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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Almost 40 and facing Pacquiao, Shane Mosley faces scrutiny

Saturday, May 7, 2011

He's a few months shy of 40 and coming off a sluggish performance against an inferior opponent. He has two losses and a draw in his last five fights and finds himself constantly being questioned about losing much of the hand and foot speed that made him one of the great fighters of his generation.

  • Trainer Naazim Richardson, right, says,

    By Reed Saxon, AP

    Trainer Naazim Richardson, right, says, "We shouldn't count out these older guys," referring to Shane Mosley and others.

By Reed Saxon, AP

Trainer Naazim Richardson, right, says, "We shouldn't count out these older guys," referring to Shane Mosley and others.

So "Sugar" Shane Mosley must be ready for boxing's scrap heap, forced to take cheap fights against rising stars just to provide a name for the promotion, right?


Mosley remains a major draw, getting the best fights and biggest paydays that can be made in the sport. He has fought two of boxing's biggest draws in the last three years, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto, losing unanimous decisions to both.

And despite a draw vs. Sergio Mora in his last fight, Mosley will again be on boxing's main stage May 7 when he takes on global superstar Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight title fight (Showtime pay-per-view, 9 p.m. ET) at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) is getting maximum exposure as Pacquiao's handpicked opponent. He is part of Showtime's reality series Fight Camp 360, of which the hour-long Part 3 will be aired at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Showtime's parent company, CBS.

According to Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, Mosley is guaranteed $5 million for the fight while Pacquiao is guaranteed $20 million.

Asked during a conference call Tuesday how he keeps getting big fights, the former four-time champion cited knockout power.

"People see my power, and they know that it's going to be an exciting fight," he said. "If (opponents) can get past the power, they can win the fight.

"And the fans choose to see knockouts. What kind of risks do they take? Is Shane going to knock Manny out, or is Manny going to knock Shane out? What's going to happen?

"The unpredictability in the fight. That's what gets people aroused. Anything can happen."

Mosley's trainer, Naazim Richardson, who also trains ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins, says people shouldn't put too much stock into Mosley's age.

"You saw the Erik Morales (vs. Marcos Maidana) fight. You saw the (Jean) Pascal-Hopkins fight," Richardson said. "We keep trotting these older guys out. These aren't just old men who box. These are legendary fighters who have age on them now.

"There's a difference between a legendary fighter who has age and an old boxer. … We shouldn't count out these older guys. We forget that they were special. And when special gets old, it can still be extraordinary."

Older usually means slower for a fighter. But Mosley answers the question of whether his speed is enough to keep up with Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), an ultra-quick punching machine, in two words: Antonio Margarito.

Mosley and Pacquiao handily defeated Margarito: Mosley by a ninth-round TKO, and Pacquiao by a punishing 12-round decision. But Mosley's win came on the night Margarito was caught with a hardened substance in his hand wraps, while Pacquiao's came after Margarito's lengthy suspension in the USA for the illegal wraps.

"Margarito landed the most punches ever on Manny Pacquiao," Mosley said. "If Margarito is fast enough to land punches on Pacquiao, I know I'm fast enough to land punches on Pacquiao."

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