ESPN.com's Dan Rafael reports that Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has been assured by HBO and the MGM Grand that a December 5 date for Shane Mosley's next fight is locked in.
As expected, the leading candidates to fight Mosley are Top Rank's Joshua Clottey and fellow welterweight titlist Andre Berto, a Lou DiBella fighter. DiBella and Golden Boy say the structure of a deal is in place for a Mosley-Berto unification bout, but that HBO only offered about $3.2 million for the fight, which isn't enough. If the Kelly Pavlik-Paul Williams fight is outright scrapped or at least can't be made before the end of 2009, there would be another $3.75 million in the boxing budget at HBO, which would surely help.
"I have confirmation [from HBO] and I locked in Dec. 5 for Shane at the MGM," Schaefer said. "We definitely have Shane Mosley from the MGM on the fifth. We are discussing if it will be Berto or Clottey. I talked to Bob Arum about Clottey and I'm still having conversations with Lou about Berto."
Dec. 5 looked like a potential date to reschedule Pavlik-Williams, but Schaefer insisted that it belongs to Mosley.
"I'm sorry Pavlik-Williams was postponed, but Shane wanted to fight earlier in the year and HBO said the earliest they could do it was December, so I talked to Shane and convinced him to wait until December," Schaefer said. "I'm not going to get off that date. That's not right. You don't play those games. Pavlik-Williams is a great fight, but it's not my problem that it got postponed. The MGM moved things around to accommodate us."
Schaefer said if he can't find more money to finish the Berto fight, it would take less money to finalize Clottey.
"I can make a deal with Bob, no problem," he said. "They're willing. I can get that fight done in an hour. The fact is Shane Mosley is fighting Dec. 5."
I have absolutely zero qualms with either fight, and it looks more likely that it'll be Mosley-Clottey. Mosley and Berto also had talks when Antonio Margarito tried to pull out of his January beating at the hands of Mosley, and supposedly the deal was done before Margarito reneged and came back into the picture. Imagine how different the boxing landscape might look right now if Mosley and Berto had fought in January and Margarito sat out and waited for the proposed Cotto rematch in July.
I think Mosley-Clottey is potentailly a closer fight, but Mosley-Berto could have a lot more fireworks. They're both good, legitimate fights and very attractive for fans of any of those fighters. Personally, I like them all. I do sort of prefer Mosley-Berto simply because Berto moves better and is faster of hand than Clottey, and also because it puts Berto into the fire.
In the event that Mosley-Berto can't come off due to money, DiBella also has a unification bout between Berto and Isaac Hlatshwayo lined up. I'd say something about Berto-Collazo II being a better fight (and it is), but Collazo has some sort of weird idea about how much money he's worth to other promoters and TV networks, and that's a pretty major problem.