After a 14-year professional career that had been filled with exciting and occasionally brutal fights, and had seen Mosley, 37, strap on championship belts in three weight classes, "Sugar" was finally entertaining the possibility of hanging up his gloves.
"I thought about it, sure," Mosley told SI.com. "I definitely thought that fight could have been my last one."
Yet, when Cotto was announced the winner in a close, but unanimous decision, the defeat didn't have Mosley (44-5, 37 KOs) rushing to fill out retirement papers. In fact, it did just the opposite.
"I think in that fight, I proved to myself that I wasn't too old," said Mosley. "I proved I wasn't over the hill. After they announced the decision, I thought to myself that I really can beat this guy. I'm still a force out there."
Thus began a new chapter in Mosley's career -- a road to redemption, a path he hopes will eventually lead back to a welterweight title and a spot in boxing's pound-for-pound rankings. A journey that begins Saturday night against former junior middleweight contender
To be certain, Mayorga -- a beer drinking, chain-smoking free-swinger, whose demeanor matches his surly personality -- wasn't Mosley's first choice. Option "A" would have been a rematch with Cotto, who spurned Mosley's request for a second fight, choosing instead the path of no resistance when he accepted a sparring session, er, fight against
"It was very disappointing," said Mosley. "He beat me, but he did it in his hometown. He had everything working in his favor. He said he wanted to fight a big fight; well, I'm a big fight. I think deep down, he didn't want to face me."
With Cotto occupied, Mosley turned his attention to
Enter Mayorga, who made a name for himself with back-to-back victories over
Pastings at the hands of
Still, the 34-year-old Mayorga (29-6-1, 23 KOs) has been an effective stepping stone for fighters looking to revive their careers. Trinidad used Mayorga as a tune-up before his middleweight showdown with
Mayorga has another attribute that is appealing to Mosley: He still hits -- hard. Say what you want about Mayorga, but there is a reason he has won 23 of his 29 fights by knockout. When he connects with that right hand, he still has the power to put a fighter down. It's a skill he shares with another fighter, who Mosley has been keeping a close eye on for two months: current WBA welterweight champion
"Margarito, that's the big fight," said Mosley. "I like titles, but it's not really about them right now. I want the big fights. I want to prove that I'm still the best. It can be at welterweight, super welterweight, I don't care. I want to make a statement, that I'm still a force."
Naturally, Mosley hates to contemplate what a loss would mean, though speculation is that it would certainly impede his chances at getting a big (and lucrative) fight and would probably send him into retirement where another responsibility awaits him: helping his son,
"I could fight for another two or three years," said Mosley. "As long as I believe mentally that I am still one of the best fighters out there, I'm going to continue to do it."