One of the most exciting matchups of the year has recently been cancelled. Word that Shane Mosley came out of retirement surprised me, but it was less surprising when I found out that he had set up a fight with the increasingly popular Paulie Malignaggi. Casual fans are thinking “didn’t Paulie lose every time he got to a B+ fighter?” and they’re right, he did. So why take on a former legend of the ring, even if his skills have diminished with age? For one thing, it would solidify Malignaggi’s legacy as a fighter who took on the best competition available, and it would also probably bring in a decent payday. Apparently that probability turned out to be insufficient for Malignaggi, though, because he has reportedly turned down the proposed fight due to failure of financial negotiation. I understand that returning from retirement Mosley may be pressing the issue due to his own popularity in the sport, or even the money problems that so many fighters experience after their careers end, but I’d be surprised if Malignaggi has often, if ever, negotiated a deal for the kind of money Shane Mosley could attract. Malignaggi is missing out on a big opportunity here regardless of how much interest he feels he has stirred up for his next fight by looking impressive in his recent performances. Not only that, but fans are missing out on what would likely be a fairly satisfying and exciting matchup. I expected Mosley to take the win even though his physical abilities are far from what they were a few years ago, and since this announcement I can’t help but wonder if Malignaggi wasn’t playing the odds, hoping for a huge boost to his career and a great payday with the least possible risk. He’s always been a cautious fighter by nature, and while he may not have been in danger of serious injury against Mosley, he would have been in for a very tough fight. Maybe Malignaggi expected Mosley to take a smaller than reasonable cut because he’s coming out of retirement and Malignaggi is the active fighter whose significance in the division is on the rise.
In another somewhat important announcement, Amir Khan has named April 20 as the date for his next fight. I have to admit that when I first watched Khan in the ring, back when he used a more conservative style, I predicted great success for the Brit. He was fast and long, and probably due to the influence of a mutual trainer, his style resembled the excitement-first attacks of Manny Pacquiao’s prime. As his career progressed, however, success in the ring seemed to go to Khan’s head. He denied any cause for adjustment to his style or even focus on fundamentals, insisting as so many fighters do that everyone can be knocked out if they get hit the wrong way. While this is true, the cirucmstances that led to a knockout should never be ignored. By the time PED-popping D.C. native Lamont Peterson got into the ring with Khan, I was aching to see someone put the arrogant “King” in his place. Peterson did just that with an inspiring rally at the end of a competitive fight, though I guess that performance is a little less inspiring now that we know it was drug-enhanced. Khan again denied any failure on his part during the fight and went into the bout with underdog Danny Garcia as full of himself as ever. In reality, Garcia probably doesn’t deserve the acclaim he’s received since that win; Khan would probably have won by TKO stoppage if the fight had gone the distance, but it didn’t. Khan threw caution to the wind again and stuck his chin out while winging punches at a very capable fighter, and caught a shot to the chin that prevented him from continuing effectively. I was out of my seat before Khan hit the floor, deeply satisfied that his denial of technique had exposed him for the fighter he really was. Now, after a good showing against a division gatekeeper, Carlos Molina, Amir Khan plans an eventual rematch with Garcia, which I think is wise, as well the fight on April 20th, for which he is considering Josesito Lopez as an opponent. While I respect Khan’s sense of ambition, I think Lopez is one of the worst possible choices for him. Khan’s power is formidable and his speed and precision can be overwhelming, but Lopez has a solid chin, and he can beat most fighters in the division with a single shot. Though he was unable to stand up to the comprehensive talent of Saul Alvarez, Lopez can capitalize on the smallest mistakes, especially against a fighter who doesn’t take punches well. Certainly Amir Khan has a lot of positive attributes as a fighter, but an iron beard is not one of them. I think Khan should take a page from Paulie Malignaggi’s book on this one, and demand enough money that if his his chin takes a serious hit from Lopez, he doesn’t have to worry about his career taking another one as well.