Earlier this month, Sugar Shane Mosley celebrated his 39th birthday. At an age when most fighters are slowly adjusting to life after boxing, Mosley is looking to climb the ladder again after a high-profile loss to Floyd Mayweather back in May. Standing in front of him is a bigger, slick boxer in Sergio Mora, who has his own aspirations of stardom. The fight is a huge gamble, and another example from Mosleys career that he will face anyone regardless of the style matchup.
Several questions remain unanswered from the Mayweather fight. Was it simply an off-night to a defensive wizard, or has Father Time caught up with Mosley? Can junior middleweight rejuvenate him, or will the young guns there close the book on him? Does he go after the Pacquiao-Margarito winner or a Miguel Cotto rematch after Mora? Whatever he decides, Shane Mosley has one message for the fans.
Dont count him out just yet.
AllHipHop.com: Youre still a name fighter even after the Mayweather loss. What made you go with Sergio Mora instead of shooting for one of the belt holders at 154?
Mosley: I think hes fought a lot of solid guys, and hes coming down from 160 to 154. Hes from LA, and thatll help to bring in a lot of fans from the California area to the Staples Center. Were both hometown guys so its going to be a very exciting fight.
AllHipHop.com: This isnt your first time at junior middleweight, but you had moved back down to welterweight a few years ago to get some of the bigger names. When you did that, you said you needed a few fights to adjust. How has your body adjusted to being back up at a higher weight?
Mosley: I think I feel more comfortable now compared to 154. I dont really have to make the weight. I feel real sharp right now and ready to go.
AllHipHop.com: Will you be jumping back and forth between 147 and 154?
Mosley: I think I can still get to 147 if I wanted to. If there are fights I need to take there Ill do it. Right now my body limit is between 147 and 154.
AllHipHop.com: After the Mayweather fight you mentioned that you had experienced neck problems during the fight. Was that due to the jabs you were taking from Mayweather or another problem that had to be addressed afterward?
Mosley: Well, it was right up in my neck during the fight. When I looked up in the fourth or fifth round, I was just tight. The jabs didnt do it, and it unfortunately happened after I hit him with good shots in the second round. It is what it is.
AllHipHop.com: Overall, how would you assess Mayweathers physical strength and his style in the ring now that youve faced him?
Mosley: Mayweather had decent power but it wasnt like whoa, this guy can hit. His ability to move is really good. It just wasnt my night. But if we fought again, we could assess a little better. There were a lot of things I couldnt do, and he was just better that night.
AllHipHop.com: If you did get a rematch Im assuming youd want it at 154?
Mosley: 147 or 154, it doesnt matter. Im even good in the middle at 150.
AllHipHop.com: Strategy-wise, has it been easier preparing for Mora?
Mosley: With Mora he gives more angles. He switches between right-handed and southpaw, so its a little different. Its a little hard to prepare for someone whose style is kind of crazy. But Im doing pretty good.
AllHipHop.com: The junior middleweight division is getting strong with Pacquiao, Margarito, Miguel Cotto and Paul Williams. Assess the landscape of the division from your perspective.
Mosley: A lot of guys are moving from 47 to 54. Overall Id say its one of the best divisions in the sport.
AllHipHop.com: If you win, would you be ready to go right after one of the champions?
Mosley: Yes, I think I can go at one of the world champions right now! But I would have had to sit on the sidelines and Id rather not wait again. Sergio Mora was the best opportunity right now.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of sitting on the sidelines, much of that was out of your control like the Haiti earthquake canceling the Berto fight. Being that youve just turned 39, how active do you want to be going forward?
Mosley: Next if I can get in the ring soon with the Pacquiao-Margarito winner or a Cotto rematch that would be great.
AllHipHop.com: You werent able to get Pacquiao in 2009, but you did face Margarito. How do you see their matchup going?
Mosley: I think Pacquiao comes out on top because he throws a lot of punches and hes accurate. Margarito is definitely a tough fighter. Hes throws a lot of punches and hes consistent. Styles make fights and itll look completely different from when I fought him.
AllHipHop.com: Golden Boy has been stacking the undercard recently for their PPV fights. Is there anyone youre looking forward to seeing as a fan?
Mosley: I definitely want to see how Victor Ortiz and Saul Alvarez do as young guys. They are hot prospects coming up. Daniel Ponce de Leon is a good puncher. The undercard will be real exciting.
AllHipHop.com: Victor Ortiz mentioned you as someone that gave him good encouragement after he was upset by Marcos Maidana last year. Do you remember what you said to him?
Mosley: I told him those kinds of things can happen when youve fought a lot of fights. But you just got to come back. With that fight all kinds of different things were going through his head. I told him to go home; figure things out and then say what you have to say [to media and fans]. I think he did that and here he is back to fighting.
AllHipHop.com: After such a great career, what is your motivation to keep fighting?
Mosley: Well, I love to fight. I love to do it and Im in great shape to do it and keep beating these guys. Theres still great fights out there for me, so why not go out there and fight them?
AllHipHop.com: Do you think fans have too much information about the contract issues like what happened with Haye and the Klitschkos and Mayweather-Pacquiao?
Mosley: Yeah I think they should be a little more secretive until after the fight. When fans know about these things it can make one fighter feel slighted if something gets out. So that would help if the fans did not know as much.
AllHipHop.com: The biggest non-fight of the year is Mayweather-Pacquiao. If they did fight who is your pick?
Mosley: Thats a pick em fight, I really dont know. Mayweather is the better boxer, but Pacquiao has that southpaw stance to give Mayweather problems. So it can go either way.
AllHipHop.com: What strategy is going to work best for Mora? Will you be aggressive and walk him down, or use more a counter-punching approach?
Mosley: I think Ill have to mix both. Hes a mover so Ill have to pressure him, too. Hes bigger, so theres going to be a lot of punches thrown.
AllHipHop.com: Margarito was bigger size-wise than you, but you were actually stronger physically. Do you expect the same against Mora?
Mosley: Im not sure, but I do know Ill have more punching power. To me, that will be the difference.
AllHipHop.com: Alright Shane, good luck Saturday night. Any final words?
Mosley: Thanks for everything and you guys make sure you follow me on Twitter @SugarShaneM.
Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora airs live on PPV from LAs Staples Center tomorrow night (September 18) at 9PM ET. Ismael AbduSalaam is a senior staff writer for AllHipHop.com, and the creator of Beats, Boxing and Mayhem, a website specializing in boxing and Hip-Hop coverage.