Can Mosley Live Up To The Name Sugar?

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 9, 2007

NEW YORK – There is a certain honor and prestige that comes with being called “Sugar.”

Ray Robinson wasn’t called “Sugar Ray” for nothing. Robinson is arguably the greatest fighter in the history of boxing. Some may argue and say that Muhammad Ali was. Robinson’s style and technique was so sweet, Robinson was head and shoulders above the rest during the 1950s & 1960s.

Robinson did prove himself against the likes of Gene Fulmer, BoBo Olson, Randy Turpin, Carmen Basilio, and Rocky Graziano to name a few. Robinson was a master at what he did.

Robinson’s exhilarating career, which consisted of an untouchable 175-19-6, 108 KO record, set the tone of any fighter that wished to be referred to as “Sugar.”

Along came a fighter named Ray Leonard. Leonard was so fast, so quick, and a natural inside the squared-circle. Leonard quickly reminded people of Ray Robinson. Leonard had charm, charisma, and was a baby faced assassin who could get seriously mean and fight.

Leonard came along in perhaps the most exciting era in boxing history during the 1980s. Leonard fought and defeated some of the biggest baddest fighters in boxing: Thomas Hearns, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez, Wilfredo Gomez.

Leonard became the first man in boxing history to have won five world championships in five separate weight classes. Leonard truly earned the privilege of being called “Sugar Ray.”

Along Comes Sugar Shane

Shane Mosley is the latest have been enshrined with the name “Sugar.” Mosley was a dominant lightweight champion in the 1990s. He vacated the IBF 135-pound crown to move up two weight classes to defeat Oscar De La Hoya for the WBC welterweight title. Mosley, who also won world championships at 154, is the only fighter to have twice beaten both De La Hoya and knockout Fernando Vargas.

Overall, Mosley simply has not done enough to be placed in the same category as Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard. Shane’s a great athlete and has had a very good career. But when people are asked to name the greatest boxers in the history of the sport, most folks will say Ali, Robinson, Leonard, Hearns, and Duran.

“Sugar Shane” wouldn’t even be considered.

Fast & Furious

At 36, Mosley enters perhaps the toughest challenge of his career. No longer that young rising superstar himself, Mosley can still define his place as one of the best fighters in boxing history when he challenges Miguel Cotto for the WBA welterweight championship.

“Cotto vs. Mosley: Fast & Furious” will occur at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday. The bout will be televised on HBO Pay Per View at a suggested retail of $49.99.

Mosley and Cotto is match between the more a experienced champion against perhaps the biggest Puerto Rican boxing superstar since Felix Trinidad.

At 27, Cotto is already a two-division world champion. Cotto is quickly becoming one of the more recognizable fighters in the world. He simply comes to fight. Cotto can box, but prefers to move forward in an attempt to break his opponents down with determination, crisp body punching, and overwhelming punching power.

Cotto comes to hurt people. Just ask Zab Judah, Paul Malignaggi, Ricardo Torres, DeMarcus Corley, and Randall Bailey just how hard Cotto hits. Cotto has a tremendous will to win as evident against the opponents just listed.

Cotto has never fought anyone with Mosley’s hand speed and ability to finish fighters. Mosley is the type of fighter that can finish his opponents the moment they’re hurt. Mosley is also a very good and very fast combination body puncher.

Also, Cotto’s chin is questionable. Cotto has been rocked, stunned, and even dropped on a number of occasions. Cotto maybe the favorite, but many are picking Mosley to knock Cotto out in what would be an exhilarating moment if that were to happen.

Fast & Furious A Hot Ticket!

More than 16,000 tickets are expected to be sold at Madison Square Garden. For only the second time since 2001, the upper deck will be open for sale to the general public with more than 3,000 seats available.

The last time the upper deck was opened more than 20,000 people turned out to witness Cotto’s birth as a major attraction when he stopped Judah in the eleventh round of perhaps the biggest victory of his career.

Interesting Notes: As celebrated a fighter Mosley is, he has never fought in Garden’s main arena. Mosley’s three fights at Madison Square Garden took place at The Theater. Mosley knocked out Eduardo Bartolome Morales (TKO 5, 1998) and Antonio Diaz (TKO 6, 2000) before losing his first professional bout to Vernon Forrest (L 12, 2002).

Cotto has fought in the Garden’s main arena for three consecutive years on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade dating back to June 2005. Cotto has beaten Malignaggi (W 12), Judah (TKO 11), and Mohamed Abdulaev (TKO 9).