The Curious Case of Sugar Shane
By JD Camacho, (Jan 23, 2009)  
Shane Mosley is at a crossroads, but not at the fork one would think.

He is not a stepping stone opponent. Shane Mosley is a legitimate top contender in the welterweight division, against another top contender in Antonio Margarito. If Shane Mosley wins, Antonio Margarito’s career doesn’t fall off the tracks and Margarito still gets his summer rematch against fellow contender Miguel Cotto.

Rather, Shane Mosley is at the crossroads that every once elite fighter must face – will he adjust to the rising tide of time, or will he drown because his abilities can no longer keep him afloat?

Before his 1998 match against Eduardo Morales, Mosley told Michael Katz of the New York Daily News that he’d retire “maybe when I’m 35 or 36. I still feel young.”

And here ‘s Mosley, 37 years young, telling Kenny Mayne of ESPN Magazine that “old only happens when you feel like you’re old.”

Feeling like he’s young might be the problem that Mosley faces. No matter how much he believes differently, at his age Mosley cannot do what he could do when he was 27 and when he was a lightweight. In his prime, Mosley exuded athleticism and dynamism matched then in the sport only by Roy Jones. The present version of Jones could not adjust to his age, and has since drowned against top competition. Will Mosley sink, too?

Perhaps no corner man is most familiar with the challenges facing an aging fighter than Mosley’s new trainer, Nazim Richardson. A longtime second of the ancient Bernard Hopkins, Richardson helped keep Hopkins at the top of the sport even after the departure of Hopkins’ chief second Bouie Fischer. Richardson himself served as chief second when the then 43 year-old Hopkins defeated 26 year-old Kelly Pavlik in Atlantic City last year.

Margarito presents the same challenges that Pavlik did – power, workrate, and youth. Margarito also offers the same weaknesses – speed, footwork, and versatility. Bernard Hopkins exploited Pavlik’s slow, one-dimensional attack and poor footwork en route to a twelve round bloodletting. Mosley must have the same level of in-ring discipline.

Even ten years ago, though, Hopkins never had exceptional power. Or footspeed. Or handspeed. Mosley had all those things. What Hopkins did have (and still has) was near incomparable ring savvy and a bulletproof defense not overly reliant on reflexes. Mosley has none of those things – or, at least, not to the same degree that Hopkins has.

In 1998, when asked about his experience level by New York Daily News’ Bob Raismann, Mosley said “I’ve been boxing for 18 years, since I was eight years old. I think I’m an old young fighter.”

On Saturday night, after nearly 30 years in boxing, Mosley should know that he’s an old fighter before he tries to fight like a young one.


Manny Pacquiao is turning into Money Manny. If anyone should be in his ear, it should be his promoter and his trainer – not any of his various hanger-ons.
Andre Berto is a terrible in-fighter. That said, while he may not be the next Roy Jones, he can certainly be the next Zab Judah t – and that ain’t bad, in the grand scheme of things.
Hooray for Bernard Hopkins on Friday Night Fights. I’d rather see him exchange insults with Merchant than pleasantries with Kenny, but I’ll take whatever of the Executioner I can get.
There’s no HBO PPV officially scheduled for the first five months of the year. Take notes, Thomas Hauser.

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