By Ivan G. Goldman
There’s a pivotal scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when Etta tells Sundance, “I’ll do anything you ask of me, except one thing: I won’t watch you die. I’ll miss that scene if you don’t mind.”
Boxing fans as a rule don’t have to watch fighters die in the flesh, but we do see them fade and fade and then fade some more until the promoters, managers, casinos, beer vendors, networks, and various other entrepreneurs have sucked the last few crinkled dollars out of the shriveled remnants of what the fighters once were.
PHOTO CREDIT: Etzel Espinoza – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Which brings us to Sugar Shane Mosley, whose nearly two decades as a pro will give him, we can expect to be told by TV pay-per-view carnival barkers, plenty of “experience” to draw upon when he goes in against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on the May 5 undercard of Mayweather-Cotto. Yes, all that experience will make Mosley a good “test” for Canelo. Or will it?
Mosley, who turns 41 in September, was last seen jettisoning his dignity, wagging his tail, and touching gloves every thirty or forty seconds with Manny Pacquiao in a submissive effort to obtain mercy and maybe not get hit so hard. What’s his game plan for Canelo? Wear a medical bracelet? Mosley’s self-inflicted degradation in his last outing is actually part of the manufactured drama in this next seedy promotion. In fact, it’s set for the same MGM Grand arena in Las Vegas. Will he perhaps “redeem” himself this time by making a fight of it? Or will he do more skedaddling, glove-touching, bowing and scraping? Well, you’ll just have to pony up seventy bucks or so to find out live and in living color.
May 5, you may have noticed, is Cinco de Mayo, the anniversary of an obscure battle that many Americans (not necessarily Mexican-Americans, by the way) like to observe by getting stinking drunk. It’s also considered a fine night to watch a Mexican knock someone out. But the main event, (gasp!) is utterly bereft of Mexicans. Mayweather and Cotto can wear all the sombreros and serapes they like into that ring. It won’t fool anybody.
So the promoters trotted out young Alvarez, the brightest Mexican star in the astronomical stable. Alvarez, you recall, won the WBC light middleweight title by outpointing gritty Matthew Hatton. Hatton, after being overpowered by much bigger Alvarez, went straight back to the welterweight division where he came from, without passing go or collecting two hundred dollars. It was all orchestrated by Golden Boy and WBC clown-king Jose Sulaiman, who hails from — need it be said? Mexico. Now Golden Boy and Sugar Shane have patched up their quarrel long enough to throw him in against Canelo so he can try to recoup some of the millions (though not all the championship belts) he lost to his ex-wife Jin in a divorce settlement from hell.
But here’s the thing, see. Most fans don’t care so much about Shane’s legal and financial entanglements. They just want to see good fights. And the faded Mosley is not likely to be involved in one. Unless you’re the kind of fan who thinks watching a geezer get mugged in Vegas by a 21-year-old bruiser is a good fight. Like Etta, I’ll miss that scene, if you don’t mind.
Goldman’s next novel, Isaac: A Modern Fable, will be out next month from The Permanent Press. It can be pre-ordered at Amazon HERE.