Mosley not quite ready for retirement
By Lyle Fitzsimmons
Boxing Contributing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Some unsolicited gambling advice:
Anyone pondering a wager on how long Shane Mosley's got left in the ring -- bet the over.
The 36-year-old multi-division champion, assumed by many to be on the way out after a welterweight title fight loss to Miguel Cotto last fall, is apparently anything but.
"I'm going to be around for a little bit," he said in a Wednesday phone interview from training camp in Big Bear Lake, California, where he's preparing for a May 31 bout with fellow ex-champ Zab Judah.
"I'm 36, yes, but based on the way I'm feeling at 36, there's really no reason I can't keep going until I'm 45. I know I'm still the best out there. It's inside me and it's what I believe. It's what I love to do, and I'm not ready to stop yet."
Such a long shelf life would make Mosley the latest in a series of 30- some things to maintain a high level in the ring in spite of advanced age -- a trend he attributes to overall progress in exercise technology and his own long-term focus on proper nutrition and other personal disciplines.
Now 43, Bernard Hopkins will meet 35-year-old Joe Calzaghe in a much-anticipated 175-pound pay-per-view match April 19 in Las Vegas, while 39-year-old Antonio Tarver will risk his IBO light heavyweight crown against 35-year-old IBF champion Clinton Woods a week earlier, on April 12 in Tampa.
"I'm going to be around for a little bit." Mosley said.
And just three weeks ago, lightweight Nate Campbell won the first world title of his career -- one day after turning 36 -- with a split decision over previously unbeaten 24-year-old Juan Diaz.
"People are always going to say things like '(they) wish you'd retire,' but it's when you start listening to them that you might really need to consider it," said Mosley, who turned pro in 1993 and won his first world title -- the IBF lightweight belt -- four years later.
"My father has always stressed the importance of eating the proper foods, even when I was in high school playing football and later when I was on the Olympic team, so that's always been my secret. I've stayed disciplined and done the right things with my body."
Mosley defended his 135-pound title eight times before jumping to 147 and winning the WBC belt by split decision after a 12-round classic with Oscar De La Hoya.
That title run was ended with a pair of surprise losses to Vernon Forrest, which then prompted a brief move to 154 pounds -- where Mosley again defeated De La Hoya for the WBC and WBA crowns but was subsequently beaten twice by Winky Wright in 2004.
Many observers considered Mosley finished at that point, but the Lynwood, California native instead regrouped and had run off five straight wins -- including three back at welterweight -- before the narrow, albeit unanimous loss to Cotto in New York in November.
Cotto won 116-113, 115-113 and 115-113 on the three scorecards.
"I believed (moving to 154) was the right move at the time, and I never questioned it. There have been no regrets," Mosley said. "I was able to win another title there, and all the fighters I was in the ring with -- whether I beat them or they beat me -- have gone on to be successful and win more titles.
"As far as the Cotto fight goes, I think it could have gone either way, and if it had been in Vegas or under different circumstances, I probably would have won. But I think I know the mistakes that I made in the ring with him, and I know I can beat him."
Cotto will defend his WBA title against Alfonso Gomez on April 12 in Atlantic City and could be looking at a match later this year with the winner of the IBF championship tilt between Kermit Cintron and Antonio Margarito -- which will share the Boardwalk Hall bill next month.
Predictably, Mosley also covets a showdown with WBC champion Floyd Mayweather, who's scheduled to meet De La Hoya in a rematch of last year's PPV record- breaker in September.
"I've looked at Mayweather's fights, and I definitely see things that the guys in there with him could have done to maybe edge him out," Mosley said.
"I'd look mostly at his first fight with (Jose Luis) Castillo, which a lot of people think Castillo won. I look at that and I consider myself faster and better than Castillo was then, so I'd be able to come out on top."
Say what you will about either, but don't say Hopkins and Calzaghe aren't making it fun.
Just less than a month from their "Battle of the Planet" event at the Thomas & Mack Center, the feuding camps laid claim to contrasting ends of the training camp personnel spectrum via menacing press statements released Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
Hopkins, who outpointed Wright in his most-recent bout last July, has assembled his own four-man "Execution Squad" for Calzaghe, including trainers Freddie Roach, Nazim Richardson and John David Jackson, and conditioning coach Mackie Shilstone -- who's 5-0 in previous boxing dalliances.
"This guy Calzaghe is a tough customer and his record shows that," Hopkins said. "But I don't think he and his father can actually 'out-corner' my corner when it comes to expertise and preparation.
"Not only am I going to beat Joe Calzaghe, I'm going to punish him, and Enzo Calzaghe will be forced to stop being the trainer and start being the father and save his son for another day -- the same way Don Felix Trinidad saved Tito from me."
Needless to say, his soon-to-be opponent -- who improved to 44-0 with a unanimous nod over fellow 168-pound belt-holder Mikkel Kessler in November -- sees things another way.
"When his 10 game plans haven't worked and he's forced into going toe-to-toe in the trenches with me, how is Freddie going to show him he has to use his heart to win? He can't," Calzaghe said. "That's fighting instinct and I'm going to take him somewhere he has never been before.
"I'm telling Hopkins now -- Don't worry about my dad pulling me out because that situation won't come up. Just make sure you know which one of your 'Dream Team' will have the compassion to throw in the towel when you are getting seriously busted up."
Two title fights and an attractive non-belt HBO card highlight the weekly schedule.
On Saturday night in Wales, local hero Gavin Rees makes the first defense of his WBA 140-pound laurels when he faces No. 1 challenger Andreas Kotelnik at International Arena in Cardiff.
A pro since 1998, Rees improved to 27-0 and won his championship with a unanimous decision -- 117-112, 117-113 and 118-110 on the scorecards -- over Souleymane M'baye last July.
Kotelnik, a 30-year-old native of Ukraine, dropped a split decision to M'baye in a 2004 title eliminator and fought to a draw in a rematch for the WBA belt last March.
He won his last bout via eight-round decision over Laszlo Komjathi in June, improving to 28-2-1.
On Thursday in St. Louis, incumbent champion Cory Spinks returns to 154 pounds for the second defense of his IBF junior middleweight crown, against veteran Verno Phillips at Scottrade Center.
Spinks, who won the title with a decision over Roman Karmazin in 2006 and defended against Rodney Jones in February 2007, was last in the ring in May -- when he dropped a razor-thin split decision to then-champion Jermain Taylor for the WBC and WBO middleweight belts.
He previously held the IBF, WBA and WBC belts at welterweight, defeating Michele Piccirillo (IBF) and Ricardo Mayorga (WBA/WBC) and successfully defending against Judah and Miguel Angel Gonzalez before a ninth-round TKO loss to Judah in their February 2005 rematch.
Phillips, who turned 38 in November, is a former WBO and IBF champion at 154 pounds, losing the latter belt via unanimous decision to Kassim Ouma in October 2004. His last fight was a 10-round decision victory over Eduardo Sanchez in February 2007.
The IBF's No. 7 contender, he is 41-10-1 overall in a 20-year pro career.
Lastly, on premium cable this weekend, former two-division champion Joel Casamayor meets unbeaten Australian prospect Michael Katsidis in a scheduled 12-rounder at 135 pounds.
The bout -- which will share Saturday billing with the live broadcast of a 168-pound match between Librado Andrade and Robert Stieglitz, along with the first non-PPV airing of last week's Pacquiao-Marquez rematch -- could result in a lightweight title shot for the winner.
Casamayor is a possible foe later this year for newly minted IBF/WBA/WBO champion Campbell -- whom he beat by decision in 2003 -- while a win by Katsidis would put him in the mix for a chance at the winner of June's WBC match between Pacquiao and belt-holder David Diaz.
Meanwhile, Florida-based promoter Terry Trekas said Tuesday that initial talks have also been held between Bob Arum and Don King regarding a fall unification bout between Campbell and Pacquiao, should Pacquiao defeat Diaz.
Lyle Fitzsimmons is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He is a periodic contributor to the Dave Smith Show on Sporting News Radio (radio.sportingnews.com), provides 'In The Ring' boxing commentary for Speeding Bullet Network (speedingbulletnetwork.com) and can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.