Sugar Shane Mosley made a rare San Francisco appearance on October 20, 2001 as a new spokesman for Everlast sports gear. A lunchtime crowd of nearly 200 stuffed themselves into the cramped Macy's Men's Department to see Mosley participate in a short public workout. Accompanied by his father/trainer/manager, Jack, the welterweight champion shadowboxed, hit the mitts, and worked the speedbag in a tiny 8' foot ring before signing autographs for the adoring crowd. An hour before the event, Boxing Chronicle Editor Chris Bushnell sat down with Mosley one on one in a conference room to discuss the state of his career.
Boxing Chronicle: First question: Is the Winky Wright fight a done deal?
Shane Mosley: It's just about a done deal. It's so close to being finalized. There are still a few monetary issues that need to be finalized. But on my side, I'm ready to go, I'm ready to fight. I think on his side, his management, J Prince, wants to try to milk some more money out of Bob Arum, or me, or somebody.
BC: Why Winky Wright?
Mosley: Because Winky is the junior middleweight champion. That's what I'm looking for, I'm looking to collect titles. At the 154 lb. limit you have Winky, you have Oscar, and you have Vargas. Those are potentially mega-fights.
BC: Do you see this as a tough fight for you or do you think already have Winky figured out?
Mosley: Well, I think I have a lot of fighters figured out, because I've been doing it so long, 21 years. With Winky, I don't think it will be an easy fight, but I will do a spectacular job of doing the movement and throwing a lot of combinations and giving the fans what they want to see.
BC: Is there a different mindset when you're the challenger?
Mosley: In my heart, I feel like I'm a champion all the time. Moving up or moving down, I feel like the champion. I think, in Winky's eyes, he's gonna feel like the challenger.
BC: What will be the most important thing you're going to have to do in that fight: establish your jab, work the body, move? Is there one area that's going to be the key?
Mosley: I think the most important thing is to be in great shape. Winky is a conditioned fighter. He comes right at you with his hands high. I think that I'll have to throw a lot of combinations and use a lot of movement. Basically, don't change anything. Do the same thing that I've been doing as a welterweight and just bring it to the junior middleweight division.
BC: Can you still make 147 easily?
Mosley: My last fight was hard to make 147.
BC: What kinds of things do you have to go through to make weight?
Mosley: Right before [the weigh in], I don't really eat much.
BC: Is it as crazy as making 135 had become?
Mosley: Oh, not nearly.
BC: What kinds of things did you have to do make weight at lightweight?
Mosley: Well, I literally wouldn't eat for two days and I'd still be 138. I would have to shadow box in the shower and the steam to lose the last three pounds. Like with John Brown, I was weak. I would hit the guy and my hand was so brittle it would hurt right away.
BC: What's the hardest part about moving up in weight? Is it dealing with bigger opponents or making your body do what you want it to do while carrying the extra weight?
Mosley: Making you body do what you want it to do while you're carrying more weight on your shoulders. You have to make sure that it's not just water weight, that it's muscle. That's the most important thing.
BC: Do you think the guys at 154 will hit harder or is a punch just a punch?
Mosley: A punch is a punch, basically. When you move up in weight, you take a better shot anyway.
BC: How bummed are you that you didn't get to fight Vernon Forrest before moving up?
Mosley: I was kinda bummed. I was disappointed with Vernon Forrest's camp, that they would be so greedy and try so hard to push me in a corner to make a fight when, in fact, it was him that needed me not me that needed him. I didn't need him, I'm doing him a favor. Because the media says "Shane needs a defining fight," they took it upon themselves to try and put the dagger in me. I was going to move up to 154 anyway. I was trying to do the welterweight division a favor by fighting both of them [Forrest and Six Heads Lewis] and giving them the honor of fighting me before I moved to 154. I was going [to 154] anyway.
BC: Was the breakdown over money?
Mosley: They were jerking me around with money, with dates. They were trying to make me take less than what I took for Adrian Stone, a regular fight. I was gonna take less because I would have to pay them extra money. And I was like, "Well, I really don't need you guys, you need me." So I said, "Okay. Since you guys want to play that game, I'll go ahead and move to 154, like I planned to, anyway." The action is at 154 anyway. That action is not at 147 anymore. I'm the action at 147. But, they didn't understand that, so I'm going to 154 where I'm supposed to be and enter into the junior middleweight tournament.
BC: Will you ever go back down to 147?
BC: When you thought about a fight with Vernon Forrest, did you instantly know how you'd fight him because you're so familiar with each other?
Mosley: Yeah. Vernon is basically a tee-off type of fighter. He's basically a jab, jab, right hand, and occasionally left body shot and left hook. He doesn't throw rapid fire, boom, boom, boom. It's not like it was going to be a hard time outpointing him, or even knocking him out. I think that I would probably get him out of there because he commits too much to his shots.
BC: How sick of are you of people asking you when you're going to fight De la Hoya again, since you already beat him once?
Mosley: It bothers me a little bit, because it's like, I beat the guy and I even offered him the rematch and he didn't take it. Don't come to me and ask me. Go to De la Hoya and ask him why he isn't fighting Shane again, because Shane is available.
BC: It doesn't seem like De la Hoya wants to fight anyone too tough. Is that your take on him?
Mosley: Well, I think he wants to milk it a little bit, build up his courage, and then do it again. Maybe he might still want to fight Trinidad again. If he can get that rematch with Trinidad, then maybe build up some nerve to fight me. I don't know. I just want to go in there and fight all of them.
BC: If you fight De la Hoya at 154, do you have the advantage at that weight?
Mosley: [smiles wide] I think so.
BC: Why is that?
Mosley: I think that I'll be stronger. I think that I'm stronger than people think and they are going to believe. I carry a lot of power.
BC: What surprised you most about De la Hoya when you fought?
Mosley: I already knew, but it surprised me how quick his left hook was. He has a real fast left hook. His jab was very good, too. The jab and the left side. There wasn't really a question, but it was like "wow, it's really that quick." It's like a jab, that hook just comes right away.
BC: What do you think of him doing this whole Mayweather-shoulder thing?
Mosley: [laughs] That's not his style. It works for certain people. But for the type of fighter he is, I don't think that style is conducive to his style.
BC: You're here promoting Everlast gloves. Are you going to wear Everlast gloves in the ring?
Mosley: We're looking to make a Sugar Shane mold that fits comfortable. And I'll probably wear Everlast gloves [when they finish] the Sugar Shane style.
BC: Do you think the brand of gloves make a big difference?
Mosley: I was always a Reyes person. I love Reyes. I think it does make a difference to me, psychologically. You want everything to be perfect when you jump in the ring. You don't want to be thinking "Aw, it's not fitting right. I can't hit him the way I want," and be concentrating on the glove. You never want to concentrate on the glove, the only thing you want to concentrate on is the fighter.
BC: You fought only twice in 2001, is that enough for you?
Mosley: That's not enough for me. I'd like to fight at least three or four times a year. We're gonna try and build that up next year. I think we can get three fights in.
BC: If you could wave a magic wand, and make your ideal schedule, what would it be?
Mosley: Well, it's not that easy. But the order would probably be Winky, then a Top Ten opponent, then either Vargas or Oscar, then another Top Ten Opponent, then Vargas or Oscar. That's five, but everything is so tentative.
BC: What's the most underrated part of your game?
Mosley: I try to do everything in the ring, and I don't leave nothing out. They used to talk about my body shots, but they don't talk about that as much. But I don't throw as much, probably.
BC: Is there a reason you don't throw as many body shots at the higher weights?
Mosley: I think that I just stopped throwing them as much because the head shots are easier to get in. Whatever is available to me, I take it. So if you cover up your head, like Winky does, then you're probably gonna get a lot of body shots, and some good ones.
BC: When you're flattening opponents, is there a temptation to rely on your power?
Mosley: No, I don't rely on my power. I rely on my skills and my speed and the power just happens to come with it. If I don't knock 'em out, I just keep pounding them until they get knocked out. If they don't get knocked out, then we just go the whole 12 rounds and I'll win on points because I work hard and hit hard.
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