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Fight Day News: Mosley admits/denies usage, Ponce de Leon wins, Taylor and Pavlik weigh in

Shane Mosley is admitting to usage of designer steroids "the cream" and "the clear" prior to his 2003 rematch with Oscar de la Hoya, but says he "didn't know what the hell it was."

"Unknowingly, yes, some of the substances they are talking about, were being used as part of the workouts. ... I had no intentions of trying to cheat or do anything crazy. My thing is live healthy, eat healthy. That's how I live. I'm not afraid what people will think. I know the truth. ...

"We went to San Francisco for one day and I talked to Victor Conte. I explained to him that I am already in great shape but the right vitamins and supplements here and there might help. ...

"I didn't know anything about that stuff (the steroids and EPO). It was something given to me, pushed up on me. I'm a health freak-type of guy. I like to have everything organic, natural. I believe you keep the organic and natural things and you will live longer. Maybe that's why I look and feel as young as I do. I am very in tuned with my body. When I heard they were investigating (Conte), was like, 'Oh my God, what's going on here?' I feel used and abused. This guy is doing this crazy stuff. That's the only time I ever touched the thing. ...

"If that stuff is supposed to help, it didn't do nothing. It hurt me. It was a close fight and I got the decision. ...

"I'm angry at the situation and how it happened and how it put a strain on my life and how the writers are writing about me as if I am a sneaky villain trying to get this edge in fights and trying to win by all means necessary. I like to win my fights because I am the better man. If I lose, I lose. I have nothing to hide. I am a fair fighter, a clean fighter. I don't get down like this."

Here's my take: I really like Shane Mosley. Always have. And, even with this, I have all the respect in the world for him. I also think he's a great fighter, and let's please take note that he's not under any suspicion for any other fight in his career other than the rematch with Oscar. Nobody -- not Novitzky, not anybody -- is saying anything about any other time in Mosley's career.

Mosley also says he paid Conte with a personal check, which there must be record of, and which would, indeed, indicate that he didn't think he had anything to hide.

I want to believe in Shane Mosley here. I really do. But a couple of questions bug me, the same as they bugged me when Gary Sheffield had the same sort of comments about not knowing what he was taking.

If Mosley is such a health freak (which he is, look at him), it's kind of hard to buy that he doesn't know exactly what's going into his body. Listen, these are professional athletes paid a lot of money to keep themselves in shape and watch, very carefully, what they ingest. It's a tough pill to swallow, to say the least.

Plus, there's always the looming fear of testing positive for something before or after a fight. You're telling me Mosley and his handlers would take something without knowing precisely what it is? Even though the steroids were undetectable, it seems a little too risky.

But, there are two ways to think, and I'm not trying to make up anyone's mind for them. (1) Mosley is lying, and knew what he was doing. I don't generally believe in athletes as role models or heroes or anything like that, but for whatever reason (maybe it's just that I like the guy), I kind of do believe Mosley here. And, (2) Conte lied to Mosley. Knowing what we know about Victor Conte, this is hardly a stretch of logic.

I hope Shane gets his name cleared and boxes on. He should box on even if people always question him, but I'd like for him to not have that hanging over his career. And, again, we're talking one fight. It does seem as though if he really was a determined cheater, we'd be hearing about more than that.

WBO super bantamweight champion Daniel Ponce de Leon scored a fifth-round knockout of Reynaldo Lopez last night in Cabazon, California, improving his record to 33-1 with 30 KO.

Ponce de Leon weighed in a pound and a half over the 122-pound limit, but that's largely irrelevant, all things considered. Lopez (28-5-2) is a fair enough fighter, but he didn't really have a legitimate chance at scoring an upset. He last fought ten months ago, when he lost a bid for a super flyweight strap against Cristian Mijares.

Ponce de Leon is a really dangerous fighter in that division, which offers such dynamic matchups with its top guys. We've seen Marquez and Vazquez twice, and we'll see it one more time. Ponce de Leon fought Caballero a couple of years ago and lost rather convincingly, but I think I'd favor him if they squared off again. Honestly, I see Caballero as a good step or two behind the top guys in the division, and only his awkward height makes him a tough opponent for Marquez or Vazquez, who simply have too much power and accuracy.

Then you've got guys like Ricardo Cordoba and Steve Molitor, and maybe Mike Oliver. It's a great division. I'd love to see Ponce de Leon face the winner of the Vazquez-Marquez rubber match. A southpaw with thunderous power matches up great with either of those guys. It'd be a fun fight, and like the Vazquez-Marquez fights, I don't think there's any way you get past seven or eight rounds.

Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik weighed in yesterday for tonight's middleweight title bout, both making weight -- Taylor at 159, Pavlik at 159 1/2. Pavlik reportedly made weight quite easily, not taking liquids immediately after the weigh-in, as all fighters tend to do. Pavlik was also the stunning fan favorite at the Atlantic City weigh-in, and this guy seems to have really captured the public. Why wouldn't he? He's a tough, hard-working, no-nonsense, big-punching kid from a steel town. He doesn't talk a nasty game, but he does bring one. He's a midwestern kid to the bone.

The weird thing is, I think Pavlik and Taylor seem a lot alike in many ways. Taylor has never become overly "superstar-ish," even with HBO in particular pushing him as one of boxing's next big things. Both fighters are humble, and both guys are very easy to root for.

Reminder: We will be live tonight for Taylor v. Pavlik and Berto v. Estrada, starting on HBO at 10:15 ET/7:15 PT. Join us for round-by-round coverage, scoring and analysis of the fights, and, as always, feel more than welcome to jump into the conversation or score along if you want to.

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