COMMENTARY | The last time we saw the 41-year-old "Sugar" Shane Mosley it was May of this year and he was getting the sweetness beaten out of him by the 21-year-old Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Mosley would announce his retirement shortly after that one-sided beating and most smart, non-sadistic fans applauded the decision.
Frankly, we hadn't seen anything close to the "real" Sugar Shane since January of 2009 when he outclassed and stopped a plaster-less Antonio Margarito in nine rounds. Since then, Mosley has been beaten from pillar to post by Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Alvarez with an embarrassing draw with Sergio Mora buried in between.
Now, according to Ben Thompson of Fighthype.com, Mosley is about to announce his return to the ring and immediate plans to jump back into the championship picture at welterweight.
At this point, the best that can be said about Mosley is that he's a good guy with a good reputation and that he can take his muggings like a man. It would be surprising if he looks any better in his return than he did back when Alvarez was beating him like a piñata on the Mayweather-Cotto undercard, but seven months can work wonders on a man's memory. Mosley may have forgotten how dead-legged and slow he looked against Canelo and how painfully slow he was in pulling the trigger on any offense.
But, at the very least, Mosley is smart enough to avoid any of the elites at 147-154 lbs. for his return. If the reports are true, the three-division world champ has targeted Paulie Malignaggi and the dubious WBA welterweight title.
While the fast-talking Brooklyn native, Malignaggi, is enjoying a second wind as a champion prizefighter, he's hardly a main stage player and is, really, more paper champion than world class titlist. Most recently, Malignaggi barely managed to keep his belt against unheralded Pablo Cesar Cano via split decision. Most would consider it a mere question of time before somebody takes the title from the light-hitting stylist and Team Malignaggi, likely hip to this, has to be looking for a couple of decent pay-outs before taking on even marginal risks.
Mosley may be the perfect opponent for Malignaggi. Despite a 0-3-1 record in his last four contests, Mosley still has name recognition and will generate more publicity than any other beatable opponent lined up for Malignaggi.It may be scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of matchmaking, but it could actually do some business and would likely even get a choice TV date.
With just two knockouts in over nine years, it's not like Malignaggi is going to put any sort of scary beating on Mosley. The former pound for pound player has still got somewhat of a sturdy chin and is smart enough, defensively, to stay out of trouble, especially against the feather-fisted WBA champ. Even a mega-vulnerable Malignaggi should be able to beat today's Mosley, but it's not a 100% slam dunk victory, either. Malignaggi-Mosley would be more "blah" than slaughter and more time waster than main event.
More troubling, though, would be the politics behind making such a bout.
Under what justification could Mosley, who hasn't won a welterweight contest since the Margarito stoppage in 2009, qualify for a world ranking, much less a world title shot? Even by modern day sanctioning body standards, this would be a cynical bout to make.
In a just world, Malignaggi-Mosley just wouldn't happen. Ideally, nobody would get a title shot unless he had earned his spot and truly deserved it-- Although that would mean that Malignaggi (or Vyacheslav Senchenko before him or Yuriy Nuzhnenko prior to that) would never have been in a position to win the title in the first place.
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 The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Ben Thompson, SHANE MOSLEY TALKING COMEBACK; EYES PAULIE MALIGNAGGI'S TITLE, Fighthype.com