After “Sugar” Shane Mosley was manhandled by 21-year-old junior middleweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez — who is the same age as Mosley’s oldest son — in a near-shutout decision loss on May 5 in Las Vegas, he joked with HBO’s Larry Merchant during his postfight interview that, “When the kids start to beat you up, you might have to start promoting.”
One month later, Mosley made it official, announcing his retirement on Monday.
Mosley That’s life, that’s getting older. When you get older, you see what happens. You think you can do things. You see stuff that you think you can do, that you want to do, but you just can’t do it anymore.
” — “Sugar” Shane Mosley on his
decision to retire
“Good morning everybody. Just want to thank you for showing me so much love,” Mosley tweeted. “Had a great career and loved every moment of it, win, lose or draw.”
Later, Mosley confirmed that he was indeed hanging up the gloves after a 19-year career that will likely land him in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“I’m going to leave it alone,” Mosley, 40, told ESPN.com of fighting. “I’m good. I’m going into the promotional world, I’m training my son [21-year-old amateur Shane Mosley Jr.]. It was a helluva career. I’m happy for all the great memories and all the great fighters that I fought. Now it’s time give back. I’m ready to train my son full-time now.”
Mosley (46-8-1, 39 KOs) said he knew it was time to retire after losing to Alvarez.
“That’s life, that’s getting older,” he said. “When you get older, you see what happens. You think you can do things. You see stuff that you think you can do, that you want to do, but you just can’t do it anymore.”
Mosley had the audacity to carry the moniker “Sugar” like greats Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard before him. While Mosley didn’t match their legendary careers, he had a great one. He won five world titles in three weight classes, had a career-defining welterweight championship victory against Oscar De La Hoya in 2000 and was for a time in the early 2000s widely considered the No. 1 fighter in the world.
“I have to credit a lot of those wins to [the late] Genaro Hernandez and Zack Padilla,” Mosley said. “They were both world champions fighters and they sparred with me every day and molded me into the fighter I was. So did my father [Jack, who also trained him for most of his career]. I owe a lot to him.
“Being recognized as pound-for-pound, especially when Roy Jones was there at that time, was an honor. To be considered in the same breath as Roy was great for me. Not many people can say they were the pound-for-pound best, but I’m one of those people.”
However, Mosley’s career also carries the stain of his involvement in the BALCO steroids scandal, even though to this day Mosley claims he was unaware that he was taking the steroids “the clear” and “the cream” during his training for a 2003 rematch with De La Hoya.
Still, Mosley, of Pomona, Calif., who began boxing at 8, was lightweight, welterweight and junior middleweight champion following a standout amateur career.
He just missed making the 1992 U.S. Olympic team — losing at the Olympic trials to the late Vernon Forrest, who also handed him his first two professional losses.
As Mosley built a tremendous record fighting in Southern California, his reputation began to grow even though he didn’t get much television exposure. His first big opportunity came in August 1997 when he challenged lightweight titleholder Philip Holiday on HBO. Although Mosley was not sharp, he won a unanimous decision and his first title.
“I remember [then-HBO boxing chief] Lou DiBella wasn’t very happy with the Holiday fight,” Mosley said. “I was under the weather for that fight and he told me he didn’t like the fight. I told Lou if there’s anyone you feel can beat me at lightweight, put ‘em in front of me because I don’t want to have the belt if I’m not the best.”
Throughout his career, Mosley never ducked an opponent. As lightweight champion from 1997 to 1999, he made eight defenses, winning each by knockout.
Many consider Mosley to be the best lightweight champion since Roberto Duran in the 1970s. Mosley’s mentality was always to go for the knockout.
“I always wanted to knock guys out. It was a mindset that I had when I tuned pro — knock everybody out and it’s never going to a decision,” Mosley said.
In 1998, Mosley defended the lightweight title five times and was voted fighter of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America while Jack Mosley was voted trainer of the year.
After Mosley vacated the lightweight title, he skipped over junior welterweight and went to welterweight, where he hoped to land a fight with Southern California rival De La Hoya, whom he had known since he was a kid and had once fought as an amateur — and later became business partners with Golden Boy Promotions.
Mosley won two welterweight fights and then challenged De La Hoya for the title in June 2000 in the first boxing event held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was a star-studded night and Mosley won the all-action fight via decision to move his record to 35-0 with 32 knockouts.
“That 2000 fight with Oscar was huge for me,” Mosley said. “He gave me the opportunity when he didn’t have to and I thank him for that. Everything from there was gravy for me.”
Mosley made three defenses, winning each by knockout, until giving Forrest, his amateur nemesis, a shot. They met at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York in January 2001. Mosley suffered a severe accidental head butt in the second round and was knocked down twice in the fight — the first time he had ever been down — and lost a unanimous decision.
“I have no regrets in my boxing career. Vernon was a great fighter and I was ready to fight anybody,” Mosley said. “I gave Vernon that big chance because I got that big chance against Oscar. Vernon Forrest needed the chance and I said, ‘Let me give him the opportunity.’ I did the same thing with Winky Wright, who was a lot bigger than me. But I said let’s do it. No regrets.”
Mosley invoked his immediate rematch right against Forrest and while the second fight six months was more competitive, Forrest won another unanimous decision. Mosley then moved up to junior middleweight and, in his second fight in the division, challenged champion De La Hoya in a big-money rematch. Mosley won a controversial decision and two title belts, although it came to light later that he testified before a grand jury that he had used BALCO mastermind Victor Conte’s undetectable steroids “the clear” and “the cream” during his training.
Mosley has said all along that he was unaware that what he took was illegal and that it was given to him by former conditioning coach Darryl Hudson.
“I wasn’t aware that it was ‘the clear’ or ‘the cream’ or other such craziness,” Mosley said. “If I knew it was illegal I wouldn’t have taken it. I’ve always lived my life clean. That whole situation made me upset and still has me upset to this day.
“I’m still upset with the people I had around me that led me into that. I was always a clean boxer. Never tested positive for anything. For them not to protect me — Darryl Hudson — it sickened me. In 2003, he put a blemish on me. He led me to something that wasn’t good. It wasn’t like I asked for it. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t need it.”
Mosley rejected an $8 million payday for a third fight with De La Hoya, unhappy with the deal, and instead gave titlist Wright, who was largely unknown but very dangerous, an opportunity. They met for the undisputed 154-pound title in March 2004 and Wright — who coincidentally also announced his retirement Monday — won a decision. Again Mosley invoked his contractual rematch right and lost another decision eight months later.
Mosley shuffled between junior middleweight and welterweight for the rest of his career, something highly unusual for top fighters. After the second loss to Wright, Mosley won five bouts in a row, including two knockouts against former junior middleweight titlist Fernando Vargas in 2006 and a decision against former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo in 2007.
Later in 2007, Mosley got a shot at welterweight champ Miguel Cotto and lost a decision. Although he won his next fight, a 12th-round knockout of former welterweight champ Ricardo Mayorga in September 2008, Mosley didn’t look good and was a massive underdog going into a January 2009 shot at welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito.
Besides the shaky win against Mayorga, Mosley had changed trainers by hiring Naazim Richardson and was also going through a divorce from his wife, Jin, who had also been his manager.
The Staples Center, with a record crowd of 20,820 — was electric as Mosley put the distractions behind him to pull the massive upset by knocking Margarito out in the ninth round of a dominant performance that will also be remembered as the fight in which Margarito was caught trying to enter the ring with loaded hand wraps.
“Margarito was pretty big, especially with all the things going on in my life at the time,” Mosley said. “It was a big victory to be able to go out there and dominate and then knock him out.”
It was Mosley’s final win. He went 0-3-1 in his final four fights, including megafights against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, both of whom beat him by virtual shutout decision. Almost a year to the day after the Pacquiao fight, Mosley returned and was pounded by Alvarez.
When Mosley spoke to ESPN.com about his career, he was at a Southern California gym, where he had spent countless days throughout his life. This time, however, he wasn’t getting himself ready to fight. He was training Shane Jr.
“My son is getting older. He’s 21 and after I fought ‘Canelo,’ I thought about that he was 21 and I thought I should spent more time training my son, getting the new generation ready,” said Mosley, who said he will also spend time trying to get his Sugar Shane Promotions off the ground.
“I hope they remember me as a great fighter, a great person and somebody that cares about boxing,” Mosley said. “I hope they remember that I loved to fight. It’s been fun.”