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Mosley Fires Longtime Trainer -- His Father

March 23, 2004|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

Bruised and battered by recent setbacks in the ring, Shane Mosley took the most painful step of his boxing career Sunday night by firing his father, Jack, who has served as his trainer since he first laced on a pair of gloves at age 8.

Barring a last-minute change of heart, Mosley is expected to replace his father with Joe Goossen, who began his career two decades ago with Ten Goose Boxing in North Hollywood and has trained fighters ranging from Michael Nunn and Gabe and Rafael Ruelas to, more recently, Joel Casamayor and Diego Corrales. Goossen met with Mosley on Monday morning and a source close to the negotiations said it was "99% certain" that Goossen would be hired.

"I am going to miss working with my father," Mosley said in a prepared statement. He declined to speak to the media Monday.

In the statement, Mosley, who has lost three of his last four fights with one no-decision, said of his father, "Together, we scaled many mountains and I would never have had the success I have had if he had not been there to guide and teach me every step of the way. He is, without question, one of the all-time great trainers. More importantly, he has been a great father who I love very much.

"However, the time has come for my father and I to sever our professional relationship so that I can try some new avenues designed to give my fans the Sugar Shane Mosley they deserve."

Jack Mosley didn't return phone calls, but he too issued a statement.

"Part of being a good parent is knowing when to let your children go," he said. "Shane and I have had a wonderful professional relationship over the years that complemented our love for each other as father and son.

"I understand and accept his decision that the time has come for him to be out there on his own. I will still be there for him, as I always have, as his father. He will always be able to call on me for advice and support. To be sure, I will be there, together with the whole Mosley clan, to celebrate with Shane when he regains his belts."

Boxing has always been a family affair for the Mosleys. It was Shane's mother, Clemmie, who first put father and son together in the ring. Watching her highly energetic son whirl around the house, Clemmie suggested to her husband that he take their son with him to the Pomona gym where he worked out.

Jack did, gave his son a pair of gloves, and the two became inseparable in the ring. Within a year, Shane won a Golden Gloves competition and a regional tournament, starting a wild ride to the top with Jack in the driver's seat.

When Shane turned pro after failing to reach the Olympics, his father became his manager. Shane won his first 38 professional fights, 35 by knockout, captured the International Boxing Federation lightweight title, successfully defended it eight times and beat Oscar De La Hoya for the World Boxing Council welterweight title in June 2000.

Jack was praised for his work in Shane's corner in the De La Hoya match. With Shane behind midway through the fight, Jack helped his son make the adjustments that changed the course of the bout. That was in sharp contrast to De La Hoya, who, with trainer Robert Alcazar in his corner, failed to adjust to Shane and lost a split decision.

Alcazar lost his job after that fight.

All seemed happy in the Mosley camp with Shane being mentioned more and more around the country as perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

But when Shane's success didn't translate into big-money fights, Jack was removed as Shane's manager.

Criticism of Jack as a trainer began in January 2002 when Shane was upset by Vernon Forrest. After Shane was knocked down twice in the second round, observers said Jack seemed to freeze, acting more like a father than a trainer, offering his fighter little more than the horrified look on his face.

Shane lost a rematch to Forrest, and, after fighting to a no-decision against Raul Marquez in a fight stopped in the third round because of a head butt, Shane won a close decision over De La Hoya in September. However, he lost to Winky Wright on March 13.

As the losses mounted, so did the questions about Jack. There were complaints that his focus on boxing was no longer as sharp as required. For example, several observers said Jack was in the media room before the Wright fight, eating hot dogs instead of being with his son.

But what happened in the ring, not the media room, sealed Jack's fate.

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