Keidel: No Sugar In Shane Mosley

By Jason Keidel
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Shane Mosley may have taken a limo to the arena, but he rode a bike around the ring, keeping his opponent, the tornadic Manny Pacquiao, at a distance comfortable for him but rather irritating to the viewers who dropped big-fight money for a tango with less contact than the average episode of Dancing With the Stars.

After Pacquiao (53-2-2) won a unanimous decision over Mosley (46-7-1) on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, viewers who dropped four-figures for ringside seats, or punched the “Buy” button on the remote (it cost about $55 to watch on pay-per-view), could have reasonably requested a refund. The sound of leather pounding flesh and the grunts from punches thrown and landed were replaced by cacophonous displeasure in the darkness outside the ring, resounding boos from an irascible crowd expecting a slugfest, not a hugfest. Once Pacquiao dropped Mosley in the third round, it was clear Mosley would only trade pleasantries, not punches, the rest of the night.

Pacquiao, his yellow gloves cupping his ears, stalked Mosley for twelve rounds, looking for a fight. Mosley jabbed, ran, jabbed, held, pawed, dodged, and fought (or not) as though he were paid by the round.

Pundits gave Mosley, 39, a chance because he recently destroyed Antonio Margarito and was rather adept in his loss to Floyd Mayweather, even hurting Mayweather early in that bout. But in this bout there was no doubt that not only are “Sugar” Shane’s great days behind him, there are no good ones before him.

As we see with a shortstop in the Bronx, the aging process is most unkind to the athlete, who is bound to his hunger to win, his glorious past, and an equally delusional fan base that refuses to concede the final score to Father Time.

But unlike baseball, the boxer’s denial can be deadly. Better fighters than Mosley – from Joe Louis to (the original Sugar) Ray Robinson to Muhammad Ali – were literally carried out of the ring in repose. We hope Mosley, who should be financially secure, and his place secure in boxing’s pantheon, heeds history and logic, and retires posthaste.

You know boxing has fallen when nearly no sports bars broadcast a fight featuring two hall-of-famers, one of whom is currently the pound-four-pound king and perhaps the most famous athlete on the planet. If you’re not in Manhattan (I recently moved to New Jersey) and are allergic to your couch on a Saturday night, you must scramble to find a bar that will televise boxing.

The scene I found could easily be mistaken for an episode of “Jersey Shore” – a bar littered with glittering gals who accompanied their buff boyfriends with spiked hair and muscle shirts, each ten beers into their night. There were slurred slights against their dates, and perhaps anyone who crossed a liquor-induced line in the sand.

It is quite something to be the only sober man in a bar. And it is something to watch a formerly fine – if not divine – fighter like Mosley lose his agility and ability in an hour. Boxing, more than any sport, renders the performer naked in no time. Mosley really was a great boxer, though you’d never know by watching him Saturday night.

Mosley was quick to touch gloves at the start of the bout, every bell, and every accidental head-butt, cementing his public persona and reputation as a nice man, quick to smile but bursting with pugilistic guile. He wanted to be cherished more than he wanted to champion. Pacquiao is both, perfecting the dichotomy of barbaric charm, a brilliant brawler who’s also a congressman in his native Philippines.

There’s no shame in losing to Manny Pacquiao. Everyone does. He’s been the best fighter on Earth for five years. The shame is in not trying, which is antithetical to Mosley’s work and ring ethic over the last decade. Sadly, the last impression a boxer leaves is often the worst.

The date of Pacquiao’s next fight is uncertain but certainly will be lucrative. He’ll make about $20 million no matter his next opponent, and the amount could double if Floyd Mayweather leaves his bubble and gives the world the lone mega-fight left on the docket. Based on his actions – everything from demanding random and rampant steroids testing to demanding $100 million – Floyd wants no part of Pacquiao.

This stalemate symbolizes the sport’s detachment from its fans and its history, and italicizes its penchant for eating its own. With a dearth of decent talent in the heavyweight division, it is incumbent upon lighter fighters like Pacquiao and Mayweather to fight. Now. Before they get old, before they fail, before Floyd goes to jail.

I was in a Hooters in Paramus, of all places, flanked by bubbly waitresses, homogeneously clad in their sultry suits – short shorts, tight tank tops, bras pushing cleavage up to the collar, high hair and pink talons, so careful not to break them as they sauntered across the room, delivering whiskey and wings, bending over the table to make sure the customer saw more than his food. Boxing isn’t the only business built on tease and torment.

Even the female servers (is there another kind in Hooters?), who also use physical splendor for profit, became somber as the night and the fight grew old. Perhaps for the first time in their lives, they were surrounded by men who expressed no fondness for them. Shane Mosley knows the feeling.

Feel free to email me:

What did you think of the fight? Let Keidel know in the comments below…

  • Byron Mason

    Great article, with more sobering overtones than the action in the ring. Can other “tournaments” as suggested by Pugphan, save a dying sport from itself?

  • Chucky Brown

    Nice piece, Jason. Funny and spot-on in all the right places. Floyd would rather play radio show call-in tough guy with RA the Rugged Man than fight Manny. You see that WSJ piece on Manny’s workouts, resting heart rate, etc? Floyd don’t want none of that.

    • JK

      I appreciate that, Chucky. I did not see the WSJ piece. Can you email the link to me? My email address is at the bottom of my column, just above these remarks.

    • JK

      And I agree that Floyd is moonwalking from that fight. Maybe he’ll cut another incoherent, rambling, racist YouTube rant like last year. I can’t even repeat what he said on this site.

      • Kurt Spitzner

        Floyd’s moonwalking so well that Michael Jackson would be proud!

  • Mayweather

    It’s like not even money nor agreement to drug test can convince Mayweather to fight Pacman. So let’s try to touch on his patriotism, here goes…

    Pacman is trying to invade the US boxing and is asking the best fighter to step up, we ran out of fighters so please fight him, you are the only one that can prove the supremacy of US in boxing. Don’t let pacman humiliate the American boxers, please protect their honor..

    Mayweather’s response: Bwa-haha-haha….

    • JK

      Heh. Good stuff. Think it will work?

  • Kurt Spitzner


    • JK

      There are always going to be fools and haters, Kurt. It’s the risk we take under the tent of free speech. Hang in there, bud! ;)

  • p8nt

    The fight that never should’ve happened. I’m beginning to think that even a fight vs Mayweather Jr., would be as disappointing. Even though the names are great promotion wise, Mayweather hasn’t fought in 3 years. Sadly, Pac-Man’s best fights were with Marquez. All the rest after, seemed more of a promoting ploy than a real boxing match. Not to take anything away from Pac-Man, but he deserves better opponents.

    • JK

      You might be right, p8nt, but isn’t a Mayweather fight worth a shot? What else is left for Pacquiao?

      • p8nt

        Retire from fighting, instead of waiting for a great match up, but end up pulling an Oscar De la Hoya.

      • p8nt

        The longer Mayweather waits to fight Pac-Man, the more worthless the fight is going to be. Just like Pac-Man’s “title fight” with Margarito. But right now, Mayweather’s probably more scared of Pac-Man, with Mosley saying that he’s never fought anyone who punches are hard as Manny.

    • JK

      I agree, P8nt, that the allure fades the longer they wait. In fact, if it doesn’t happen this year then it’s pointless. And you’re running the risk of loss, either in the ring or in reflex or, in Floyd’s case, of freedom. He could be in jail this time next year.

  • Andrew

    Ray Robinson was not in the end carried out in repose.

    • JK

      Oh, Andrew, we almost made it an entire day without folks like you. Robinson died broke and demented. He fought way too long (until age 44). HIs last fights were against stiffs (including a bank robber pretending to be a boxer), and in his final fight was floored by the immortal Joey Archer, who admitted he never knocked people down, much less an icon like Sugar Ray.

      • Tarugo

        but he didn’t knock out robinson. nor was robinson carried with a stretcher. Oh please. admit you made a mistake instead of trying to humiliate your readers who noticed. Sure, robinson died broke and demented. Nobody disagrees. Point is: he wasn’t carried with a stretcher in any of his fights!

      • Tarugo

        this is a good article by the way

  • jorivers05

    It is very clear now that Pac’s opponents were fighting only not to win but to survive and hey have one thing in common “Run, run, run!!”. Pacman should now devise a new tactic how to catch a running chicken on his next fight. My advice to Pac’s next opponent is to “be brave enough to face a Filipino midget”.

    • JK

      I understood the first half of your comment, but you lost me on the last part.

  • bug

    i am not sure, mosley might not sugar he put in his coffee or he might mistaken instead of sugar he put salt in it, that’s why he missed his sugar.for me, when you try to fight pacman make your final decission because you will suffer too much pressure against pacman,and one more thing, not all championship fights are exciting to watch.that’s for sure.if pacman, marquez will happen for the third time, i don’t think marquez will survive in the third round.if he will then it will become an exciting fight for the fans.

    • JK

      I agree, bug, that a fight can be aesthetically beautiful without barbarism. But there must be some form of action. Mosley ran from Manny the entire fight. Had Shane used his jab to set up other punches, then you’d understand his strategy. But he threw just 330 or so punches the entire fight. Forgive the cliche, but it takes two to tango, and only Pacquiao was interested in dancing.

  • Edwin

    Yes, these so called slick American boxers equals boring, runners and non – exciting. i.e. Floyd the Fraud Duckweather. Slick means jab and run then win on points.

    Pacman is always the aggressor and looking to finish. No wonder we are all loving mma.

    • JK

      Can’t say I disagree, Edwin. Sadly, MMA and team sports have usurped boxing’s talent pool. And with a guaranteed $200 million revenue fight right in front of them, they bungle it as only boxing can.

      A great jab is a wonderful weapon, but it must be part of a larger arsenal. Sonny Liston could knock people out with his jab, whereas Ali used it to cut and close his opponent’s eyes. Larry Holmes (who learned from Ali) was a jab-heavy heavyweight, as well. But a jab alone makes for a dull fighter and fight. Pacquiao just has everything. A shame he can’t find someone to fight him fairly.

  • Kurt Spitzner

    Better watch out now that Jeter had 4 hits,2 of which were homers so as of now he is on pace to hit about 450 and about 100 homers so you may have to eat your words….yeah right!As far as the fight goes I am glad that I didn’t see it for the cost as well as the stinkage factor.PPV been beddy beddy bad to me in the past with fights anyhoo so its just as well.Just need some of that old time rock and roll!

    • JK

      I’ve given up, Kurt, on trying to convince people that Jeter – like everyone in the history of athletics – is getting old. For some reason they all see the assertion as an attack on his dignity. To them, he never ages, never slips, never retires, and never dies. He will hit .330 for the next century and any assumption to the contrary is treasonous.

      • Kurt Spitzner

        I fully understand and feel the same way its just unfortunate that many people take the time to read but rarely take the time to comprehend the words written before senselessly tearing them apart.As far as the racist comments posted above I choose not to even dignify them with a direct comment as they are not worth the time it took to post them!

  • pugphan

    Hey JK, how you doing? Think about starting a boxing forum…where fans can vent and let pugfandom’s powers that be hear what the fans really think. About ten years ago we had one in the NY Time’s, but the guys started writing in pug speak, the times became very upset, and they axed it. Haw haw haw, I always thought it was a real funny situation because we din’t give a damn about syntax, grammar or proprieties, and The Ttime’s editors got very uptight. All the guys on the forum were having fun with the language, but alas they din’t think was funny.

    • JK

      Sounds like a great idea, pug. I was actually trying to have an intelligent discourse over the course of the sport we love, but Mr. Hunt flew off the reservation, diving into insults. What happened to disagreeing without being disagreeable? It seems a lost art.

      Was there profanity in the forum you started? That could be a reason the NYT ended it. If it were just a matter of grammar, then they’re snobs.

  • pugphan

    This is 1pugfan that is really happy he din’t buy this jive arse ppv, and won’t even bother to look at its bogus replay. Shane should have long ago retired to Hasbin’sville to enjoy his spendoodits and a hammock. A lot a of real pugfan’s feel the likewise. Pugfandom is really in the dumps, has been for a long time. It needs more activity like the SHO super eight tourney. There really isn’t anything to look forward to there, Sergio Martinez and Bute are bright lights. But where once there was a fight a week and sometimes several now we get nothing, nada, zilch. All the hvies are in the NFL, NBA and NHL, and many places don’t even have the Golden Gloves anymore. I can hear pugfandom’s Taps in distance.

    • JK

      Certainly understand your frustration, pug. Good to hear from you.

  • JK

    I just want good fights and good fighters, no matter their color or country. Boxing has long been home to all ethnicities. That’s part of the sport’s charm.

    • Michael Hunt

      @JK, now you have dementia in your comments. Weight got nothing to do and bringing in a totally separate issue by bring other sports into the conversation. Not all black people are over 220. You look at the light heavyweight blacks and under. Let’s say Hopkins as an example, boring as hell. He punches then hold, he punches then hold. And look at the Mexicans or Latinos, Sergio Martinez, exciting fighter, Angulo, Saul Alvarez, for a few all exciting fighters and fan favorite. There’s not one fan favorite fighter in any of the African Americans boxer of today. They big time s__ks!! If it not for Pacquiao and the Latinos fighting each other..I would have no longer interest in boxing. MMA in the other hand keeps you on your seat because at any given time, there will be a knockout!!

    • Michael Hunt

      Long gone are the true African American warriors, Tyson, Holyfield, Hagler etc…The current “slick African American boxers” time and time again are disappointments…
      They’re killing the sport of boxing.. Latinos are the brawlers for many years and they bring the most excitement in the ring. Ea..Arce vs Vasquez. I do want a good fight also, however every single African American fights recently that I have seen s__ks… You wont get that in MMA. I’m not bias here, I love both sport but boxing is killing me or should I say the “slick African American fighter” is killing me.

      • JK

        I guess I’m saying that I don’t make those distinctions. You’re correct in that the iconic, black fighters like the ones you listed don’t exist today. But I think the sport’s fall is systemic, not ethnic. Latino fighters tend to be smaller and have fewer options. If you weigh 135 lbs., football, baseball, and basketball aren’t viable. The 220-pound athletic savant isn’t boxing because he can make the same money without getting his head bashed in. Why box for ten years and risk dementia when you can play power forward for 15 years and keep your body and brain intact?

  • Michael Hunt

    It’s the slick African American fighter at it’s finest..First it was Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander, now it’s Shane Mosely.. Lead by the coward Mayweather. African fighters S__ks (feel in the blank). Bring on the Latinos for Pacquiao, they got more balls. No more African fighters from america, no mas, no mas..

  • JK

    Indeed, Sal, I think you meant “you’re no Bert Sugar” not “your.” But we realize facts, grammar, and punctuation aren’t your strong suits.

  • Sal

    if Mosley would have looked as good as the aging SS in NY did on Sunday the people that got ripped off buying this debacle wouldn’t be so mad this morning. Take a hike Keidel, your no Bert Sugar, more like Jason Saccharine

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