Boxing history is littered with tragic tales of great champions making failed returns to the prize ring where their stars once radiated.
The latest attempting to buck the aging process is three weight world champion and nailed on Hall of Famer Sugar Shane Mosley.
Nine days shy of his 44th birthday, the Californian was last seen publicly in Sydney, Australia 22 months ago, where he was stopped by much bigger man Anthony Mundine.
Tonight from 3am (UK time) on BoxNation, he re-surfaces in a sequel with 41 year old Nicaraguan nut case Ricardo Mayorga – whom he stopped in the very last second of a 12 rounder in 2008. If victorious, Mosley believes his name and CV could vault him into a world title fight. Worryingly, he might not be wrong.
They say they never comeback......oh but they do. We reveals 9 that did.
- Evander Holyfield
‘The Real Deal’ thumped his way to undisputed world cruiser and heavyweight glory but, diagnosed with a heart condition in the wake of his title loss to Michael Moorer, he sought out his pipe and slippers.
Thirteen months on, hallelujah! He claimed he felt his heart heal whilst watching preacher Benny Hinn on TV! With the Lord in his corner, he resumed to twice scalp Mike Tyson...at a cost a half of his right ear!
- Erik Morales
After bagging three WBC belts and sharing epic trilogies with Barrera and Pacquiao, ‘El Terrible’ called time on his Canastota bound career following an abortive WBC lightweight challenge in 2007.
He stayed away for two and a half years but within 18 months of his return, schooled compatriot Pablo Cesar Cano to claim the WBC light-welter strap and make history as Mexico’s first four weight world champion.
- James Toney
‘Lights Out’ Toney acquired a well founded rep as the meanest mudda between 160-168lbs during the early 1990s. Then he decided to get fat!
After a 21 month hiatus, he rebounded spectacularly under Hollywood starmaker Freddie Roach, lifting the IBF cruiser title and later scalping heavyweight god Holyfield.
- Sugar Ray Robinson
Widely regarded as the most complete boxer ever (sorry, Floyd!), showman Robinson racked up other worldly 131-3-1-1 stats and captured undisputed welter and middle titles, before absconding in June 1952 to pursue a tap dancing career.
Following a 30 month sabbatical, he returned – skills undiminished – to win and lose the world middleweight crown a further three times.
- Mike Tyson
Save for an almost inexplicable aberration against Buster Douglas, ‘Iron Mike’ proved invincible inside the ropes, annihilating 41 victims. But the stampede was unexpectedly curtailed by an 18 year old flyweight named Desiree Washington.
After serving three years for her rape, Tyson returned to legalised violence in 1995 and within three fights had restored hegemony by smashing loveable Londoner Frank Bruno in three to regain his WBC belt.
- Vitali Klitschko
After making just one successful defence of the WBC title he’d captured by avenging brother Wlad. conqueror Corrie Sanders, ‘Dr Ironfist’ entered a 46 month exile after snapping an ACL
He resurfaced aged 37, to reclaim his heavyweight throne against Nigeria’s Samuel Peter, then reigned for an additional four years before bowing out for a career in politics.
- Sugar Ray Leonard
Darling of the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the sweet one roared to the undisputed welter and WBA light-middle titles – and legendary status after triumphing in super-fights over Benitez, Duran and Hearns – before a detached retina scuppered his advance, aged just 25.
But with just one unconvincing start in five years, the cured Sugarman bamboozled the seemingly untameable Marvin Hagler to add the world middleweight title to his stellar CV.
- Muhammad Ali
Ali was probably the fastest heavyweight this planet has witnessed when he ruled as world champion between 1964-67. But he couldn’t beat the US Supreme Court who busted him for resisting the draft. He was stripped of his title and suspended from the ring for three and a half prime years.
Upon his return in 1970, he took a further four years to reclaim his crown by icing George Foreman in the Zaire jungle and cement his status as ‘The Greatest’.
- George Foreman
This George was less than gorgeous as he scowled and clubbed his way to the world title and retained twice prior to being ‘rope-a-doped’ by Ali.
Shortly after, he exited to spend a decade as a preacher, citing a ‘visitation’. He only put the gloves back on to raise funds for a youth centre but joyously grilled all placed before him until, at the third attempt, he reclaimed his old title, aged 45, by stretching Michael Moorer. He remains the sport’s most senior heavyweight monarch.
Can Shane Mosley join the list of successful comeback kings? Subscribe to BoxNation and tune in tonight at 3am to find out.