September 18, 1998
Sugar Shane Mosley:
A Legend In The Making?
By Francis Walker
Recently, during an open workout session to promote his up coming ring debut
at Madison Square Garden, I had an opportunity to chat with world lightweight
champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley. Mosley (28-0, 26KOs), on Tuesday, September 22,
at The Theater in New York City, will defend his IBF 135-pound crown against
mandatory contender Eduardo Morales (26-0, 21KOs) in the main event. Mosley
felt more than eager to discuss a number of topics, including his Garden debut,
Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson, and his plans to move-up in weight. After
reading this report, fight fans must admit, Mosley is one of the most
intelligent and well schooled fighters in boxing today. For those who have
seen him fight before - Maybe, just maybe, one day Mosley might be ranked up
there with Ray Leonard and Ray Robinson.
As an amateur, Mosley, a 27-year-old native of Pomona, California, was a
three-time National champion and a member of the US boxing team in the 1992
Olympics. Overall, Mosley was 250-10 before turning pro in 1993. After
knocking out 22 of his first 23 foes, Mosley won the International Boxing
Federation lightweight crown from South Africa's Phillip Holiday (W 12) in
August 1997. In four defenses of his first world title, Mosley has solidified
his claim as one of the best fighters in the world.
Mosley, aside from Roy Jones Jr., is the most gifted fighter in the world. But
since he fights at a lower weight class than world champions Jones, Bernard
Hopkins, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, and Evander Holyfield, you probably
may not hear of Mosley so quickly. Its a shame because Mosley is the best
kept secret in all of boxing. Mosley is so talented, he is the only fighter
with enough speed, quickness, power, and boxing talent to match Jones' natural
gifts. Mosley is also a hell of a lot sharper and more dangerous than than
"Prince" Naseem Hamed.
Mosley is such as sensation, he actually has the talent and the right
opponents to become a legend.
Francis Walker: Shane, you're fighting at Madison Square Garden as a part of
TNT's "Title Night." Are you excited?
Shane Mosley: "I'm very excited, this is my first time fighting in New York
and I want to put on a spectacular show. There's a banner at the Garden, they've
welcomed me in New York very well. I'm happy!"
FW: Do you know anything much of your opponent, Eduardo Morales?
Mosley: "Well, I saw a couple of tapes on him and I know his strength is his
left hook. He's pretty sharp, he's pretty tough. Throws a lot of good punches,
so in a fight, you never know what could happen. He's 26-0, with 21KOs. I'm
28-0, with 26KOs, so you never know... We're both undefeated and it should be
a pretty interesting fight."
FW: Are you aware, Morales has never recorded a knockout past the fourth round
during is pro career? Also, if the fight goes past four rounds is Morales easy
Mosley: "I noticed on the tapes he kind of gets tired later in the rounds and
he starts falling apart. I think that's because he has a lot of inexperience
against American fighters, or even from Cuba, or Mexico, or anywhere. He's
fought in Argentina. So he might be at an disadvantage right there because, I
have a lot of experience with all the fighters. Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto
Ricans - I fought everybody. So I have experience with different types of
FW: What is your reaction toward the recent upsets at 135? WBC champ Stevie
Johnston losing his crown to Cesar Bazan (L 12) and WBA titlist Orzubek
Nazarov losing to Jean-Baptist Mendy (L 12).
Mosley: "Well, I think Steve wasn't ready mentally when he stepped in there
with Cesar Bazan. Maybe the crowd took him out of the fight. I think Steve is
a terrific fighter. Orzubek Nazarov, no one has seen much of him... I think he
was regarded as the number one lightweight at that time so he must have been
pretty good. He must be getting older, he's 32. But the guy who beat him for
the title (Mendy) is 35, so..."
FW: Because of the recent upsets, does this damper your plans of having to
unify the world lightweight championship?
Mosley: "Its kind of hard for me to unify. I don't think my defining fights
will be at lightweight. My defining fights are at 140. I'm kind of debating
whether I should move to 140 or stay at 135. It is a little harder to make 135
sometimes, so I'm caught in the middle."
FW: If you do move up to 140, there is talk of having you meet IBF champ Vince
Phillips, who claims to have the best right-hand in the business.
Mosley: "You know, I won't doubt that! He probably does have the best right
hand in the business. He throws it very well. Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas
Hearns - Hearns had the best right hand in his division at the time, and Sugar
You can't have one punch, you got to have a series of punches. I think Vince
Phillips is an excellent fighter and I respect him very well. I know it will
be a tough fight because he's very strong. It doesn't matter, I just want to
fight all the best in the division."
FW: Is Kostya Tszyu, who Phillips knocked out last year, still one of the best
fighters at 140?
Mosley: "I think Kostya Tszyu is a great fighter too. At 140, you have a lot
to stiff competition and even the ones who are not elite names: Sharmba
Mitchell, Zab Judah, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, and Khalid Rahilou."
FW: Miguel Angel Gonzalez, do you think this guy is over rated? At 135, he
arguably lost to Lamar Murphy, De La Hoya nearly shut him out last year and
Julio Cesar Chavez nearly beat him in March at 140. Although he was the WBC
champion with 11 title defenses as a lightweight, but as he moved up to 140 it
seems as though he left something behind.
Mosley: "All of these guys he is fighting are good fighters. They are
champions. When you get a lot of good fighters in there fighting each other,
they might not seem that they have as much power, speed, or are that good
because.. both of them are equal. But when you have a guy head and shoulders
over another, they're probably just great. It's just they have stiff competition
on the same level, that's what makes it a good fight."
FW: Lets talk about Angel Manfredy. What kind of fight would it be if you were
to fight Angel Manfredy?
Mosley: "It will probably more of a strategy type of fight. It will be a high
tempo fight because, I like to fight at high tempo. Tall, rangy, and I am
strong. Really, I'm not a true lightweight. I'm a junior welter. Its a
difference when a tall man is fighting a smaller man. I really thought with
Arturo Gatti, he hit him and Manfredy hit Gatti. They went back and forth. Gatti
was catching Robinson a little bit, but Robinson had more of the effective
punches. Robinson won. So you gotta weigh it out. I think Gatti's best weight
is 130 for his height and everything. I'm not sure if 135 is his true weight."
FW: I know your thinking of a move up to 140, but have you considered perhaps
waiting on Manfredy to move up to 130. Providing of course Naseem Hamed does
not fight him at 130?
Mosley: "I''ve been at 135 for so long. In fact, I ended my amateur career at
140. I was number one in the nation, in the amateurs for two years at 130. My
thing was, I wanted to go down to 135 and win the lightweight title, win the
different titles to 147. I wasn't really planning to stay at lightweight my
whole career. It might take a toll on my body. Manfredy has room to go to 135
and make that his final weight."
FW: Speaking of 147, you beat Oscar De la Hoya in the amateurs. How much has
he improved since then?
Mosley: "Oscar is showing he has a lot of class inside and outside the
ring.He's a very sharp, accurate type of fighter. The only knock is that
he has not been fighting the best in his division. I know he's a good sharp
fighter and a wonderful person and everything, but I think his promoter Bob
Arum is in the way too much."
FW: Well, He has signed to meet Ike Quartey in November and has taken more
control as to who he fights and when.
Mosley: "And that's good. He's taking it upon himself to take that fight. I
think he believes he's the best and wants to go out there and prove it."
FW: For a world champion he has had a very tough schedule: Five world title
fights last year, three with Quartey being his third in 1998, and already they
are talking about De La Hoya fighting again in February and again May 1999. Is
he taking on a little too much?
Mosley: "No, I think he knows he has to fight these more competitive fights and
he just wants to stay sharp. Which is a smart move."
FW: Your nickname is "Sugar." Are you the next coming of Ray Robinson or Ray
Mosley: "No, I am not the next coming of Sugar Ray Robinson or Sugar Ray
Leonard. I want to be Sugar Shane Mosley, I want to be me. If the people
accept me for who I am and what I can do, that's fine with me - I love that! I
would love to go down in history as the great Ray Leonard and Ray Robinson."
FW: One last question! Mike Tyson goes in front of the Las Vegas Athletic
Commission on Saturday. Should he be granted his license back?
Mosley: "I really think he probably should, because of what he has done for
the sport of boxing. He got all the high rollers, everybody involved in the
sport. Everybody was real excited to see Tyson fight. Now what he does on his
personal end, I really can't talk about. He could get charged.
Its really hard to tell. It's something the people have to get together and
figure out, do they really want Tyson to come back into the sport."
FW: Have his skills eroded?
Mosley: " I don't think his skills have eroded. I think Evander Holyfield has
Tyson's number. They grew up together in the amateurs, so Evander knows Tyson.
I think Tyson is Tyson. He's getting older. The time away in prison may have
zapped away some of his skills, but Tyson can still knock you out. No matter
who it is."
FW: Does Tyson want to fight again?
Mosley: "That is a question you may have to ask him."