Born in California in 1971, boxer "Sugar" Shane Mosley toiled in professional obscurity for years before emerging as the undisputed champion of the lightweight division. He sought out challengers in higher weight classes, becoming a champion in the welterweight and super welterweight divisions, until time slowed his once-dazzling combination of speed and power.
Boxing in the Blood
Shane Andre Mosley was born on September 7, 1971, in Lynwood, California. Growing up in the comfortable California suburb of Pomona, he developed an early interest in boxing after watching his dad, Jack, spar with professionals at a gym.
Mosley proved a formidable fighter on the Los Angeles amateur boxing circuit, a talent pool that included future champion Oscar De La Hoya. In 1989, he won the U.S. Amateur Championship as a lightweight and claimed the silver medal in the World Junior Championships. The following year he repeated as U.S. Amateur lightweight champion and won the bronze medal at the Goodwill Games.
Mosley moved up a weight class and won the U.S. Amateur Championship as a light welterweight in 1992, but he fell short in his bid for the Olympics with a loss to Vernon Forrest at the trials for the 1992 games. Regardless, he had high hopes after compiling a 250-10 amateur record, and turned professional with his dad on board as trainer.
Shane Mosley fought in near obscurity early into his pro career, but he got his big break when promoter Cedric Kushner pitted the unknown 25-year-old against International Boxing Federation lightweight champ Philip Holiday on August 2, 1997. Mosley won their bout by decision, and then overwhelmed the competition with his dazzling speed and power in a series of title defenses.
Seeking new challenges, Mosley moved up two levels to the welterweight class, winning twice before earning his first big-time bout against World Boxing Council champion De La Hoya. Fighting at L.A.’s Staples Center on June 17, 2000, Mosley outpointed De La Hoya to win a title in his second weight class and cement his reputation as boxing's greatest pound-for-pound performer.
Mosley’s aura of invincibility was shattered with a pair of losses to his old nemesis, Forrest, in his first two professional defeats. Another victory over World Boxing Association and WBC champ De la Hoya on September 13, 2003, this time at the super welterweight level, gave Mosley titles in his third weight class and restored his standing as one of boxing’s elite, though it was soon diminished following back-to-back losses to Winky Wright.
It was a troubling period for Mosley, nicknamed "Sugar," who testified before a grand jury that he had unknowingly taken designer steroids. In addition, he was working with a new trainer after firing his dad and going through a divorce.
Mosley overcame the turmoil by beating Fernando Vargas twice and dropping a weight class to topple Luis Collazo for the WBC welterweight title, but a loss to the faster Miguel Cotto on November 10, 2007, exposed what appeared to be eroding skills. Mosely scored one final hurrah with a ninth-round technical knockout of Antonio Margarito to regain the WBA welterweight title on January 24, 2009, a fight better remembered for the controversy sparked when Margarito was caught with illegal hand wraps.
Mosely followed with uninspiring losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. After a May 5, 2012, defeat at the hands of Saul Alvarez, whose speed and power reminded many of a younger Mosley, the former champ retired at age 40 with a record of 46 wins (39 by knockout), eight losses, one draw and one no contest.
Out of the Ring
After announcing his retirement, Mosley said he would devote more time to training his son, Shane Jr. He also promoted a fight to raise funds for his family’s Diamond’s Love Foundation, which teamed with the Susan G. Komen Foundation in a charity event for cancer.
However, it seemed retirement was ill-suited for a man who once proved willing to take on all opponents, as rumors soon surfaced that Mosley was looking to make a boxing comeback.
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