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MOSLEY VS. DE LA HOYA II Super-welterweight championship,
tonight, card starts at 6, pay-per-view | WHY MOSLEY

Decisions, Decisions

Shane might not seem like the popular choice, but there's plenty of rhyme to his reason

September 13, 2003|Bill Plaschke

LAS VEGAS — He waxes about whuppins' and muses about bruises.

He recites rhyme about doing time, and sonnets about busting bonnets.

He's part Dr. Dre, part Dr. Seuss, yet at this tragic artistic juncture, there is only one Floyd Mayweather poem that would contain any trace of originality.

That would be the ditty the trainer reads after his fighter, Oscar De La Hoya, has lost tonight to Sugar Shane Mosley.

"That's the poem I want to hear," said Gary Shaw, Mosley's promoter.

He will hear it, and here's how it will sound.

"We underestimated Mosley's speed.

"He whacked us like weeds.

"We forgot about Shane's reach.

"He tarred us like a beach.

"The body blows tore us up.

"Got inside our Big Gulp cup.

"No more messin'

"We learned a good lesson.

"Gold makes you lazy.

"While Sugar makes you crazy.''


Sitting here in Oscar De Las Vegas, it's tough to make a case for the other guy, but it can be done.

Just make like David Copperfield, opening your mind and reexamining everything you believe to be true.

Supposed Truth: Mosley can't win because he hasn't beaten a top fighter in more than three years.

Reality: De La Hoya hasn't beaten a top fighter in more than four years, since defeating Ike Quartey in 1999.

How did a victory over mediocre Fernando Vargas, however dramatic and bloody, turn De La Hoya into Joe Louis?

Since their last meeting, Mosley was beaten twice, but educated, by Vernon Forrest. De La Hoya might have been fooled into thinking he was a knockout puncher against Vargas, the sort of thinking that will get him clocked in this fight.

Supposed Truth: Mosley can't win because he can't withstand De La Hoya's increased use of right-jab-left-hook combinations.

Reality: It won't be much of a left hook if De La Hoya's wrist is as sore as it seems. He hasn't complained about it since last month at his Big Bear training camp, but earlier this week, he reportedly received a shot of cortisone in the wrist.

De La Hoya needs his hands, because he won't win this fight with his feet.

Supposed Truth: Mosley can't win because De La Hoya, thinking about revenge and becoming the world's premier boxer again, has more motivation.

Reality: If De La Hoya is fighting for his legacy, Mosley is fighting for career survival. Mosley clearly wants, and needs, this fight more.

If Mosley loses, he loses forever his chance to reap giant paydays as a main attraction. Because he is too good to be considered a tomato can, he might even lose his chance to compete as an opponent in those big fights.

And if Mosley loses his place in the ring, unlike De La Hoya, he loses everything.

Said Mosley, "Fighting is all I know."

Said De La Hoya, "If I retire, I have my promotion company."

Supposed Truth: Mosley can't win because he has a trainer-father who is not known for making big-time adjustments in the ring.

Reality: With a nutty trainer whom he might already have tuned out, it is De La Hoya who could be lost during the fight.

The trainer saga was clearly defined at Friday's weigh-in, when Mayweather began leaping and shouting and again making a fool of himself. Jack Mosley calmly walked over, picked him up and carried him out of the spotlight.

Mosley's father offers him a much more studied ring presence. He will calm his son if he grows impatient while chasing De La Hoya. He will remind him that testing De La Hoya's stamina worked the first time.

Supposed Truth: Mosley's speed, which dominated their first fight, has been lost with the three added years and seven extra pounds.

Reality: What, and De La Hoya has somehow gotten faster?

The difference in speed will still be huge. The difference in styles will still be vast.

It has been three years, not 30 years, not long enough to chance that Mosley is still blazing fire, and De La Hoya is still surging ice, and those at ringside had better carry towels.

Supposed Truth: Mosley can't win because he's simply not as strong as De La Hoya.

Reality: Did you see Mosley at the weigh-in? He looked more lean and cut than at any other time in his career. He looked like a rock. De La Hoya looked like, well, a 30-year-old husband and father.

In fact, Mosley looked eerily similar to Fernando Vargas before he fought De La Hoya. But Mosley is smarter than Vargas, quicker than Vargas and will handle De La Hoya's charges much easier than Vargas.

You don't have to believe me now.

By the 12th round tonight, it will be unanimous.


Bill Plaschke can be reached at

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