One night this summer, as I sat in a local bar watching Friday Night Fights, a clip between bouts showed Shane Mosley battering a string of opponents. When the video sequence showed Mosley smacking around Oscar de la Hoya, the bartender perked up and asked, “Who’s the guy kicking de la Hoya’s ass?”
Since life is not fair, the general public tends to associate boxing with the personal drama invoked every time Mike Tyson adjusts his medication. Consummate professionals like Shane Mosley take care of business and win like Pete Sampras, with little pomp and circumstance. He doesn’t carry his opponents like Roy Jones Jr. Chumps get knocked out quick.
To my knowledge, Mosley is not simultaneously working on the rap album that shows he has mad skills, a cameo in a blockbuster movie and the choreography for his next entrance into the ring. His focus on solely boxing is admirable, if not enough to worm his way into the consciousness of bartenders everywhere.
In probably his last fight at welterweight, Mosley faces Vernon Forrest this Saturday on HBO. Forrest has been touted as the only man ever to defeat Mosley, having beaten him in the 1992 Olympic Trials. It seems an odd way to promote the fight, emphasizing Forrest’s amateur victory. Henry Tillman beat Mike Tyson in the 1984 Olympic Trials. Remember Henry Tillman? I think Tyson ate Tillman’s children after their lopsided professional rematch.
Still, Forrest wields a stone of a right hand, and this won’t be an easy fight for Sugar Shane. Mosley’s hand speed and precision with six-to-eight punch combinations stack up with Jones’, but he has shown that he can be hit. In Mosley’s first fight at 147 lbs. with Wilfredo Rivera, he ate multiple right hands on the inside from a fighter not known for his quickness.
While Mosley showed against Rivera, and more tellingly, de la Hoya, that he has a chin and will fight inside, Forrest will crack him early, probably doubling up with a short left hook. It will be interesting to see how Mosley responds.
I see this fight going the distance, unless Mosley jumps on Forrest from the opening bell like Floyd Mayweather Jr. did against Angel Manfredy. My guess is that Mosley is going to fight cautiously the first 4 or 5 rounds and use his speed advantage to work Forrest from the outside.
Forrest may have a slight reach advantage, but it shouldn’t present too much of a problem for Mosley, who simply works angles better than anybody this side of Marco Antonia Barrera. Once Mosley gets through that first right hand (if Forrest can land one cleanly), he should wear him down in the later rounds.
Sports fans, every chance to see Shane Mosley box is an opportunity not to be missed. If Forrest happens to beat him, you can brag to your friends that you witnessed one of the great upsets of the year.