Two historically significant athletes have announced retirement this week in Shane Mosley and Winky Wright. Wright was decimated by young gun Peter Quillin this past weekend after another extended layoff. The long periods of inactivity between his last three fights probably account, at least partially, for his difficulties, but I’ve always felt that his fighting style was one that led to early decline. From what I’ve watched of his fights, Wright never had much to keep the other guy honest offensively unless the other guy was already wearing himself out punching air while Wright repositioned. I haven’t watched enough of his best years to have much authority, but either way, his role in the division has been important for more than a decade. Ironically, the two fights most likely to be considered Wright’s peak surround Shane Mosley. Defeating Mosley twice after Shane’s sensational fight against Oscar de la Hoya made Wright a superstar.
So intertwined are their career paths that it is somehow fitting that for entirely unrelated reasons, Shane Mosley also announced his retirement Monday. Many boxing fans have been speculating about Mosley’s retirement, even since before his loss to Alvarez, prematurely concluding that his loss would be the result of age and deterioration of skills. According to Mosley, however, these clairvoyants were reading the stars correctly. In the article from ESPN, Mosley explains that he could see things in his mind that he wanted to do, but his body couldn’t produce the result. I’ve already said that I wouldn’t hold it against Mosley for retiring, but I don’t think his performance against Alvarez should be discredited. Alvarez put on the best performance of his career, and unlike the fight against Pacquiao, Mosley came to fight. For lack of better phrasing, it was a testament to courage.
There’s one more fighter from the Mosley-Alvarez card who’s become connected with the word retirement in fight fans’ minds. Miguel Cotto put on one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from any fighter that night. If anyone that night put on a better performance, and it’s debatable, it was Floyd Mayweather Jr. Everyone expected that, so it seems strange to me that everyone is so ready for Cotto to retire, despite the fighter’s disheartened demeanor following the announcement of the scores. Again, I don’t want any of these great athletes to fight past the finish line; I don’t want to see any of them bringing on dementia in the ring as some other greats have. I just hope fans realize the significance of the rise and fall of these great fighters.