Speaking with Chris Robinson of the Examiner, famed trainer Naazim Richardson claims that Shane Mosley is healthy for the first time in over three years, which also happens to be the last time Mosley won a fight, as he enters his 154-pound title bout on Saturday with Canelo Alvarez.
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"He appears healthy this fight. This particular fight, [Antonio] Margarito was the last fight that he was actually healthy, where he had no injuries going in. Not making any excuses, but the bottom line, he feels healthy in this fight. ... I just need Shane Mosley to be the best Shane Mosley he can be. Saul Alvarez still has questions we haven’t answered and that’s where the surprises can come. We don’t know if the kid gets off the canvas and fights like a monster. We don’t these things because he hasn’t been tested with anybody."
Richardson is one of the most respected trainers in the sport, but his fighters have had a tough run of luck lately in big fights, including Bernard Hopkins' loss on Saturday to Chad Dawson; Mosley's lousy performances against Mayweather, Mora, and Pacquiao; and even Steve Cunningham, who came up short against Yoan Pablo Hernandez last time out. Cunningham, unlike the others, fought well, and it's hard to blame Richardson for an old Mosley's career starting to wind down (two of those fights against the world's best fighters, no less), and for Hopkins struggling at 47 against a tricky opponent.
What more concerns me with Richardson is it seems like everyone is worried about Shane Mosley except Mosley (which is to be expected) and Richardson (which is not). Naazim has eyes and ears the same as the rest of us do, and it's hard to believe he can't tell the fundamental differences between the 2012 Shane Mosley and the Shane Mosley of five years ago, who didn't speak with a nasal wheeze and whose face, frankly, didn't look the way it does now. Not to mention the physical issues Mosley has had in the ring. If he's been injured all the time, isn't that a sign that maybe he should think about retirement?
I'm not a trainer, I'm not in the gym with these guys, and I do defer to Richardson's wisdom because he's earned that, but it just seems hard to believe, in my opinion, that Naazim doesn't look at Shane Mosley on tape and see a shot fighter who doesn't physically have what his heart wants anymore. I don't have any doubt that Shane Mosley thinks right now that he's going to beat Canelo Alvarez on Saturday. I don't even doubt that he'll still think so by round three or so. But what about after that? What happens if it goes into the famed deep waters? Does Shane have the sealegs left for that? And is he going to be able to pull the trigger this time, unlike every round he's fought since about round three against Mayweather, two years and three fights ago?
We'll see, but I'm sort of 50-50 on the Naazim/Mosley partnership right now. This is the fight where Shane Mosley gets to prove what he's got left. In that sense, I think I've come to terms with the fight. He's going to keep going out there, so fine, let's see what he does now that he's supposedly healthy, isn't fighting someone like Mora who's defensive-minded above all else, and isn't fighting Floyd or Manny. Naazim is right that Canelo has a lot of questions to be answered. Saturday we see if Mosley can actually quiz him, or if it's really, truly over.