Originally written on Boxing Watchers  |  Last updated 9/1/14

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 20: Shane Mosley exchanges jabs with Vernon Forrest during their WBC welterweight championship fight on July 20, 2002 at the Conseco Fieldhouse arena in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

It's a common refrain in many aspects of life that perception is more important than reality. It's certainly true in boxing today.

That's why it really shouldn't have surprised me when Dan Rafael broke up a string of tweets about a fairly boring edition of Friday Night Fights last night with the announcement that a deal was finalized to have Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and "Sugar" Shane Mosley meet on May 5as the co-feature for the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto pay-per-view. In terms of the current state of boxing, where name recognition is the key to generating big PPV numbers and mainstream interest, this bout actually makes perfect sense. To the casual fan, this is going to sound like a huge deal.

Perception, remember? The reality is likely going to be a lot less rosy. Leave it to Teddy Atlas to summarize things honestly, as he reacted to the news breaking during the broadcast by declaring that he wasn't "rushing out to buy tickets" because he didn't feel the fights would be competitive.

Defenders of the match-up will no doubt be spending plenty of time over the next three months reminding us that we've been here before, confident that Mosley was shot and had little chance against his next opponent. That was almost exactly thee years ago, and all Sugar Shane did next was go out and pummel Antonio Margarito.

But Mosley is 40 now, and winless in his last three outings. Canelo is half his age, naturally bigger, and at this point, probably just as fast. Mosley's lone edge, his experience battling world class opposition, could be significant, but one wonders how much he could take out of his last three fights that could truly help him against Alvarez.

It's not Mosley's fault that he's in this position, because when he was in his prime, dominating the lightweight division during the late 90s, he wasn't selling tons of tickets or moving the needle in the general sports discussion. It's only now, following his big win over Margarito (and boosted greatly by the loaded hand wrap controversy surrounding Margarito on that night) and the exposure he received by fighting Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, that he's a household name. Think of it as the boxing version of what happens routinely in the stick and ball sports, where veterans end up getting overpaid based on what they've done in the past instead of how they will perform going forward.

Mosley is quoted in the Rafael piece saying he wants to prove to everyone that he's still got it, almost shrugging off his last three fights. Only that's not quite the way it works, especially when the next guy you're going to fight is not yet at the height of his powers. You need to be confident to box, and particualrly when you're going to compete at the sport's highest level, but there's a fine line between being confident and being delusional. As a fan of Mosley, I'm afraid he's leaning toward the latter.

At the risk of overreacting, I also don't want Mosley to get badly hurt. He's never been knocked out, meaning he's more likely than most to stand in there and take power shots for 12 rounds. I always seem to end these types of posts hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, and the May 5 card looks like business as usual in that regard. I'm sure the general public will eat it up, Mayweather and Cotto will make a killing, and Canelo and Mosley will make enough money to have no regrets about agreeing to appear in the co-feature. Could we regret watching, though? Yeah, I think we just might.


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