Sugar Shane Mosley Vs David Estrada: Time is not on Mosley's side

22.04.05 - By Neil Goodman: ‘Boxing is a hard sport’, a statement of the obvious? Yes, of course it is. In all honesty it is hard to think a sport which is more mentally and physically challenging. At the end of the day, after you take into account the training, sparring, making the weight, nerves and of course the opponents punching; the margin between victory and defeat can be wafer thin.

I have seen it time and again; a good fighter who seems to do everything right and has all the natural ability in the world, but for some reason things just do not seem to workout. Time and again they enter the ring and wheels simply fall off. Either their timing is off or their punches lack snap and power. Then as their confidence fades the punches which would have once just missed start to land. There is no better illustration of this reversal of fortunes than the recent fall from grace of Roy Jones Jnr.

On the flipside of this scenario occasionally a fighter comes along who re-writes the rule book. A fighter for whom everything seems so easy! These fighters are rare, from the present generation we have seen the great Roy Jones Jnr, Oscar De La Hoya, Lennox Lewis and for a while Naseem Hamed. Each of these fighters had ups and downs (even in their prime), but on the big occasions they so often delivered big. Put simply these fighters could dominate their opponents, offensively and defensively.

I know people will argue about the names mentioned and there are other fighters not listed who have also made the grade. But a strong case can be made for all of the aforementioned in reference to their respective levels of skill and ability.

Another fighter who has hit the heights and who seemed destined for greatness is Sugar Shane Mosley. As a lightweight Shane ruled with silky skills and blinding hand speed. This was the Sugar Man reincarnated! If ever a fighter dare follow in the footsteps of Ray Robinson and Leonard it was Mosley. Challengers stepped up to the plate but were vanquished with comparative ease and few managed to survive the course. Then Mosley did what all great fighters do, he took on a new challenge and stepped up to a higher weight division.

Different weight division, but it was business as usual for the father and son Team. Shane rattled off 6 wins within two years and everything he touched turned to gold. Proven, tough, welterweights were beaten outside of sight (5 inside the distance) and of course there was a thrilling point’s win over Oscar De La Hoya. The victory over the Golden Boy seemed to united public and professional opinion that Shane was a great fighter and the future looked to be oh so sweet.

Shane was next matched against Vernon Forrest, his amateur nemesis. This was the professional ranks now though, different ballgame or so we thought. Once Shane had put the icing on the cake by beating Forrest the world would have been his oyster.
Notably when Mosley Vs Forrest came to fruition Shane had not fought for over 6 months. Sure enough all the things that once came so easy, so naturally to Shane suddenly seemed like an effort. He was getting caught by punches; he needed to force his own punches out and right from the start things did not seem right. Twelve rounds passed and there was only one winner, in all honesty at times it looked like Shane should have been pulled out of the fight.

One bad day at the office however did not make Shane a bad fighter overnight. But as stated previously boxing is a hard sport. All fighters are surely allowed an off night and is it not the case that all the great fighters need to display their greatness by coming back from adversity?

Whilst the above remains true, the stats speak for themselves. In Mosley’s last six fights (including the first loss to Forrest), he has recorded one no contest and a solitary win. You do not need me to do the maths for you, but by my calculations that is 4 losses from 6 fights. This is not the winning ratio of a great fighter (Evander Holyfield take note). Statistics do not always tell the whole story and Shane’s lack of return is counter balanced by the fact that the four losses were racked up against two top class professionals (Forrest and Wright).

I would also like to add that I believe, in my modest opinion, that the stats should read ‘NO’ wins in his last six contests. When the judges decisions of the second encounter between Mosley and De La Hoya were announced I was truly shocked. Shane took the decision again, on each of the judge’s scorecard by two points. To this day I can understand how three judges could have interrupted the fight the way they did? At the second time of asking I had De La Hoya out boxing a sluggish Mosley, who seemed solely intent on loading up big punches.

Fast forward now to the present day and this weekend Shane is looking to put the record books straight! He has stepped back down to what should hopefully be a more natural weight division and the aim is to beat the good, but unspectacular David Estrada. Time is not on Mosley’s side, he is now knocking firm on the door of 34 and whilst he has not been dragged through the trenches to much, of late there has been an appreciable deterioration in Mosley’s performances. This assessment maybe a little unfair, then again Shane set himself such high standards and expectations that he will always be measured against them.

Thus far this whole fight preview has been all about Mosley, but this fight is all about Moseley. It is Shane who has been the ‘Champ’, mentioned as pound-for-pound the best fighter and it is now Shane who will be standing at a massive crossroads tomorrow night. Sugars reputation and marketability I do not think can withhold another ‘L’ on the slate.

Estrada is no fool, he must realise it is all on the line for Mosley and perhaps he feels can turn the heat up, using the situation to his advantage. On paper though Estrada has not fought in anywhere near the same class as Mosley and he does not seem to be able to harness enough power to deter the ‘once great’ Sugar Shane.

If Shane is mentally in tune to add a fitting end to great career, tarnished by a few losses, and his physically preparation has been right, then Shane’s strength, class and power should overwhelm a determined challenger in the mid rounds.

Article posted on 22.04.2005

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