WBA welterweight titlist Shane Mosley sent out a press release today making the statement that he's ready to go all the way down to 140 pounds, a division he never fought in, to face pound-for-pound king and junior welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao.
"There is unfinished business to take care of. I have never fought at junior welterweight, but I'm ready to fight at 140 now. I am coming after Pacquiao's belt.
"This is the fight the fans want and I'm prepared to give it to them. It's up to Bob Arum and Manny Pacquiao to stop running from me and step up to the challenge. Let's meet in the ring at 140.
"I want to reclaim the title of best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. First Pacquiao, then Mayweather. I'm ready to put all of the naysayers to rest."
This all sounds valiant and admirable. Mosley turns 38 in September, and hasn't fought below 147 since 1999, when he made a two-division jump from 135 to welterweight, chasing a fight with Oscar de la Hoya. Since losing back-to-back fights to Vernon Forrest in 2002, Mosley has split time between 147 and 154. He's looked considerably better at 147, but dropping back down to 140 at his age and after so long out of that weight class could sap him of his strength, speed and stamina. Look what happened to Oscar de la Hoya, who tried to make 147 for the first time in seven years last December against Pacquiao.
And while this all sounds nice and risky and like a potential real good time, you also have to take into account the fact that Mosley just lowballed Andre Berto on a discussed welterweight title unification. Rick Reeno reports that Mosley and Golden Boy Promotions came to Berto with an offer of $750,000 for the fight, which is less than Berto made this year fighting Luis Collazo and Juan Urango. Frankly, it's an insultingly low offer considering HBO is reportedly willing to put up $3 million alone. Mosley wants the lion's share, and he deserves the bigger piece of the pie to be sure, but I think a lot of people would be surprised to discover that the gap in star power between the two isn't as wide as it should be. HBO knows what Mosley's fights draw when he's the A-side of the matchup.
But Mosley-Berto is a really good fight and if Shane wants to fight this year, he should make it happen. If he's so confident in where he's at, he'd take that fight, get another good win under his belt, take the "0" from one of the best and most hyped young fighters in boxing, and then try to find that Pacquiao fight, or Mayweather.
It's also odd that everyone just assumes Pacquiao beats Miguel Cotto in November. I mean, that fight is happening. If this is a ploy by Shane to try to stop that from going down, it's a complete waste of time and they know it. Pacquiao-Mosley could happen in 2010, if Pacquiao beats Cotto. Of course, Mayweather is bigger money than Mosley, and if he wants Pacquiao, that'll happen, which would leave Shane talking and chewing up his career golden years. The guy needs to be in the ring. He just scored one of the most dramatic, stunning wins of his career in January and all he's done since is talk.
As for Berto, a rematch with Luis Collazo may be his only other option. I don't think he or Lou DiBella are chomping at the bit to make that one, and Collazo has reportedly demanded $900,000 for the fight from his promoter, Don King. There's also Selcuk Aydin, and there are rumors that the Turkish government may get involved to try to bring Berto over there to fight Aydin in a soccer stadium. Putting one and one together and you can guess that traveling to Turkey to meet Aydin might be more lucrative than the $750K that Mosley is offering.
Truthfully, as much as I love Shane Mosley, I think he's really screwing the pooch right now. He's got no fights he's willing to take for reasonable splits other than Pacquiao. He wants only big fights but those guys (Pacquiao and Mayweather) are busy. Is he going to sit around waiting on them, getting older and not fighting? That seems a terrible plan.