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Randy Harvey

Mosley Has Bonus Satisfaction

September 14, 2003|Randy Harvey

LAS VEGAS — You can do a lot with $4.5 million. You can buy a mansion, even in the Southern California real estate market. You can buy a diamond ring for your wife. You can almost send your child to college.

I'm not sure what Shane Mosley is going to do with the money he was guaranteed for fighting Oscar De La Hoya on Saturday night at the MGM Grand.

But I do know this. Mosley won't enjoy spending the $4.5 million nearly as much as he will the half-million dollar bonus. That's the half-million dollars De La Hoya said he would pay Mosley if Mosley won.

That's how confident De La Hoya was that he would avenge his loss three years ago at Staples Center, and when this fight was over, he was one of the most surprised persons in the arena that it didn't happen that way.

I would say he was the most surprised except that a lot of other people, well-respected people in the fight game, seemed even more stunned. Bob Arum, who as president of Top Rank Inc. is De La Hoya's promoter, called the decision proof that boxing is a "sewer sport" and announced that he is retiring.

That is incredibly unfair to Mosley. Even if the fight was close, and it was, the decision was hardly unjust. I, like all three judges, had him outpointing De La Hoya in all of the last four rounds to win, 115-113.

If anything, the decision should have restored faith in boxing. Because De La Hoya is the world's most popular boxer, because he is the World Boxing Council's biggest revenue producer and because he produces millions of dollars for the Las Vegas economy every year, there is an assumption that he is the house fighter whenever he has a bout here.

No one was more cognizant of that than Mosley's trainer-father, Jack Mosley, who repeatedly told his son in the late rounds that he was behind on the scorecards and had to start winning rounds to avoid a loss.

"I think what he was trying to say was that, over here in Vegas, I would be behind," Mosley said, "being that this is Oscar De La Hoya's crowd. That's what he was trying to convey to me."

But Mosley earned his unanimous decision and money.

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So what's next for Mosley?

Perhaps more important for boxing, what's next for De La Hoya?

De La Hoya said he would retire if he lost. One of his goals for the last four years was to avenge his two losses, one to Felix Trinidad and the other to Mosley.

It has seemed increasingly unlikely in the last two years that he would ever have that chance against Trinidad, the Puerto Rican seemingly making the most of his retirement. But De La Hoya was certain he would win the rematch against Mosley.

De La Hoya was so certain that he said there would be no reason to continue in the sport because he had so few other goals other than redemption.

I disagree. De La Hoya is still only 30, and, if his fight Saturday night is an indication, he is as good as ever.

He's just not as good as Mosley.

I never expected to be writing those words. Even after seeing the first fight at Staples Center, even after agreeing with the decision for Mosley that night, I still believed De La Hoya was the superior fighter. Even though Mosley is quicker, I believed the fact that they are now fighting at 154 pounds instead of 147 would neutralize that advantage.

Not so.

Mosley wasn't as tactically brilliant as he was in the first fight, when he switched from right-handed to left-handed in the middle of the fight and dominated most of the late rounds. But he was stronger this time, and still as quick, and the result was the same. I had him winning five of the last six rounds.

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We'll see now how much he has learned.

After winning the title from De La Hoya in 2000, Mosley virtually disappeared. Beating the man didn't make him the man. It seemed as if he, not De La Hoya, might be on the verge of retirement after failing to win a fight in 26 months. He lost twice to Vernon Forrest.

But now Mosley has an influential promoter in Gary Shaw, perhaps the most influential this side of Don King now that Arum is threatening to retire, and it's not likely that he will make the same mistakes that the previous management did.

I can see Fernando Vargas in Mosley's future. Maybe even Bernard Hopkins.

I would prefer De La Hoya.

Even though Mosley won, the fight was close enough that De La Hoya deserves a third shot if he wants it. He said immediately after the fight that he doesn't, that he's not sure the third fight would end differently.

But maybe Mosley could coax De La Hoya into the ring. Maybe Mosley could offer De La Hoya a bonus if he wins.

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Randy Harvey can be reached at randy.harvey@latimes.com.

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