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When ‘Sugar’ turns Sour: Shane Mosley’s anticlimactic goodbye

Shane MosleyBy Michael Brady: The vast majority of the boxing world had written off Shane Mosley and every chance he had at overthrowing Manny Pacquiao two weeks ago, what the public took for granted however; was the fact that Shane hadn’t done this himself.

Sugar Shane Mosley was an excellent fighter, a former three weight world champion and undisputed pound for pound king; a place in boxing’s hall of fame will cap his glittering list of achievements. In a nutshell Shane Mosley was an elite warrior in the sport of boxing and no pundit, no fighter, no fan can ever change that; they can however tarnish it.

Take a gold plated ring for example; at its very best it boasts a captivating and unrivaled gleam, throughout the process of time and age however, it eventually becomes dulled by dirt and marred by wear; ultimately losing its impeccable sheen. This process is inevitable, nevertheless nothing can alter what it used to be, it’s a fact, it’s part of its history.

The same applies to Shane, who at the very pinnacle of his career was one of the most formidable and exciting fighters on the planet, beating the likes of Oscar De La Hoya along the way. He amassed a sensational lightweight record of 34 wins 0 losses and 32 knockouts and cemented himself as one of the top 135lb fighters in the history of the sport; racking up 9 world title defences and successfully stopping every opponent that challenged him for his IBF strap.

Many people, for good reason feel Antonio Margarito was Shane Mosley’s ‘last hurrah’ and they’d be correct, however it really shouldn’t have been. His brutal 12th round knockout over Ricardo Mayorga should have been Mosley’s last real prominent fight. Antonio Margarito was not the type of man Shane should have just walked through; it should have been no less than a gruelling, back and forth battle.

– Fights can be won before anybody sets foot in the ring

This was never more evident than in the Margarito clash; I’m by no means discrediting Mosley’s performance on that night, he boxed in an incredible and heroic fashion; however I strongly feel he managed unlock a door he should never have had the key for.

Moments before the fight Antonio Margarito was caught with his pants down, sporting enough plaster to sink his career even faster than Shane could. His dirty little secret had been unraveled and made clear for the entire boxing world to see.
It was an act that was nothing short of disgusting, an act which really should have led to Margarito receiving a permanent suspension from the sport, along with a prison sentence. These were two scenarios that were perfectly feasible at that moment, and two scenarios which would have been racing through the mind of the ‘Tijuana Tornado’. It was this psychological tear that allowed Shane to shine in a way that was reminiscent of his lightweight days, a way which made him look a higher calibre than he actually was at the point in his career.

This explains why Shane was really unable to do himself justice in his next three fights, opting to take on the two best fighters on the planet… and Sergio Mora, who should just stay on the outskirts of the top 20 now and count himself lucky to have walked away with that dubious draw.

The fans on the other hand can count themselves lucky they didn’t have to endure a rematch that would have surely been an even more spectacular flop.

Being dominated by Mayweather again does not necessarily mean a fighter cannot hang with the other elites in sport; he has the type of style that can make any top fighter look ordinary. Shane had his shock and awe moment in round two and claimed the most memorable round of the fight. The surrounding rounds really were all Mayweather.

The real wake up call should have been the struggle he had with Sergio Mora, a fighter that Shane ‘should’ have walked through. Even though I felt he won the fight he looked like he was forcing his work and was messy throughout. Only a fighter with such an astute pedigree could earn yet another mega-fight after two unsatisfactory performances and Manny Pacquiao proved to be an utter whitewash. A faustian deal was done on Mosley’s part, taking a guaranteed $5 million to ease him into his retirement. He did this at the expense of his legacy, he has not lost anything, instead he has just tarnished the end and failed to go out on that glorious high note he really deserved… But then for that sort of money most of us would probably have done the same thing.

I don’t expect Shane to retire just yet, even though there is nothing more he can gain from the sport, and nobody wants to see him incur anymore damage. The likelihood is he will stay a while longer, eventually becoming a gatekeeper for up and comers and he could be a successful B level fighter, there’s just nothing for him to gain from the process and nobody can beat father time. Ideally he’d bottle the invaluable knowledge and experience he has collected over the years and pass it onto a new generation of boxers.

The time he decides to retire will be when he finally accepts that the dog has had its day and now deserves a long and peaceful retirement, with fans remembering the prime, thrilling Shane Mosley that donned the pound for pound crown; not the Shane that clung so desperately to the sport and slowly faded away.

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