There's a saying in the States that old fighters don't die, they fade away before our eyes. Shane Mosley's latest vanishing mission takes place this Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Even in a sport as awash with contrived and half-baked titles as boxing, Mosley, who make no mistake was a wonderful, three-weight world champion, has had way more than his fair share of second chances.
Last time out, in May last year, Mosley was knocked down and ultimately outpointed by Manny Pacquiao in the same MGM Grand ring. Of the three judges, only one scored Mosley a round.
The same had happened a year previously, when Mosley was unanimously outpointed by Floyd Mayweather. There is no disgrace in losing to the two best fighters on the planet, but at the age of 40, surely enough is enough.
Mosley will prop up another Mayweather undercard on Saturday night when he faces Mexican Saul Alvarez, the WBC light-middleweight champion whose performances have so far been good, but not quite worth the Stateside hype.
At 21, Alvarez, routine conqueror of British pair Matthew Hatton and Ryan Rhodes, should have too much for Mosley, whose last meaningful win was an admittedly excellent one over Antonio Margarito in January 2009.
This is, Mosley insists, no grand hurrah. He retains serious visions of rematches with Mayweather and Miguel Cotto, and believes a win on their undercard will shift him back to pole position to face the winner.
"I don't see myself as an old warrior, but as a young killer," Mosley said. "I don't buy into the '40-year-old' thing. I'm coming to work as a killer and I'm coming to fight like I fought Margarito.
"Winning this title will put me in line for bigger fights, and hopefully I can go ahead and get the rematches. My ultimate goal is to be the best, and to keep fighting until I can't fight any more."
Mosley has already done enough to head to the Hall of Fame. His best days were at lightweight in the late 1990s, when he defended the IBF title eight times and became known as one of the sharpest fighters in the business.
His first setbacks came in 2002, when he lost twice in succession to the then lightly-regarded Vernon Forrest at welterweight, and two years later when he dropped a pair of decisions to Winky Wright at light-middleweight.
But Mosley's close connections with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy organisation did him the world of good, helping him regain the welterweight crown over Luis Collazo in 2007 and keep his name in lights ever since.
It remains to be seen whether Mosley is deluded in his belief that his best days may still be yet to come. What cannot be doubted is that the powerful, unbeaten Alvarez will test that theory to the full.
"I'm looking to win the belt in style against a young, up-and-coming fighter and move on to bigger and better things," insisted Mosley. "I don't just want to win, but I want to make a statement."
Chances are that Mosley will find himself on the end of another shut-out loss. An even bigger certainty is that he will be regurgitated for a bunch more undercard title fights before he finally accepts it is time to hang up his gloves.
Tags: Saul Alvarez , Shane Mosley , Alvarez-Mosley , Alvarez vs Mosley