Shane Mosley took on every challenge on path to Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Shane Mosley talks to the media during a 2016 news conference. (Reuters)

When Shane Mosley heard that IBF-WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia challenged IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., he smiled.

To Mosley, taking risks and seeking out fights that the world believes you can’t win are what make a boxer great.

“Mikey isn’t looking to finish his career with an ‘O’ on his record, which he could easily do if he was careful about the fights he took,” said Mosley, who in 2000 did exactly what Garcia is attempting when he moved from lightweight to welterweight to challenge Oscar De La Hoya in 2000.

“All these fighters were so concerned about having that ‘O’ on their records that they weren’t testing and challenging themselves. Mikey is looking for a fight that he can prove he is great. Errol Spence is a big, hard-punching guy. He’s excellent, and I’m pretty sure Mikey knows that he could get knocked out. But he also knows, if he beats Spence, he’ll legitimately prove his greatness.”

Mosley, now nearly 47, did that in a boxing career in which he won world titles at lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight, putting together a 49-10-1 record with 41 knockouts.

For that, he’ll be inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame on Aug. 18 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Many of Mosley’s biggest wins came in Las Vegas, including his 2003 win over De La Hoya that earned him a super welterweight belt.

He will join Laila Ali, Chris Byrd, Kevin Kelley, Don Miner, Todd duBoef, former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, Jerry Roth, Bill Miller and posthumous inductees Alexis Arguello, Aaron Pryor, Henry Armstrong and Doc Kearns.

For Mosley, it’s the dream of a lifetime.

“It means a lot to me and it’s a big deal to be inducted with all those legends,” Mosley said. “I’m pretty sure every boxer would want to have Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame inductee on their resume. I am really looking forward to it.”

Mosley said the sport is in the midst of a fundamental change, based in part on AIBA’s decision to remove headgear from fighters competing in the Olympics.

Mosley said that after the Roy Jones Jr. debacle at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, in which Jones was judged to have lost a fight to a Korean boxer that he clearly won in dominant fashion, amateur boxers began to train to learn how to fight to the point system.

Shane Mosley works against Oscar De La Hoya during their 2003 bout. (AP)

But with AIBA making the change in the headgear rule, fighters are now more inclined to look to land big shots and go for knockouts.

“You’re starting to see it already, better fights, because of the way they’re coming up,” Mosley said. “When Roy lost in Korea under that point system, people started fighting that way as professionals. And look, fans didn’t like that and didn’t want to see those kinds of fights.

“But now, it’s turning and they’re taking the point system out and guys are going to try to knock people out. It’s helping the sport and it’s building interest. And seeing someone like Mikey saying he wants to go fight a guy like Spence, those are the kinds of things that get the fans involved and interested about what’s going on.”

Mosley was known for not only his willingness, but his eagerness to fight the best fighters he could face. He met De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Winky Wright and Ricardo Mayorga twice each and also fought Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Antonio Margarito, Sergio Mora, Raul Marquez, Luis Collazo and Miguel Cotto, as well.

De La Hoya and Wright are already in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto and Alvarez, at a minimum, will join them when they’re eligible.

Mosley was thoroughly outboxed by Mayweather when they met in 2010, though Mosley rocked Mayweather late in the second round of their fight.

Mosley was 38 at the time and well past his prime. Talks for a fight between Mosley and Mayweather first began in 1998, but it took 12 years for them to get into the ring together.

Mosley didn’t say it at the time they fought, but he said he believes he’d have beaten Mayweather had they fought earlier in their careers.

“I thought I was too strong for Mayweather and too fast,” Mosley said. “I had too many different weapons that he couldn’t get out of the way of. He couldn’t get out of the way of a lot of those shots because I would have been throwing a lot more shots [than I did when we fought]. I would have been constantly pressuring him and being on him.

“Look, Mayweather is a great fighter and you can’t take that from him. In his era, he did really good. I believe I would have been able to beat him had it been a different time, but I don’t take anything away from him. He was undefeated and he beat everyone he needed to beat. He was the king of his era.”

Asked who was the better fighter in their primes, Mayweather or De La Hoya, Mosley leaned toward his longtime Los Angeles rival.

“In his prime, definitely I would say Oscar was better,” Mosley said. “He was more physical and faster, and he had more punching power.”

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