COMMENTARY | Tuesday it was revealed that the 41-year-old three-division former world champ, Shane Mosley (46-8-1, 39 KOs), is still dead set on making a ring comeback and will begin that long road back on May 18 in Cancun, Mexico. Mosley's opponent for his first fight since May of last year will be 23-year-old Mexican, Pablo Cesar Cano (26-2-1, 20 KOs).
Cano, despite his young age and relatively low overall level of opposition, has already had two world title bouts in his six-year professional career. In this day and age, though, that doesn't mean all that much. The Mexican lost via RTD 10 in a 2011 bout against Erik Morales for the vacant WBC junior welterweight title. Then, in October of last year, Cano wound up losing a split decision to WBA welterweight titlist, Paulie Malignaggi despite dropping the defending champ in the eleventh round and taking the bout on many unofficial scorecards.
The native of Atizapan de Zaragoza, México is solid and durable, but has not proven himself to be a main stage fighter and has certainly not made a case for elite-level status. At this point of his career, Cano is purely a fringe contender with solid, but not spectacular all-around skills. And in the case of his May 18 bout with Mosley, he'll be playing the role of welterweight gatekeeper, separating the role players from the main stage performers in the division.
For those worried about the health and well-being of Shane Mosley, Cano represents the right kind of opponent. A stalker without a huge punch, Cano will be right in front of Mosley and, unless Mosley is even more shot than anyone imagined, won't likely cause much damage with anything he lands.
Ideally, Mosley-Cano wouldn't be happening. In a perfect world, Mosley would retire after nearly twenty years as a pro and a Hall of Fame set of credentials, content in the knowledge that he will be remembered as one of the best fighters of his era.
However, this isn't a perfect world and Mosley insists on continuing with a career that hasn't seen a victory since January of 2009. For those keeping track, the one-time pound-for-pound fighter is 0-3-1 in his last four fights and, probably, has not even won a single round since his draw with Sergio Mora in 2010.
Mosley's recent losses have come against pound-for-pound elite-level fighters Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather as well as rising superstar Saul Alvarez. Mosley and his team can justify a ring return by aiming for smaller, lesser prey and creating more honest expectations when it comes to what the fighter hopes to accomplish. There are plenty of aged former champs and paper titles to keep Mosley cup-deep in paychecks for the foreseeable future, even at forty-one years of age. Even a greatly diminished Mosley can score some wins against lesser opposition. But what happens when an elite-level fighter once again comes calling? That's when the real danger enters into this scenario. Mosley is too much of a competitor and, maybe, too in need of a paycheck, to turn down another shot at real glory. That's when an even older Mosley takes an even greater beating.
Mosley wanted to challenge light-hitting paper champion Paulie Malignaggi for the WBA welterweight title and that shows, at least, the understanding that his days as a real elite-level fighter are done. Unfortunately for Mosley, nobody, from the networks to the fans to Malignaggi, himself, wanted this bout to happen. It died a quick death, well before it had finished being killed by public scorn.
So, now it's Mosley-Cano on May 18 in a bout that most oppose based on principle alone. Shane Mosley is a shot fighter and should retire. Yes, but if he can pass a commission's physical exam and still attract a payday, there's nothing anyone can do to stop him from pushing forward. About the best we can hope for is that Mosley is capable of recognizing his own reality and decides to lean heavily on the art of creative matchmaking to keep himself safe.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Mike Coppinger, Mosley to return against Cano, RingTV
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