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 21 KOs. I'm 28-0, with 26 KOs, 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 pickings?
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 fighters."
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 Ray prevailed. 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
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
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
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
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
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."