There was a lot more going on Friday morning at Denny’s in San Dimas than the ham and eggs. There were questions for boxer Shane Mosley. Important ones. We had them lined up like cars on a freight train.
In essence, they all boiled to different versions of the same thing:
What are you thinking? Isn’t enough enough? Didn’t your parents teach you never to play with fire?
Mosley has been a world boxing champion six times. He has beaten Oscar De La Hoya (twice) and, just three years ago, destroyed the monster myth of Antonio Margarito by kicking sand in the bully’s face and winning on a TKO.
Mosley is also 40 years old. He has had 54 professional fights (46-7-1, with 39 knockouts). By his own count, he had more than 250 amateur fights. In his last six fights, his record is 2-3-1. In his last three, including mega chances for him against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, he has gone 0-2-1. The draw was against Sergio Mora, who made his name on a reality TV boxing show.
Now, come May 5 in Las Vegas, Mosley will fight again. His opponent will be Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who, at 21, is the same age as Mosley’s oldest child. Alvarez is unbeaten in 40 fights and is Golden Boy’s golden boy. The previous owner of that title, De La Hoya, is also the owner of the promotion company that is interested in growing Alvarez’s stature, not Mosley’s.
The Mosley-Alvarez fight isn’t even the main event. That’s Mayweather Jr. versus Miguel Cotto. This time, the Mosley name that has meant sweet music for boxing over the years will play second fiddle.
Among the comments about Mosley from the great unwashed Internet anonymous include the following, in the aftermath of a recent story by Dan Rafael of ESPN.com.
“Stick a fork in him.”
“Mosley is done.”
“He just wants one more paycheck.”
Columnist Mark Whicker of The Orange County Register, always washed and never anonymous, referred to the upcoming fight in a recent column as Alvarez versus “what’s left of Shane Mosley.”
That is the perception. Mosley is a washed-up old guy serving as a punching bag for a young stud. Mosley must need money, or ego adjusting.
Mosley, to his credit, says he understands every bit of this.
“I’d think the same thing, after watching (my) Mayweather and Pacquiao fights,” he says.
All is not what it seems, he says. Mosley also says that it is his fault, because he hurt himself doing silly jock things before each fight. He says he fought Mayweather with torn muscles in his midsection, injured while snowboarding. He says he fought Pacquiao, incredibly, just four months after rupturing his left Achilles’ tendon and having quick secret surgery.
“I was playing basketball in the NBA’s E League (Entertainment League for celebrities) in January of last year,” Mosley says. “I felt something go and I asked the guy next to me why he stepped on my leg. He said he hadn’t. But it suddenly didn’t work.”
One of the other celebrity players knew a doctor, so they helped Mosley to a car, drove him to a nearby volleyball game where the doctor’s daughter was playing, and got the diagnosis. That was a Sunday. The surgery was done Tuesday and Mosley says he couldn’t even run until April, a month before the fight.
After a few rounds against Pacquiao, Mosley looked defensive and immobile. After the lopsided decision, much was made of horrible blisters he had on his right foot, but nothing about the Achilles’. Mosley says he didn’t want that as an excuse, even though just getting into the ring with Pacquiao four months after that type of surgery is incredible. Or incredibly stupid.
Mosley says the blisters were caused because he was favoring the leg with the still-healing Achilles’, which carries an eight-inch scar and was inspected — after the ham and eggs.
Only recently, as promotion for his next fight begins, has there been media mention of an Achilles’ injury.
“TMZ interviewed me just before it happened,” he says. “But then they left.”
In the Mayweather fight, Mosley says he doesn’t think Mayweather knew about his snowboarding injury, but his yanking Mosley’s neck down in clinches aggravated the injury and slowed him that night.
So what we have, if Mosley is to be believed, is a currently healthy fighter, a veteran still capable of performing at a much higher level than he has shown recently. That would mean an ambush of Alvarez.
“It’s really not fair to him,” Mosley says, “to fight a better Shane Mosley than the one who fought Mayweather and Pacquiao.”
He also says that trainer Nazim Richardson will be in his corner because “I owe him. He got a bad rap for his preparation of me for those fights, and it wasn’t his fault.”
Mosley says he doesn’t need the money. He has plenty, and the $650,000 he will get for this one is well below his usual fare. He says he understands the medical concern, that he knows people take a look at Muhammad Ali and dementia-scarred fighters and wonder about him. He says age and health are not an issue.
“I just don’t want to stop this way,” with the memory of the Mayweather and Pacquiao fights, he says.
Hope springs eternal for boxers and Little League fathers. Reality levels are similar but consequences aren’t. Ground balls through the legs can be shrugged off. Heavy punches to the head cannot.
We are pulling for Shane Mosley, and that has nothing to do with the result of a fight.