Malignaggi vs Mosley targeted for April 27, but fight rings a lot of broken bells

Ethan Miller

Golden Boy Promotions is hoping to make a fight between WBA welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi and Shane Mosley for April 27. How low can it go?

Shane Mosley announced a retirement from boxing earlier this year after being dominated by Canelo Alvarez, but that will be short-lived, as Mosley has stayed in the gym and recently, his name has come back into the discussion for fights with Golden Boy's welterweight titleholders.

Now, it looks like Golden Boy has their plan, which would be for the 41-year-old Mosley to face WBA titlist Paulie Malignaggi on April 27 in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.

Mosley (46-8-1, 39 KO) will be over four years removed from his last win by the time the fight comes up, and if it does get finalized, it would be farcical of the WBA to sanction it as a world title fight, but then, one would expect no less from any boxing sanctioning body.

Frankly, I find the whole thing disturbing. Mosley hasn't been remotely competitive in three of his last four fights, and hasn't been any fun to watch in any of them, apart from a second round right hand that shook Floyd Mayweather in 2010. He's always been a fighter pretty easy to root for -- apart from the performance-enhancing drugs, which nobody knew about it until it was way too late -- and personally, I've been a Shane Mosley fan for a long time.

That's part of why it's not desirable to see him fight on well past his expiration date. Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KO) is a relatively safe matchup physically in that he's not a big puncher, but he's still got skills and can dice up opponents, as he showed earlier this year when extra motivated against Vyacheslav Senchenko. He didn't look nearly as sharp in October against Pablo Cesar Cano, but the charismatic Brooklyn native has always sort of ran hot and cold in the ring.

What reeks most is that without fail, some will be talked into this being a decent idea. There is the outside chance that Mosley could pull the upset, given that he's naturally bigger and stronger than Malignaggi, and still has some power. But Mosley's problems in one-sided losses to Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Canelo, plus a hideous draw in 2010 with Sergio Mora, have centered around his inability to react the way he used to, and also his trigger issues. You can watch Mosley and see his gears turning, but the physical isn't responding. He's gotten old, he's been through the wars, and though he keeps himself in phenomenal shape, he's simply lost what made him the fighter he used to be.

Even worse, Mosley can still take a punch, as his iron chin hasn't cracked yet. That means more and more punishment over long fights. Even if Malignaggi isn't a big puncher, he remains a professional boxer throwing punches in there -- he can do some damage, particularly against an opponent who has declined to this degree.

I can't hide anything here. As a boxing fan, I hate this fight. It feels exploitative and sort of gross. Mosley has done nothing in the last four years to warrant another fight like this one, and he's even clearly accepted the idea that the end has come. Fighters don't announce retirements at this stage of a career without knowing it's gone. He didn't announce a retirement going out on top. He'd just taken a 12-round beating, and was sure enough of the decision he made it public.

It's an awful idea. It's shameful lying to an already frequently insulted audience that puts up with a lot, and unfortunately, can also too often be conned into accepting these sort of fights. There are a lot of welterweights out there who have done more than Mosley in a time frame that is actually relevant to 2013, who would love to get a shot at Malignaggi. Instead, Golden Boy is doing someone a favor, it would seem, by granting him a fight he wants -- maybe needs -- but frankly does not deserve anymore, at least not in a sporting sense. But they'll be doing him no favors. Even if he were to pull a rabbit out of his hat and win a fight again, it's a risk that doesn't need to be taken.

Listen, I agree it's a fighter's time to decide when they hang up the gloves, so long as they're healthy. One hope is that the New York State Athletic Commission, which frequently claims to be tough on the issue of fighter safety, will take a thorough look at Shane Mosley before approving this fight, and seriously consider whether or not he is fit to be licensed to fight anymore. If their honest decision is yes, then that's an honest decision by professionals.

But don't hold your breath; after all, this is the commission that in October, allowed Erik Morales in the ring despite his failing two drug tests, and in late 2011, granted Antonio Margarito a license despite his having an eye obviously in no real condition to get back in a ring.

There's a lot I find wrong with this fight. I'm sure plenty of folks will be able to talk themselves into it being a good idea, which is exactly why it will (or at least might) happen. That's fine, and up to the individual. But I just can't see this one being something that shines a favorable light on any aspect of boxing as a sport.

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