Monday, January 14, 2013
'Sugar' Shane Mosley unretires
By Dan Rafael
"Sugar" Shane Mosley is 41 and 0-3-1 in his last four fights -- with each loss a one-sided decision -- but the former champion is ending his retirement for a world title shot.
Mosley will challenge welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi on April 27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Malignaggi's hometown, in a Showtime-televised main event.
Mosley told ESPN.com on Monday that the deal has been agreed to and that "on my end, it's a go."
Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer also said the deal is agreed to and that the paperwork is being finalized.
"Shane came to see me in early December and said he wanted to come back for an opportunity to win a world title again, that he feels ready, that he feels he can beat Malignaggi and see if we could give him the opportunity," Schaefer told ESPN.com. "I looked in his eyes and told him he cannot make a lot of money and that a lot of people question whether he should fight. But I told him I will do what I can to give him the opportunity and that it would be up to him to prove that he has what it takes to be world champion again.
"I discussed the fight with the networks and Paulie and I felt Shane deserved the opportunity to fight for a world title again. He has accomplished so much and thrilled fight fans in so many fights, so I am happy to give him this opportunity."
The fight will mark something of a family reunion for Mosley, who will once again be trained by his father, Jack Mosley. He trained his son for most of his career. In 1998, they won the Boxing Writers Association of America awards for trainer and fighter of the year, respectively. But although they remained close personally, they have had multiple professional breakups. Jack Mosley has not been in Shane's corner since 2008. He will take over for Naazim Richardson, whom Mosley said he still has a good relationship with.
"I'm excited to have my father back with me as my coach," Mosley said. "To be able to go into a fight and (try to) win a world title again with my father in the corner, that is like a storybook. To go into a fight like this and have family in the corner and win another belt, it's going to be a great feeling."
Mosley (46-8-1, 39 KOs) has not fought since May 5, when junior middleweight titlist Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, 21 at the time, easily outpointed him in a thoroughly one-sided fight in which Mosley showed little. After the fight, Mosley half-seriously/half jokingly said, "When the kids start to beat you up, you might have to start promoting."
A month later, Mosley formally announced his retirement after a 19-year professional career in which he won five world titles in three weight classes -- lightweight, welterweight and junior middleweight -- had a career-defining welterweight championship victory against Oscar De La Hoya in 2000 and was, for a time in the early 2000s, widely considered the No. 1 fighter in the world. He also was involved in the BALCO steroids scandal, telling a grand jury that he used the designer steroids "the clear" and "the cream" -- he says unknowingly -- during training for his 2003 rematch victory against De La Hoya for the junior middleweight championship.
But since Mosley's upset ninth-round knockout of Antonio Margarito (on the night Margarito was caught trying to enter the ring with loaded hand wraps) to win the welterweight title for the second time in January 2009, Mosley is winless. He lost lopsided decisions to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Alvarez and struggled to a draw with Sergio Mora.
During his retirement, Mosley has spent a lot of time training his 22-year-old son, Shane Mosley Jr., who is an amateur. Mosley said he also worked out with others and felt good enough that he wanted to give boxing another go.
"Me working with my son and other up-and-coming fighters, I felt good. My body feels better," said Mosley, who attributed his winless stretch to a series of leg and groin injuries that he said are now better.
"My legs were dead," Mosley said. "I couldn't move like I wanted to and I was throwing one shot at a time. That started from injuries. I had a groin injury before the Mayweather fight. After that I had the Achilles injury. I was fighting with no legs and I couldn't attack. That's why I had so many problems."
Mosley has been able to move between welterweight and junior middleweight for years, but said going down to welterweight to face Malignaggi was good for him because he is better at 147 pounds than at 154.
Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs), 32, a former junior welterweight titleholder, will be making his second welterweight title defense. He won the belt in April on a cut-induced ninth-round knockout of Vyacheslav Senchenko in his native Ukraine. Malignaggi made his first defense in October on the inaugural card at the Barclays Center, escaping with a split decision victory against Mexico's Pablo Cesar Cano.
At the tail end of last year, Mosley said he began to seriously consider the comeback.
"I was thinking about it and running a little bit and I said, 'You know what? I think I can do this,'" he said. "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."
He said he was hoping to fight Ricky Hatton in his return, but that was before Hatton got knocked out in his own return from retirement in November. After that, Mosley turned his attention to Malignaggi and paid Schaefer a visit.
"I told Richard that this could be a good fight and asked him what do you think about Paulie and me fighting in Brooklyn," Mosley said. "Fighting Paulie is a great opportunity. (When Golden Boy offered me the fight) it's something you can't really refuse. Paulie is a mover, but he's durable. A lot of people underestimate him and then they lose. But I can't afford to underestimate him."
Mosley said his purse for the fight will be $350,000. He said that will be his smallest purse since his second lightweight title defense against Demetrio Ceballos in 1998.
"I'm not fighting for money," said Mosley, who has earned tens of millions of dollars. "I'm fighting for the belt and the love of the sport. I love the sport. I want to be in there. I want to win the belt. I'm not fighting for the money. I'm fighting for history, legacy and the family coming back together. This is a fight to give me a world title that I want and after winning it, I will fight all comers."
The fight has been discussed for the past few weeks and Schaefer and Mosley both understand there are harsh critics.
"The first reaction from a lot of people when I mentioned the fight was, 'Why?' My reaction was who do you think will win the fight and the reaction was that they thought Shane might win," Schaefer said. "That's why it's an intriguing fight. And Shane is going into the lion's den in Paulie's backyard because this is about his desire to become welterweight champion again."
Said Mosley: "There's not to much to say to the critics. Say what you say. I'm just thankful and grateful I have the opportunity to get in the ring and fight for a world title again."
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.
-- "Sugar" Shane Mosley