When a former world champion begins a comeback the obvious question that will be asked by fans and experts alike is when or if that fighter will choose to fight someone considered a top contender. Sugar Ray Leonard, who made several comebacks throughout his career is noted for his historical victory over Marvelous Marvin Hagler in April 1987 to win the WBC Middleweight world championship. A fight Leonard took directly after nearly a three-year layoff without choosing to fight any would be “Tune ups.”
Others such as George Foreman chose the slow and steady approach of fighting relative unknown and undistinguished opposition for an extended period of time before testing the waters against a top ranked contender. Even though Foreman would suffer some setbacks along the way during his comeback in losing two world championship fights to Evander Holyfield and Tommy Morrison, his comeback would ultimately prove successful as he regained portions of the World Heavyweight championship by knocking out Michael Moorer in November 1994, twenty years after he had lost the Heavyweight championship to Muhammad Ali in October 1974. Ultimately, both Leonard and Foreman’s respective comebacks have to rank among the greatest in Boxing history.
In the case of former multi-division world champion Shane Mosley, a future Hall of Famer who shares the nickname “Sugar” along with Ray Leonard and Ray Robinson, another legendary figure, who made more than one comeback throughout his career, his comeback began last year following the lone stoppage loss of his career against Anthony Mundine in November 2013. After a near two-year hiatus, Mosley returned to the ring and scored his second knockout over a faded former multi-division world champion Ricardo Mayorga in their rematch in August of last year.
Mosley followed that victory with a tenth round stoppage over veteran Patrick Lopez in December of last year in a fight where he scored four knockdowns of his opponent prior to the bout being stopped. Following two victories thus far in his comeback, the forty-four year old Mosley will step into the ring for the third fight in his comeback as he will take on current WBA number one Welterweight contender David Avanesyan on Saturday night at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ.
The fight, which will be for interim/regular championship status in the WBA’s Welterweight ratings seems to be a classic matchup of youth versus experience. There is no disputing that Shane Mosley has a significant experience edge over Avanesyan, but an argument could be made that Mosley has been removed from success at the top level of the sport for several years and it will be interesting to see how he will compete against a fighter who is a number one contender and is in his prime.
By the same token, some may also argue that despite being a winner of twenty-one of twenty-three professional fights, Avaneseyan has yet to face someone who is considered a top contender even though he is ranked number one in the world in the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) Welterweight ratings. Avanesyan, however, has decent hand speed and is a good combination puncher. It will be interesting to see how Avaneseyan’s hand speed will compare with Mosley, who is known for a solid mix of hand speed and punching power.
The twenty-seven year old Avanesyan will enter into this fight having scored knockouts in his last two bouts in 2015 over Dean Byrne and Charlie Navarro. Although the Pyatigorsk, Russia native Avanesyan (21-1-1, with 11 Knockouts) has youth on his side, one might question how he will respond to going against a fighter with the experience and pedigree of Mosley (49-9-1, with 41 Knockouts). This will also be Avaneseyan’s first fight in the United States and that some may feel might factor into how he could approach this fight. It will clearly be the biggest fight in David Avanesyan’s career thus far. One might say that a loss to Mosley, who has been ranked in the WBA’s Welterweight ratings will set him back for a period of time before being near contending for a world championship again.
On Friday, the two fighters weighed in for the bout and both came in at 146lbs. one pound under the 147lb. Welterweight weight limit. The stakes are high for this fight as the winner will become the mandatory challenger for the winner of the upcoming WBA Welterweight world championship fight between undefeated world champion Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, which is scheduled to take place on June 25th in Brooklyn, NY.
As has been the case with most comebacks in Boxing as well as all of Combat Sports, a victory over Avaneseyan for Mosley will put him right back in line to fight for a world title against one of the best fighters the Welterweight division has to offer. A loss for the forty-four year old however, would likely put his career in question. It is a scenario that one may well say Mosley has nothing to lose as no matter the outcome of this fight, he is a first-ballot future Hall of Famer. Whether the comeback of Shane Mosley will be noted among the greatest comebacks in Boxing history when all is said and done remains to be seen. This fight should be viewed as the third chapter in Mosley’s comeback. We will see what happens in this chapter on Saturday night.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Avanesyan vs. Mosley takes place Tonight (Saturday, May 28th) at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ. The fight will be broadcast in the United States by CBS Sports Network at 10:30 PM ET/7:30 PM PT. Contact your cable or satellite provider for time and channel in your area. Check your listings internationally.
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