Boxing


Shane Mosley - Damaged Beyond Repair?

25.08.05 - By Andy Meacock: Nicknames in all sports are common, especially in boxing. Many of these nicknames are meaninglessly given purely to create interest and association for the fighter but there are certain nicknames that have been passed down from previous generations as an honour. The nickname, ‘Sugar’ is one such nickname. Two of the greatest fighters the Twentieth Century would were Ray Robinson and Ray Leonard. They were both known as, ‘Sugar’ due to their sweet skills in the boxing ring.

The most recent fighter to be awarded this nickname is Shane Mosley. His professional career began in 1993 in the Lightweight division and he was quick to make an impression. Mosley was a monster at 130lps and won the IBF title in his 24th bout against Phillip Holiday. At the same time there was another young superstar from Mosley’s hometown of LA getting everyone’s attention, that superstar being Oscar De La Hoya.

Although De La Hoya was fighting in the Welterweight division when Mosley won his IBF belt, Mosley was desperate to move up in weight and fight the ‘Golden Boy’ De La Hoya.

After eight defences of his IBF strap, all by knockout, Mosley decided it was time to move up. He decided he would take a couple of tune up fights at 147lps against decent but not great opposition in Wilfredo Rivera and Willy Wise. ‘Sugar’ Shane would look good in both and this set up the first mega fight of his career against De La Hoya.

This showdown took place in the Staples Centre, Los Angeles on the 17th June 2000. At the time Mosley was unbeaten and many considered De La Hoya to be unbeaten also as the only blemish on his record was a controversial mixed decision loss to Felix Trinidad which many fans and critics are still arguing over today.

The fight between De La Hoya and Mosley was a great one. Both men looked good in patches but in the end it was Mosley who out-hustled and out-fought De La Hoya to win the WBC Welterweight title. Both men left the ring with their reputations enhanced and round number 12 was one that I won’t forget in a long time.

This win saw Mosley shoot up towards the top of most critics’ pound-for-pound ratings and it firmly established him as one of the best of his generation. He followed his big win up with routine defences against Antonio Diaz, Shannan Taylor and Adrian Stone, winning all by knock-out. His knock-out of Adrian Stone is Mosley’s last knock-out to date.

On the 26th January 2002, Mosley fought Vernon Forrest. Forrest entered the bout with an unbeaten record of 33-0 and was known as a slick boxer. Mosley would find this out himself in the 2nd round of the fight as he was floored twice by Forrest and went onto lose the WBC title by unanimous decision. This was easily the worst performance of Mosley’s career. Forrest would grant Mosley a rematch six months later but Mosley lost again in a closer fight that Forrest still won comfortably.

So what next ?, where would Mosley focus his attention ?, the answer was De La Hoya fight at Super-Welterweight. Whilst Mosley was having a tough time of it against Forrest, his arch-rival Oscar was on an upswing having blown away Fernando Vargas in a grudge match that was arguably Oscar’s best performance of his career.

Before facing each other for the second time De La Hoya and Mosley would take tune up fights. De La Hoya beat Yori Boy Campas and Mosley would test the waters against Raul Marquez. The Marquez fight went horribly wrong and went down as a no-contest due to an unintentional head-butt by Mosley that would open up a deep cut on Marquez’s head.

Undeterred by this unfortunate event Mosley would go ahead with the September rematch against Oscar. The rematch was nothing like their first fight. Oscar decided to keep away from Mosley and box for 12 rounds rather than engage like he did in the first fight. De La Hoya dictated the pace of the fight and despite a late surge by Mosley, most felt Oscar had boxed his way to a revenge victory. The key to Mosley winning the first fight was his hand-speed but it was Oscar who had the faster hands in the rematch. I had Oscar winning by at least 2 rounds but I was wrong, as were most as it would be Mosley’s arm that was raised.

Before the verdict was announced ‘Sugar’ Shane had a deflated look on his face, he looked like a man who though he had lost, he looked disappointed.

Like with many of De La Hoya’s close fights people argued over the winner but all that mattered was that Mosley got the judges decision. Oscar’s demand for an ‘investigation’ was just that, a demand, Mosley was champ.

De La Hoya’s camp would make Mosley a reported offer of $12,000,000 for Mosley to fight for a third time. Mosley would turn this down on the grounds that De La Hoya would make more money that him despite the fact that Mosley had beaten him twice. This would turn out to be a very bad decision as Mosley would choose to fight in a unification bout against Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright and lose his titles to the IBF titleholder. Mosley again looked very ordinary against ‘Winky’ and not like the ‘Sugar’ Shane people had once known.

After disappointing performances in the De La Hoya and Wright fights Mosley knew something had to change. He made the tough decision to fire his trainer and father Jack Mosley in a bid to change his fortunes. A decision like that must have been hard. He decided to employ the respected Joe Goosen to train him for the Wright rematch. Mosley looked a lot better than he did in the first fight with Wright but still lost comfortably on points.

Mosley had only won one of his last six fights and many people feel the victory over De La Hoya was not deserved.

After this Mosley decided to make a return to the Welterweight division. His first fight back was against David Estrada. Mosley finally won but looked like a man low on confidence. There were times in the Estrada fight when Mosley looked like he had Estrada hurt but couldn’t finish. Mosley looked hesitant and cautious.

At this point, I happen to believe that Mosley is a damaged fighter. I don’t feel he’s damaged in the physical sense like Fernando Vargas or Arturo Gatti but he does seem to be damaged mentally. I can’t help but feel that he never psychologically recovered from the disastrous first fight against Forrest and whilst he’s been trying to return to the old Shane Mosley, I just don’t feel he can. I feel that there’s a deep lack of confidence is Mosley can't be repaired.

We’ll know more about Mosley’s future when he fights on the 17th September on the undercard of the Barrera-Peden unification bout. His opponent that night will be the little known Jose Luis Cruz. I do expect Mosley to win this fight but I’ll be curious to see how well he performs, only then will we get a better idea of how Mosley’s doing.

In closing, we shouldn’t cry any tears over the demise in Shane Mosley’s career. He’s a former title holder in three different weight classes and the only man to defeat Oscar De La Hoya twice. Mosley’s achievements are great. I hope I’m wrong about him and that he can return to his old form but if not then he’ll go down in history as one of the best of his era…

If you have any comments about Shane Mosley, this article or anything related to it then please leave them in the comments section below…

Article posted on 24.08.2005



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