Against all logic and the pleas of serious boxing fans everywhere, future Hall of Famer and former all-around good guy “Sugar” Shane Mosley refuses to retire. The latest chapter in this bizarre saga is an apparent negotiation that never was between Mosley and Frank Warren for a match with Warren’s new world champion, Liam “Beefy” Smith.
As is his habit now, Mosley took to twitter to complain about the situation, accusing Warren of being dishonest and intentionally scuttling the deal. The once-great “Sugar” Shane appears oblivious to the fact that very few people want to see him fight anymore, against Smith or anyone else. He’s 44-years-old, 2-4-1 in his last seven fights, and the only reason he looked decent in his most recent outing was because his opponent, Ricardo Mayorga, is more shot than him.
As someone who always held Mosley in high esteem, both for his skill and his positive attitude and sportsmanship, the current situation is distressing. I avoided paying any attention to the farce that was the Mayorga rematch (including that pathetic stunt at the weigh-in; what was that???), but I’m revolted by the knowledge that this once great talent and exemplary competitor will now likely follow in the footsteps of guys like James Toney and Roy Jones Jr. How sad and sordid. Mosley, or at least the version of him that I admired in years past, deserves better.
But the painful truth is Sugar Shane hasn’t been relevant since his shamefully bad performance against Manny Pacquiao in 2011, and he hasn’t looked like a serious contender since he beat up Antonio Margarito back in 2009, going on seven years ago. In fact, I remember thinking it was time for Shane to pack it in after his back-to-back defeats to Ronald “Winky” Wright, which was over a decade ago. C’mon, Shane: you’re old, you’re done, and you’re not Bernard Hopkins. This needs to stop!
But it won’t. California sanctioned him to beat up an out-of-shape Mayorga so other athletic commissions have no grounds to prevent him from competing. And if, for whatever reason, Liam Smith doesn’t want to take him on, the name “Sugar” Shane Mosley retains some allure. It’s a nice scalp to have if you’re a young, hungry fighter looking to get some exposure. It won’t be that hard for the former champ to find other opponents.
Eventually someone is going to outclass and punish Mosley even worse than Canelo Alvarez did in 2012, a one-sided drubbing which prompted the former champion to announce his retirement. “When the kids start to beat you,” said Shane immediately following that loss, “you might need to start going to promoting.” It sounded like a man who was prepared to finally accept the passage of time.
Not the case, it seems. Having re-invented himself as the angry old boxer on twitter, Mosley appears determined to milk what’s left of his fame for all its worth, guaranteeing himself future beatings and humiliation.
It’s difficult to watch this on-going denouement of a once-brilliant career and so, for those fans who prefer to remember happier days, we present its high point: Mosley’s first clash against Oscar De La Hoya. Here we see the real Sugar Shane, the one we want to remember, defeating a prime “Golden Boy” in a major boxing event that, unlike so many big fights of late, lived up to its billing and gave fans plenty of action and drama. It was a highly competitive battle featuring excellent performances from both champions, but here’s the thing: it took place 15 years ago.
I need to watch this fight every once in a while, just to remind me of a different and far more likable Sugar Shane. Before all the losses. Before the ugly tattoos. Before he started becoming angry and delusional.
No one, Shane, absolutely no one defeats Father Time. It’s a fact all of us have to face up to, sooner or later. I know you won’t listen, but this is one fan begging you to finally hang ’em up. — Robert Portis