Mosley’s Next For Cotto

By Francis Walker
Updated: August 28, 2007

NEW YORK — Three-division world champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley (44-4, 37 KOs) is next in line to challenge unbeaten WBA welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (30-0, 25 KOs). The two will clash on November 10 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. HBO Pay-Per-View will televise the event which could be a candidate for 2007 “Fight of the Year” honors.

Mosley vs. Cotto (or if you prefer Cotto vs. Mosley), is a fight between two of the most recognized fighters in boxing. After winning the IBF lightweight championship from Phillip Holiday in August 1997, Mosley made a name for himself by make eight successful defenses before moving up two weight classes from 135 to 147. Mosley cleverly hustled the WBC welterweight title away from Oscar De La Hoya in June 2000.

Mosley was a dominant fighter until he crossed paths with Vernon Forrest, who handed him two consecutive losses in 2001. Mosley, the only fighter to have twice defeated Oscar, beat De La Hoya again in a controversial rematch in September 2003. Many thought De La Hoya should have won.

Mosley, who is not a natural 154-pounder, struggled in two consecutive losses to southpaw Winky Wright, who became the first junior middleweight to unify the WBC/WBA, and IBF 154-pound titles.

Mosley has apparently returned to his “old self” after knocking out Fernando Vargas in two consecutive fights in 2006. Mosley also dominated Luis Collazo through 12-rounds to capture the interim WBC welterweight championship earlier this year.

Mosley has had a terrific career both inside and outside the ring, as he has partnered with De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, and Marco Antonio Barrera through Golden Boy Promotions. Mosley splits his time between training and preparing fighters for Oscar’s company. At 35, it appears as through Mosley has already thought about life after his boxing career has ended and rightfully so.

The other Sugars, Ray Robinson and Ray Leonard were outstanding prospects that became Hall of Famer worthy fighters. Both Robinson and Leonard, in their primes, were amongst the very best boxing had to offer. Traditional boxing fans and forth coming generations will always remember Robinson and Leonard for what they did at their peak.

People will not remember how Robinson struggled to make ends meet as he fought well into his 40s. People will not remember the way Leonard made a fool of himself at age 35 by challenging a 24 year-old beast called “Terrible” Terry Norris. Leonard also embarrassed himself by challenging a Hector Camacho, Sr. to a middleweight bout in March 1997. Leonard was two months away from his 41st birthday and more than six years removed from the loss to Norris

Mosley is at the end of his illustrious career. Mosley’s power has been questioned in recent years, as many fighters who have fought him said he doesn’t hit as hard as it appears he does. Mosley is not as flashy on his feet as he was when he was a dominant lightweight and when he beat De La Hoya the first time.

Many doubt Mosley’s ability to sustain a relentless body attack from one of boxing’s most consistent body punchers in Cotto.

Cotto’s Rise

Cotto is younger than Mosley and stronger at 147. Cotto is on the same path toward becoming a superstar in boxing the way De La Hoya was groomed by Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc., who also promotes Cotto.

Cotto, a 26 year-old from Puerto Rico, is already a two-division world champion at 140 and 140 pounds. Cotto has competed in 10 world championship fights. Cotto has beaten world champions and contenders: Paul Maliginaggi (W 12), Lovermore N’dou (W 12), Oktay Urkal (TKO 11), Randall Bailey (TKO 6), Demarcus Corley (TKO 5), Ricardo Torres (KO 7), and Carlos Maussa (TKO 8).

In June, Cotto fought at Madison Square Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican day parade for the third consecutive year. Cotto stopped former undisputed world welterweight champion Zab Judah in the eleventh round of a very exciting fight.

Judah stunned Cotto with a sharp-straight right down the middle in the first round. But a pair of low blows in the first and third rounds, along with a pressing body attack by Cotto forced Judah to fold under pressure. The longer the bout progressed, the more it shifted to Cotto’s advantage.

Cotto is fighting Mosley at a very good time. Mosley is still considered a very dangerous fighter and holds a world title. As interim WBC champion, Mosley has to unify with WBC regular 147-pound champion Floyd Mayweather. If Mosley beats Cotto and Mayweather can hold off unbeaten Ricky Hatton in December, Mosley-Mayweather would be the next.