Shane Mosley wanted a rematch with Winky Wright, but he lost again to the junior middleweight champion.
By JOHN C. COTEY
Published November 21, 2004
LAS VEGAS - When he lost his championship belts in March, Shane Mosley blamed a plate of pasta for his fatigue and lackluster effort.
There's no excuse this time.
Without question, a rejuvenated Mosley brought his best into the ring Saturday night at Mandalay Bay, and it still wasn't enough.
St. Petersburg's Winky Wright showed he remains the best 154-pound fighter in the world.
Taking more punishment than he had in their previous meeting, but dishing out more as well, Wright defended his WBC and WBA junior middleweight championships with a majority decision.
Wright won 115-113 on two judges card, and the third judge had it even at 114.
The Times scored it 116-112 for Wright, who improved to 48-3
Mosley fell to 39-4, and lost for the fourth time in his last five fights.
"He was a great fighter," Wright said. "I caught him with more shots this time. He deserved the rematch. He came to fight and had a better defense this time."
Mosley was much improved, looking as close to his best as he has since he last fought at 135 pounds. Unlike the first meeting, he countered Wright's jab, and threw and landed many more punches.
But Wright, who will be 33 on Friday, still dominated all the punch stats. He landed 273 to 154 for Mosley, had a higher percentage (41-24) and landed more jabs (138-46).
Most remarkably, Wright landed 135 of 273 power punches for 49 percent, while Mosley landed only 108.
As good as he started the last fight, Wright was even better Saturday. He landed more power shots through the first four rounds, and his jab was crisper.
While Wright controlled the early part of the fight, things changed dramatically in the fifth round. Wright inexplicably left his hands down and dared Mosley to hit him in the face, which he did with a right-left combo. Wright appeared hurt, lunging forward and grabbing Mosley around the waist.
"I wanted to show he couldn't hurt me, that I could take a punch," Wright said, "but it was a heckuva punch."
Mosley seemed energized by the exchange, however. He continued to be effective when Wright chose to cover up and lean in. In the eighth round, Mosley teed off from short range, getting a few through Wright's gloves.
Wright never stopped coming forward. And his defense was once again strong, deflecting the majority of Mosley's hardest punches.
"I had more energy, and I was able to land more body shots," Mosley said. "He's tough. Great jab, great stance, helluva fighter, but I thought I won the fight."
Wright won the last three rounds on one card, and two of the last three on the other two cards.
The victory is especially sweet for Wright, who has remained relatively anonymous since beating Mosley the first time. Since uniting the division in March, Wright has faced some legal battles over promotion and management, and was stripped of the IBF title he had held since beating Robert Frazier in 2001.
Wright admitted leading up to the rematch with Mosley that he was less than enthusiastic about it. He had hoped that the first victory would launch him into some mega-paydays with Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya or Bernard Hopkins, but Mosley's camp smartly had a rematch clause in the contract and exercised it shortly after the loss.
Though he still earned the biggest payday of his career with $1.6-million, the challenger Mosley reportedly got $1.9-million, plus money from his HBO contract that pushed his total take to twice that of the champion.
But the victory should lead to even bigger paydays for Wright, and earn trainer Dan Birmingham Trainer of the Year honors. Though Mosley's trainer Joe Goosseen was more heralded coming in and considered the favorite for the honor, Wright's win (and that of St. Petersburg's IBF super middleweight champ Jeff Lacy last month) may make Birmingham the favorite.
HOPKINS JOINS DE LA HOYA: A few months ago they were rivals in the ring; today they are partners outside it. Oscar De La Hoya announced that Bernard Hopkins will join his Golden Boy Promotions as president of East Coast operations. Hopkins also will now be promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. Both heralded the pairing as a step in repairing the sport that has made both millionaires and giving it back to the boxers.