By Francisco Salazar
Shane Mosley looked like a tired and old fighter after being stopped by Anthony Mundine two and a half years ago.
Retirement seemed like the only option, along with working with and amateur fighters and pro prospects in the Southern California area.
Then came the itch to fight, something that is not surprising for most fighters, especially those who have been near or at the pinnacle of the boxing world. After two recent wins, Mosley could be in line to fight against some of the best in the welterweight division.
In the meantime, he fights for an interim (WBA) world title fight tonight against David Avanesyan at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix.
The 12 round bout will top a live four-bout broadcast on CBS Sports Network, beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/ 7:30 p.m. PT.
The WBA announced the winner of the Mosley-Avanesyan fight will be the mandatory challenger for the world title belt. Keith Thurman will defend the title against Shawn Porter on June 25.
That should not come as a shock since this is boxing and world title fights, even if they are for interim ones, are fought over often.
Mosley (49-9-1, 41 KOs) is 44 years of age, but the almost-two year hiatus after the Mundine fight seemed to revitalize him. Mosley has at least convinced one person through sparring he is not done yet as a fighter.
"Shane has looked great in sparring," Sergio Mora told BoxingScene.com on Wednesday. "When we first fought (in September of 2010), he thought he could walk over. He looked frustrated and I didn't see the fire I expected him to have."
"We've sparred (at his gym in Big Bear Lake, Calif.) and the hunger is there. He throws punches and you can feel them. That break he had seemed to revitalize him a lot because he's extremely motivated. He wants to win impressive (Saturday night)."
Mosley has had the fortune of having his father Jack in his corner during most of his career, but he has a new face in his corner. Former world champion Roberto Duran began working with Mosley prior to Mosley's last fight: a 10th round technical knockout over former fringe contender Patrick Lopez.
Mosley has benefitted from having Duran in camp, speaking highly of him in interviews of on his social media accounts.
Which may spell trouble for Avanesyan, who brings in a record of 21-1-1, 11 KOs. Avanesyan, who is of Armenian descent and resides in Russia, won the interim title in his last bout on November 7, stopping Charlie Navarro in the ninth round.
Despite Avanesyan's modest credentials, Mosley believes he will win convincingly on Saturday night.
"I plan on putting on a clinic," said Mosley in the lead-up to the fight. "I'm not just going to win. I'm going to annihilate him. In 2009, they said I was done, but they were wrong."
"Anybody who steps in the ring right now, it doesn't matter if it was David or if I was fighting (Floyd) Mayweather, or Manny (Pacquiao) or whoever I was fighting, I'm at the top of my game. I'm sharp. I'm ready to go. I'm the man right now. I feel like that."
Avanesyan is favored to win tonight, not by overwhelming odds. Mosley's wins over Ricardo Mayorga and Patrick Lopez do not convince those he can do enough to defeat Avanesyan, who is 17 years younger.
With a new sense of purpose and having Duran in his corner, Mosley has put himself at better odds for himself to come out victorious tonight.
"I feel great. And it's because of Roberto Duran. I can feel the fire within myself through him."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing