Mosley and Wright strive to be #1
By Rob Scott (September 10, 2004) 
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Observing the varied mentalities of fighters is interesting, to say the least. What initially brings a person to want to be a fighter varies from person to person. What makes a person keep on fighting is something as well. Ronald 'Winky' Wright and 'Sugar' Shane Mosley will go at it again, both for the same reason, to be recognized as #1.

These two are scheduled to fight in November in a rematch of a fight that saw Wright win a lopsided 12 round decision and the 'Undisputed' junior middleweight championship. With this win it was finally realized what Wright has been saying all along – that he is the best 154-pound fighter in the game.

Shane Mosley has a different thought about that. Shane has always had a self belief that he is the best in the world. After winning the IBF lightweight championship in 1997, Shane went on a mission to prove his beliefs. He decided that the shortest distance between two points wasn’t straight through, so in 1999 he leapt over the junior welterweight division to reach Oscar De La Hoya, who at that time was not only the welterweight king but also the consensus pound-for-pound champion. They faced each other in 2000, with Mosley out boxing 'The Golden Boy' over 12 rounds to take his WBC title and in every boxing scribe’s #1 pound-for-pound ranking.

While all the accolades and honors were being given to all the other fighters, Winky Wright just boxed, believing that his day would come. He mainly fought in his home state of Florida and overseas, thus not giving him the exposure that he needed. A controversial televised loss to Fernando Vargas for the IBF junior middleweight title put fighters on notice that Winky was someone to be reckoned with. He eventually won the vacant IBF title in 2001 after Felix Trinidad vacated it to campaign at middleweight. With no Vargas rematch or a marquee match-up with Trinidad, Wright still lacked the much needed exposure, thus just being thought of as a belt holder. Upon De La Hoya’s arrival into the junior middleweight division in 2001, it was he, not Wright, that was considered the real champion.

After three defenses of his welterweight title, the unbeaten Mosley ran into Vernon Forrest, who knocked the defending champion down twice en route to a clear-cut decision victory. The inner belief that he was the best fighter in the world compelled Mosley to engage in an immediate rematch. Though his performance was better in the rematch, it wasn’t enough, as he lost in his bid to regain the title and his status.

Where did he go from there? Shane moved up to the junior middleweight division. At this time De La Hoya was the champion and was eager to avenge the loss that Mosley gave him. In that rematch, once again, Mosley’s hand was raised. After negotiations for a third fight broke down, Mosley sought a new challenge. He met Wright, who was avoided like a plague, to unify the division.

That was then and this is now as Mosley has exercised his rematch clause and wants to prove that the first fight was a fluke. Was it a fluke? Wright aims to show that it wasn’t and that the right man is on the throne.

Of the two, Shane is the one that has more questions to be answered. With all his talents, one can’t help but feel as if there is something missing for him in this match-up. Can he get inside of Wright’s southpaw jab? Can he hurt the champion? Also, let’s think, with the Stones, Taylors and Diazs aside, Shane earned his welterweight reputation with his defeat of one person – Oscar De La Hoya. The same can be said about his foray into the 154 pound division. Can he truly handle these guys in the junior middleweight division? Or is it just that he has De La Hoya number, just as many feel Forrest has his?

A loss again for Shane would be disastrous. A loss for Wright would give a sense that the first fight was indeed a fluke.

Deep inside Shane feels that whether it is De La Hoya, Wright or even the Trinidads of the world, he can and will beat them. Winky, even before his brilliant performance in their first fight, had a similar confidence and feels that he can and will do it again. Both have a want and need to win this fight and are willing to face any and all. You might think that this is the reason why all fighters fight. Not so, but with these two fighters there is sincerity when they say they want to be and remain the best. They both are on a mission, but there can only be one #1.
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