Mosley tries to stay focused despite distractions
ESPN.com news services
LAS VEGAS -- In a way, Shane Mosley feels cheated.
On the other hand, he's glad people are starting to notice who he is.
Life for the 154-pound champion hasn't been what he expected after beating Oscar De La Hoya for a second time in September, a win he thought would finally bring him recognition as one of the top fighters in the game.
Mosley had no sooner stepped out of the ring, though, when De La Hoya and his promoter, Bob Arum, began complaining about the judges who scored the bout and demanding an investigation of the fight.
The New York Daily News reported last week that a joint FBI-New York City police investigation is trying to determine whether Mosley's win was fixed. The story offered only anonymous police sources as evidence.
Several newspapers subsequently reported that the Mosley-De La Hoya bout was not the target of the probe. FBI agents were reportedly looking for evidence of improprieties in other fights promoted by Arum's Top Rank organization.
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week that Sean Gibbons, one of the Top Rank employees being investigated, was fired Monday by Arum.
The allegations of a fix make little sense because De La Hoya was Arum's fighter and he had nothing to gain by Mosley winning.
"Why would you write something like that when it's not true?" Mosley asked.
De La Hoya "got beaten up bad, real bad," Jack Mosley, Shane's father and trainer, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday. "Shane was hitting him with some shots to the body and that's what slowed him down. There was no fix. That's ridiculous."
Shane Mosley said he thought police may have been using him and De La Hoya as a way of gaining attention for the case, which has centered on Arum's company.
"Bob Arum and probably [Top Rank matchmaker] Bruce Trampler were maybe in trouble from something like a previous fight, and it seemed like [the authorities] were using my name and [De La Hoya's] name to add more flavor to it and get more people behind it and that's what happened," Mosley told the Review-Journal.
That has not been the only distraction for Mosley. His name appeared on a subpoena to testify in a steroid-linked grand jury probe in California.
Through it all, Mosley keeps smiling and hoping people are paying attention.
"I've gotten a lot of bad press, but at least it was press," he said. "So, something positive did come out of it."
Mosley had problems getting that press before, even after beating De La Hoya in 2000 in what was then the biggest fight of his career. His career languished, and he was seemingly headed nowhere after losing twice to Vernon Forrest.
That was all supposed to turn around after Mosley's second win over De La Hoya, but so far things haven't gone exactly to script.
Still, Mosley is philosophical about it all.
"I think it's actually added a lot more flavor and color to my career," he said.
Mosley goes forward with that career March 13, when he meets IBF 154-pound champion Winky Wright at the Mandalay Bay resort in a fight to unify the 154-pound title for the first time in 29 years. It's his first fight since all three judges scored his Sept. 13 fight with De La Hoya 115-113 in Mosley's favor.
Unifying the title is a nice goal, but Wright wasn't Mosley's first choice as an opponent. He wasn't even his second.
Mosley wanted a third fight with De La Hoya, but negotiations bogged down when he said he was offered $12.5 million to $15 million for De La Hoya. Then, a $7 million fight with Ricardo Mayorga was called off after Mayorga was beaten last month by Cory Spinks.
Now, Mosley will fight Wright for $4 million.
"It didn't happen, so the next best thing is to fight Winky and unify the title," Mosley said. "It's a bad financial move, but people have got to understand I'm not fighting for finances anymore."
Mosley said he wanted to earn at least as much money as De La Hoya for their third fight after taking the shorter end of the deal in both of their first two bouts. Mosley earned about $6 million for the last fight, compared to some $20 million for De La Hoya.
"I do care about the money, but pride and principle override money," he said.
Both Mosley and Wright have some work to do to sell their fight. Mosley, despite combining with De La Hoya for the second-biggest-grossing non-heavyweight fight ever, has never been known to sell many tickets. Wright is a relative unknown despite having defended his IBF title four times.
Wright is a southpaw who sometimes fights down to his opponent's level, resulting in boring bouts. Against Mosley, though, he's got something to prove himself.
"You've given me a great opportunity," he told Mosley. "Now, you're going to see a great fight."
Mosley, meanwhile, heads to training camp hoping people focus more on his boxing than his link to the steroid probe or the allegations of a fix against De La Hoya. He testified before the grand jury that he bought only one thing from the California lab being investigated and never took steroids.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.