Five-time, three-division title holder "Sugar" Shane Mosley has announced his retirement from boxing as reported by RingTV.com. He joins former undisputed light middleweight champion Winky Wright who announced his retirement yesterday following his one-sided 10 round unanimous decision loss to middleweight contender Peter Quillin on Saturday night. Will the departure of these two quality veterans from the game inspire other fighters who have been on the edge of retirement to do the same?
The 40-year old Mosley was a former pound-for-pound leader during the height of his career as IBF lightweight champion, a reign that spanned over two years with eight title defenses that all came way by stoppage.
Mosley won his second division title with a split decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya in June 2000 for the WBC welterweight crown. Although he jumped up two weight classes to dethrone the Golden Boy, Mosley made three successful title defenses of the welterweight championship, all by way of stoppages.
He lost the title to Vernon Forrest in January 2002 and an immediate rematch in July later that year. It would be the first of four sets of rematches that Mosley would have in his illustrious career.
The second set of rematches involved De La Hoya, whom Mosley defeated again in September 2003 for the WBA light middleweight title to become a three-division champion.
This was followed by back-to-back decision losses to Winky Wright in 2004, losing the title and bringing Mosley's rematch record to 1-2.
Based on the pattern, it stood to reason that the former light middleweight champion would defeat Fernando Vargas in their July 2006 rematch after Mosley defeated the Mexican American by technical knockout in their first fight earlier that year. Mosley kept the streak alive and defeated Vargas with a sixth round stoppage, evening out his overall rematch record.
Mosley returned to welterweight where he defeated Antonio Margarito in January 2009 to obtain his fifth world championship. Alas, it would be his last victory, going 0-3-1 in his final four bouts against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Sergio Mora, Manny Pacquiao and Saul Alvarez. His Hall of Fame career ends with a record of 46-8-1, 39 KO's.
Wright, who is also currently 40 years old, unified the light middleweight championship with his March 2004 victory against Mosley, becoming the first man to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles. He vacated the titles when he moved up to middleweight where he did not have as much success against the likes of Jermain Taylor, Paul Williams and most recently, Quillin.
Age and long gaps of inactivity greatly impacted his effectiveness towards the end of his career, only fighting four times over the last five years and going 1-3 during this period. He retires with a professional record of 51-6-1, 25 KO's.
Both of these veterans have faced a number of opponents who are actively still fighting, but not without the issue of retirement having been contemplated or addressed in some fashion.
There are some who believe that Mayweather may decide to take his unblemished record into retirement after he has had time to reflect during his current 87-day incarceration, especially after his hard fought battle against Miguel Cotto last month.
Given his many interests outside of the ring and his renewed spiritual convictions, Pacquiao's days in boxing are clearly numbered.
The injury to Margarito's right orbital bone may likely force him into retirement as it is unlikely his eye will hold up for any extended period of time.
Taylor is making an ill-advised comeback after being involved in several ring wars during his career. His recent lackluster performances and glass chin are not expected to carry him through to renewed glory.
The legendary Bernard Hopkins began to show signs of his 47 years in his recent majority decision loss to Chad Dawson. The intensity and hunger no longer appear to be there, nor is it expected to be at this stage of the game given everything he has already accomplished.
All of these fighters have contributed to boxing, making it a bittersweet moment when they ultimately decide to leave the game. However, it is most often the case that retirement is in their best long-term interests, as difficult as it may be for them to leave a world to which they are so deeply attached and for fans to say good bye.
We will remember both of these fighters for their contributions, giving them a send-off that is deserving of the champions that they are and will always be.
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