Malignaggi vs Mosley: Shane Mosley says fire has returned, but does it matter?

Ethan Miller

Shane Mosley says the fire is back for his April 27 fight with WBA welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, and the 41-year-old ex-champion is looking to prove the skeptics wrong.

41-year-old Shane Mosley no doubt knows that the general perception is he's a shot fighter who doesn't deserve his April 27 shot at WBA welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi. But the veteran fighter says that he's got the fire back after spending some time in the gym training young fighters, and that he couldn't turn down the opportunity:

"As I trained some of the kids and went from gym to gym training different kids, a lot of people in the gym would tell me 'you still got it.' And then I started feeling the fire. I would see some of the guys fight and I started feeling the fire in my gut," Mosley said.

"And here I am. I get the opportunity with someone like Paulie Malignaggi who says he is willing to fight and is willing to put up his title - that's a great offer, that's an offer I can't refuse."

I'm not sure there are many offers out there that Mosley (46-8-1, 39 KO) can refuse these days. It's no secret that he hasn't had the easiest road financially in the last few years, and that at this point, he's making far less money to fight than he did in his prime.

Plus, credibility-wise, Mosley is at a career low these days -- he hasn't won a fight in four years now, going 0-3-1 in his last four outings, and every performance has been criticized beyond just the failure to win, too. Once a good and sometimes great action fighter, "Sugar" Shane has been reduced to a runner by Manny Pacquiao and a punching bag by Canelo Alvarez in his last two fights.

As for the fire, I don't doubt that he really feels that -- his "retirement" never really existed, as he didn't really leave the sport at all, and was hinting at a "comeback" not long after the announcement. Worrisome there, though, is that Mosley felt that he should retire less than one year ago; he made the official announcement and everything after being hammered by Alvarez. One wonders how long any fire will remain when Mosley has already admitted once that his career should be over.

As I've said before, I'm not saying he can't beat Paulie Malignaggi. It's not as if Malignaggi is some unstoppable force or rising young star or anything. Paulie's a veteran who doesn't have much power, is way less mobile than he was at his peak, and gets by on smarts and craft. He's a good fighter, but definitely not on the level of Mayweather, Pacquiao, or even Alvarez, who had youth and size on his side against Mosley, which Malignaggi will not.

I truly believe the outcome of this fight hinges on what version of Malignaggi shows up in Brooklyn. If it's the Paulie that diced up Vyacheslav Senchenko, I think Shane's in for a long, rather awful night. If it's the Paulie that escaped against Pablo Cesar Cano, Mosley, even a shot version, has a chance.

And as for guys in gyms telling Shane he's "still got it," I wouldn't read much into that. What were they going to say to him? "Man, Shane, you're done. A shadow of your former self. Thanks for coming by, though, we really appreciate your input."

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