Welcome Home Shane Mosley

22.04.05 - By Don Caputo: This Saturday night, ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley makes his long over-due return to the Welterweight ranks, in a move that could be seen as a last ditch attempt to reverse his fleeting fortunes. A victor in just one of his last six outings, Mosley is looking to once again stake his claim in the revitalized and talent rich 147-pound division as he takes on promising young contender, David Estrada..

If rumors are to be believed, a reputed showdown with Kostya Tszyu is likely to come to fruition in the next year or so if both men stay on track, and with additional big money fights against Zab Judah and Oscar De La Hoya on the horizon, Mosley has a lot hinged on tonight’s welcome back party.

Although scheduled to be meeting Estrada on the ESPN PPV card at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Mosley in his mind will surely be in another place entirely. When he climbs through the ropes, it will be into a do or die arena called the last chance saloon; there will be no way back for him if he falters. It genuinely saddens me to say that a loss at this stage could well represent the finishing blow to his steadily dwindling career. It would certainly shut for good the door to any lingering hopes he may have of reclaiming the upper-tier pond for pound status that, only a few years ago, he wore so proudly.

I have a question, can smaller be bigger? Mosley, wisely accepting his physical limitations, is obviously hoping so. He hit a brick wall at junior-middleweight, or should I say, the wall (A.K.A Winky Wright) hit him hard and often enough to hammer home the realization that the size factor was too great to overcome; long-term success in the division was beyond his grasp because of his lack of it. His self proclaimed ‘power boxing’ style is not suited to fighting much larger men, he was rendered ready, willing, but just not able to impose himself on a guy so much bigger; that was the reality of his plight. Now that he has dropped back down in weight, Mosley says he will be faster, stronger and fitter.

“I am so fast it tickles me right now. I just want to get in there and get going.” Words that ooze confidence, Mosley indeed sounds very chipper. From the looks of it, the recent set-backs he has suffered appear not to have put a dent in his self-belief, which (like all great fighters) has always been unwavering. Well aware that he has been written off by large sections, Mosley sounds like he has got the bounce back in his step and says that he uses the critics and doubters as motivational tools, “It gets the fire in my belly. It's actually helping me out. I need that type of criticism. I can then focus all of my attention on who is in front of me. It is a positive.”

He desperately wants to show everyone that he’s still got it, that he’s still the ‘Sugar’ Shane of old. Is it futile optimism though? I think opinion is pretty much divided. There are those who still believe in him, and there are those who have judged that, as the sun-set years of his career fast approach, he will never again be the fighter that he was. I think I am somewhere in the middle, lets just say my judgment is reserved until I get some stronger evidence to tips the scale one way or the other. Estrada may not be the one to let us know how much he has left in his tank, but he will definitely give us our first indication. Welcome home Shane, show us what you’ve got.

Article posted on 22.04.2005

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