Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley and the Nature Boy
Looks like the contracts are now signed and Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley will meet May 1st in Las Vegas.
I don't have to tell you guys what a boost this bout is for a fight game still reeling from the dissolution of Mayweather-Pacquiao. This spring had promised a single collosal superfight for all the pound for pound marbles, but instead has delivered an interesting matchup between Manny Pacquiao and Josh Clottey, and a Mayweather-Mosley collision that hardcore fight fans have been wanting to see for a decade.
I'll take that.
But fight fans who are happy with this spring's matches won't be fully satisfied until we see the fight we all wanted in the first place, which could happen later this year but still might never go down.
I'm sure a lot of folks think that this whole mess was scripted from the beginning -- that Pacquiao and Mayweather had agreed to disagree precisely because it would allow them to use springtime title fights to build buzz for a gigantic clash in December.
Intriguing theory, but one that ignores the reality that Mosley is only free for a May fight because his title defence against Andre Berto (originally scheduled for tonight) was cancelled after the earthquake in Haiti robbed Berto of several relatives and precious peace of mind. If Berto doesn't pull out of the Mosley fight, we might still be talking about Mayweather facing a puffed-up junior welterweight...although if that junior welterweight was Timothy Bradley I'd spend the time and money to watch.
Beyond that, setting up what amounts to a four-man welterweight tournament is a heck of a gamble for Mayweather and Pacquiao to take when each could have made $40 million doing the simple thing and facing each other.
And it's an even bigger risk when you consider that neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao has a simple stay-busy fight this spring.
Pacquiao's taking on a guy that woulda/coulda/shoulda knocked off Miguel Cotto last summer if he had fought all 12 rounds instead of hitting cruise control after nine.
And Mosley? All he did was enter the ring last January against the consensus top welterweight in the world -- Antonio Margarito -- and teach him a painful lesson in power boxing.
He's also guy who, despite past steroid use, quickly agreed to the same random testing that ultimately destroyed Mayweather-Pacquiao.
Mosely has explained to us in detail why he feels he's still the world's top welterweight, and if Mayweather beats him Floyd then vaults past Pacquiao into the division's throne.
Because of Ric Flair, that's why.
A win over Mosely would make Mayweather the man who beat the man (who beat the man).
Not that a win over Sugar Shane is guaranteed.
Folks who have skewered Mayweather in the past for avoiding anyone who might threaten his unblemished record have to admit that Mosley doesn't fit that profile. Even at 38 he's a dangerous fighter (ask Margarito) with strength, speed and a stiff jab. He won't crumble if Mayweather starts winning rounds, and if nothing else has the skills and fighting spirit to bring the best out of a fighter who routinely outclasses challengers.
I'm not sure Mosley beats Mayweather, but unlike Juan Manuel Marquez in September he has a chance.
As does Clottey against Pacquiao.
I understand the logic behind delaying a big showdown to generate a bigger payday later, but I'm pretty sure that's not going on here, only because both guys have opted for stiff challenges this spring. If you think this tournament was really part of a grand plan, then you have to accept the possibilty that all this grandstanding could culminate in a Shane Mosley-Josh Clottey clash next autumn.
A great pairing, but are you prepared to drop 50 bucks to watch it?
Will it push boxing back to the front pages of sports sections?
And is it the fight we've been asking for?
No, no, and no.
So let's just accept the Mayweather-Mosley bout for what it is -- not part of a plot to squeeze more money out of showdown with Pacquiao, but a great matchup on its own, and a rare chance to see how good Mayweather really is.
Now that both guys have signed we can finally find out.