By Ivan G. Goldman
When Sugar Shane Mosley had it, he spent it.
Which may explain why, after having reigned as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and participating in numerous pay-per-view and premium channel cards, he’s broke and living in the basement of his ex-wife Jin. At least so say promotional materials for a new reality dating show and plenty of reports from people who’ve seen episodes.
To add to the steep descent of Mosley’s fall, he’s not even a key player on the reality program Friends to Lovers, just a bit player living in the cellar while his ex-wife and another guy are a featured couple.
Several years ago, I interviewed him in the sprawling mansion he and Jin then owned east of Los Angeles. A full-sized basketball court took up part of the acreage behind the main building. In the foyer next to a magnificent spiral staircase hung a chandelier the size of a Volkswagen. Wandering room to room was like exploring the palace at Versailles.
Legions of Shane’s friends filed in and out all day, using the sports facilities and chowing down on the food, both of which were plentiful. I can’t help wondering where these friends are now. I expect Mosley has wondered the same thing. As the song says, nobody knows you when you’re down and out.
Also living in the mansion were Shane’s four children, three of them Jin’s. She managed his career toward the end. When they divorced in 2010, she gained notoriety for retaining his championship belts as part of the settlement. It was a pretty good clue to how it went when the lawyers divided up their wealth.
I do not celebrate his socioeconomic plunge. Shane was always a nice guy, articulate, easy to talk to, and flashing a genuine smile to the world. But he loved his toys. He drove a late-model BMW even before he started making the big money. And though that mansion was paid for – no mortgage – he apparently didn’t count on rainy days ahead.
Professional athletes aren’t famous for hanging onto their assets when their careers end, and fighters are no exception. In many cases, they have little knowledge of cash flow and don’t know who to trust. In team sports ex-players have unions they can call on to guide them to solid financial advisers, but prizefighters are pretty much on their own.
In Las Vegas, once I saw promoter Gary Shaw at a private crap table he’d reserved for himself, Winky Wright, and other fighters in his stable. The minimum bet was $100, and big stacks of black chips were in play all over the table. I remember thinking Shaw wasn’t setting much of an example for his fighters.
Back to Mosley. Friends to Lovers, on Bravo Monday nights, is predicated on whether two friends can succeed as lovers. It follows a few couples in each episode. Episode 3, for example, is described like this: “Jin confesses to Sydney she’s dating other men. Danton and Charlie dive in for an awkward first kiss.”
You can also see the show online. I didn’t watch any episodes. Following reality dating shows isn’t part of my job description. But according to MediaReview.com, which exists on such fare, a crew found Mosley living in Jin’s basement when members showed up to shoot scenes involving her and her “friend” Sydney, a club promoter. Shane “says he is broke,” says prettystatus.com.
Apparently the news has failed to seep much into the boxing world, because fight fans and fans of shows like this are groups that don’t much intersect. Mosley, 43, retired as a super welter in 2013 with a record of 47-9-1 (39 KOs). After winning a split decision against Oscar De La Hoya in a much-anticipated 2000 battle, he suffered his first defeat two years later, against Vernon Forrest. He also lost the back-to-back rematch.
Two years after that, he lost two straight to Winky Wright, the second by majority decision. His career continued to suffer ups and downs, but he fought the best fighters around.
He now trains his son, junior middleweight Shane Mosley, Jr., who’s 2-1 (2 KOs). The younger Mosley is poised for his fourth outing Friday night in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
Apparently plenty of viewers have already seen Sugar Shane living in Jin’s basement. If you watch the show, let me know what you find in a comment at the bottom. And if he’s down there, I hope he finds a way up and out to better days.