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Sugar Shane Mosley cements claim as number one pound-for-pound fighter in boxing today.
By Joe Bruno

Nov 7, 2000

O kay, so some of you lugs claim Roy Jones Jr. is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today. And to you ‘awl I ask, “Based on what?” Meaning, “Who has Jones fought that was a credible opponent and actually tested Jones’ ability?”

Richard Hall? Louis DeValle? No no Nanette.

In the first defense of his welterweight title he won by besting Oscar De la Hoya, Sugar Shane put on a masterful display of boxing/power-punching/defense, in systematically dismantling tough and durable Antonio Diaz Saturday night on HBO. Diaz came to fight. But in almost every instance he bulled forward trying to gain an advantage, Diaz plodded into a buzz-saw of Mosley’s punches that hurt, punished and demoralized a man who had never been off his feet in 35 previous professional fights.

In the second round, Mosley hit Diaz with a straight right cross, then clubbed him on the head with another right. Diaz fell to one knee, more dazed than hurt. But it was a portent of things to come.

Mosley again hurt Diaz in the fourth and was one punch from possibly scoring a devastating knockout. But Diaz is nothing but though, and he held on until his head cleared, and finished the round winging punches of his own.

The end came suddenly in round six. Another right hand to the top of Diaz’ head crumbled Diaz in center ring. He was up at one and he took the mandatory eight count. But you could see the confidence ooze right out of Diaz. Mosley switched to a southpaw stance, one of many time he did so in the fight, then fired a right hook behind Diaz’ left ear. Diaz went down, and again rose at the count of one. But referee Arthur Mercante Sr., amazingly spry at 80 years of age, immediately jumped in and waved his hands over his head, signaling the fight was over at 1:36 of round six.

Diaz protested for a moment, but Mercante saved Diaz’ health so he could come back and complete another day, without any lingering affects from more Mosley sledgehammer blows.

''Early in the sixth round he hit me in the back of the head,'' the former junior welterweight Diaz said afterwards. ''I was off balance and then he got me. I'm going right back to 140 (pounds).''

Mosley admitted after the fight he thought Diaz was a 140-pounder and not big enough to take the welterweight champ’s punches.

''I could sense he was pressing and I knew my shots would take a toll,'' Mosley said. ''I knew he was coming up from 140 so I was willing to take more chances because I was stronger than Diaz. I knew he was vulnerable.''

Getting back to Mosley versus Jones for the best pound-for-pound fighter.

Okay, it’s not Jones’ fault his division has about as much talent as the Swiss Navy. But one of the criteria for rating a fighter is how he performs under pressure in the ring with someone armed with enough ammunition to actually win the fight. Mosley has beaten De la Hoya and Diaz. One a great fighter. The other certainly more than competent. Jones has beaten the likes of David Telesco, and a group of pugs so deficient in ring prowess, they would give the Bum of the Month Club a bad name.

If Jones wants to gain respect, he must go up in weight like Mosley did (Mosley moved up two weight divisions from 135 to 147) and fight the smaller heavyweights. Evander Holyfield comes to mind. So does Chris Byrd. If Jones beats the likes of them, why is Lennox Lewis, the best of a bad crop of heavys, out of the question as a possible Jones’ opponent?

People forget Holyfield was champ at the Cruiserweight limit of 190, before he won the heavyweight title. Mike Spinks was also the 175-pound champ before he too secured the heavyweight crown. Bobby Czyz won titles at 175 and 190, but he failed when he moved up to the heavys, being stopped in five by Holyfield. But at least Czyz tried. Why doesn’t Roy Jones take the same plunge?

Maybe it’s because Jones, as talented as he is, doesn’t like the prospect of being hit with a heavyweight’s punch. That too has to be factored in when we evaluate who’s the best pound-for-pound on this planet.

My vote goes to Mosley. That is until Roy Jones adds some poundage, and more importantly, grows some balls.

Don’t bet on it.

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