When Shane Mosley was an unbeaten lightweight champion, wrecking everyone in his path and looking like he’d never lose a prizefight, he told me that he knew that “0” wouldn’t last forever, that someone, somewhere would have his number. 

He was right. Just like 99 percent of those who lace on the gloves, “Sugar Shane” tasted defeat. It didn’t matter in the long run, as the pride of Pomona, California had a career that will see him take his place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame this June.

Fast forward to last week, and Shane Mosley Jr. is talking about the idea of perfection in the ring and why it’s not a realistic notion as he prepares for his Saturday bout against Gabe Rosado. It’s Mosley’s first trip to 168 pounds and first fight since a disputed majority decision loss to Jason Quigley last May, and while he didn’t expect to reach this point in his career with a 17-4 record, he also knows it’s not the end of the story yet.

“Especially nowadays, we're in a situation where a lot of fighters think you gotta be unblemished and that's the only thing that makes you great,” he said. “No, that's not real life. Real life is the stumbles, the scrapes, the bruises, all these things, and things that didn't go my way and then I turned it all around. That's what people really want to see. That's the real greatness. If I can turn this all around, it'd be like, I did that.”

Sounds like he doesn’t just share his dad’s smile and laugh, but his fighting philosophy, as well. Mosley doesn’t know if that’s just something in his DNA, or something earned through experience.

“Nobody has a perfect day every day. Nobody has a perfect year every year. There's no such thing. You see that performance, or you see that moment, you see that picture, you see that video, but you don't see everything else that happens. You can have a s**tty hour and that doesn't mean that it affects your whole day. It can if you let it, but if you don't, you go, I messed up, I'm gonna move forward, and I'm not gonna let this happen again. It might be in my DNA, but to recognize it, I think it's just life.”

Since most of us are refusing to get old, we remember covering the career of Shane Sr. and always thought of Jr. as the kid. But this kid is a grown man, 31 years old, eight years deep into his pro career, and far from a wet behind the years up and comer. And against Quigley, Mosley proved he was ready for the next step in his career, even though the decision didn’t go his way. And when Ireland’s Quigley went on to fight for a world title against Demetrius Andrade in his next bout, it was a sign to Mosley that he was on the right track.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think that I'm definitely moving in the right direction and I think this fight is gonna help me also move in that direction. It's forward motion, so keep on fighting, keep on trying to improve and keep on getting better. It's all you can do.”

It’s the right attitude. The only thing missing was striking while the iron was hot. But Mosley insists that he’s been staying ready over the last several months, so that when the phone did ring, all he’d have to do is say yes.

“I've been training, I've been living life,” he said of his time on the sidelines, post-Quigley. As for his desire to get back in the ring sooner, he simply says, “Circumstances and things happen and we're here now. We're here now - that's all I can say.”

He’s also here at 168 pounds and not 160. Is this a permanent move?

“I'm a 160-pounder, but the opportunity presented itself and so when things present themselves, you gotta meet where it's at,” he said. “I haven't fought as a 168-pounder yet, so I'll see what I feel at the time, and see if that's something I want to do moving forward.”

Whether he goes back down to middleweight or stays at 168, having a win over a veteran name like Rosado would be quite the feather in Mosley’s cap, especially considering that the 36-year-old Philadelphian’s last three fights have seen him lose a split decision to Danny Jacobs, knock out previously unbeaten Bektemir Melikuziev and drop a spirited decision to Jaime Munguia. On paper, it’s 1-2, but in reality, it’s a seasoned competitor getting a second wind and showing that there’s still tread left on his tires. Mosley knows it, too, and he respects the man he’ll be sharing the ring with this weekend.

“I admire Gabe,” he said. “What he's done with his career is pretty incredible. With a record like his (26-14-1, 1 ND), people would think, automatically, okay, this guy's not a star, but he is. He's a star. With that record. If he can do it, that gives you inspiration to be like, 'Man, I can come back, I can do this, I can become champion.' He believes he can still be champion, and yeah, why not? I believe the same thing.”

Mosley’s got time, though you get the impression that he feels that the time to make his move is now. And while the talk was always whether he would live up to what his dad accomplished, the younger Mosley’s goals today are a lot more personal. 

“When you do something, especially if you want to be great, you want to be recognized,” he said. “And the only way to truly be recognized, at least in this sport, is to claim a belt. If you get that belt, you can always say, 'I was a champion.' That's why. You want that recognition, you want that honor of saying, I was a part of that club.”