19.09.05 - By Vernon McNicholas: On Saturday night, on the Barrera-Peden undercard, was, for me, one of the most interesting fights of the year. It was supposed to be Sugar Shane Mosley’s great return, and all the words from his training camp had been good, and that he was back. In other words, Mosley's blindingly fast combinations, foot speed and his power were all back, and we were finally going to see Mosley back at his best. Unfortunately for us, the boxing fans, this is not what we got.
Article posted on 19.09.2005
Anyone who watched the fight would have seen a flat-footed, and weak punching version of Mosley, who showed rare glimpses of his former brilliance, with some classy well picked shots and an occasional burst of combinations, yet he struggled to overcome a game but limited challenger in Jose Luis Cruz. To be honest, in his prime, Mosley would have dealt with this man with distain and had him out of there inside, say 4 rounds maximum. Granted, this guy was undefeated and he fought with the confidence, but Mosley was supposedly back at the weight he is strongest at, both as a boxer and as a man, yet he couldn’t even back the guy up during the fight.
So what has happened to the once great champion? Why is it that just when everybody started speaking of Mosley as a real great fighter, did he all of a sudden fall off the map, and in the process, seem to lose all his snap to his punches? for the answer, I think we need to go back some three years to January, 2002.
At that time, Vernon Forrest was unbeaten and the rightful challenger to Mosley, but no one who saw the last 7 or so rounds of Mosley-De La Hoya fight on June 17, 2000, including the two fights after, thought for a second he would even get close to an upset. However, what happened was a huge surprise to many people, not only was Mosley defeated soundly by Forrest, he got a beating that night. How Mosley got through some of the rounds, particularly the second, is a testament to his fighting spirit. The rematch was much more for the purists with two boxers with huge respect for each other trying to win a tactical fight. Again, Forrest prevailed, some say Mosley did enough but that history now. Fast forward now some 2 years to March 2004 Mosley had moved up to light middle and took on Ronald Wright, again he got battered only winning 1 round off two judges and 2 from the other, he lost a closer rematch but still in my opinion lost the fight by at least 4 rounds.
Mosley is in the position now where he can’t afford to lose again, you get the feeling if he were to drop another decision or get stopped by anyone world class or otherwise, his career would be over as a top line fighter. I asked at the beginning of the article, where had Mosley’s snap had gone, and in the four defeats he’s suffered during his career, I believe he’s had his speed and power literally beaten out of him. Just watch the first Mosley-De La Hoya fight, and you'll see a supremely polished and confident Mosley, who truly believed he had everything and knew how to use it. However, the Mosley that showed up on Saturday was a pale shadow of his former self. He looked unsure, with no confidence, and looking like he wanted out with a win as quickly as possible. In my opinion, even in winning, he looked completely shot as a fighter.
I, like any boxing fan, would love to see Mosley return to the heights of the early years of this decade, when his performances were electric and he was a joy to watch, but that’s not likely going to ever happen now, as far as I can see. Maybe it's time Shane to consider retirement before he goes in against a really good fighter, and yet again gets a terrible beating. I've heard people say that boxers never know when to quit, and in Mosley’s case, I think that rings true.