Shane Mosley returns to the ring Saturday night to face Pablo Cesar Cano. After a brief retirement and more than a year between fights, Mosley must prove he made the right decision to return with a strong performance against a fighter 18 years his junior.
"Sugar Shane" was originated slated to return against Paulie Malignaggi last month, as reported by Dan Rafael of ESPN. Before the deal fell through, Mosley talked about his desire to return to the sport after some promising sessions in the gym.
I was thinking about it and running a little bit and I said, "You know what? I think I can do this." I'm holding my own in the gym no matter who I work with. I really love this sport. I love to do it. When I am in the gym, I can see myself improving.
Even though there's a major difference between the gym and the ring, Mosley clearly felt good enough about his form to give it another go. Since an agreement with Malignaggi couldn't be reached, he'll face off with Cano instead.
The biggest question mark for Mosley heading into the bout is his speed. It was one of the attributes that made him so difficult to face in his prime. Like all aging fighters, however, he's lost some of that quickness as his career has dragged on.
It's one of the main reasons why Mosley has three losses and a draw in his last four fights. He continued to go up against top-end competition like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, but he wasn't able to keep pace with those superstars of the sport.
In his last fight, which came in May 2012, Mosley wasn't able to make any type of inroads against rising star Saul Alvarez. It was a thoroughly lackluster unanimous-decision loss that sent a clear signal he wasn't ready to fight opponents of that caliber.
Cano represents a clear drop in the level of competition. The 23-year-old Mexico native lost to the aforementioned Malignaggi in his last fight, albeit by split decision.
Mosley must be prepared to handle Cano's power. Cano possesses enough striking ability to turn the fight into a one-sided demolition if the veteran isn't ready to defend.
At the same time, Cano is susceptible to the counterattack and hasn't faced a fighter with the type of experience and track record Mosley possesses. It's new territory for him. Mosley must capitalize on that early in the fight.
Ultimately, it's a very winnable fight for Mosley. Cano is an opponent who doesn't feature the elite quickness that's been giving him trouble in recent fights, and "Sugar Shane" clearly believes he's still got a couple wins left in the tank.
Whether he does or not will probably be pretty obvious by night's end. While this fight could go either way, Mosley gets the benefit of the doubt one more time.
Prediction: Mosley by unanimous decision