01.10.04 – By Matthew Hurley: A few years ago Shane Mosley rested comfortably at or near the top of most pound for pound lists. Now he finds himself in boxing purgatory – a fighter whose worth is now questioned instead of evaluated. Two losses to Vernon Forrest at welterweight and one decisive loss to Winky Wright at junior middleweight has left many in the boxing world scratching their heads and asking, “Is Sugar Shane all done?”
Mosley will meet southpaw Winky Wright in a rematch on November 20th and many people, yours truly included, believe that it will end his career. Shane is running into the same problems that his arch rival Oscar De La Hoya did – rising up in weight and finding that he can’t hurt or intimidate the bigger men he takes on.
Like Oscar, Shane has tremendous courage and should be applauded for taking on a fighter no one has ever wanted to fight. But he is also plagued by hubris. His pride has led him to this immediate rematch, much as it did against Forrest. It’s little wonder that the only other big name fighter Mosley was able to beat once he left the lightweight division was De La Hoya – another former lightweight.
Mosley has also become a rather difficult personality to deal with lately. Recently boxing scribe Pedro Fernandez wrote of the alarming take over of his career by his wife Jen. Pedro humorously likened her to Yoko Ono, the equivalent of the devil to Beatle fans, but his point was that Shane seems to have allowed himself to be led around by someone who may have his best interests at heart but who knows absolutely nothing about boxing or a fighter’s fragile mentality. Shane, perhaps at a loss as to what has happened to his career, has alienated himself from many writers (and some of us deserve it) but also promoters and, maybe, family. I’m one who has never felt a father training a son is a good thing but many whispers have reached many ears saying that Mosley’s wife was also involved in the breakup of that relationship. Who knows, but Shane seems uncomfortable and preoccupied when questioned about his relationship with his dad. He gives every appearance of a man in utter confusion. He’s never been the same since Vernon Forrest nearly concussed him for the welterweight title and his loss to the vastly underrated Winky Wright has beleaguered him to no end. This very talented fighter just seems lost and, perhaps, burned out.
Now that you’ve read all that, maybe it’s time to pause and accuse me of being full of s**t. I’ve been called on this before and I’m big enough to accept the criticism, and sometimes it’s warranted (not always though). Frankly, I’m a huge fan of Shane Mosley. I really like him, but I never thought he should have left the welterweight division. In fact I wanted him to fight Kostya Tsyzu at junior welterweight (a division he jumped) but he went after the big fish in De La Hoya, and who could blame him? Money talks and lots of money can blind or even overwhelm a man. But Shane has always been a bit of a puzzle. He could have made astronomical sums of cash for a third bout with Oscar, a fight he probably would have won, but his pride got in the way again. He felt, with two wins over the “Golden Boy”, that he deserved at least purse parity. But just because you beat the “man” doesn’t make you the “man”. So he took short money to fight Winky Wright instead and lost everything. Strange, but then boxers are a strange and rare breed.
I picked Winky Wright to beat Shane Mosley in their first fight, and if you again accuse me of being full of s**t you can check it out on the Eastside archive. I picked Winky then and I pick him again, only this time easy. I think Mosley is damaged goods and I hate to say that, but that’s what I think. Whatever happens to Shane in the ring, I hope when he finally does hang up the gloves, he does so with a little peace of mind and his pride, which he so fiercely holds dear, intact. He’s a fighter. He deserves at least that much.