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With Mosley, Oscar looks for the ultimate advantage

Mosley and de la Hoya, under less friendly circumstances.
Oscar de la Hoya and his long-time friend, one-time rival, and current business partner, Shane Mosley, will be hanging out in Puerto Rico with Freddie Roach. Both guys will have gloves on. They'll be in the ring together.

To employ "Sugar" Shane Mosley as a sparring partner is an unprecedented move. No fighter of Mosley's stature has been used simply to spar and aid in training a fighter for an upcoming bout, at least not in modern history. We're talking about a fighter who has had a great career, and is still largely considered one of the ten best pound-for-pound fighters in the game, and considered by many to be the only guy in the world with the potential ability to beat Mayweather.

We're talking about Oscar's superior, which has been shown twice in professional bouts. The Golden Boy is looking for every advantage, likely knowing that time and skill erosion have him as a heavy underdog against the undefeated pound-for-pound king.

The fight is also at a point now where there's no more talking to be done, though talking continues to be the only course of action for the next month and a half, until the two superstars get into the ring to settle this thing and kick off the summer schedule. de la Hoya and Mayweather are both very big on pushing the "personal rivalry" card -- I still don't think this fight needs it, and I still think it's entirely forced and hammy.

We've seen Oscar against fighters he was legitimately antagonized by in the past. Both Fernando Vargas and Ricardo Mayorga ate leather and canvas after slamming Oscar in the build-up to their fights. Mayorga was so badly hammered that he was forced to show humility and apologize, and he hasn't been in a ring since then.

But the Mayweather/de la Hoya press bantering has always been done-up for a photo opportunity, usually including Mosley or Bernard Hopkins stepping in between. "Hey, whoa, guys, settle it in the ring! Settle it in the ring! This is not the place or time! Hey, whoa!"

All that aside, this is clearly a huge fight, with big public interest. We know Mayweather is taking it seriously, because no matter what you think of Floyd, he has never not taken a fight seriously. He's never shown up out of shape, he's never not been at his best, and he has generally dominated every opponent he's ever faced, including some tremendous fighters.

For Oscar, this is a chance to firmly establish his legend inside the ring. He's a Hall of Fame drawing card and a fantastic ambassador for the sport of boxing, but his in-ring career has certainly had its ups and downs. A win over Mayweather at this stage of his career would be the biggest victory he's ever had.

Hiring Freddie Roach was a good first step at trying to close the gap. Getting Shane Mosley into the ring to work on his speed is a pretty damn good second step. If Mayweather has a comparable fighter, it's Mosley, and if anyone can prepare Oscar for the combination battering that Floyd can unleash, it's Shane.

Of course, maybe no one really can prepare him.

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