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Mosley finally has things fall his way

27
Apr

Fans lined up near the entrance of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to get a glimpse of Shane Mosley arriving at the hotel Tuesday. Photo / Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos.com-Golden Boy Promotions

LAS VEGAS — Shane Mosley was almost 36 when he lost to Miguel Cotto in September of 2007. His wife, Jin, was making his life miserable. His father, Jack, was no longer the ideal trainer for him. And the defeat, a close decision, limited his opportunities.

The career of the future Hall of Famer seemed destined to end on a low note, without that super fight he has craved since his two-fight series with Oscar De La Hoya early this decade.

And then, as if karma were repaying him for the decency with which he treats everyone, the dark clouds lifted and the sun shined on Sugar Shane at least one more time before he completes his Hall of Fame career.



No wife. New trainer. A gigantic fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday that will earn him millions and give him the opportunity to prove he might be the best fighter on earth at 38.

Life is good.

“This is what I wanted, to be in this position,” Mosley said. “Some of it’s the money. I definitely could use the extra millions of dollars to put in the bank for my kids. That’s not really the issue here, though. I just love to do this, to fight these type of fights.”

Mosley (46-5, 39 knockouts) was one of the most-dominating lightweights in the history of the sport. The Southern California native was 32-0 (with 30 KOs) and made eight successful defenses of his 135-pound title, staggering statistics.

Still, without well-connected management, he lacked clout because he wasn't universally well known. He assumed that had changed when he outpointed De La Hoya in 2000. He beat the man so he figured he was the man. Wrong. De La Hoya, the Olympic gold medalist, the Golden Boy, was a once-in-a-generation phenomenon while Mosley was just a very good fighter.

Then, less than a year later, the wheels came off his career. He lost back-to-back fights against Vernon Forrest, regained some momentum by outpointing De La Hoya in a close (and controversial) fight in 2003 but then lost twice to Winky Wright in 2004. Everyone assumed his days as an elite fighter were over. The Cotto fight, one last chance to climb back to the top, only sealed his fate.

And then things began to change.

Mosley took a fight with another declining titleholder, Ricardo Mayorga, in September of 2008 in the Los Angeles area. Mosley looked sluggish, even old, as if he couldn’t get his punches off, when he found some fire and suddenly scored a spectacular knockout in the final moments of the fight.

More important, it was his last fight with his wife in his life and his father in his corner.

Judd Burstein, Mosley’s attorney, described Jin Mosley as “a force of nature.” She is a very intelligent, take-charge woman who took charge of her husband’s career with such a firm hand that it eventually wore him down. The ultimate result, it seems, was turmoil in the fighter’s life and training camps.

No one will attribute any failures in the ring solely to Jin, from whom Mosley is in the process of getting a divorce, but any chaos certainly didn’t help.

“You can’t cut off access if you have a wife calling five times a day,” Burstein said, “if your wife wants you to talk to this person or that person, or your wife is upset about what goes in the newspaper or doesn’t go in the newspaper. You can cut everybody out ÔǪ but not your wife and children. I use this analogy, which I think is accurate: Look at what Andre Agassi did with his career after he broke up with Brooke Shields. It doesn’t mean she’s a bad person. It means there was a dynamic there that wasn’t good for his career.

“ÔǪ The person [Mosley] that I have seen grow from the fall of 2008, post Mayorga, when the marriage really started to fall apart, to today are two radically different people.”

That might also be attributed in some degree to a change of trainers, from his father, Jack Mosley, to Naazim Richardson.

No one will dispute the love of Jack for his son and vice versa. The Mosleys are a model family in many ways. However, the time had come after Mayorga to split with Jack Mosley the trainer while still embracing Jack Mosley the father.

The fighter said in a 24/7 episode that Jack wasn’t focused enough. The elder Mosley also seems to have a healthy ego, perhaps evidenced by the fact he won’t give Richardson any credit whatsoever for the excellent work he did with the fighter before he met Antonio Margarito last year and since.

Richardson and Mosley seem to have this in common: They are two utterly devoted students of the game focused solely on one objective. Mosley couldn't be more pleased with their relationship.

“I see no ego in this camp,” Burstein said. “Everybody in camp is focused on one thing: Shane Mosley winning the fight. That’s all anyone cares about.”

Mosley seemed different before the Margarito fight, which most observers believed he would lose because of his shaky performance against Mayorga and the manner in which Margarito was tearing apart his opponents.

At the weigh-in, after coming in at the 147-pound limit, Mosley beamed like never before as he flexed and posed for dozens of cameramen as hundreds of flashes lit up the room. His still rock-hard body was concrete evidence of his fitness while his broad smile perhaps was an indication of inner peace.

The result of the fight was shocking. Mosley, at 37, knocked out one of the most-feared fighters in the world in the ninth round to cap the greatest performance in his then-16-year career and instantly rebuilt his image as a fighter worthy of pound-for-pound consideration.

Mosley then seemed to hit another road block. The two foes with whom he could engage in a super fight — Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao — chose to pursue each other and leave the old man out of the equation.

Thus, left without a dance partner, Mosley chose to fight Andre Berto and again wondered whether he would have be part of something huge.

“There were three of us, me, Mayweather and Pacquiao” Mosley said. “Any of us could fight the other and it would be the biggest fight of the year. And it looked I was left out. That would’ve been a crime. I’m the oldest one, the one who has been around the longest. I believe I’ve given a lot to boxing. I thought I should’ve been the one in the big fight.”

This is the new Mosley, though, the Mosley for whom things are clicking again. First, Mayweather and Pacquaio broke off negotiations over blood testing. And then Berto pulled out because the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the homeland of his parents.

So here we are: four days from the biggest fight of the year, Mosley vs. Mayweather, a fight that might be big enough to challenge the pay-per-view record of 2.4 million buys generated by Mayweather-De La Hoya in 2007. And Mosley is part of it.

“I’m extremely happy for him,” Burstein said. “I’ve been with him for seven years and he’s had some bad luck in there. ÔǪ Yes, it’s all coming around. He’s getting what he should’ve had. And it’s coming at the happiest time of his life, I think.

“When he walks out of that dressing room on Saturday, the focus will be on only one person. That person is Shane Mosley. And that’s the way it should be.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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