(Shane Mosley, left, embracing the man who beat him in his last fight, Saul Alvarez)
When it was floated out there that we could potentially be seeing 147-pound titlist Paulie Malignaggi defending his strap against a comebacking Shane Mosley next year at Barclays Center, it was met immediately with complete disdain from the boxing community.
The reaction of this writer was congruent to that at first, but after thinking about it, felt as though it is pretty knee jerk. Yes, Mosley has looked like he has lost a step in his previous four fights since demolishing Antonio Margarito in January 2009, which now seems like a lifetime ago. But take into account that his two losses at 147, where he'd be fighting Malignaggi, came against Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
Against Canelo Alvarez in May, Mosley looked like he couldn't pull the trigger, but that fight took place at 154 where Shane never really was unstoppable, even closer to his prime. Doesn't a warrior like Mosley, who fought everyone, deserve an opportunity to prove he doesn't have it anymore?
Showtime Sports executive VP Stephen Espinoza felt that way when asked about the fight Saturday night.
“I think people mostly remember the Pacquiao fight where Shane was far from his best because of the stage that was on,” commented Espinoza. “He's had some ups and downs, but I think the move to 147 will show us a fresher, more active Shane. He's a skilled guy, he's got a lot of experience and a lot left in him.”
With a victory, Shane would have an alphabet trinket and could earn another payday. Who is to say Mosley couldn't beat Victor Ortiz coming off a layoff at that point?
“Or Berto, everybody has always asked to see a Shane-Berto,” said Espinoza. “He might surprise some people and then he's right back in there.”
For all that Mosley has given the sport, he deserves the opportunity to prove he doesn't have it. If he loses to Malignaggi, that would likely signal to the future Hall of Famer it is time to hang them up.
Sunday at the Watson charity basketball game in Los Angeles, Mosley and his father Jack were in attendance and spoke a bit about the Malignaggi fight as well.
“I think it is a good fight for me to come back, and after I win that fight, I know there are going to be other fighters coming to get me and I'm excited about that,” said Mosley when asked about the Malignaggi fight.
“I think it was because of injuries that I had going into the ring, I wasn't as explosive as I could be when I fought,” said Mosley when asked if he thinks 147 is where he is the strongest. “Although I do think I will be better at 147. I feel that my size, my power, I'll probably be stronger at 147.”
Said Jack Mosley, who guided his son Shane from the beginning of his career and helped him win a number of professional titles: “People think he's slow, and he's old, and he won't be up for the fight, but none of that's not true.
“Shane was not healthy when he fought those guys. I can't tell you what was wrong with him, but he wasn't healthy," Jack said. "Right now, he's healthy, he's fast, he's got power, and he's putting together combinations and he will have stamina and he won't get tired and fade. He's a dangerous fighter at 147.”
It wasn't long ago that Mosley said he was going to hang them up, announcing the intention to retire soon after being thoroughly dominated by Saul Alvarez in May. When it emerged a few weeks ago that Mosley planned to return, it was met with a collective groan as most don't want to see another great fighter like Mosley sully his legacy by losing to guys he would have beaten easily at his best.
Sooner than later, however, Mosley recognizes the time will come that he can't pull the trigger anymore and needs to get out of the game.
“When my son starts touching me a little too much in the gym when we are sparring, then that's when I'll say it is time to go, so he is my indicator,” said Mosley, referencing his 21-year old amateur son and namesake, Shane Jr. “When he turns pro I will probably retire.”
Mosley recently helped promote a card in southern California and could see that being part of his future when his son eventually turns pro.
“I think it is a good thing, to promote some shows,” said Mosley. “To give up and coming professional fighters an opportunity to fight. I could see myself helping in that aspect. I'm not sure about being one of the big promoters, I think that I want to be more to help the young fighters coming up, to be able to get to that next level, that would be my interest.”
Yes, it is true that Shane Mosley is 41. Yes, it is also true that his best days are behind him. We'd like to think the major paydays he received against Pacquiao and Mayweather were enough for him to ride off into the sunset without doing further damage to himself. Unfortunately, Mosley went through a divorce from his longtime wife and manager Jin, meaning that he didn't quite walk away with 100 percent of his earnings.
“The bottom line is, you get back up and you do your thing, and you don't cry about spilt milk,” said Jack Mosley in reference to Shane continuing after a couple of bad performances. “You like the sport with passion, if you continue to work, you get up and do what you gotta do.”
For the Mosley that is winding down his career, it seemed very important to him that things are coming full circle. He's got his dad back in his corner after a few years of them not working together. He's got his son in the gym with him motivating him and also giving him a look at what the future might hold.
If Mosley loses to Malignaggi in 2013, then surely he would know it is over. For a guy who always fought the best or wanted to fight the best, he deserves the opportunity to know 100 percent that it is over and not be left wondering what else he could accomplish.