I thought it was supposed to be celebrity passings that come in threes. Instead, we've got boxer retirements. First it was Sugar Shane Mosley and Winky Wright, and now comes word that Antonio Margarito is calling it a career.
It's kind of fitting that these particular fighters hang up the gloves in the same week, as they're all linked to each other through Mosley. By his own admission, Wright only made it to the top level of the sport because Sugar Shane fought him twice back in 2004, bouts that turned about to be two of the biggest wins of his career. And Margarito was flying high in early 2009 before his stunning battering at the hands of Mosley in a fight that will go down in infamy because of the loaded hand wrap scandal that emerged from it.
Speaking of Wrapgate, Margarito will always stick in my mind for the way he went from blue collar hero with his "People's Champion" persona to snarling villain so quickly, appearing comfortable in either role. In another life, he would have made a terrific professional wrestler.
Now comes the "this is boxing" part. Retirements have a way of not always sticking in this sport, so let's examine the likelihood that these three gentlemen will actually stay retired. I'll run them down in order from most to least likely to really, truly be finished in the ring:
Almost Positive - Winky Wright
The artist now possibly to be known again as Ronald Wright is probably serious when he says he's done. He's been careful with his money, and his heavy emphasis on defense means that he retires with his health intact. That's always a good thing.
On top of that, Wright was never a big draw, even after his victories over Mosley and Tito Trinidad, so it's hard to envision a scenario where he could take one major fight for a huge payday. His next fight was against Sam Soliman, and it went the distance. Winky was very good but rarely brought much excitement to the table, the main reason he didn't become a bigger deal.
In any case, he just tried a comeback fight, and it didn't go so well. Enjoy your time on the links Winky.
Pretty Sure - Shane Mosley
Sugar Shane has always sounded a little unrealistic about his chances against elite competition since he started heading toward age 40. Despite what everyone else thought, he honestly seemed to believe he could still beat anyone on any given night.
Losses to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao didn't change that, but the light bulb may have come on after his recent loss to Canelo Alvarez. As fantastic as he once was, Mosley just can't get it done against younger, stronger opponents.
Since he's already fought all of his notable contemporaries, there's no reason for Mosley to keep fighting. Unless financial woes force his hand, I imagine we've seen the last of Sugar Shane as an active competitor. Don't bet the ranch on it, though, just in case.
We'll See - Antonio Margarito
Margarito's body simply quit on him. He has an eye that needed extensive surgical work done following the beating it took against Pacquiao, and he also has an Achilles issue that forced him to cancel a fight last month.
Still, Tony is only 34, and even the extra "ring years" he's accumulated in some of his more brutal bouts don't catch him up to the 40-somethings above. He could easily take, say, two years off, heal up completely and return to action.
We'll take him at his word for now, but it wouldn't floor me if the Tijuana Tornado spins again one day. As long as we don't have to watch him eat like 1,000 punches from Pacquiao ever again, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing either. All sports can use good heels.