Don’t Cry for Shane
By Martin Wade (December 9, 2004) 
Photo © HoganPhotos.com
We wanted him to be like Ray Robinson, many of us for our own reasons. I, like many, wanted to feel like I was a part of the generation that was privileged enough to witness something close to Robinson's equal. What we ended up seeing in Shane Mosley was a lot like Robinson in that it was an exercise in good old-fashioned stubbornness. Like Ray Leonard before him, Mosley started off in 2000 on a quest for historic matches with matching purses and was left holding a fat wallet. Mosley’s second loss to Winky Wright was unique in that for the first time in years he at least flashed some of the fire that made us want him to be the next Sugar Ray. In watching him lose I didn’t get that hollow feeling you get when you watch a once great fighter in a dissipated state. I realized that sometimes we as observers of boxing are slower to come to terms with what Shane is than Shane himself. I realized that it would be shallow and monotonous to sit down and write another 'what ever became of Shane' article. That to pity a man so blessed would be from the view of one blinded by the 'winning is everything' culture we live in.

First of all, in retrospect examine how Shane Mosley always chose to conduct himself. True, Shane like most fighters was never immune to the condition known as 'excusitis' but for the most part he’s remained a gentleman. Shane Mosley like most great fighters has an ego, but by comparison he almost seemed too nice to successfully carry the moniker of his predecessors. Many of the great modern artists of the ring possessed a degree of narcissism and detachment that I never sensed from Shane. Yes, the Mosley of late has been sensitive but he’s never existed in third person nor worshipped shiny things like so many of the contemporary greats. While De La Hoya always exuded corporate cool, Shane by contrast was always the boy next door. Mosley recently played out boxings painful storyline by dismissing his father as trainer with an uncommon dignity despite the father’s periodic outbursts. While De La Hoya may have 'power' Shane Mosley’s personality has allowed him to nurture a circle of influence within the sport. As BALCO reaches a fever pitch people who know Shane will be hard pressed to imagine a guy of his character going out of his way to cheat. His testimony supports the same theory we won’t believe coming from Barry Bonds. One look at Shane’s face after the second De La Hoya tilt and during times of frustration in a fight tell us that he’d never be good at hiding something as significant as steroid use.

Though never a great live draw, Shane Mosley was able to amass riches as an HBO contracted fighter. His 2000 showdown with Oscar not only ushered him into the upper tax brackets, it was the last great performance of his storied career. That being said, Mosley’s downward career arch is hardly to be pitied. How many 'name' fighters can go 1-4-1 over a span of 3 years, be compensated greatly, be televised on HBO with each loss and remain a viable entity? The answer is one. There are fighters with 10 fight winning streaks against strong opposition that can't get arrested outside of the HBO offices, yet the Mosley saga will secure slots at least through 2005. Shane may not have realized (in the ring) what he envisioned for himself back in 2000, but the devout family man was a smashing success in his ability to secure the futures of his children. The interesting thing about his debut with Joe Goossen is he displayed enough improvement to leave the boxing world intrigued with future possibilities. If Goossen can keep Mosley out of the weight room all indications will point to a very lucrative third showdown with De La Hoya at 147.

Ideally 2005 will be Mosley’s last year as a competitive boxer but if he chose to stick around and bank on his name he wouldn’t be the first. After a good run that will land him in Canastota, the once ring wizard turned slugger will have a lot to look back on and be proud of. So no 'Sugar' Shane fans, he did not go on to pound-for-pound glory, at least not in harmony with his chosen brand name. But there was a time back in the late 90’s when he reminded us of Robinson, if only for a little while. So don’t cry for Shane, because history teaches us that good-natured, practical guys like him usually end up just fine.

Until the Next “Jones”
“The Boxing Junkie”
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