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Sugar Shane Still Sweet

Three rounds and out is what both fighters have been saying, and in all likelihood, that's what's going to happen. But until that time when somebody is parked on his back for the count-out, this should be an explosive, all-action fight. The only question is, who'll be the last man standing once the leather starts flying?

Styles make fights, and in that regard Mayorga looks to be in over his head with Mosley, who is still an elite fighter at the ripe old age of 37. It is not just a matter of Mayorga being outclassed; the cigarette-smoking, trash-talking Nicaraguan is also tailor-made for a classic boxer-puncher like Mosley, who presses the action non-stop.

In contrast, Mayorga is a street fighter whose best assets are his reckless, often intimidating aggression, and plenty of pop in his gloves. Mayorga's big problem, as both Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya exposed, is in how he throws those gloves.

The majority of Mayorga's punches are wide, looping power shots, which leaves his chin and his whole body open to a counter punch. That was painfully demonstrated to Mayorga in round one against De La Hoya in 2006. Mayorga clocked the Golden Boy good with one of his wild, Hail Mary punches, but De La Hoya immediately countered with a trademark left hook which sent the Nicaraguan down on the seat of his pants.

"What I'm going to do is similar to what Oscar did," Mosley said. "I know that Mayorga is going for the knockout, but so am I. I want to keep the pace high and make him work more. If this fight goes more than three rounds, he'll be winded and I'll knock him out."

While that may prove to be true, Mosley is not the same puncher who terrorized the lightweight and welterweight division as a younger man. In Mosley's first 38 fights, he scored 35 knockouts, which translates to a sensational 92 per cent rate. But since putting away Adrian Stone in July of 2001, Mosley has stopped his opponent in only two of his last 11 fights, both coming by TKO against an over-the-hill Fernando Vargas.

There is no question, however, that if Mosley is able to avoid getting knocked out early -- which is unlikely -- his high work rate should eventually wear Mayorga down and produce a possible late-round TKO, or an easy unanimous decision. So why then is Mosley, after nearly beating young lion Miguel Cotto, fighting Mayorga and not another elite boxer?

What Mosley wants most is to fight Cotto-conqueror Antonio Margarito, and it appears Mayorga is being used to get him ready for a bigger, aggressive fighter like the Tijuana Tornado. "Mayorga is a good fight for me because it will set me up for my next fight, hopefully against Margarito," Mosley said.

The reason Mosley needs to fight someone like Mayorga before testing Margarito is that he hasn't really faced an in-prime boxer who applies constant pressure since beating Antonio Diaz in November of 2000. Seen in that light, Mayorga makes perfect sense.

As for Margarito, Mosley is convinced that the Mexican studied his November fight with Cotto and used his game plan as a blueprint for beating the Puerto Rican. "I believe Margarito studied video of my fight with Cotto because he used the same method," Mosley said. "He kept walking him down and knew he could get to him in the later rounds."

2008 09 27 Mosley Mayorga profile sugar Shane Mosley

Mosley was doing the same thing in the later rounds against Cotto. Most scorecards had Mosley winning the final five rounds, except for 11. But Cotto came away with a close unanimous victory, 115-113 twice, and 116-113, because Mosley had given up too many of the early rounds, which he faults himself for. "The mistake I made with Cotto was early on I was trying to knock him out and beat a proud Puerto Rican," Mosley said. "I should have jabbed more and boxed to earn points."

That Mosley is so eager to face Margarito is a testimony to the fire that still burns within. "I fight because I want to beat the best," he said. "If I beat Margarito it will put me on the top. People will say, 'Sugar Shane is back in the House.'"

Few were saying that after Mosley dropped back-to-back decisions to Winky Wright in 2004, just two years after the once invincible-looking fighter lost twice to Forrest. Many said he had peaked and was on the downside of his career, which upset Mosley's sense of pride. "Yeah, it bothered me what they said. People were saying all these different things about me that was not true. But now I'm still on the top of my game and I believe I am the best fighter out there. Nobody can beat me," Mosley said.

One of the reasons Mosley can still fight at an elite level is the way he has carefully taken care of his body. He doesn't drink or smoke - which Mayorga knew when he offered Mosley a drag on a cigarette to taunt him at a press conference - and eats only nutritious food. Although it is hard to believe, Mosley claims he can train harder now that he did when young. "I'm not sure why, but maybe it's the type of food I eat now. I really feel like I'm in my twenties," Mosley said.

Unlike his Golden Boy Promotions partner Bernard Hopkins, who announced his retirement date in advance only to fight on, Mosley does not see himself hanging up the gloves any time soon. "I will probably fight three or four more years," Mosley said. "Fighters today can last longer because someone like me only fights around two or three times a year. In the old days, they had to fight every month or even weekly in order to make money. I have less mileage on me than they did." As a point of reference, at the same age as Mosley, Sugar Ray Robinson had fought 149 times, winning 140 of them.

Inevitably, during an interview Mosley is asked if he would fight De La Hoya, whom he has already beaten twice. This time, instead of giving his usual emphatic no, he left the door open. "Nothing is out of the question, but it probably won't happen. I just can't see it because we're business partners. But if Oscar offers me $20 million (laughs), or even more, I would fight him. It's totally up to him, however, and I have to accept that."

Mosley has two things planned on his agenda after retirement. "I would definitely want to be more active with Golden Boy. Also my son, Shane Jr. has been boxing since he was two years old. I give him all the knowledge I can. Both my father (Jack) and I are training him."

Shane Jr. is 18 and currently boxing as an amateur in the 152-pound division. At 6'-2, Mosley figures his son will probably fight at super middleweight or light heavyweight. While many sons of millionaire boxing greats have lacked the hunger and drive of their fathers, Mosley is confident Shane Junior won't fall into that category.

"It's different with my son. I didn't raise him like a millionaire. He works at grocery store and bought his own car. He's got power and a good chin. He's more laid back than me but he's still a tough fighter," Mosley said.

At 37, so is his father.

Nothing is out of the question, but it probably won't happen. I just can't see it because we're business partners. But if Oscar offers me $20 million (laughs), or even more, I would fight him. It's totally up to him, however, and I have to accept that.

Posted 12:00 AM | Sep 23, 2008

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