great guy and a class act, but hence the title, although he's still a little sweet (in the ring), unfortunately, it's age that we've began to see in Shane mostly!
That's where my 'take' ends, now let the debates begin....
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