IT was a modern classic on this day (June 17) 17 years ago that was both artistically fascinating and viscerally gripping, this contest matched two superbly skilled and tough fighters in their primes. Four-weight world champion Oscar De La Hoya was the bigger man who had fought the better opposition, with fast, explosive Shane Mosley having recently moved up from lightweight in what many felt was a huge risk.
Mosley had yet to taste defeat, while 27-year-old De La Hoya had beaten the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker and Ike Quartey, losing only to Felix Trinidad two fights previously, in a contest where the majority of observers saw him doing enough to triumph.
“Sugar” Shane had made eight successful defences of the IBF lightweight title before moving up and winning his first two bouts in the higher division – all 10 of those contests were completed inside schedule. Shane had also vanquished Oscar as amateurs.
The sold out bout at Los Angeles’ Staples Center – dubbed “Destiny” – lived up the inevitable hype, the two men sprinting out of the blocks and putting on a furious thriller replete with exquisite movement, pinpoint countering and lightning-fast combinations. After an impressive first round for Mosley, De La Hoya imposed his jab and followed up with body shots. Mosley adjusted from round eight as “The Golden Boy” tired from his early-rounds exertions. Shane attacked from different angles, sporadically switching to southpaw to confound his foe, who sustained a bloody nose. Mosley threw fewer blows but crucially landed more than De La Hoya, who was ahead on two scorecards after eight rounds. Both men laid it all on the line in a typically competitive final session.
De La Hoya later added middle and light-middle belts to his résumé, finishing as a six-weight world champion.
Mosley won a world belt at a third weight by contentiously beating De La Hoya in a 2003 rematch up at light-middle and later captured the WBA welter strap.
RESULT Shane Mosley (USA) w pts 12 split Oscar De La Hoya (USA) DATE June 17, 2000 VENUE Staples Center, Los Angeles AT STAKE WBC welterweight title, De La Hoya defending AGES Mosley 28, De La Hoya 27 WEIGHTS Mosley 10st 7lbs, De La Hoya 10st 6 1/2lbs RECORDS Mosley 34-0 (32), De La Hoya 32-1 (26) REFEREE Lou Moret SCORES Judges Lou Filippo 116-112 and Pat Russell 115-113 for Mosley, Judge Marty Sammon 115-113 for De La Hoya ATTENDANCE 20,744 CAREER STATS Mosley 46-8-1 (39), De La Hoya 39-6 (30).
All photos: Action Images/Reuters