Mosley, Shane 1971–
Shane Mosley 1971–
Because he didn’t become a household name until a few months prior to his 2000 WBC welterweight title fight, “Sugar” Shane Mosley could have been tagged as an overnight sensation. But with a win over a widely popular opponent, Mosley served notice to the boxing community that he planned to stick around for more than just one night. With that, Mosley took the belt and, along with immense talent and overwhelming power, turned himself into one of the greatest fighters of his time.
Born in Inglewood, California on September 7, 1971 to Jack and Clemmie Mosley, Shane Mosley was an energetic child. “He was always very, very hyper,” his mother Clemmie said in Sports Illustrated article. “In nursery school they let me bring in his Big Wheel so he could ride around during nap time. All the other kids were asleep, but Shane …” That hyperactivity would spill into the boxing gym, where his father Jack took him for the first time when Shane was only eight. Mosley fought his way into the elite of amateur fighters during his teen years. By the time he was a young adult, he had fashioned an impressive name for himself.
Mosley pounded his way through the amateur ranks, establishing a 230–12 record to go with numerous championships. In 1989 he won the junior lightweight title at the U.S. Championships before winning the 1989 Junior Worlds title at lightweight. Despite his elimination from the Goodwill Games in 1990, Mosley ended up as the 1992 U.S. Amateur Champion at junior welterweight. Even as an amateur, trainers recognized his immense talent. “He’s probably above and beyond any [amateur] in the world at his weight class,” U.S. Team Coach Joe Byrd was quoted saying in Sports Illustrated.
Trained by his father, Mosley exploded on the professional boxing scene in 1993. According to information found at his website, Mosley “showed brilliance in his professional debut, a five round blowout of former California state champion Greg Puente on February 11, 1993, and the future looked bright for this latter-day ‘Sugar.’” Like most fighters, Mosley would have to pay his dues early in his career by fighting unknown boxers. For more than four years, he tormented opponents with a long series of wins. All seven of his 1993 bouts were won by knockout. In 1994 eight of his nine victories were also by knockout. The trend continued through 1995–96 and part of 1997.
In 1997 Mosley would get his first shot at a title when he faced Phillip Holiday in August. Mosley outlasted Holiday for 12 rounds to win the International Boxing Federation’s lightweight title. He defended the title that November by knocking out Manuel Gomez. Title defenses would be common for Mosley, for once he had it, one would literally have to beat it out of him. By the end of 1998, Mosley would retain his IBF title five times, each win a knockout. “Mosley, aside from Roy Jones Jr., is the most gifted fighter in the world,” Francis Walker wrote in a 1998 interview with Mosley at www.cyberboxingzone.com, “Mosley is such a sensation, he actually has the talent and the right opponents to become a legend,” he continued.
Born September 7, 1971; son of Jack and Clemmie Mosley; father of Najee and Shane Jr.
Career: Boxer. U.S. Championship winner, 1989; Junior Worlds champion, 1989, U.S. Amateur Champion, 1992; named to the U.S. Olympic Team, 1992; International Boxing Federation Champion, 1997; World Boxing Council Champion, 2000.
Awards: Boxing Writers Association, Fighter of the Year, 1998.
Boxing is more than just a fistfight. To be successful, it requires speed, agility, endurance, strength, quickness and, above all, power. Mosley’s combination of each attribute propelled him through the professional ranks, knockout after knockout, until his time of national prominence would arrive. Those in boxing circles quickly became aware of Mosley’s ability. By 1999 he had earned the reputation as a stealth fighter with quick footwork, a solid left jab, and a crushing right. “Sugar Shane Mosley has displayed a champion’s heart by imposing ring generalship and clean punching. Sugar Shane Mosley can take the power shots against him and turn it around with strategic combos and closing the show by a knockout,” read his profile at www.box-ingsfinest.com.
Mosley knew that the best fighters were in the welterweight division. Long feeling he could beat many of the big-name fighters there, he went from 135 pounds in the lightweight class to 140-plus pounds as a welterweight. It was a move that would put him atop the boxing world. His first shot at the World Boxing Council welterweight title would be the fight of his life. His opponent for that bout was Olympic Gold Medalist and fan favorite, Oscar De La Hoya. It was the biggest fight of the year. Two native Los Angelans who often fought one another locally in the junior Golden Gloves when they were kids, meeting again, this time in the national spotlight as adults.
Mosley entered the fight as a serious underdog despite his record (34 wins, zero losses with 32 knockouts) and left it as a qualified champion. He won the 12-round decision and his &4.5-million fight purse in nearly jaw-dropping fashion. The two boxed furiously for 11 rounds, a rarity for modern boxing. And when the 12th round began, the punches never seemed to stop. By that point of a long match, fighters are often tired and loopy. Mosley pounded De La Hoya as if it were an early round, going head-to-head with the champion in the final three minutes, landing 45 of 88 punches thrown. “It was a great fight, a close fight,” Mosley said in an article at www.latinosportslegends.com. “We went toe to toe for 12 rounds. We went soul searching, We showed we’re both great warriors.” That mentality continued for Mosley as he defended his WBC welterweight title. By the end of 2001, he successfully defended it three times.
As charitable as he was with doling out jabs and uppercuts, Mosley has been equally generous with his time and commitment to community groups and foundations. Mosley spent time with shoppers at a Fontana, California auto center to help raise money for the Women’s Information Network Against Breast Cancer. Additionally, Mosley participated in a special Make-A-Wish program, a nonprofit agency granting “wishes” to terminally ill children and teens. Before his fight against Adrian Stone in July of 2001, Mosley befriended a 14-year-old boy battling Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a life-threatening form of cancer. At the youth’s request, Mosley met with the boy and invited him to the fight. He also dedicated the fight—a three-round knockout—to the boy. “I’m happy to be dedicating this fight against Adrian Stone to Joseph, and hopefully this will give him the strength to continue his fight,” said Mosley in a press release at www.sugarshanemosley.com. “As a father of two sons, something like this hits close to home.”
Sports Illustrated, Wednesday, June 21, 2000.
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