DeMarkus Jones- The sun set on the illustrious, almost 25 year career of Shane Mosley. Here I provide a look back at the boxing life of the Sugarman; a man who experienced it all. Supreme victory, unexpected defeat, a steroid scandal, attempted loaded gloves, and everything in between. Still, we must pay homage to, arguably, one of the best boxers of the last 20 years.
Shane Andre Mosley was a decorated amateur in the local California box scene as well as the national stage. He won many competitions, compiling a stellar record of 250 wins over against just 16 losses. Mosley was favored to go to the 1992 Olympics, however a loss to Vernon Forrest derailed those plans. Undeterred, Mosley turned pro. On February 11th 1993 the world witnessed the pro debut of the man who go on to rule the 135 lb. division like no one else had since Roberto Duran.
Mosley ran roughshod over the lightweights with blindingly fast hands and feet combined with underrated power. During his time at lightweight Mosley posted a record of 32 wins, no losses, and 30 K.O.’s. In his 24th professional fight Mosley defeated Phillip Holiday by unanimous decision to win the I.B.F. Lightweight title. Mosley registered 8 successful title defenses all by knockout before moving up to challenge the Welterweight division.
With a desire to have big money fights and the inability to get any unification fights Mosley moved up two weight classes to 147. After two quick knockout wins Mosley set his sights on maybe the biggest star in boxing at the time, Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya was huge attraction and a crossover mainstream star. De La Hoya won over many fans with his good looks and exciting fighting style. De La Hoya was the W.B.C. Welterweight champion, registering only one loss at to date in his career at the time: ahighly disputed decision to Felix Trinidad.
Mosley had all the makings of a star. Especially his crowd-pleasing defense second style. All he needed was a signature win on a large stage. The De La Hoya fight gave him just that opportunity. Labeled Destiny, that fight is fondly remembered by boxing fans all over the world. On June 17, 2000 De La Hoya and Mosley stood infront of each other and traded blows for 12 intense rounds. At the end of the fight Mosley was awarded the victory.
Gaining more than titles, he won the respect and admiration of fight fans the world over. Mosley was now a star and considered the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the sport. After title defenses against the likes of Antonio Diaz, Adrian Stone and Shannan Taylor Mosley faced his greatest challenge in Vernon Forrest.
His loss to Forrest kept him offof the Olympic team and Mosley wanted to avenge that loss, although most pundits feared Forrest had Mosley’s number. Over the course of two fights Vernon outboxed and outslugged Shane to win two unanimous decisions. Forrest pretty much controlled the first fight. Though Mosley showed tremendous heart surviving a head-butt that opened a cut on his forehead and two knockdowns. He even took the fight to Forrest in the later rounds. The second fight while much closer was awarded to Forrest. Suffering his first defeats as a pro Mosley was now in the unfamiliar position of having to comeback. After fighting Raul Marquez to a no-contest that chance would present itself. Oscar De La Hoya, now a junior middleweight champ, offered Mosley a fight. Mosley coming off the heels of the Balco steroid scandal needed redemption in more ways than one. Fighting more tactically than the first fight, Mosley was awarded the decision victory. Now a champion in his 3rd weight class Mosley shocked the world by challenging Ronald “Winky” Wright to a unification fight.
Winky Wright was not a household name at the time, however people inside the boxing world knew just how good he was. Many were worried about the size difference and the southpaw style, which was exactly how the fight played out. Shane had no answers for the bigger, stronger Wright. Winky with that tight guard he became known for walked Shane down and belted him with stiff jabs and crosses all night. Winky won an easy decision. The second fight while closer was still an easy win for Winky. This left Mosley having to rebuild again.
After two wins against non descript opponents Mosley would have next great rival in Fernando Vargas. Vargas, much like Mosley, was a popular former champ looking to get back on track. Vargas had a habit for getting into slugfests after starting out fighting tactically. In the first Vargas fight Mosley landed repeated with the right hand while Vargas did great work on the inside. However Mosley’s crosses were leaving their mark as Vargas’ eye began to swell. In the tenth round his eye was hideously large and the fight was stopped. Both believing they had unfinished business, a rematch was scheduled. In the rematch Mosley turned back the clock, resembling the lightweight dynamo he once was the way he landed combos on a slow and plodding Vargas stopping him in six rounds. After this fight his age began to show. He looked off in a win against Luis Collazo and then lost to Miguel Cotto. When his fight with Antonio Margarito was announced, no one gave Shane a chance to win. People even feared for his safety.
Margarito was a fierce, tough, and rugged fighter. Never seeming to tire, and seeminglyimpossible to hurt. He wore down, bloodied and battered Cotto. The only problem was Shane didn’t care about any of that. After trainer Nasim Richardson spotted Margarito trying to load his gloves the fight was on. Shane pulled out one last vintage performance. At 38 years old Mosley handed Margarito a brutal beating over nine rounds before the fight was mercifully stopped. Mosley looked great that night. It was his last great performance. After the Margarito fight Mosley was paired with Floyd Mayweather. Mosley had a brief moment of success in the second round when he stunned Mayweather with two strong right crosses. Floyd was legitimately hurt and almost went down. Otherwise, he lost every minute of every round of a fight where he looked like the 40-year-old man he was becoming. After that fight Mosley’s career ended with mixed results. Losing fights against Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez while beating guys like Ricardo Mayorga and Pablo Cesar Cano. It is such a shame that an elbow injury is what ultimately brought an end to this great warrior’s career.
The story of Sugar Shane Mosley is one that needs to be told. It should be looked at with reverence. This is a man who was, at one time, considered the best lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight, and pound-for-pound boxer in the world. Never in a dull fight, Mosley came to scrap. His scintillating hand speed, dazzling combinations and charming smile belied his toughness, power and will to win. We are looking at future Hall of Famer. He is one the most successful, most exciting and most entertaining boxers of this era. And this writer is privileged to be able to say I saw him fight in his prime.