Shane Mosley: Ready for War

You’ve seen the 24/7 episodes. Read the extensive interviews here with trainers Naazim Richardson and Roger Mayweather. But just 5 days from now, all the hype and opinions cease, and welterweight champion Shane Mosley will seek to seal his legacy by being the first man to defeat Floyd Mayweather, Jr. After dismantling Antonio Margarito nearly […]

You’ve seen the 24/7 episodes. Read the extensive interviews here with trainers Naazim Richardson and Roger Mayweather. But just 5 days from now, all the hype and opinions cease, and welterweight champion Shane Mosley will seek to seal his legacy by being the first man to defeat Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

After dismantling Antonio Margarito nearly 16 months ago, Mosley became the avoided man at welterweight, with writers proclaiming him as the man Floyd Mayweather would never face. Now that the fight is signed, the boxing press and many fans have done a 180, stating due to Shane’s age, inactivity and alleged lack of ring acumen, Mayweather will be the man that’s victorious on May 1. None of that matters to Shane, who spent that last several months with his sole focus on the legacy-altering showdown this Saturday.

Whoever you believe or blame for the fight not happening in the late 90s at lightweight, or in 2006 in welterweight, no one can dispute that no time but now would Mayweather-Mosley be as huge as it is now. I know you can’t reveal everything that’s going down, but talk about what you’ve been focusing on now in camp being that things are now winding down.

Mosley: I’m just working on being comfortable and being the best Sugar Shane Mosley when I get to the ring. I know I have speed and power, and I’m making sure I use those things because that’s what it’s going to be all about [to get the victory]. This isn’t you’re first superfight, but with all the hype with 24/7 and the drug testing, would you say this is your biggest professional fight ever?

Mosley: Yeah this is a pretty big event. The fights with Oscar [De la Hoya] got me to this point. And this one will solidify my spot in history and make my legacy. Have your sparring partners been able to replicate Mayweather’s style well?

Mosley: Thanks to Naazim [Richardson] he’s putting 3 or 4 different guys to build Mayweather’s fight style. One focuses on one part of Mayweather’s style, and the next comes in and does another. But the problem is there is no other Mayweather, because if there was he’d be fighting for the championship right now. I brought this up with Naazim, but I wanted to give you the chance to speak on it. The big rumor for the past week is that you have been looking bad in sparring. What are your thoughts on that?

Mosley: That’s not true, but if people want to believe that they’re entitled to. I don’t know where they would get that rumor from since I train at my house behind closed doors [laughs]. But that’s not accurate at all though. A big criticism of you has always been that you can’t adjust tactics in the ring. Even in our last interview, you admitted that sometimes it costs you when you push for the knockout too much, like in the Miguel Cotto fight. How are you sure now with Mayweather that won’t be the case, and is the previous criticism valid that you have no diversity in your offense and defense?


Mosley: Well if you look at my fight history you see that I do different things. Even in the fights that I score knockouts it’s been with my right and left hand. I can also move and box or I can punch. I can do everything! That’s the difference between me and other fighters; I’m not just some one trick pony. Naazim speaks very highly of you and ranks you among the best fighters he’s ever trained. How does he compare to some of the other trainers you’ve had like your father Jack?

Mosley: Naazim is a strategist, and comes up with different ways to beat guys. One way you can tell a great trainer is if they’ve brought up guys from the grass roots, what they can build from the beginning. Not just getting someone when they are up the top of their game and saying “oh I built this champion,” when they already were great. Greatness shows when you get someone that just walks into the gym and you build him from there. Naazim has done that. He’s brought his son up to being an Olympian and then a professional. And then you see what he’s done with Bernard Hopkins and me. So you can see from that that Naazim is a great trainer. You felt confident in a knockout of Margarito before that fight last year. Do you have a hunch on how you expect the Mayweather fight to go?

Mosley: I think it’s going to be a technical fight. But I think my speed will give him problems [the most]. He’s been fighting a lot of guys that are a lot slower and smaller than him. These guys have been either lightweights or junior welterweights [Writers note: the opponents referenced are Mayweather’s last two opponents: Ricky Hatton and Juan Manuel Marquez]. The guys I’ve been fighting are welter and junior middleweights. S###, Winky Wright right now can fight at super-middleweight! These guys I fight have been big boys, while Mayweather’s guys are kind of small. [That’s a] big difference. Being undefeated has become a big thing in boxing. Do you place more blame on the fighters like Mayweather who harp on that, or the media and television networks?

Mosley: I think it might be more of the media. The great fighters are the ones who lose and come back from adversity. And that’s how you can tell where they are at mentally. You can’t really tell from a person who wins every fight, and frankly I don’t think Mayweather has won all of them. I’ve watched the tapes of a few where he might have lost and it was given to him. So that claim can be kind of questionable. You’re on record as stating the Olympic drug testing has not been a hindrance to training. Instinct-wise from what you’ve seen in this sport and experienced personally with the BALCO scandal, are steroids widespread or just something done by a select few in the sport?

Mosley: I think that in boxing it’s not a big deal. I think people from other sports are infiltrating into the boxing world and trying to figure out ways to make fighters stronger. So the testing is good to block these strengthening trainers from using substances. That’s the problem in the sport. You’re good friends with Manny Pacquiao, and there has been criticism his way for not taking the drug tests. Do you feel his reasons are genuine and he should get the benefit of the doubt, or do you think people have legit reasons to be suspicious?

Mosley: I really don’t know and can’t speak for Pacquiao. [Pauses] I can’t say what he really believes. But I don’t think he’d jeopardize his career and put himself in that position. Before the Berto fight, you told me you had been watching tapes of Roberto Duran’s fights with Edwin Viruet, and gotten some ideas. Have you been watching any past legends and gotten any ideas of how to go at Mayweather?

Mosley: I’ve been watching a lot of Sugar Ray Leonard. I watched the fight of him and Floyd’s father. [Writer’s Note: Leonard TKO’d Floyd Mayweather, Sr. in 1978]. It’s always good watching Roberto Duran against other fighters, the way he goes about it. You can learn from the older fighters. Back then, they fought hard and for pride. Tommy Hearns and guys like that. You brought up Winky Wright earlier. If you would have gotten past him, there was a fight waiting with Felix Trinidad. That would have been a great fight. How would you have approached that bout circa 2004?

Mosley: Probably like Winky did, just outbox him. Trinidad was a very hard puncher with the left hook, but you see how Oscar did, you can outbox him. I might have been able to put him on the floor a few times with the power. There’s the speed advantage, too.

Mosley: Yeah, speed of the hand and foot. And the timing is there with me. You, Pacquiao, and Mayweather are the top guys at welterweight. Even though we don’t have a 4th guy, it reminds me of the Fab Four of Leonard, Hearns, Duran, and Hagler in the 80’s. Can you see that happening where you 3 all end up fighting each other?

Mosley: It could happen that way. You have one willing fighter [in me], maybe two [in Pacquiao]. We just need the other one to get into it as well. That would help boxing and get it on the plane it’s supposed to be on. You’ve said that after you beat Mayweather he’s going to go into retirement. Based on that statement, do you believe Mayweather doesn’t have the mentality to come back from defeat based on how important his undefeated record is to him?

Mosley: That is yet to be seen, even though I’ve said different things about knocking him out. We’ll see what he does after May 1. Thanks for your time champ and good luck on fight night.

Mosley: No problem and thank you.

Writer’s Note: The wait is nearly over. The final 24/7 episode airs on Friday (April 30) at 8:30PM. Mayweather-Mosley will be live this Saturday, May 1 on HBO PPV. I will be Las Vegas providing extensive coverage of all news and developments. Don’t miss it!