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Mosley’s Making It Hard To Remember How Great He Once Was

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On July 22, 2001, he sported a perfect record (38-0) and was the reigning WBC welterweight champion and a former IBF lightweight champ.

He never lost fighting as a lightweight, going 32-0 (29). And when the nineties came to a close and during the first and second years of the new century, he fought it out with Roy Jones as to who was the fighter most regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in professional boxing.

If all that isn’t enough, how about the fact that along with Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley is in the conversation as to who is the greatest lightweight since Roberto Duran relinquished the title back in 1978 after beating Esteban DeJesus in their rubber match.

Actually, at 135, I think I’d favor Mosley to beat both Whitaker and Mayweather.

There was a time when Mosley 47-9-1 (39) was among the elite of the elite fighters in professional boxing. Shane could do it all in the ring. He could box rugged and aggressive guys, he had the physicality to out-muscle fighters who tried to box him and keep him at center ring. In addition to that, he could throw every punch with speed, power and accuracy… and last but not least, he possessed a cast iron chin. Some will say his defense wasn’t the greatest, but there was a reason for that. And that is, he was always looking to take his opponent’s head off, a la Sugar Ray Leonard. Well, in order to do that a fighter must stand in the danger zone where he can be hit back just as hard and commit to his punches. Shane Mosley never feared fighting in the danger zone and always committed to his punches.

Last week it was announced that Shane, 42, will make another comeback and fight former foe Ricardo Mayorga 31-8-1 (25) in Los Angeles on August 29th in a junior middleweight bout. Mosley and Mayorga, 41, fought back in September of 2008, a bout in which Mosley won via stoppage with one second remaining in the 12th and final round. At the time of the stoppage Mosley was leading on two of the three judges’ cards. In a twist of fate, Mayorga broke onto the big time boxing scene by defeating Vernon Forrest twice, once by stoppage, after Forrest proved to be Mosley’s stumbling block via his back to back decision wins over him. Forrest owned the style match up over Mosley but couldn’t do anything with Mayorga. Yes, styles are almost everything in boxing.

Everyone knows that 1) Mosley is the superior fighter 2) both are shop-worn and not relevant today and 3) the fight and story is really about Mosley’s decline and how he continues to chase a ghost. Not many take Mayorga, who had a couple MMA fights and would probably wrestle an alligator if someone was willing to pay him to do it, seriously. Whereas Mosley was a certifiable great fighter who is the antithesis of Mayweather when it comes to managing your career and picking the right fights. Mosley’s toughness and belief in himself is partly to blame as to why he sometimes took the wrong fights when the risk-reward was seldom in his favor. Remember when Winky Wright challenged Mayweather and was willing to fight at a catch-weight, and then Mayweather said he wanted a 70/30 split? Winky agreed to the split and seven days later Mayweather was a week old ghost. Sadly, Shane was never that judicious.

Today, Mosley has nine losses on his record and is only 1-4-1 in his last six bouts, going back to 2010. His last win came in May of 2013 against Pablo Cesar Cano. Shane hasn’t won a noteworthy bout since he stopped Antonio Margarito during the first month of 2009, and he was an underdog going into that bout. Mosley is/was the type of fighter who was easy to like and root for because he was so tough and skilled, but who was also willing to fight anyone regardless of their record or reputation. The tragedy is, there’s absolutely nothing left physically of the great fighter Mosley used to be. It’s been more than six years since he could fight a full three minute round. His reflexes are totally shot and you can’t miss him with a big shot even if you send him a text indicating what punch you’re sending his way. Sure, he still looks to take his opponents out, but there is nothing left of his punch and he can barely put any semblance of a combination together.

As of this writing, the best anyone can hope is for Mosley to lose to Mayorga and not endure much punishment in the process. Then again if that happens, he may continue to fight. And if he blows Mayorga away, he’ll convince himself that he can be a factor again and continue to fight. Eventually that will once again put him in the ring with a young killer who will seek to make his name by saying that he beat and perhaps stopped Shane Mosley. After the fight maybe Shane will be interviewed and say he had an off night and will promise to retire for good. Only we probably won’t be able to understand what he said. I’m hoping in 10 years he won’t be sitting ringside at a big fight disheveled having us reminisce about the great fighter he once was and saying in passing that it’s a shame he didn’t get out of the sport sooner.

I hope I’m wrong about these maybes and also hope that boxing fans never forget what a great fighting machine Shane was during his prime. The lightweight who compiled a 32-0 (29) record would’ve lived with any lightweight champ in history and perhaps defeated 99% of them.

Let’s not remember him for the late career losses that he’s compiled.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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