Australian boxing fans must be used to that cheap feeling they wake up with the morning after a big fight on a Wednesday night.
When was the last time a mid-week fight card delivered on what was advertised? When was the last time we awoke eager to talk about how good a contest it was, instead of discussing the lingering stench of controversy?
From Danny Green’s ‘fight’ against Paul Briggs, all 29 seconds of it, to his one-round blowout of Roy Jones Jr, to Anthony Mundine’s ridiculous refusal to acknowledge he was beaten by Daniel Geale in his last bout, fight fans Down Under are used to disappointment.
But even after all that, it was still tough to take American legend ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley’s meek surrender in round six, citing back spasms, against Anthony Mundine in Sydney on Wednesday.
After a decent first couple of rounds, Mosley bore all the hallmarks of a man who, at 42, has had enough of getting punched in the face for a living.
And after the wars Mosley has been in, it’s hard to grudge him his peace. Mosley has been tangling with the best fighters in the world throughout the past 20 years, and listening to him speak today you can hear the legacy of those wars.
If you want an example of how Shane Mosley has faded, take a look back at his January 2002 fight with Vernon Forrest.
After absorbing a head-butt early in round two, Mosley is beaten from pillar to post by Forrest, was knocked down twice and barely survived the round.
Even though he was fighting a losing battle, one that everybody at ringside knew he couldn’t win, the Mosley of that vintage would never dream of quitting. He lasted the 12-round distance.
He fought a similar losing effort against Forrest again later that year, and lost twice against Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright in 2004. Mosley, in his prime, had the heart of a lion, and none would dare question his toughness.
Even in recent years, he took his licks from Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr – three of the best in the business – without complaint.
Yet on Wednesday night he surrendered, waving the white flag at his earliest convenience, unable to battle through 12 rounds with Anthony Mundine.
Whether legitimate or not, Mosley’s withdrawal is just another body blow to a sport that can ill-afford them.
I’ve got no doubt he had a sore back and felt he’d be doing himself a disservice by carrying on. It’s just a pity his withdrawal left another paying audience shortchanged.
What boxing in this country craves is a new breed of young, hungry fighters to come through, and fast – because the rot has to stop.
Mundine can talk about fighting Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto or Saul Alvarez all he wants, but the best thing he could do for Australian boxing would be to follow Mosley’s lead and quit.
And we all know he won’t do that.