Sugar Shane Mosley, who today celebrates his 50th birthday, enjoyed many great nights in the ring; he scored many great victories, and Mosley, who proved he was most deserving of holding the most exalted nickname in the sport, won numerous world titles. Yet Mosley, when he was closing in on the final years of his illustrious career, came oh, so close to pulling off what would no doubt have been ranked as his biggest, most shocking win.
Mosley – who smashed the living daylights out of Antonio Margarito for perhaps his most satisfying ring victory – is perhaps the only man who ever came truly close to flattening Floyd Mayweather Jr. It was back in May of 2010 when Mosley, pushing the age of 40 and having accomplished so much in the ring (wins over Oscar De La Hoya, a long reign as lightweight champion), cracked Mayweather, perhaps the finest defensive fighter of his era, not once but twice – this in a hectic round that had everyone screaming.
I’ll never forget it. It was a genuine, ‘jump up from the couch’ moment (or, if you were there live, a ‘jump from your ringside seat’ moment). Mosley blasted and tested Mayweather’s chin two times in the second round of their big fight. For a split-second or two, after Mosley’s second right hand had slammed into Floyd’s hitherto seemingly all but untouchable chin, it looked as though “Money” was headed for a spectacular fall. It didn’t happen. Instead, showing his own greatness, Mayweather soaked it up, regrouped, and then came back to largely dominate the remainder of the fight.
But ask yourself this: how truly great would Mosley be looked at today if he had scored the KO he looked, for a few fleeting seconds, to be on the verge of scoring? Ask yourself another question: what if a Mayweather had met a prime Shane Mosley? Would the blindingly fast Sugar have been able to close the show on Mayweather? We will never know.
Mosley was a special fighter. He took risks, he never ducked or dodged anyone (two fights with Vernon Forrest, the same with the criminally avoided Winky Wright), and for a while, his awesome speed of hand was like nothing you have ever seen.
Mosley might have fallen short in the biggest fight of his career, but he sure gave us some special nights and fights all the same. And through some 61 fights, Mosley was stopped just one time. At his best, Mosley really could do it all.