May 1, 2010 was supposed to be the day “Sugar” Shane Mosley, 46-6 (39), made Floyd Mayweather taste defeat for the first time. He had promised as such over and over in the media stating, “May 1st will be May’s first [loss].” On paper, it seemed pretty possible. Mosley has had great success over the course of a pro career that dates back to 1993, winning a lightweight title before moving to 147 pounds in June 2000 and beating Oscar De La Hoya decisively in their first meeting. Despite losses to the late Vernon Forrest twice and two losses at 154 pounds to Winky Wright, Mosley has long remained a relevant fighter in and around the 147-pound division. So when it came time to finally square off with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mosley, amid a sea of fighters that Mayweather will not or cannot fight for various reasons including Andre Berto, Paul Williams, and Manny Pacquiao, “Sugar” Shane seemed like the logical choice.
But on that night, the 39-year-old Mosley either got old or got Mayweathered, depending on how you view the fight. Barring the second round where Mosley landed a series of right hands that had Mayweather as hurt as anyone has ever seen him, the fight was a one-sided shutout that “The Sugar Man” was never in beyond that moment.
“It was a kind of fight where I was off; he was successful and he got the victory,” said Mosley to a group of reporters in a recent round table when asked about that fight and the second round. “It could have been over in the second round and people wouldn’t be writing me off or talking about retirement. It would be me fighting Pacquiao next. I wouldn’t be coming back and trying to fight Pacquiao.”
But the fight did not end in the second round and when it was over, with Mosley going out with a whimper and barely a bang at all, many began to indeed call for his retirement. After all, with fights/wars against Miguel Cotto, the second fight with De La Hoya, the two Forrest losses, and a Ricardo Mayorga fight in 2008 that had many saying “Sugar” was not so sweet anymore, Mosley is a fighter with a ton of miles on him and a style that is looking worse for wear down the long haul.
Still, Mosley argues that he simply lost to the best fighter in the world, which he did.
“What happened in that fight is that Mayweather has a way of hanging on your neck and hanging on your head,” explained Mosley. “And my neck got very tight and I couldn’t throw any punches. People think I was tired. I wasn’t tired. I was just locked up and that’s a credit to Mayweather. Ali did that for years; grab people behind the neck. No excuses. He won a clean a fight. It’s just that’s what happened in that fight. I know to prepare for that next time. That won’t happen. When you fight, you are supposed to prepare for everything and that is something I did not do. His win, my loss.”
Mosley went on to describe one reason he was unable to hit Mayweather cleanly throughout the night.
“Mayweather ducks a little differently than a lot of fighters,” he explained. “He ducks over his right leg and it’s hard for right hand fighters to fight him.”
“That’s why he doesn’t fight southpaws?” I asked.
Mosley smiled and shrugged, adding, “It’s tough for right-handed fighters to fight him.”
“Because it’s tough to get your power shot over there?” I asked.
“Because when you throw you go right over his back,” Mosley explained. “And he is good; if you go over his back, with his reach, he is good at coming back with a counter. So you can’t just…you have to make sure you don’t lean too much or he will counter you. And he is quick enough to do different things, which throws you off and makes you fight certain ways. I would fight him differently if I fought him again. I would punch more. I fought him the wrong way. More of a boxing tactic than power. You have to respect his power because what happens with Mayweather; if you fight him that’s when he gets more power. If you box him, he doesn’t have as much power. The reason for that is he uses your force against you. So if you are forcing your way in, then he is using the impact. But if you are out here (shows a long-range look), then he doesn’t have as much power. He waits for you to commit, then he catches you when you commit. That’s his thing.”
Before the Mayweather fight was made, Mosley was set to fight Andre Berto, who backed out of the bout when disaster struck in his native Haiti. With the negotiations for a fight with Manny Pacquiao fell apart, Mayweather needed an opponent as well and so the fight was made. Once it was over, Mosley, eager to get back in the ring, went back to Team Berto only to find they wanted to renegotiate a previous deal with Mosley.
“I considered Berto but he wanted to do 52-48 in my favor,” said Mosley. “We had an agreement of 60-40 before I fought Mayweather. The agreement was if I lose to Mayweather, I’d fight Berto 60-40. If I beat Mayweather, I would do a rematch with him. They made the agreement. They felt I didn’t have another fight so they tried the strong-arm [tactic] and it was denied.”
What does Mosley, a fighter known for taking on all comers, make of Berto- a fighter with zero drawing power and no signature win to speak of- trying to dictate to him much less passing on a chance to make a name for himself in the ring, as opposed to on Twitter?
“I think it’s crazy,” said Mosley. “I didn’t understand it. They thought I had nowhere else to go so they wanted to strong-arm me. What do I gain from fighting Berto? Berto gains everything. Same with [World Middleweight Champion Sergio] Martinez. He calls and says, ‘OK, I will fight you 60/40.’ He’s the middleweight champion. Why am I going to fight Berto if I can fight the middleweight champion? I just didn’t understand the whole scene.”
And so Mosley, true to his past form, sought out Sergio Mora, 22-1-1 (6), a fighter who has fought as high as 160 pounds with a difficult movement-based style, this Saturday, September 18, live from Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The fight will be televised on HBO PPV. It’s an unusual fight for a comeback or stay-busy fight. But then, in this day and age, a fighter Mosley’s age, or any age for that matter, willing to take tough matchups at the drop of a hat, is unusual in and of itself. It’s why fans love the man.
“Mora is a bigger fighter than me,” said Mosley. “He’s bigger, he’s fast. His popularity is increasing. He is going to be a good fight. He is coming to win. It’s his time to shine. It’s his time to be on top of the hill. He’s looking at me like I am waiting to take a picture. That’s not going to happen. It was a big opportunity for Berto and it’s a big opportunity for him. I like Sergio so I am giving him the opportunity.”
But why this guy and why at 154 pounds?
“Because he can’t come down to 147,” Mosley laughed. “This is a fight to come back. Sergio is at 154. There are a lot of good fights. It makes no sense me sitting on the sidelines for a whole year before I fought [Antonio] Margarito and Mayweather. The [Mayweather fight] was May 1 and I am already in the ring, keeping myself busy. I don’t want to be stale in there. I want to fight Sergio Mora or Miguel Cotto. You have Berto. You have Pacquiao-Margarito. Something might happen with that. And so instead of sitting around and waiting for these fights to happen, I am keeping myself busy. Mora is going to give me a great fight.”
Don’t let the low KO percentage fool you. Sergio Mora is no joke. An unorthodox fighter from the hard streets of East Los Angeles, Mora came to fame as the winner of Season One of “The Contender” reality boxing show. Nicknamed “The Latin Snake,” Mora slithers along the edge of the ropes, leaps in, hits you with a quick combo and is gone. It’s not a pretty style to fight by any means. Mosley is fully aware of it but being a veteran, he is prepared for the best Mora has to offer. But with six knockouts against Shane’s 39, is this a mismatch? How can the fans get behind this fight?
“Being that he has a height and weight advantage, he might be able to make it a more even playing field,” explained Mosley about Mora’s chances. “If [the fans] know what the parameters are. If they know he is bigger than me, that he is fast, that he beat Vernon Forrest and I didn’t. If they know they these different things, if they know his accomplishments, what he’s done, then yes, they will take it seriously. This guy can do something. The last guy he fought [Calvin Green], he rocked. He looked pretty good. He had hand speed, movement, and he caught the guy with some good shots and the guy was buckling. He’s dangerous. And that is probably what happened to Vernon. He probably thought ‘This is Sergio Mora’ and he messed around and got himself an ‘L’.”
After the Cotto fight that Shane arguably won, in the Mayorga fight, he looked crappy until he KO’ed the Nicaraguan in the last seconds of the final round. Prior to the Mayweather fight, Mosley had a back-to-the-past moment against one Antonio Margarito back in January of 2009. The fight was a return to form for Mosley as he battered and beat down Margarito over nine one-sided rounds. For many, it was a mirage. For others, it was a return to form. But above all, what it was not was a preparation for this fight in any way, shape or form.
“Not even a little bit,” said Mosley when asked if he had fought anyone who resembled Mora’s style before. “He has a herky-jerky style. He has the height and reach, so he can do some pulling and tugging and little things…he can fight a lot of ways so he has some options. He’s bigger. If I hit a guy at 147, they are ready to go with one shot. So I might have to hit him ten times before I even get a blink. I might have hit him pop, pop, pop and he might go, ‘That was good; that was good.” At this, Mosley breaks into a nervous laugh. “‘That was good.’ There are lots of things that go along with this guy. You can’t just say ‘Oh, Sugar Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora.’ You have to know the specifics of what’s going on.”
With Margarito, Mosley had what he grew up in the gyms of Los Angeles on: a come-forward, Mexican fighter.
“Coming into that Margarito fight, people were saying, ‘Oh man, you are going to get killed.’ I was like, ‘Watch this,” Shane laughed. “My whole thing is this: When people come at me and try to fight me, I’m going to knock you out. This is what I feel. If you come at me with that bull attitude and try to fight me, I’m going to knock you out.”
“This guy’s not going to do that,” said reporter Mike Rosenthal.
“He’s not going to do that,” agreed Shane.
“Are you in trouble with that?” Rosenthal asked.
“I might be,” Shane laughed. “I might be. That’s what I’m saying. People need to know this is a different type of fight. He’s bigger. He boxes; he moves herky-jerky. It’s a different type of fight.”
At 39, coming off a loss, with a bigger man and difficult style Mosley has never been successful against, “Sugar” Shane Mosley will have to fight a different kind of fight to have a different kind of night come September 18.