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Mosley, Jones Jr. Put Titles on the Line

November 14, 1998|From Associated Press

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Shane Mosley feels no extra pressure being on a card with Roy Jones Jr., considered by many to be what Mosley wants to become--the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

"I like Roy, and it's good to be fighting on the same card with him," the unbeaten Mosley said. "But I'm not competing with Roy, I'm competing with myself."

So far, Mosley, the International Boxing Federation lightweight champion, has to be pleased with his progress (29-0, 27 knockouts). He has impressed, among others, Sugar Ray Leonard.

Mosley will make the fifth defense of his 135-pound title against James Leija tonight at Foxwoods Casino Resort.

In the second of the HBO-televised doubleheader, Jones will defend the World Boxing Council light-heavyweight title against Otis Grant of Canada.

Leija (36-3-2, 14 knockouts), a 32-year-old from San Antonio, is a former WBC super-featherweight champion. His losses were a title defeat on points to Gabriel Ruelas in 1994 and on technical knockouts to Oscar De La Hoya and Azumah Nelson. He also beat Nelson twice, including a decision July 11 for the International Boxing Assn. lightweight title.

"I've seen a lot of his fights," Mosley said. "He comes to fight. I like that."

In Grant, Jones will be defending the 175-pound title against a high school recreational counselor in Montreal, who took a leave of absence to train for the fight.

Grant, the World Boxing Organization middleweight champion, has a 31-1-1 record with 17 knockouts. In his last fight, he retained the title by stopping Ernesto Sena in the ninth round. He weighed as much as 170 pounds only once in his career.

Jones (37-1, 31 knockouts) is a former IBF middleweight and super-middleweight (168 pounds) champion. It will be his fourth defense of the 175-pound title and the first since he was knocked down for the first time in his career in scoring a one-sided decision over Lou Del Valle on June 18.

Jones' only loss came when he was disqualified for hitting Montell Griffin twice while Griffin was down in the ninth round on March 21, 1997. He regained the light-heavyweight title Aug. 7 of that year when he knocked out Griffin.

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