Shane Mosley: Why Sugar's Potential Comeback Will Damage His Legacy

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2012

Shane Mosley hasn't won a fight since 2009.
Shane Mosley hasn't won a fight since 2009.Donald Miralle/Getty Images

If you believed you saw the last of "Sugar" Shane Mosley when he was easily dispatched by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez this past May on the Mayweather-Cotto undercard it would appear you were wrong.

If reports are true, and it would appear they are, the 41-year-old former three-division world champion is planning a return to the ring sometime next year.

He has been mentioned prominently, including Saturday on Showtime's broadcast of Khan-Molina, as a potential opponent for WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi. 


Shane Mosley is one of the best fighters of his era. Some consider him one of the most talented lightweights of all-time, and he won multiple world titles in three weight classes.

But to say he is a shell of his former greatness is being kind and it's hard to acknowledge that a fighter who won so many high-profile fights and produced many great moments is deluding himself—badly.

It's painful to see the man who beat Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas and Antonio Margaritio, and went to war with a prime Miguel Cotto damage his legacy with an ill-conceived comeback.

For many fans, who only began watching boxing in the last few years, Mosley is best known not for his lightweight dominance, or his signature wins, but for being shutout by Mayweather and Alvarez.

He hasn't performed at anything close to an elite level in nearly four years and is 0-3-1 in his last four fights. 

Absolutely nothing here screams comeback and even a fight with the notoriously light-hitting, but still slick, Paulie Malignaggi is a terrible idea.

Malignaggi has made his career as a slick, hard to hit boxer. He relies heavily on his speed and ability to make opponents miss. 

In other words a style that is tailor-made to make Mosley whose speed and reflexes, once his defining characteristics, are shot look terrible.

But you may say, Malignaggi is a relatively safe opponent. Even if Mosley fights him and loses he isn't likely to be in any serious danger.

This is wrong on multiple levels. For one thing boxing is always a dangerous sport.

Malignaggi isn't a power-puncher by any stretch but he is a professional and his punches can certainly cause damage.

And another is the potential damage to his legacy should he fail to turn back time and get dominated by the "Magic Man."

It's one thing to lose like that to Floyd Mayweather, universally considered the sports best fighter, or even Saul Alvarez who is one of the sport's rising stars.

No disrespect to Paulie Malignaggi but he doesn't exist on the same plane as those guys. 

Fighters who attempt ill-conceived comebacks are rarely satisfied with one fight—win, lose or draw. 

So even if Mosley does lose, or somehow turns back time and scores the upset, this would likely not be the last time we see him. 

And his next opponent might not be as light-hitting and non-threatening as the WBA welterweight champion

You see, once a fighter who once upon a time was elite deludes himself into still believing he belongs at this level, it rarely ends well. 

Unfortunately that appears to be the direction we're heading with Shane Mosley whose best days are long ago and far away.