Recently retired Shane Mosley included his final bout, a unanimous decision loss to Saul Alvarez (right), among the 10 most important fights of his hall-of-fame worthy career.
RingTV.com caught up to former five-time three-division titleholder Sugar Shane Mosley, who announced his retirement on Monday at the age of 40 with a mark of 46-8-1 that includes 39 knockouts.
Known for amassing a record of 21 straight wins over Mexican rivals before losing the final bout of his career to 21-year-old junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Mosley’s legacy will be one of a man who took on all challenges, raised the bar for his rivals and was rarely involved in a boring fight.
Mosley told RingTV.com that he will spend much of his time training, guiding and promoting Shane Mosley Jr., a 21-year-old with a promising amateur career and an eye toward the 2016 Olympics.
Mosley also has triumphed over world titleholders Jesse James Leija, John John Molina, Phillip Holiday and Luis Collazo, knocking out out Leija and Molina.
Mosley’s losses included two-each to Winky Wright and the late Vernon Forrest, and to Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto. The second win over De La Hoya was at junior middleweight, as were the losses to to Wright and the draw with former titleholder, Sergio Mora.
Mosley shared his Top 10 most memorable fights with RingTV.com, below, in the chronological order in which they happened over the course of his career (with video links).
Mosley earned a unanimous decision for the IBF lightweight belt by dethroning Holiday, a South African based in Australia who entered his eighth defense with a record of 31-0.
Mosley improved to 24-0 with 22 knockouts, becoming a champion for the first time in his career even as he failed to earn his 14th straight stoppage win.
“Philip Holiday was a meaningful fight, because it was my first title shot,” said Mosley, who defended the 135-pound crown eight times, ending his reign with an eighth-round knockout over John Brown in April of 1999.
“It was special for me because it was that first title shot, and that’s what I’ve been working for all my life, since I was eight or nine years old. That was very significant for me.”
Molina, a crafty Puerto Rican veteran who owned a nine-fight winning streak and had gone the distance with De La Hoya, represented the third title defense for Mosley
“John John Molina was a veteran fighter and he had a big fight with Oscar, and beating him kind of let people know that I was the real deal,” said Mosley. “By stopping John John, I did a lot of the damage with the body shots.”
Mosley rose two weight classes to make his welterweight debut against a man who had stopped former titleholder Livinstone Bramble, beaten former champ Carlos Palomino, twice gone distance in losses to Pernell Whitaker, and suffered his only knockout loss in eight rounds to De La Hoya.
Mosley dropped Rivera and ended the fight with a left uppercut with 22 seconds left in the 10th and final round.
“Being able to jump up from lightweight to welterweight and to fight Wilfredo Rivera, being able to knock him out, that was big for me,” said Mosley.
“That was a measuring stick for everyone, showing what I could do going from light to welter. Him having been a very strong, Puerto Rican fighter, it let people know that I carried the power from lightweight to welterweight.”
In only his third welterweight bout, Mosley out-slugged and out-boxed De La Hoya for the edge in a nip-and-tuck fight that was hotly contested throughout.
In victory, Mosley took the best from his rival, even his vaunted left hook, on the way to earning his second major world title by dethroning De La Hoya as WBC beltholder.
“That first fight, when I fought Oscar, I think that in California and even in some area’s of the East Coast, I was more publicly known as a lightweight. When I moved up to welterweight champion, that let people know again that I was for real. People knew that I was a hard puncher, but this showed that I could take what I dished out,” said Mosley.
“One of his left hooks caught me clean, but people didn’t know that I could take a good shot. De La Hoya was the fight that lifted me up to Hall of Fame status. All of the knockouts as a lightweight, you know, that was great. But to be able to come up and beat a guy like Oscar De La Hoya, that got me worldwide recognition as a well-rounded fighter.”
Even in suffering the initial loss of his career — and the first of two straight to his late, rangy rival — Mosley demonstrated tremendous fortitude and courage by rising from two second-round knockdowns even as he was dethroned as WBC welterweight beltholder and had his knockout streak ended at three fights.
“I would have to say that the first Vernon Forrest fight showed people that I was a true warrior as well as a good fighter. Being knocked down not once, but twice, being able to get up and go the distance and to fight hard at 100 percent with all that I’ve got, that showed people that ‘he can take it and he doesn’t give up. I was hurt pretty good. I was hurt, but I was also angry,” said Mosley, who also suffered a head a cut from a head butt early in the round.
“I said to myself, ‘you knocked me down, but you know what?, I’m going to take a round off, jump around the ring and come back and knock you out.’ That was my mentality. I was determined that I was going to knock him out. I said I was going to come back and go and get him. When I got hurt, most people would have stopped, quit or given up or whatever, but I got up and went the full 12 rounds after being put down twice in the second round.”
Mosley was competing in only his second-ever junior middleweight bout when he dethroned De La Hoya as WBA and WBC titleholder, this time, using his vaunted body attack.
“The second Oscar De La Hoya fight put me back on the map after the two losses to Vernon Forrest. I think you could actually hear the body shots,” said Mosley.
“I remember hitting him one time under the left arm, and I was like, ‘man, that was a hard shot, and I know that it really hurt him. I was trying to break him down and knock him out.”
In a rematch of his unanimous decision loss during which Wright added Mosley’s WBA and WBC belts to the IBF title he already owned, Mosley made it much closer, even though Wright was able to retain the WBA and WBC crowns that were at stake.
“I think that it showed a lot of class for Winky Wright to give me another shot, and to face me in another tough fight,” said Mosley. “And it was, for me, just another title shot and to show what kind of fighter I am.”
Mosley rebounded from the two losses to Wright, and also, followed up a 10th-round TKO of Vargas with a more solid and satisfying sixth-round stoppopage in yet another non-title junior middleweight matchup.
Mosley essentially ended matters by dropping Vargas with a cruching left hooked that had him rolling on the canvas before eventually being protected by referee Kenny Bayless.
“The second Vargas fight was a good one because the first fight, people thought he was coming back on me,” said Mosley. “From me taking the fight, I showed that I showed that I was ready for the challenge again.”
Mosley became the first man to stop the feared Margarito, whom he dethroned as WBA welterweight beltholder before a record crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Margarito had stopped Miguel Cotto, a man who had beaten Mosley earlier in his career.
“Margarito was the milestone, because everybody thought that I was done. But I came back and I beat him every round, and I knocked him out,” said Mosley. “To this day, I feel like I’m the only person who has knocked him out, not just stopped him, but really knocked him out.”
“That was my last fight, with Canelo, and I went in there and I gave him a hard fight and did the best that I could,” said Mosley. “I felt that when I was in there, he did a great job and he fought like a champion. He kept his hands high and kept his punches sharp and he stayed disciplined.
“He didn’t get caught with anything crazy, and he fought a controlled fight like a true champion. His defense was better than I thought, but it was more a clarification of where I’m at. It was more about what is going on with me.”
Photos / Getty Images (Donald Miralle, Mosley-Rivera; Al Bello, Mosley-Alvarez & Mosley-De La Hoya; Jed Jacobsohn, Molsey-Vargas II) and AFP (Henny Ray Abrams, Molsey-Forrest I)
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]