We surely saw the final ring appearance of the once great Sugar Shane Mosley last night. Beaten to the punch by the thankfully not too murderous-punching David Avanesyan in an interim WBA welterweight showdown, the 44-year-old looked nothing like the sizzling lightweight sensation he once was. Those people who said all along that Mosley should not come back were proven right; even if Mosley proved he still has heart and the stomach for a fight.
Mosley gave it his best against Avanesyan, but it wasn’t enough. Mosley won a few rounds, having a bright start and then slugging it out with the younger man when he really had no other choice. Mosley’s legs and reflexes are not what they once were obviously, and he relied on his chin and his courage. In a way, it’s a good thing Mosley lost last night, as if he’d won he would have been in line to face the winner of the June 25th Shawn Porter-Keith Thurman fight. No-one would have wanted to see the future Hall of Famer in with either guy, the hard-hitting Thurman especially. It doesn’t bear thinking about what Thurman would have done to Mosley had he cracked him with as many flush right hands as Avanesyan hit him with.
If Mosley is as intelligent as we all hope he is, he will now walk away and allow his son, Shane Mosley Junior – who won a close six-round decision over a game Roberto Young on last night’s card in Arizona – to do the fighting. There is no way Junior will ever match the incredible ring performances his father gave us, of course. Looking back on his storied career, Mosley really was a special talent. Turning pro way back in February of 1993 (to put it in perspective of how long ago his pro debut was, Bill Clinton had just moved into The White House to begin his first term!).
Possessing truly incredible hand speed, Mosley, a gifted amateur, fought frequently on the way up and soon captured the lightweight crown. Today, fans and experts call Mosley one of the finest 135-pounders to ever lace ’em up. But the glory and big money was up at welterweight, and up in weight Mosley went, to shock Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya in a great, great fight that saw Sugar win on points and truly arrive as a superstar. It really is quite amazing how Mosley is still capable of making 147 all these years later.
Mosley then suffered four decision losses, to two men – as Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright both proved to be a nightmare for him style-wise. Mosley could probably have picked and chose his opposition a little better, but cherry picking just wasn’t Sugar’s style. Those losses, with a second win over De La Hoya sandwiched in between, took place well over ten years ago; yet there was Mosley last night, trying his best to reel back the years. To make last night’s spectacle even more surreal, the great, the immortal Roberto Duran was, with his broken English, attempting to guide the veteran to another victory.
It wasn’t to be, but Mosley’s place in boxing history certainly is secured. Mosley was never fearful of taking on the best and more often than not, in his prime years, anyway – from 1997 to 2002 – he beat the best. Mosley’s last great win came in 2009, when he shocked the odds and thrashed Mexican bad boy Antonio Margarito in a brutally thrilling performance. Sugar did manage to come close to pulling off a stunning win that would have eclipsed everything he had previously achieved, when he cracked Floyd Mayweather Junior with a belting right hand, arguably the singe hardest punch Mayweather ever took in any fight, in their May 2010 fight, but the moment passed and Mosley gassed.
Mosley fought hard to the final bell last night, but the end has now come, surely. Or hopefully. As fans know, Mosley walks away (if he does indeed do the smart thing) with a 49-10-1(41) record. There was a time when fans would never have been able to imagine Mosley having as many as two or three losses on his record.