Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Who would've thought that Shane Mosley would still be doing early morning roadwork in the snowy mountains of Big Bear, California and spilling his blood in boxing rings after all of these years? Who would've predicted the type of career that "little" Shane Mosley was going to have when he and his father Jack were barnstorming the inner city gyms of Los Angeles seeking sparring partners that could take all that he could give? Who would have figured that he would beat Oscar De La Hoya twice and still look like a kid after 14 years of punching for pay?

But, there was Shane Mosley in Las Vegas on Saturday night against Luis Collazo and once again he was doing what he does best - fighting and winning.

Never mind that Luis Collazo was a former welterweight titlist who arguably had never lost a fight. Never mind that Shane Mosley hadn’t fought as a true 147-pound welterweight in nearly five years - or since his last fight with arch-nemesis Vernon Forrest. Never mind that Shane Mosley is now 35 years-old and was fighting against an opponent who was bigger and younger than him. Never mind that Luis Collazo was only 12 years old when Shane Mosley fought his first professional fight, a fifth-round knockout over Greg Puente in Hollywood, California way back in 1993.

There is no secret to this ever-trickling fountain of youth that Mosley seemingly drinks from. He's a physical marvel and fitness fanatic and he is never too far from top shape. Whether it be snowboarding or basketball or boxing, Mosley is an active participant in life and he is competitive to the extreme.

He said he went into camp for the Collazo fight at 149 1/2 pounds and said that he feels more comfortable fighting as a welterweight than he ever did at junior middleweight . He told a group of reporters last week that, "I feel so good it's scary. It's like I'm high or something. I really can't describe it."

He beat the young Luis Collazo like a drum, barely losing a frame on the judges scorecards over twelve rounds. What's even more impressive is that Collazo gave the undefeated Ricky Hatton fits and twelve rounds of pain when they faced each other back in May. In the process of sending a clearly beaten Collazo back to New York, Mosley picked up something called the WBC interim welterweight title and says that he wants to stay sharp and fight again in June.
Of Collazo, Mosley said, "he underestimated my youth.” And then he smiled that boyish grin of his and he laughed that little laugh of his that you can barely hear but that you know is there.

When the current WBC titlist, Floyd Mayweather, steps up to fight Oscar De La Hoya in May he will vacate his title and Mosley will become the full WBC champ. That will make Shane Mosley one of the oldest welterweight titlists in boxing history. There could be a new dawn in the welterweight division especially if Mayweather keeps his promise and retires after the fight against De La Hoya in May.

Atop the 147-pound division now is a motley crue of alphabet claimants consisting of undefeated WBA titlist Miguel Cotto, WBO belt holder Antonio Margarito and the IBF entrant in Kermit Cintron. Mosley mentioned all of their names at the post fight press conference, “We can all get together and see who's the best welterweight.” And then he smiled that broad, infectious smile and laughed that little laugh again.

Asked when he knew he had Collazo beat, Shane thought for just a second and said, “I knew I was faster than him and could hit him with the quick jabs. By the third round I knew I would be able to hit him with different shots.”

His father and trainer, Jack Mosley, had it figured out after the first round and he told Shane that Collazo wasn’t as good as the sparring partners they had used to prepare for him.

Throughout the fight it was the older, wiser Mosley who was the more active fighter and the busier puncher. It seemed that he was the hungrier fighter and wanted the win more. Despite earning untold millions over his long career, Mosley wasn’t resting on his laurels.

He never stopped trying for the knockout, “because that’s what the fans pay for” and he looked like he was on his way to just that in the eleventh round. Mosley clipped Collazo with an angry right hand and the younger fighter slowly crumpled to the floor after his foot got tied up with Mosley’s. Perhaps it was a slip, but at that point in the fight it was academic as Mosley was pitching a virtual shutout and he was looking good doing it.

Based on this performance the diminutive Mosley, who has such a fit, compact body that he looks like he’s wearing a suit of armor made from muscles, may feel like he can go on for several more years. “I live good”, he says, meaning that he doesn’t abuse his body, doesn’t blow up in weight and doesn’t lay around in between fights. “Hey, I’m 35 years old and I’m still around and ready to go. If Bernard Hopkins can fight at 40, 41, 42 years old - I know I could do the same thing. I look at the paper and it says 35 and I just can’t believe that I’m 35. I feel young. I feel like I’m 25 years old. I feel good.”

Whether his ever-watchful wife and manager, the lovely Jin, will let him go on that long remains to be seen. Shane is the father of five children and seems to lead a charmed and happy life.

The beautiful Jin told Ivan Goldman of The Ring Magazine last year that, “I’m trying to wind him down right now. I look at pugilistic dementia, and I worry. I make him take MRIs. I talk to Dr. Margaret Goodman, I talk to anybody that might know something.”

It’s a family affair for Shane as his father is also his trainer and except for a brief period, his father has been in his corner for every fight since Shane was nine years old. His family is close to him and is looking out for the best interests of their son and husband. They will tell him when it’s time.

Carmen Basilio, the great welterweight and middleweight champion was once in the same place in life and almost the same age as Mosley when the pressures to get out of the game while he was still on top began to mount.

“My wife was on my back about quitting”, said the hoarse-voiced Basilio who was as rough and tough as they come. “The sportswriters locally and a couple of New York writers said I should quit fighting. “They’re all worrying about me getting hurt”, he says with a degree of disdain. “I was thirty-four years old at the time, but I was in good condition. I was a good fighter. When I quit I was a good fighter. Now I wish I hadn’t done that. I wish that I’d stuck around for three or four more fights.”

And that’s the same dilemma that Shane Mosley now finds himself in. It’s always nice to go out on top and have the Cinderella-like ending to a great career. But this is boxing and that type of ending is rarely written into the script. How nice it would be for Shane, Jin, Jack and the Mosley family to climb into that horse drawn carriage and ride off into the night in a fairy-tale called the rest of their life. They could bid boxing farewell forever.

But it probably won’t end that way.

Every pug thinks they have one more left in ‘em - and that they’ll be forever young.

February 2007

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