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Mosley vs Wright: How much does Sugar Shane have left?

10.16.04 - By Allan Cerf: On November 20, 2004, Winky Wright (47-3, 25 Ko's) will defend his Super Welterweight title in a rematch against Sugar Shane Mosley (39-3, 35 Ko's) at Mandalay Bay. In what should be an excellent fight, events and Father time have conspired to steal some of the glitter from what would have been one of the most anticipated bouts of the year.

Shane Mosely’s still astonishing talent cannot be overlooked: Hands so fast, one boxing site’s camera’s literally couldn’t follow them, Motown approved creamy footwork, topped with a a body attack so fierce, an argument could be made for police like armor for his opponents. The talent is there, but it has declined, measurably, with age and especially, as Shane has jumped weight classes.

In the other corner, Winky Wright, a nice guy regarded by some as no higher than a journeyman; a guy perfectly capable of looking almost as good as the marquee names – De La Hoy, Mosely come to mind – and well, like a journeyman, as was the case when he fought on the Jones-Ruiz under card and not only bored folks to death – even boxing nuts – but both received and delivered, literally hundreds of blows. And in neither direction did those blows do dooky; Wright’s punches had no effect on his opponent and Vice Versa.

In the strange world that is boxing, how things have changed: Two years on, Wright is now viewed as pound for pound, a guy shut out by politics which he was and wasn’t and Mosley as being greatly overrated, which he is and isn’t.

This corner likes Wright. Here is how I think the Rematch plays out. Shane Mosley will really test Winky for 2-4 rounds as we see some but not all, of the old speed of hand and foot. If Wink holds his ground as Vernon Forrest did when staggered in round one of his first fight with Mosley, Shane slow down and Winky winds an easy unanimous decision or even stops his swifter foe in the 11th or 12th round. That is, if he can handle Mosley’s early firepower. Mosley, a fake, weight-drained lightweight for much of his career- like Tyson at a much higher weight, does his best work in the early rounds.

How different it all is! When Shane was feasting on terrified lightweights and worn-out stepping stones like Willy Wise at welterweight, reporters bought into his and Dad Jack Mosley’s talk of “Power Boxing.” No flaws were mentioned. We now know Shane has chinks, like every athlete, in the armor.

Shane is there to be hit with straight rights, over hand rights, right uppercuts – you name it, he catches it when it comes from the starboard side of things. Winky Wright is left handed and of course, leads with a right jab. A damn good one. Did I mention that Shane is not the tallest guy? No way is he 5’9,” photos prove he is a good four inches shorter than De La Hoya. Short, quick fighters at every weight class have found that lanky boxers with strong right hands can take the fun out of things, quickly. True, Winky is not particularly tall, but in side-by-side photos, he appears to be at least two inches taller than Mosley. At the same time, while Shane has a 74” inch reach to Wink’s 72,” it just seems that the couple extra inches of height Wright carries is extremely significant.

Winky for his part, must remember that while not monstrously powerful, even less so at Jr. Middle, Shane can hit. Winky must follow the blueprint of the first fight because he can’t afford to take the large volume of blows, “take one to give two,” that he did against lower caliber fighters. Winky needs to pop the jab and throw in his usual assortment of quicker than they look straight lefts, as well as assorted hooks and uppercuts.

All of the above presupposes that Shane Mosley, human, and not Hercules shows up for the fight.

Hanging like an ugly cloud over any recent Mosley fight, is BALCO, the company who make steroids undetectable to all but a Federal test. Would you believe it? When Shane – looking like a linebacker - narrowly beat Oscar De La Hoya, despite landing only 92 punches, his urine was not only destroyed, (quickly) but was subjected only to the tooth-fairy State of Nevada test. A bit like operating on the liver for a heart condition. Who would have believed that in our clean sport of prizefighting, the Federal test isn’t in use?

While I actually think that steroids inhibit Mosley’s speed, they do ad stamina and bulk. Perhaps enough to tip the fight in his favor, perhaps not. Of course, the super human- and strange looking physique Mosley wore against Oscar, (but not against Wright), may only have been due to Shane’s hobby of weight lifting, who can say?

Assuming he wins, and I do assume this, Winky Wright goes on to the long dough fights he deserves and can continue campaigning for a boxing commission as he does presently. While he was an avoided fighter because he gives anyone a tough night, bluntly put, the other reason he’s been denied is the fact that his bouts sometimes lull even boxing fans to sleep. Not a super talent, Wright is a consummate craftsman when on his game, fighting a guy who, at lightweight, was an artist. Sometimes though, the best craftsman gets the job done – artists come and go.

Craft beats Art: Winky Wright W UD12 Shane Mosely.

Article posted on 17.10.2004



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