By Geoffrey Ciani: Sugar Shane Mosley has always wanted to prove himself against the best. This is admirable, especially considering that we live in a day and age where everything is about maintaining a winning aura. All too often, would-be mega-bouts are never made because one party is unwilling to risk a loss. Too much emphasis is placed on not losing, especially in cases involving undefeated fighters where maintaining the almighty zero in the “L” column takes priority over proving one’s worth. Of course, there are exceptions, Mosley being one of them, but far too many fighters refuse to take risks without the promise of overcompensation..
Who can blame them? After all, boxing is a business. If Roy Jones preferred fighting the likes of Richard Frazier and Reggie Johnson over worthy opponents like Dariusz Michalczewski, he was free to do so. The idea, from a business perspective, is to minimize one’s risk while maximizing one’s reward. Roy Jones was a master at doing this throughout the prime years of his career. Unfortunately for the fans, they are cheated by those who take this business-like approach to their careers. Such fighters simply never dare to be great.
Mosley, on the other hand, has always dared to be great. Not only did he grant opportunities to fighters like Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright, both of whom were stuck on the outside looking in, but he demanded immediate rematches after suffering losses to each. This is a strong testament to Mosley’s character and his desire to be great, for he would rather suffer a loss going up against the best than to play it safe and maintain his standing by taking on lesser opponents. To this day, Mosley still exhibits that same fighting spirit that defined him during his prime, as evidenced by his recent bouts with Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Even at his advanced age, Mosley is still daring to be great.
Now that Mosley has re-established himself as the top dog in boxing’s best division with his sensational upset knockout victory over Antonio Margarito, he once again finds himself in the driver’s seat. Unlike his previous stints here, however, he is in a very unique situation with regards to potential foes. There is a slew of talent in and around the welterweight division right now. Some of these foes match-up better against Mosley than others. Given that Mosley is now in the twilight of his career, it is imperative that he chooses his next foe carefully.
Ideally, the best option ‘available’ for Mosley is former pound for pound king, Floyd Mayweather Junior. Although technically retired, rumors of Mayweather’s return have surfaced all over the place, especially since Manny Pacquiao’s tremendous upset victory against Oscar De La Hoya. Mayweather represents a low risk high reward situation for Mosley, and if I were Shane, I would do everything in my power to try and lure Floyd out of retirement for a mega dollars match-up. Mosley versus Mayweather represents the type of fight that would interest both casual and die hard fans alike, and chances are, this would prove to be a highly entertaining encounter.
Another route Mosley might want to explore is the possibility of a unification bout with one of the alphabet titlists in the division. Reigning WBC champion, Andre Berto, struggled recently in his controversial victory over former Mosley victim Luis Collazo whereas Joshua Clottey looked pretty good in his recent victory over Zab Judah to earn the vacant IBF strap. A match-up against either would certainly bring some intrigue. Both are winnable fights for Mosley, although, Clottey’s turtle shell defense might cause him some difficulties. A win over Berto or Clottey would also presumably afford Shane the opportunity to unify another belt. Regardless, a win against either of these two will not do as much for Shane’s legacy (or bank account) as a fight against the aforementioned Mayweather. While both of these represent interesting match-ups, Mosley has better options readily available.
Perhaps the most viable option to Mosley might be a rematch with Miguel Cotto, assuming, of course, that Miguel wins his upcoming contest with Michael Jennings for the vacant WBO title. After all, in their first encounter, Mosley’s loss against Cotto came by a razor thin margin in a fight many observers felt Mosley won, including yours truly. Although originally slated for a rematch with Margarito this June, Cotto might be able to bypass the return bout in favor of Mosley given Margarito’s recent suspension which leaves his future uncertain. A rematch with Cotto would likely provide Mosley with a bigger payday than other unification bouts with Berto and Clottey. Moreover, Mosley tends to do better in rematches, so a fight with Cotto would afford him an opportunity to avenge a previous loss—something he has yet to do in his sensational career.
Speaking of losses, what about a third match-against one of his previous conquerors, Vernon Forrest or Winky Wright? As of now, Forrest (the reigning WBC light middleweight champion) has no fights on the horizon whereas Winky is slated to face Paul Williams (another possible Mosley opponent) this April. I am not sure either of these foes makes a lot of sense for Mosley at this time, especially since both men currently fight one division north of welterweight. Given Mosley’s record of mixed success in that weight class, I think he would better serve his own interests if he closed out the rest of his career as a welterweight. Even still, it is possible that one of these fights might make sense in the ever-changing landscape at some point in the future. Right now, I like Mosley’s chances against Forrest better than Winky, but I am not sure either fight makes a lot of sense at this time.
What about Paul Williams, the man who claims he is capable of competing anywhere between the welter and middleweight? Williams is one fighter who began calling Mosley out almost immediately after he stopped Margarito last Saturday. Assuming Williams beats Winky (which is a very bold assumption, as I believe he will likely be outclassed by Wright) and assuming he can comfortably make his way back down to 147 (as he claims), this match-up might bring forth some intrigue. It is, however, a high risk scenario, as Williams’ freakishly tall height and good jab might give Mosley some problems. This risk might not be worth the reward, however, as Mosley has potentially more lucrative bouts looming on the horizon, and if Williams loses to Winky, all bets are off.
Then, of course, we have two other names that are probably worth mentioning: Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao. Hatton and Pacquiao are both slated to face-off in May, and like Mosley, both men figure into the Floyd Mayweather sweepstakes. If Mayweather decides he really is retired and no longer wants to enter the ring, a clash against the winner of the Pacquiao-Hatton mega-fight is something Mosley should seriously consider. Aside from Mayweather, Pacquiao or Hatton would both provide Mosley with a bigger payday than any of his other plausible options. Not only that, but Mosley would also match-up extremely well against either of these men, and would probably beat either. This represents a low risk high reward scenario, but given the timing of their fight this May, this option does not seem realistic for the immediate future (although, perhaps it will become one by year’s end).
There are others, still, who Mosley might want to consider fighting next. Guys like Zab Judah, Kermit Cintron, and Carlos Quintana would probably all jump at the opportunity to face Shane, but frankly speaking, none of these men are deserving of a shot at him just now. Lest we forget, Sugar Shane Mosley is the man in the driver’s seat, and as such, he should choose his next opponent carefully. Of all the available options out there, one shines head and shoulders above the rest—Floyd Mayweather Junior. With talks of Mayweather’s return corresponding so closely with Mosley’s turn-back-the-clock effort against Margarito, the writing on the wall could not be any better.
A Mosley versus Mayweather mega-bout makes the most sense!
This article was also published at East Side Boxing