Exclusive Interview: Shane Mosley
by Geoffrey Ciani - Sugar Shane Mosley is currently the top dog in the welterweight division. His impressive destruction of Antonio Margarito earlier this year left no doubts about it. In recent weeks and months, Mosley has made his intentions clear—he still wants to take on the best in the division, whether it is a fight with Floyd Mayweather, a fight with Manny Pacquiao, a rematch with Miguel Cotto, or a battle with any of the other top contenders in the 147 pound weight class. I was recently afforded the opportunity to have a nice chat with the welter weight champion. Here is what he had to say:
Q: You were in attendance for the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez bout. What is your evaluation of Mayweather’s performance?
A: Well, I really couldn’t evaluate it because he fought a junior lightweight and the lightweight champion. I couldn’t tell if he actually improved or anything because he was so much bigger than the guy, but from what I had seen he looked like he has his speed back, he looked pretty sharp, but look at the opponent he was facing..
Q: After the fight you actually challenged Floyd Mayweather and many observers, according to what I have read, noted that Mayweather appeared intimidated by you. Did you get that impression at the time?
A: Well, I’ve always known that Floyd is intimidated by me. I mean, I see him out at different places and he’s intimidated, he doesn’t really want to fight me. He would much rather fight guys that he could handpick and get victories from and basically just get money. He can make money fighting Marquez, make money fighting (Manny) Pacquiao, and make money fighting the Ricky Hattons of the world, but when is he going to get in there with a welterweight again? With a real welterweight? I mean, there’s myself—the number one welterweight—and there’s (Miguel) Cotto,(Joshua) Clottey, and (Andre) Berto. We have four welterweights that he hasn’t fought.
Q: After you challenged him, a week later, Mayweather wished you good luck in your career which seemed to indicate he’s not interested in fighting you. He also mentioned that he challenged you twice, and he claims that you turned him down back in 1999 and again in 2006. Did you really turn him down?
A: Like I said, he’s really a liar. He likes to lie a lot. In 1999 there’s a film where he’s fighting in Michigan when he was fighting at 130 and I was fighting at 135, and I asked him, like when HBO does the prefight analysts talk to the fighters before they fight. I talked to him, and hopefully it’s recorded somewhere—I think it was on FX—I asked him, “Are you planning on coming up to lightweight to fight me?” And he said, “No,” He had no intention of coming to lightweight to fight me, he wanted t beat Carlos Monzon’s record. He didn’t want to come to lightweight. That’s when I jumped from lightweight to welterweight to fight Oscar De La Hoya. That was the first incident that he’s talking about, so he turned me down in 1999.
Now, the other time he’s talking about is when I fought three times—one, two, three, back-to-back-to-back—and they tried to rush me to fight him right away, like two or three months later. I said, give me a month, and we’ll do it like, I think it was in January—I said, “We’ll do it in January”. They wanted to do it in like November or December, and I said, “Give me a month and we’ll do it in January or February.” They didn’t want to do that. So they chose to fight Oscar De La Hoya. I said, “Go ahead and fight Oscar, and if you beat Oscar, then let’s get busy. Let’s do this.” He beat Oscar—he didn’t want to fight me.
He’s been turning me down. I hate when he continues to say, “Oh, he turned me down because of a tooth ache”. Yeah. I got head butted in that fight that and my tooth was loose that night. They asked me to fight Mayweather and I said, “Give me an extra month, and I’ll fight him.” He didn’t want to fight me, which was cool. He could go and fight Oscar because that’s more money. Okay. That’s cool, but after that fight if you win—fight me. He didn’t want to do that. He chose to retire or fight somebody else. I’m getting tired of that lie! They need to wipe that lie out of there. The reporters and stuff, they keep saying it, so that lie needs to be talked about.
Q: Now Shane, on a recent edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio, I actually had a chance to speak with Floyd Mayweather Senior and I asked him who he thought would pose the toughest challenge to his son from 147 down, and he said, “Shane Mosley”. Style-wise, why do you think Floyd Senior views you as the biggest threat to his son?
I’m the biggest threat to anybody at the welterweight division. Nobody can beat me. He knows that. All the fighters know that. It’s just the writers and some of the fans that don’t really know. They’re undecided. I’m really pound for pound the best. I am the best, right now. They can’t beat me. Floyd can’t beat me, Manny Pacquiao can’t be me—I am the best at welterweight. That’s why I have to go up to junior middleweight and fight people up there because welterweight is my division. They can’t beat me. I’m the King of that division.
Q: Now changing things up a little bit, I’m just curious, what are your thoughts on the upcoming fight between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto?
A: I think that’s going to be a lot better than the fight with Mayweather and Marquez. I know that Manny Pacquiao is real fast with movement, but I think Cotto tells a lot of the truth in this matter, that he is a real welterweight. He’s a real welterweight, he’s fought real welterweights, he’s been in the ring and he knows how to fight. He knows how to fight smaller guys better. He beat Zab Judah, who was a good southpaw, and he beat Carlos Quintana who is a southpaw and he beat them down. He knows how to fight smaller southpaws, so I think it’s going to be a good fight. It should be interesting.
Q: If a fight between you and Floyd does not materialize, would you be interested in taking on the winner of Pacquiao-Cotto?
A: Of course. Right now I gave Richard Shaffer the instructions to find somebody that wants to fight, and that’s sad because I’m the welterweight champion. I’m the number one guy. I told him just let me know what date I have, and I’ll show up, and let me know who is going to be in the ring so I can prepare. I don’t care.
Q: In your last fight, you looked spectacular in your winning effort against Antonio Margarito in a fight a lot of people thought you were going to lose. This was the first time you ever worked with Nazeem Richardson in your corner. Can you tell us a little bit about your experiences working with Richardson and what he was able to bring to the table in terms of helping your prepare for that fight?
A: Well me and Nazeem share the same views about boxing and the fight game. He’s truly a student of the sport, just like I am, so we clicked very well. We’ll go over different things and it’s like me watching myself outside the ring. It’s a perfect match for me and I really like everything he does.
Q: What are your thoughts on the entire controversy with the plaster of Paris found in Margarito’s gloves, and do you think this has overshadowed your victory in any way?
A: I think it definitely overshadowed the victory. Not to mention that, everybody that fought Margarito, Larry Merchant and others have said that he has an iron chin, never been knocked out, never really been knocked down or anything, and he walks through everybody. He walked through Cotto, he walked through Clottey and those guys were hitting him. In the first round, I hit him, and he backs up. Everybody knew my punching power. I have good punching power. They say, okay well he was hitting guys and stopping these different guys, but they couldn’t hit him and stop him, which I did. I should get credit for that.
Q: Throughout most of your career, you were trained by your father and you two obviously had a very close relationship.
A: We still do.
Q: That’s good. That’s great to hear, but do you think in some ways, though, that sticking with your father as a trainer for so long may have limited your growth as a fighter?
A: No. I think that sometimes people get a little stale. Sometimes in the fight game, you need someone to remind you. Both of us could be stale. I got stale, he got stale, and mentally, we were doing the same routines over and over again, but if you bring somebody else in that taught the game, too, it kind of makes you remember different things. Like, oh yeah, I remember, I used to do that and I used to do this, and it brings you back to life. That’s what’s happening to me, I’ve been brought back to life.
Q: Your fight with Margarito was almost a year ago now. Do you regret not having taken a “stay busy” fight now that so much time has passed since then?
A: I don’t know what “stay busy” fight was out there for me.
Q: Fair enough. Now you’re one of the few modern fighters who always dared to be great by wanting to prove yourself against the very best. When fighters like Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright were both stuck on the outside looking in, you gave them opportunities and you also demanded immediate rematches after each of those losses. What keeps you so driven to want to continue fighting the best, even now?
A: I love to fight. I think what’s been driving me is the doubt—the doubt of people thinking that I’m not the best, the doubt that different people have when discussing legendary fighters and I’m not put out there on that plateau like I was one of the best. I want the world to know that I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to clean the whole division out—all of the division! Until it is recognized that I am the best in this era, this is my era.
Q: To date, what would you consider the proudest moment of your career?
A: The proudest moment was winning my first title against Philip Holiday. Even though I was sick that night, I still won. That was one of the proudest days of my life, because it was something I accomplished that I wanted to accomplish as a kid, as a boy—being the lightweight champion of the world.
Q: I recently had a chance to speak with Sugar Ray Leonard, and I asked him about how he first started using the “Sugar” moniker and asked him what he thought of other fighters, like Ray Robinson and yourself, who also shared the same nickname. Ray Leonard said of you, “Shane carries the torch well”. I was wondering if you could tell the fans how you first started using the “Sugar” name, and perhaps you could also share your thoughts on fighters like Leonard and Robinson?
A: Well, the name was given to me. I never chose the name and said, “I’m going to be Sugar Shane”. It was given to me in the gym when I was younger. I think I was ten years old when I got the name. They used to call me “Little Sugar” because they said I fought like “Sugar Ray”. Sugar Ray Leonard, I fought like Sugar Ray Robinson, I was on my toes, moving, I was a classic fighter even back then. So when they announced me—even when I fought Oscar when I was twelve or thirteen—they announced me as “Sugar Shane Mosley”.
All through my whole life, that’s been my name. Sugar Ray told me yes, when I fought Margarito I carried the name very well and lived up to the moniker, and he was very proud of me. I met Sugar Ray Robinson a couple of times before he passed away, and talked to his wife. This was back, I was probably fourteen, and I said, “Yeah, my name is Sugar, too. I’m Sugar Shane”. His wife said, “Well you got to be good to be a ‘Sugar’. You got to train hard”, and I said, “Well I am”, and it went on from there even back then.
Both of these fighters had a great impact on my career. Sugar Ray Leonard, definitely. Sugar Ray Robinson with the movement, the charisma, the hidden power, and the speed, the flashiness of Sugar Ray Leonard, the movement and the charisma, as well. Sugar Ray Leonard, I probably followed a little more because that was more my era. I started boxing around 1979-1980, and Sugar Ray Leonard was in there fighting with guys like Roberto Duran at that time. I just loved—loved, loved, loved—the movement, the style, and the charisma of these guys.
Q: Shane, do you have any major regrets in your career, and if so what are they?
A: No regrets. I love what happened in my career, and I’m very happy and fortunate that there’s a lot of people in this world who were probably as good as I was and just didn’t get the proper break or the right break. I didn’t get my break until I fought for the world title when I was 23-0 with 22 knockouts. Some people never get that chance to showcase their skills. I’m just happy and fortunate that I’m still fighting right now, I’m still world champion. I’ve been fighting for thirty years now, and I’m still a threat and still the best in this era.
Q: One of the questions I have to ask you is, if you weren’t a boxer what do you think you would be?
A: If I wasn’t a boxer, there’s one thing that I wanted to do, but I knew I was too short, and that was be a basketball player. I love to play basketball. The other thing probably would have been an accountant, because I love dealing with numbers and math. I guess also anything dealing with outside work. I’m an outside/outdoors type of person.
Q: Shane, before all is said and done and you ultimately retire from professional boxing, what is it you would like to accomplish?
A: Well, I want to beat everybody in the division. I want to be proclaimed the best. I want to win the ‘pound-for-pound’ belt. After I finish that, then I would like to raise my son to be the next world champion and have the name live on. That would be my next goal: Training him and giving him all the tools that I have.
Q: Off topic, I am curious what your thoughts are on the fact that the long awaited rematch between Roy Jones Junior and Bernard Hopkins has finally been signed and how you see this fight going down?
A: I think it’s great for the sport. I mean, Roy Jones was definitely one of the best in this era and some consider him the best. Throughout the mid-90s, Roy Jones and Bernard, as well, were two of the best. They are two Hall of Fame fighters. It will be a great fight, and hopefully these guys can get what they want to out of this rematch.
Q: Now Shane, before I let you go, is there anything else you would like to say to all of your fans out at East Side Boxing?
A: Thanks for being great fans. Continue to watch, I’m only getting better and better in my older age. I think I’m getting younger, so stay tuned. I’m going to have three fights next year, scheduled, and I’m going to take care of business. Hopefully, in January, April, and November I’ll be fighting, and maybe Mayweather will be one of them.
I would like to thank Sugar Shane Mosley for his time and wish him the best of luck in all future endeavors both inside and outside the ring. As a boxing fan, I sincerely hope Mayweather steps up to the plate and accepts Mosley’s challenge. This is a fight the fans deserve to see.