Boxing: Pablo Cesar Cano

Mosley challenged, but slides by Cano

May, 21, 2013

CANCUN -- With the marks from battle still fresh on his face, Shane Mosley admitted after Saturday's welterweight fight with Pablo Cesar Cano that the challenge of his return after a year-long layoff took him by surprise.

"It was tougher than I expected," Mosley said. "Cano is a warrior. I think my experience made the difference. I was out [of boxing] for a while, and it took me some time to get my rythmn, but in the end we did things well."

Mosley, 41, emerged from retirement to break a four-fight winless streak -- his most recent victory having come in January 2009 against Antonio Margarito. Since then, Mosley (47-8-1, 39 KOs) had drawn against Sergio Mora and lost unanimous decisions to Canelo Alvarez, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao by wide margins.

"My experience was important," he said of the Cano win. "At the start he surprised me, but we could take care of it. My father [and trainer, Jack Mosley] kept saying to me, 'Throw your right, look for body shots.' We did this and things worked out."

Afterward, Cano (26-3-1, 20 KOs) praised Mosley for his performance and admitted that the veteran's years in the ring were the defining factor.

"His experience was key," Cano said. By the middle of the fight, he changed; he started boxing. He's still fast, but in the end I didn't lose to a nobody. I believe I have the talent to ask for more opportunities, and if they offer me a rematch, we'll gladly accept."

Cano, a gritty 23-year-old whose only previous losses came to Erik Morales and Paulie Malignaggi, said he was happy with his performance even though he wasn't able to seal the deal.

"I hurt him a few times -- I felt it -- but I couldn't finish him up," he said. "It was a difficult fight, I thought I made a good impression. I respect the judges, but Mosley told me at the end that a draw would've been fine with him."

All three judges at Arena Oasis saw a 115-113 win in favor of Mosley.

Mosley initially said he would take some time before making a decision about his immediate future -- "We'll rest. Right now, I don't know what will happen" -- but on Monday he took to Twitter and announced that he would continue fighting and seek a world title shot.

Cano seeks to close out Mosley's career

May, 18, 2013
CANCUN, Mexico -- Pablo Cesar Cano wants to end the arc of Shane Mosley's career, but the former three-division titlist still believes he has the drive and passion to be a player at the top of the welterweight division.

After clearing Friday's weigh-in -- Cano came in at 146 pounds, Mosley at 148.6 -- each fighter is confident that Saturday's matchup at the Grand Oasis will lead to a championship fight coming his way.

"The last few fights I lost because of injuries, but I'm well," said the 41-year-old Mosley (46-8-1, 39 KOs) after the weigh-in. "My body tells me I'm well, so we are still going to be doing this for a while. Cano is a tough fighter, but I shouldn't have any problems beating him and being on my way to win a world title.

"I'm over 40, but I feel a passion for this sport. It's what I love doing and I will show it in the ring [Saturday]. This is an important fight, and I have to show that I'm still a player."

Cano, 23, has had his share of big fights in his relatively short career, at least as compared to Mosley. He lost to Mexican legend Erik Morales in 2011 and fell to Paulie Malignaggi in a close, disputed fight last October. Both were championship bouts -- the only blemishes on Cano's record (26-2-1, 20 KOs). Now Cano believes Mosley can give him the boost he needs to reach the next level.

"In boxing and life there are cycles," Cano said. "I think Mosley's is about to end and mine is just starting. I'm in the best shape to win and make him think about his career.

"Mosley is already a legend, and that's why I thank him for this opportunity. I know no one has knocked him out, and it would be special to do it. That's my mission, and I'm sure they will raise my hand so I can pursue another title belt."
If a random reader strolled into my office this afternoon, looked me up and down, then said I should hit the bricks because I'm no good at my job anymore, you can imagine where I'd tell him to go. (And then I'd wonder how the guy got in the building and change the locks.)

So I don't expect Shane Mosley to heed my words -- or the warnings of anyone else, outside of those in his family or professional circle. Boxing is his trade, he's allowed to make an honest living, and if a boxing commission is still willing to green-light him, who am I to tell him not to step through the ropes again?

But here it is anyway: Shane, please take your gloves and go home.

Here's the thing: I actually believe Mosley, even at 41, remains a viable welterweight opponent at the second -- or third-tier levels. And when he returns Saturday in Cancun, Mexico to face Pablo Cesar Cano -- a tough 23-year-old kid whose only two losses came to Paulie Malignaggi and Erik Morales in close decisions where Cano gave as good as he got -- there will be an element of mystery to the proceedings. Mosley isn't being thrown to the wolves.

But it comes down to more than just an interest in honest competition, or even a preservationists' urge to hermetically seal the legacy of a three-division titlist and former pound-for-pound buzzsaw. (Mosley hasn't won a fight since 2009, going 0-3-1 since then, so that ship has sailed anyway.) Of greater concern is the toll exacted on him by 55 professional fights -- particularly the more recent ones, in which his hair-trigger reflexes seemed to rust before our eyes.

This isn't a broken-down Joe Namath or Shaquille O'Neal hobbling through his final days of athletic glory. Losing a few ticks off the fastball or a half-step down the line? A guy can live with that. But for a fighter whose foundation is built on reaction time and hand speed, a slight erosion of skills translates to fewer connects, longer bouts and more glancing blows coming back that turn into flush shots to the face. Can a guy live with that? Maybe. But even a handful of those sort of rounds can ruin the quality of that life over time.

Fighters and fans both understand the potential costs. You either make peace with them or move on. But no one who appreciates the sacrifices that boxing requires has the stomach for gratuitous carnage. Mosley might not be that far gone just yet, but he's testing those limits. For his own sake, is it too much to ask him not to?

With that, here are five fighters I'd like to see retire right now:

Shane Mosley
He hasn't thrown a meaningful punch since buckling the knees of Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the second round of their 2010 fight, when Mosley was coming off a 15-month layoff and suddenly appeared a different fighter. He went into a shell after those initial rounds against Mayweather, and he was painfully gun-shy against Manny Pacquiao a year later. Having trouble touching up Floyd is one thing. The fact that Mosley not only couldn't get to Manny but ultimately stopped trying was perhaps the more telling sign.

James Toney
Toney, 44, is a mess in just about every sense of the word. Once a devastating middleweight and super middleweight titlist, he's now a sloppy heavyweight who is 6-4-1 with two no-contests against middling competition since 2005. Toney still has power, but he's too slow to use it effectively. Worse, his titanium chin, which keeps him in fights even when he's overmatched, ironically has become one of the greatest threats to his health. After 87 pro fights -- an almost obscene number in this day and age -- he conducts blustery, unintelligible interviews that would be humorous if they weren't so heartbreaking.

Oliver McCall
McCall's moment in the sun -- a second-round TKO of heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in London -- is now almost two decades old. Now consider that he has fought 40 times -- forty! -- since. McCall still has the goods to have somewhat recently beaten creaky former contender Fres Oquendo but couldn't measure up to Wladimir Klitschko victim Francesco Pianeta. That shouldn't inherently rule that “The Atomic Bull” be put out to pasture, but considering his age (48), the power of his heavyweights foes and the sustained punishment he has taken (McCall went the distance in 10- or 12-rounders in nine of his past 10 fights), I'd say enough is enough.

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
Because they're often left with so little after being stripped of their speed in their early or mid-30s, most of boxing's little guys get out of the game at a more appropriate time relative to their primes. Wonjongkam, 35, never got the memo. The former flyweight champ and Thai stud seemed to be drained of most of his fight after outpointing Edgar Sosa in 2011. A draw and an upset loss to journeyman Sonny Boy Jaro followed, and his since then his wins (three against fighters making their debut) don't speak near the volumes of his single defeat (a TKO at the hands of sub-.500 foe Rey Megrino).

Roy Jones Jr.
For those who aren't old enough to remember or who were living on Neptune during Jones' prime from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s, here's a quick scouting report: Think Floyd Mayweather Jr. meets Mike Tyson. Jones was literally scary-good, combining speed and dominance with a fearsomeness that infused each of his fights with a sort of fascinatingly macabre inevitability. Which is why it's stunning to see the current version of Jones so utterly disarmed against fighters he would have ripped to shreds back in the day. Yes, he's 44. And of course the moves between divisions weren't kind to him. But even just five years ago, when Jones already was in mid-decline, the crushing knockout he suffered against Denis Lebedev (in 2011) would've been unthinkable. There's a reason we now only see Roy on HBO with a mic in his hand.

Brooklyn wins big at Barclays

October, 21, 2012
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The headliners were from Philadelphia and Tijuana, Mexico, and the main televised card opened with fighters from St. Louis and Miami engaging in a bout that many would prefer to forget. But Saturday night's card was all about New York. Specifically, it was all about Brooklyn.

The Barclays Center has provided a new home and a new name for what are now the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA -- although early preseason results suggest it has done nothing to magically improve that team's results. The arena's first experiment in bringing big-time boxing back to the borough, however, saw the home team sweep the wins, sometimes in style.

OK, Paulie Malignaggi might have benefitted slightly from hometown cooking in eking out a split-decision win against Pablo Cesar Cano. But, close and hard-fought though it was, it was clear how much the win -- and the experience -- meant to the "Magic Man."

"This means the world to me," he said afterward. "I was born only 5 miles from here. This is an incredible feeling."

On one level, the evening felt a little like that night last December in Washington, D.C., when a rabid crowd roared Lamont Peterson to a controversial -- and ultimately tainted -- win against Amir Khan, just a block or so from where he and his brother once slept on the streets. But this is New York, so everything was bigger: the beautiful new venue, the crowd that didn't quite fill it in numbers but filled it with noise, and the number of local fighters who represented their city and their borough.

Of them all, few can have advanced their careers more than Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin, who dropped opponent Hassan N'Dam six times -- including twice in the final round, to ensure a championship-caliber finish to a true championship-quality contest -- and still found himself in a dogfight right down to the final bell. It is to the credit of the crowd that it rose to applaud N'Dam as he climbed the corner post at the end of the bout, recognizing a true warrior.

But there can be no doubt about the person around whom the cameras clustered, in whose beaming face the postfight microphones were thrust. The attention wasn't because Daniel Jacobs' victory was spectacular -- although his first-round knockout of overmatched Josh Luteran certainly was. It was because, as victories go, it wasn't even close to being the biggest he has secured in his career or in his life.

Eighteen months ago, Jacobs had cancer. Eighteen months ago, he had no idea whether he would live or die, let alone box again. And now here he was, not only fighting, not only winning, but winning by knockout, and doing so in front of his hometown fans -- fans who might have given him the very biggest ovation of all.

"First-round knockout in Brooklyn, this is electrifying," he said afterward, beaming. "This moment means the world to me. They told me I would never walk or box again, and I proved everyone wrong."

That he did -- and he did so in style. On a night of big Brooklyn winners, Jacobs was the biggest of them all.
Paul Malignaggi, the WBA welterweight champion, has begun light training for his Oct. 20 bout at the Barclays Center, presumably against Pablo Cesar Cano.

Malignaggi told NYFightBlog that Cano (25-1-1) hasn't been locked down 100 percent as of today, but he expects that the 22-year-old Mexican fighter will be the man standing across from him on the first fight night at the new Brooklyn arena.

Malignaggi jetted from New York to Los Angeles last week to begin training. "I'm training lightly," he said, "but will pick up the pace soon enough."

He's still saving room for some summer fun. The 31-year-old with a 31-4 record will judge a ring card girl competition in Las Vegas this weekend.

Once Cano has been locked in, Malignaggi will sit down with trainer Eric Brown and start talking about a game plan. He'll fly back to New York three or four weeks before the fight and resume training here so he can help with the promotional push.