Before they leapt to welterweight to secure the signature wins of their careers, Roberto Duran and Shane Mosley made their names among hardcore fight fans by terrorizing the lightweight division.
Duran was a nightmare opponent no matter your style. Boxers were systemically broken down with unrelenting, educated pressure. And sluggers were routinely outclassed on the inside courtesy of Roberto’s innate countering ability, rough fouls, and his skill at slipping punches.
On the other hand, Shane Mosley had simply too much speed and power for his opponents. After taking the IBF title via unanimous decision from Phillip Holiday in 1997, Mosley would make 8 defenses, all by knockout.
A big fan of Duran, Mosley spoke exclusively with me last November regarding how he’d handle Duran’s legendary inside fighting and dogfight mentality.
“I think that I’d fight exactly how Sugar Ray Leonard did. I’d be on my toes and use my boxing skills. I know he’d come right at me. What would offset Roberto Duran would be my strength and my power,” Shane Mosley explained. “He wouldn’t be able to wrestle me because I’m pretty good on the inside. It’s funny you say him because I study his clips and we’re alike in a lot of ways. He can box as well as fight. The other day I watched his fight with Edwin Viruet. I picked up some different things in that fight. But the best fight probably wouldn’t have been at welterweight. The best fight would’ve been at lightweight because we would’ve really rumbled [laughs].”
You can see in the above quote Mosley’s demeanor; even when he knows it’s more beneficial to box a particular opponent, the fighter in him can’t pass up a brawl, hence his admission that he and Duran would have “rumbled” at lightweight. As soon as Duran caught him with a good counter, Mosley would be drawn into a hellacious battle on the inside much like his predecessor Sugar Ray Leonard was in 1980.
Sugar is correct, his physical strength will prevent him from being bullied and overwhelmed like some Duran opponents. However, Hands of Stone holds the skill advantage in the trenches, and will repeatedly catch Mosley from different angles with counter hooks. Mosley would flurry hard, blazing shots in retaliation, but more often than not Duran would be the one slipping those punches and landing the cleaner work inside.
Mosley would be in the fight the full 15 because of his toughness and iron chin, and would undoubtedly be Duran’s toughest test at lightweight, even more so than his classic trilogy with Esteban DeJesus.
My prediction is Roberto Duran wins a close decision in a memorable war with scorecards in the 144-141 range over 15 rounds, and both men getting stunned or hurt several times.
Time for your thoughts. Does Duran prevail, or is Mosley a Sugar with too much power and speed for Hands of Stone?
Roberto Duran Highlights
Shane Mosley Highlights