By Ishe Smith
If you would have asked me this question on May 2nd - I would have quickly answered "no" - and then followed that up with some friendly advice for Shane Mosley to contemplate the possibility of retirement. Then again, it was Floyd Mayweather Jr. who beat him on May 1. Let’s be honest, Mayweather is arguably one of the best fighters of this era.
So why are we questioning Mosley?
Well it's simple, the fighter is not being questioned because of his age, but because of the way he was dominated. However, prior to being dominated, Shane managed to hurt Floyd in the second round in a manner which nobody else has been able to accomplish in the past. But after that exciting second round, he was soundly beaten and in my eyes never won another round in the fight. Does Shane still have "Sugar" in his tank? That’s the million dollar question everyone wants to know. It's the biggest question that hovers above his upcoming fight against Sergio Mora on Saturday night.
Mosley has wowed us ever since he went up two weight divisions and beat Oscar De La Hoya a little over 10 years ago. Ironically, Mosley will be returning to the same venue to fight Mora. Call it destiny or just call it plain luck, but almost 10 years later to the day, in the same place where we all fell in love with Mosley, may be the same place we say goodbye to the man known as Sugar Shane.
To his credit Mosley has turned in some big performances at the Staples Center. Shane knocked out Antonio Magarito in January 2009; a fight where many experts predicted he would lose. The question is not what Mora can do, but what Mosley is going to do, and what does he have left.
For the time being I am going to throw the Mayweather defeat out the window. There are few opponents who Mayweather hasn’t done that too. God rest his soul, but my good friend Diego Corrales did not look good against Mayweather, either. But after that fight Corrales went on to win some big contests and most definitely is a future hall of famer. Another example, Juan Manuel Marquez recently looked dazed and confused against Mayweather. We can all agree that after his recent fight with Juan Diaz, the Mexican champion still has a lot left in his tank, and much more than he displayed against Floyd Mayweather.
When it comes to fighter intangibles, there is absolutely no comparison. Shane is faster, stronger, and smarter than Sergio. Quite frankly, Sergio couldn’t bust a egg if you partly cracked it for him, but what he lacks in power he makes up in awkwardness.
Sergio is probably one of the most awkward fighters in boxing today. He gives you elusive angles from every position, and he always switches from southpaw to orthodox. In my eyes, that is going to give Shane a lot of problems. Mora also has decent hand speed to go along with his very awkward style.
Mora’s claim to fame was winning "The Contender" reality series back in 2005. "The Contender" was a show that really catered to his style at the time. They used a small ring, and there was a five round format, and great hometown California judges.
But in all seriousness, Mora proved a lot of doubters and haters wrong when he defeated the late Vernon Forrest, and that's something Mosley failed to do in the amateurs and twice as a professional. I had the pleasure of being one of Vernon’s sparring partners for the second Mora fight. There were whispers throughout camp that Vernon had not taken Sergio serious the first time around, which is not Mora’s fault by no means, but the second time around he did take him serious. Vernon had great sparring partners, and we all witnessed what happened. Nonetheless, you cannot take away from Mora’s victory in their first meeting.
There is really no big upside to either guy winning this fight. If Shane wins, many people will say "who is Sergio Mora, he got lucky and beat one name guy." Should Mora win this fight, people would echo the same tune, "Shane was done after fighting Mayweather. No way does Mora beat a prime Mosely."
Why are they fighting then, you ask? Well it’s simple. In boxing we have something called "passing of the torch." In every decade, many fighters have gone through this process. Sugar Ray, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Pernell Whitaker, and most recently we witnessed Roy Jones Jr. go through the same scenario. Every great fighter has passed the torch at some point. Should Shane lose, it would be another torch passing. Should he win, he will survive to fight on. If Mora loses, it will be a big setback for him.
In defeat, Golden Boy may question Mora's worth in their stable. Mora’s time is now and he must strike while the iron is hot....no matter what people may say. Make no mistake about it, if Shane wins impressively he will be able to secure at least another big fight.
The question is, what type of fight are we going to get on Saturday? Is this going to be another Ali vs. Holmes, Norris vs Sugar Ray, or can we expect a B-Hop type performance. Time and time again, a lot of people have counted Shane out and he continues to shock us all. That’s a question even I can't answer. It’s a tough call. I’m leaning towards Mora for the moment, and I could easily lean in the other direction by the time they step in the ring. Either way, we have got to respect Shane as a fighter.
In this day and age where fighters duck the big challenges, and where fans demand rematches and never get them, Shane is the closest thing to an "old school" prizefighter. He has always given the fans quality fights, rematches, and tantalizing performances. The great Bernard Hopkins continues to display the old logic - "age is nothing but a number" - but can Mosley show us the same thing this Saturday?