It had to happen sometime, and today was the day. After a 20-year pro career in which he was never stopped before the final scheduled bell, "Sugar" Shane Mosley lost via stoppage today in Sydney, Australia, when the doctor and referee called a halt to the bout after six rounds due to a back injury that left Mosley unable to properly move in the ring.
This means that your winner today was Anthony Mundine (45-5, 27 KO), but this was no fluke. From the outset, Mundine, 38, looked clearly the bigger man, because he was, you know, clearly the bigger man. This was a former super middleweight titlist fighting a former lightweight champion whose real weight cap was 147 in his prime, and has always struggled a bit at 154.
But even considering that Mundine boiled himself down to 154 which evened it up a bit -- there was plenty of concern about his conditioning -- the size factor was just too much. As long as Mundine was able to use his length and jab away, he had control of the fight. And what's more, he was able to hurt Mosley (47-9-1, 39 KO), who just couldn't find any rhythm in the bout because there wasn't much he could do.
That said, Mundine was wobbled a couple of times by the 42-year-old Mosley, who began selling out on big punches pretty early in the fight, which wasn't the worst idea, because frankly by the end of three, it looked like that was the only shot he had of winning save for Mundine's body falling apart on him.
Instead, it was Mosley's body giving out and betraying the fighter, as he complained of his back tightening up and leaving him unable to move properly, going straight back and forth, for which he was admonished by trainer and father Jack Mosley. After the sixth round, with Mosley clearly uncomfortable and the corner not going to stop it (and Mosley surely too proud to quit), referee Raul Caiz Sr stepped in, had the doctor take a look, and called a halt to the bout.
At the time of the stoppage, BLH had Mundine up 60-54, six rounds to zero.
It may have been the end of Mosley's career, which would be sad. It's a tough ending spiritually, for Shane and for boxing fans who have cherished his presence in the sport for two decades, but we have to remember, too, that things could have ended a lot worse. His body, it appears, is telling him no more. We know he wants to fight. But perhaps he just cannot.
As for Mundine, I've never made any apologies about not being a fan of his, but I place none of the "blame" for this fight on him, and I can find no grudge to hold. In his post-fight interview, he was classy and respectful, didn't make a big deal out of being the first man to stop Mosley, because he knows what this is. Mundine is no young fighter, either. He knows that the body starts to go. And in all reality, I thought he seemed more disappointed for an opponent he respected than anything else.
Neither man sounded interested in a rematch, though the Aussie TV commentators pushed for it. Mundine likely (and rightly, if this is the case) sees no point in fighting a badly faded, smaller man again, while Mosley has to know that fighting someone this big was a calculated risk that clearly just did not pay off. Shane didn't say he would retire, but said he'd go back home and see what his options might be. He sounded checked out to me, but he's already officially retired once, so we'll see.
If this was the end, then hats off to Shane Mosley for a phenomenal career.