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Mosley keeps clear head amid chaos

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports
Mosley keeps clear head amid chaos
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Shane Mosley puts on a happy face in public, but he's faced much scrutiny as he prepares for Saturday's …

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LAS VEGAS – Hardly a day goes by in which Shane Mosley's current nemesis, Victor Conte, doesn't release some piece of derogatory information to the media.

Conte is the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and in 2003, he provided Mosley with two anabolic steroids as well as erythropoietin (EPO) as Mosley was preparing for a rematch with Oscar De La Hoya.

Though he passed the post-fight drug test administered to him after that fight by the Nevada Athletic Commission, Mosley later admitted to a federal grand jury that he had used EPO as well as the steroids that became known as "The Cream" and "The Clear."

Mosley said Conte duped him and Conte insists Mosley knew full well what he was doing. Mosley has sued Conte for defamation of character.

As Mosley has prepared for his fight on Saturday with Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, one of the biggest and most lucrative bouts in boxing history, Conte has flooded the media with information suggesting that Mosley was fully aware of what he was given in 2003.

Dealing with that mess is more than a full-time job, but it's hardly Mosley's only task these days.

He's in the midst of a divorce from his wife, Jin, which could get extraordinarily nasty.

He's been taunted, poked and prodded by just about every member of the Mayweather family, and his personal life has been put under the microscope by the media like few fighters since Mike Tyson.

In the midst of all of it, he has to prepare for the most significant bout of his life against arguably the most dominant fighter of his generation.

It would be a recipe for disaster for anyone except Shane Mosley.

Just days before the most anticipated bout of the year, Mosley is the epitome of calm.

If he loses, it won't be because he was distracted by business dealings outside the ring.

"You have to understand the craziness that was going on around him in the days before his [Jan. 24, 2009] fight with [Antonio] Margarito," said Judd Burstein, Mosley's long-time lawyer and close friend. "What's going on around him now is like a day at the spa compared to what was happening then."

He had separated from his high-profile wife, who had taken over control of his career, in 2008. Jin Mosley is not the retiring type, as numerous boxing writers who ran afoul of her during her marriage to Shane would attest.

Fighters often speak of having to focus, but it was hard for Mosley to do that given the battles he was fighting with his wife.

"Anything Mayweather says is nothing compared to the things she said to me," Mosley told the Los Angeles Times.

Mosley, though, put on one of the best performances of his career against Margarito, winning virtually every round before stopping Margarito in the ninth.

He's one of those guys who lets pretty much everything slide off his back. Not too much affects him. His father said his easy-going nature comes naturally, and that it has aided in his boxing career by letting him focus all of his energies on the task at hand.

The entire Mayweather clan has taunted him mercilessly. Floyd Jr. has made fun of how Jin has controlled Shane's career. He has taunted Mosley about what he says is a nose job and about Mosley's new hairstyle.

Burstein said it's pointless for Mayweather to continue because Mosley hears little of it and pays attention to none of it.

Jack Mosley advises his son to fire back occasionally, but concedes that it's only for effect.

"You can respond to it because you don't want something to go unanswered, like the president," Jack Mosley said. "They advised him not to let stuff go unanswered, and so you've got to answer every charge, but you can do it in such a way where it's classy. You don't have to be derogatory and stuff like that."

Mosley has never been one to concern himself too much with anything but boxing and preparing to box. The business deals haven't gotten much of his interest or attention, though Burstein said that's changed in recent times.

There's no doubt, though, that Mosley would rather strap on his head gear, pull on his gloves and spar 12 rounds than sit in a board room discussing a business venture or face a pack of media with questions about his upcoming fight.

The ring has always been a refuge and it's the one place where he goes where none of life's problems can touch him. In that way, he's very much like Mayweather.

"It's something that's been a part of me for as long as I can remember, just about," Mosley said. "It's what I love. It's what I've always loved."

In nearly every fight he's fought, Mosley has been faster and, in all but a handful, he's been stronger.

He's a Hall of Famer on the day he's eligible, even if he never wins again. And though he's not the physical specimen at 38 that he was at 28 when he defeated De La Hoya and began his ascent to superstardom, he still believes deeply in his ability.

"He's a great fighter, but I'm the best," Mosley says proudly.

He has a lot of detractors. Mayweather is five years younger, perceived to be faster and better defensively.

Freddie Roach, who trains pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and is a four-time trainer of the year, is among the many who expect Mayweather to prevail.

Mayweather's style isn't a good match for Mosley, Roach said, and the 38-year-old gunslinger isn't the same as he once was.

"Everybody talks about how Shane fought Margarito, but that was the perfect opponent and perfect execution," Roach said. "Shane grew up in Los Angeles and he has always loved it when he fought a Mexican fighter and the guy attacked him and came after him. He was always at his best in fights like that.

"He's had trouble with boxers and guys with speed. … I'm sure his age will show a bit in this fight, because that's something we can't get away from. We slow down when we get older. I give Shane a small chance of winning, but I think Mayweather will put on a very good, maybe a dominant performance."

Mosley takes all of the comments in stride. He never berates one for having an opinion and he never lets an opinion change his belief in himself.

Burstein spent much of the day with him Saturday in Los Angeles and found him to be in a great state mentally, though it shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

"I was really pleased to see that he has exactly the same equanimity and clear head now that he had right before the Margarito fight," Burstein said. "He's completely calm. One of the things we've talked about is making sure this is a calm week. He said to me, 'This is often the week fighters lose fights, by letting all the craziness and excitement get to them.' He realizes it and he hasn't been bothered one bit.

"All the Conte stuff, the divorce, Mayweather, none of it has had an impact on him at all. He's as calm and as ready to fight as I have ever seen him."

It's about putting things in perspective, Mosley said. Mayweather likes to try and play mind games with his opponents, often with great success.

They're successful because the opponents take them personally and wind up fighting with anger instead of fighting with their heads.

Few fighters have a more courageous spirit than Mosley, but he's never fought on anger and he's not about to now. He manages to laugh off just about all the barbs that the Mayweather clan has tossed his way because he believes it's just an attempt to get him off his game.

He's more fueled by making history, by defeating a man many believed couldn't be beaten.

"It's nothing personal," Mosley said. "I know for me, it's all business. This is business and this is a competitive sport. This is our legacy on who's the best fighter. It's a challenge. So it's a challenge that I'm ready to take and I'm ready to go into the history books as being the guy to beat Floyd Mayweather and the guy that beats everybody out there, the last man standing. I'm into that."

The fire has been what has helped turn him into a Hall of Fame fighter.

But his ability to turn off the distractions hasn't hurt, either.