Quijano: Sugar shone mostly-A A +A
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
IT FAILED to generate media mileage in this part of the boxing world, but Shane Mosley recently rode off into the sunset, calling it a career after 54 fights and 19 years.
Twelve years ago, this writer watched mesmerized as I took in that seminal struggle with Oscar de la Hoya and that fight solidified my fascination with the “Sweet Science.”
Let’s take a look back at his remarkable journey as a prize-fighter.
SUGAR. Mosley wields the epithet “Sugar” in honor of the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson but while he may have failed to match the lofty exploits of the boxer universally recognized as the greatest to ever lace on a pair of gloves, Shane did quite well and had an impressive, hall-of-fame worthy career.
Mosley had a sterling amateur career and when he turned pro, he lived up to everybody’s expectations, racing to an impressive 34-0 with 32 stoppages as a lightweight.
He skipped the super lightweight division and moved all the way to welterweight and in his third fight at 147 lbs., defeated Oscar de la Hoya. From then on, became a certified boxing superstar.
However, his incredible run came to an end when he matched up against an old tormentor in the amateurs, the late Vernon Forrest. The latter used his superior reach to nullify the shorter Mosley’s speed advantage and defeated the “Sugar” man twice.
Mosley would bounce back nicely with another win against “The Golden Boy” when he moved up to the junior middleweight division, albeit the verdict was somewhat controversial.
His road to glory was derailed again when he lost twice to tricky southpaw Winky Wright but as a testament to his resiliency, Mosley salvaged his career again when he knocked out Fernando Vargas in 10 rounds and defeated him again, this time in 6 rounds in the rematch.
His career would then go on a roller coaster ride, winning against Luis Collazo, but losing to Miguel Cotto and then registering a last minute knockout against Nicaraguan bad boy Ricardo Mayorga.
Despite that impressive showing against Mayorga, few gave him a chance against the streaking Antonio Margarito (who by the way also announced his retirement a few days after Mosley), but he bludgeoned the “Tijuana Tornado” in 9 savage rounds.
He fell short when he challenged Floyd Mayweather Jr., but scored a pair of knee-buckling right hands in the second round that had the “Pretty Boy” holding on for dear life for the first time in his career.
By the time he lost to Sergio Mora, he was already past his prime and he didn’t acquit himself well against Manny Pacquiao when he opted to backpedal almost the entirety of the fight after suffering a knockdown in round 3 and lost via unanimous decision.
In his last fight, he was outmatched and outfought by the younger, stronger Canelo Alvarez 12 rounds.
LEGACY. Mosely leaves behind a record of 46-8, 39KOs wherein he garnered three world titles in three separate weight divisions.
He relied on hand speed, power and ring generalship to defeat his opponents. But as he moved up in weight, he was outsized and outmatched by bigger but skilled opponents such as Forrest and Wright.
In the latter part of his career he also became more of a puncher than a boxer, a style-shift which partially nullified his advantages in speed.
That he is retiring now at the age of 40, after recognizing that the skills that once allowed him to compete at the highest level has now deserted him is admirable and should be emulated by other fighters now facing the crossroads of their careers.
He deserves to be enshrined one day in the Hall of Fame and will be remembered for his action-packed style and a doughty desire to excel.
Yes he called himself “Sugar”, but he also had a lot of spice.
VERBATIM. “Being recognized as pound-for-pound, especially when Roy Jones was there at that time, was an honor. To be considered in the same breath as Roy was great for me.
Not many people can say they were the pound-for-pound best, but I’m one of those people.”–Sugar Shane Mosely (www. espn.com)
LAST ROUND. It’s on Jazzy Gorne who celebrates her birthday this week, Cheers!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2012.