The decorated career of Shane Mosley—one that spanned nearly two decades and included world titles in three weight classes—came to an end on Monday, when the 40-year-old confirmed reports of his retirement in a tweet thanking fans for "showing me so much love." For the fighter nicknamed Sugar it ended sourly, as so many boxing careers do—with losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Saul Alvarez interrupted only by a lackluster draw with journeyman Sergio Mora. The end, however, is a mere footnote to the truth, which is this: Mosley ranks as one of the greatest fighters of his generation.
Mosley turned pro in 1993, after an amateur career that included three national titles. He didn't have the hype of Oscar De La Hoya, who debuted a year earlier, but it was quickly clear that with his blend of concussive power and blurring speed, he could match the Golden Boy in substance. Mosley fought 34 times between '93 and 2000, taking the IBF lightweight title in '97 and defending it eight times, all by knockout. In '00 he jumped up two weight classes to beat De La Hoya for the welterweight title. He decisioned De La Hoya again in '03 and went on to knock out Fernando Vargas twice in '06. Mosley didn't win all his big fights—he dropped two each to Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright—but he rarely shied away from them.
In 2003, Mosley testified to a grand jury that before his second fight with De La Hoya he was using EPO, an endurance-boosting agent. It's a black mark on his record and won't be forgotten. But it won't keep him out of the Hall of Fame, either. Because from lightweight to welterweight to junior middleweight, Sugar Shane consistently ranked as one of the best.