In Their Words: Shane Mosley

Almost 12 years have passed since Shane Mosley scored what is arguably his signature win, a 12-round split decision against future Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya. Back then, Mosley was at the height of his powers in the junior middleweight division and widely considered an elite (and perhaps boxing's top) pound-for-pound fighter.

But a dozen years is a lifetime in boxing, and since battling Vernon Forrest for the first time, in 2002, Mosley has lost nearly as often as he has won -- including a 2-3-1 stretch in his most recent six fights. Mosley cites several recent examples of boxers who have found life after 40 in the ring, although those exceptions to the rule are, by and large, heavier fighters who perhaps aren't as reliant on speed and timing as a 154-pounder must be.

We'll find out soon enough whether Mosley, 40, has anything left, when he challenges 21-year-old titlist
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on May 5 in Las Vegas (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET). As part of an ongoing prefight feature, ESPN.com enlisted HBO to put us in touch with Mosley for a discussion about the Alvarez clash and his own future.

On his response to those who say his speed and power are diminished from what it was during his years at the top of the pound-for-pound list:

At 45, George Foreman won back the heavyweight title that he had lost roughly 20 years prior. Everyone thought [Michael] Moorer was going to take it, but he didn't. Foreman did. What about when Larry Holmes beat Ray Mercer at 42? The idea that a fighter suddenly loses skills they've had for years isn't the case at all. My experience and skill and knowledge of who I am as a fighter are things that no one can take away from me.

I have fought some of the best boxers in the world, including defeating Oscar De La Hoya and Antonio Margarito, among others. I know I am the same fighter today that I was in each and every single one of those matches; my speed and power are still there and stronger than ever. In fact, I would argue that at my age, I am more ready to fight, knowing what it takes to win. You don't just suddenly lose ability when you turn 40.

I hate to use a cliché, but with age does come wisdom, and wisdom is more important in boxing than you can imagine. People forget about the mental part of the fights. That's critical. In training, it becomes less about analyzing other boxers and more about studying myself, knowing myself, what I am capable of and what makes me a better fighter. Speed and power doesn't diminish, but instead evolves and matures, and that's what will be displayed. Viewers can look forward to seeing that on May 5.