There are two proven blueprints to achieving superstar status in modern-day boxing, both of which Andre Ward is familiar with. You can be a brawler, a take-two-shots-to-deliver-three fighter (think Manny Pacquiao, who electrifies audiences with a rough-and-tumble style) or you can be colorful, blending superior skills with an outlandish personality (Floyd Mayweather's calling card).
During a recent conference call to promote his upcoming junior middleweight title fight with Miguel Cotto, Ricardo Mayorga broke out the trash-talking playbook. Responding to no question in particular, Mayorga labeled Cotto and his Hall of Fame trainer, Emanuel Steward, "failures," called them both "clowns" and suggested an alternate occupation for Cotto after the fight.
In the spring of 2002, Vernon Forrest and I sat in front of his television watching a DVD from his previous fight. A few months earlier, Forrest had unexpectedly beaten Shane Mosley to win the WBC welterweight belt. Forrest was training for a summer rematch, but had carved out time to entertain a stranger with a notepad for two days in Atlanta. As he replayed the win over Mosley, Forrest would pantomime his moves, cleaving the air with jabs and bobbing his head. Then he'd pause the DVD.
I don't know, of course, what "Sugar" Shane Mosley is doing this Sunday afternoon. Maybe settling in to watch some football or getting a little work done around the yard. Or sneaking out for a round of golf. Or maybe he's counting the reported $1.5 million he was guaranteed for his bout last night against Ricardo Mayorga. Whatever he's up to, though, I hope the thought occurs to him that there are easier ways for a 37-year-old guy to make a living.
SI.com boxing writer Chris Mannix brings you blow-by-blow, round-by-round thoughts on the junior middleweight, non-title clash between "Sugar" Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga. The fight should begin sometime before midnight (EST).
The rumblings of the jet engine are deafening, but for Oscar De La Hoya they're as soothing as an ocean breeze. As he settles into one of the plush leather seats on the Gulfstream G-4 -- one of two $14 million planes leased by his promotion company, Golden Boy, to carry him and Floyd Mayweather Jr., his opponent in Saturday's megafight, on a nine-day, 11-city promotional tour -- he can finally be at peace. Why? Well, for starters, it's one of the few times during the day he can put some much-needed distance between himself and Mayweather, against whom he will defend his WBC super welterweight crown and vie for the title of boxing's best pound-for-pound fighter. "I love being able to interact with people, to shake their hands and sign autographs," says De La Hoya. It's the other stuff that gets a little old. "Sometimes when I'm sitting onstage listening to Floyd run his mouth, I think to myself, Hey, I don't need this."