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Almost 12 years have passed since Shane Mosley, now 40, scored what is arguably his signature win, a 12-round split decision against future Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya. Back then, Mosley was at the height of his powers in the junior middleweight division and widely considered an elite (and perhaps boxing's top) pound-for-pound fighter.
But a dozen years is a lifetime in boxing, and since battling Vernon Forrest for the first time, in 2002, Mosley has lost nearly as often as he has won -- including a 2-3-1 stretch in his most recent six fights. Mosley cites several recent examples of boxers who have found life after 40 in the ring, although those exceptions to the rule are, by and large, heavier fighters who perhaps aren't as reliant on speed and timing as a 154-pounder must be.
We'll find out soon enough whether Mosley (46-7-1, 39 KOs) has anything left, when he challenges 21-year-old titlist Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on May 5 in Las Vegas (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET). As part of an ongoing prefight feature, ESPN.com enlisted HBO to put us in touch with Mosley for a discussion about the Alvarez clash and his own future.
On Alvarez's strengths, and whether he has picked up on any of Canelo's tendencies he might be able to exploit on Saturday:
Canelo is a young, talented fighter and will definitely help make things exciting for the fans. There's a lot I admire about the way he boxes, the way he moves, the way he anticipates hits. But ultimately, I know my experience as a seasoned fighter will be evident to anyone who watches.
I think there's a tendency for everyone to be fascinated in fights where there is an age difference like there is with Canelo and I. We will both be fighting to win, and in the end, I will win. I'd like to think I've proved many a naysayer wrong in my career. For those who think I won't be the winner, I say to remember that I have surprised before. I'm so proud of my career and the fights I have been in, and I am very happy that I can add this one to my legacy. I can't speak for Canelo, but judging where he is in his career, I know how bad he wants to win. I am glad we get to fight so everyone can see what a good match looks like.
I am immensely looking forward to [Saturday] and I predict the fans will enjoy it as well. In fact, I think that this will be a fight to remember, knowing the passion that is coming from me, and I'm sure from Canelo. As [Saturday] approaches, let's remember that boxing is a strong and vibrant community and we are lucky to be a part of it.
On how he plans to exploit his edge in experience against Alvarez:
With experience comes wisdom and, more importantly, patience. I have fought a lot of skilled boxers in my career and I know what it takes to win. Speed and accuracy are just two aspects of what makes me the fighter that I am. I know how to use overhand rights and how to effectively land a body shot. I know how to wear down my opponent. I know all these things because I've had a long and successful career and I have done all these things. Many young fighters know how to be aggressive, but the skill stops there. It takes time to understand that aggression doesn't win fights, which is why a lot of young fighters struggle. I'm very much looking forward to getting to fight again and showing what an experienced boxer is capable of.
When you fight, no matter the circumstances, you're always looking for an opportunity to overcome your opponent. It's not so easy to do that when you're a little green to the ring. Trust me, I can say unequivocally that I have the know-how to take on any opponent, regardless of age, and show my skill as a champion. I wouldn't be in the fight if I didn't think I would win. It's really no longer an "if" as much as "when" I win. I don't mean to sound boastful, it's just confidence. I know who I am as a fighter, and that's it. It's going to be a great fight and I am looking forward to the reaction.
|Shane Mosley, right, may still feel some lingering disappointment from a 2010 draw with Sergio Mora, but he says he wouldn't take it back if he could.|
On what he would change if he could get one fight back, and which fight it would be:
It doesn't do me any service as a fighter to look book at past fights and critique myself. The past is the past, and you don't get fights back. Each and every single fight has led me to where I am today, and I wouldn't change any of that.
Sure, there are moments where things could have gone differently, but that's with anything in life. Like I've said before, the [Sergio] Mora fight wasn't the type of fight I'd like to be in again, but it was what it was. The crowd is such a big part of every match, and when the crowd is disappointed, like it was with the Mora fight, it's hard not to be disappointed [in yourself]. I don't look at a loss and say, "I wish I could get this fight back, I wish I could do it again." You could drive yourself crazy doing that. That's not a boxing thing, that's with anything and everything. Instead, you look at yourself and say, "What will make me a better boxer? How hard do I need to train?"
You know, I am a boxing champion. I know what winning feels like. There's nothing like it. But at the end of the day, you do your best and that's it. I feel ready to win again, though, and that's what is going to happen on May 5. Fans and viewers alike will watch this match and know what kind of boxer I am, what kind of boxer I have become.
At 45, George Foreman won back the heavyweight title that he had lost roughly 20 years prior. Everyone thought [Michael] Moorer was going to take it, but he didn't. Foreman did. What about when Larry Holmes beat Ray Mercer at 42? The idea that a fighter suddenly loses skills they've had for years isn't the case at all. My experience and skill and knowledge of who I am as a fighter are things that no one can take away from me.
I have fought some of the best boxers in the world, including defeating Oscar De La Hoya and Antonio Margarito, among others. I know I am the same fighter today that I was in each and every single one of those matches; my speed and power are still there and stronger than ever. In fact, I would argue that at my age, I am more ready to fight, knowing what it takes to win. You don't just suddenly lose ability when you turn 40.
I hate to use a cliché, but with age does come wisdom, and wisdom is more important in boxing than you can imagine. People forget about the mental part of the fights. That's critical. In training, it becomes less about analyzing other boxers and more about studying myself, knowing myself, what I am capable of and what makes me a better fighter. Speed and power doesn't diminish, but instead evolves and matures, and that's what will be displayed. Viewers can look forward to seeing that on May 5.