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The Mayweather-Mosley Whirlwind: How big could a fight be?

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Shanemosley_90_medium Floydmayweather2_90x94_medium "To be the best, you've got to beat the best in that era. It's not really about weight classes. … Shane Mosley is a good fighter, but I don't have to duck and dodge nobody." -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. (USA Today)

"I think Floyd's a little intimidated and afraid of me and he doesn't really want to fight me. He wants to jump around and fight these little guys.." -- Shane Mosley (FightHype)

Floyd Mayweather Jr. against Shane Mosley. Two of an era's best pound-for-pound fighters. For years, Mosley was the bigger star. Today, it's Mayweather, and the competition is no longer close.

The last time the fight was discussed was 2006. Mosley was in the middle of his two-fight rivalry with Fernando Vargas at the time, fighting at 154 pounds to make the most money. Mayweather had moved up to 147, beating Sharmba Mitchell and Zab Judah. The win over Judah was to be for Judah's Ring Magazine welterweight championship. Carlos Baldomir, though, upset Judah three months prior, taking some of the shine off of Mayweather's win before the two could even get in the ring.

While preparing for his July 2006 rematch with Vargas, Mosley heard all the talk about Mayweather needing an opponent for November of that year. He snuffed it out, saying, "They can stop thinking about that because it won't happen." Mosley had a reason: He wanted to get back down to 147 pounds the right way, instead of rushing it at all. After all, Shane was already getting on in years. Going up, coming down; it all gets harder over the years.

He also had some advice for Mayweather on what he should do for his November '06 fight: "Go fight Margarito -- then we can fight the winner."

Mayweather didn't, instead choosing to fight Baldomir for more money and the legit world championship at welterweight. Mosley kept his word, not fighting again until 2007, and moving back to welterweight. He fought and defeated Luis Collazo in February of 2007, then took a shot at then-unbeaten Miguel Cotto, losing a great fight in November.

2007 was the breakout year for Mayweather, as he matched up with Oscar de la Hoya at junior middleweight, defending his claim as pound-for-pound king by beating a clearly bigger, stronger man at a weight that was obviously too high for him. He and Oscar set an all-time pay-per-view record with that fight, and the introduction of HBO's "24/7" program made Mayweather a star outside of boxing for the first time in his career. He parlayed that into a big-money December showdown against Ricky Hatton, another win on the biggest of stages.

And then, with an Oscar rematch on the horizon, Mayweather "retired," just as he had after the wins over Baldomir and Oscar. This past Saturday, he came back to the sport. After his fight, he was half-confronted by Shane Mosley and Mosley's business partner, Bernard Hopkins.

Mosley says Mayweather flagged him over during Max Kellerman's post-fight interview, and that he didn't disrespect Mayweather or ruin his moment. In an interview at FightHype, Mosley simply said, "There wasn't no shine. There wasn't no shine," referring to Mayweather accusing Mosley of "stealing his shine." Mosley believes Mayweather truly has nothing to be proud of.

Mosley also notes that he called out Mayweather before Marquez did, and this is something I wondered as soon as Mayweather-Marquez was signed on May 2 of this year. You cannot ignore the facts:

  • When Shane Mosley stomped Antonio Margarito in January, Richard Schaefer told Shane he'd get him a fight with Mayweather. Mayweather said, "I'm retired."
  • A month later, after an exciting win over Juan Diaz, Marquez called out Mayweather in his post-fight interview. Most of us dismissed the very idea. It didn't make sense.
  • On May 2, Mayweather-Marquez was signed. Apparently Marquez's challenge was enough to get Floyd out of retirement. Mosley's was not. Why?

Some will answer that last question with the idea that Marquez somehow offered more money than Mosley did. It's unlikely there would have been any real difference. Mayweather got around a $10 million guarantee, with Marquez at $3.2 million, reportedly. (Add in the $600K that was paid after the weigh-in, and Marquez got just under $4 million before everything else comes back.)

Could Mayweather-Mosley have been made for that money? Would Shane have taken $3.2 million? Would Mayweather have fought Mosley for a $10 million guarantee? Maybe, maybe not. This fight has been an option before, more than once. David Mayo of The Grand Rapids Press presented the case that Mosley has opted out every time, and he's not the only one that believes that to be the case when this fight has come up in the past.

But the really important thing is this: What is Mayweather-Mosley worth now? If Miguel Cotto scores what some would consider an upset in November over Manny Pacquiao, this becomes the most likely fight for Mayweather, if only because dealing with Golden Boy and Shane Mosley is likely to be easier than Floyd having to negotiate with Bob Arum and Top Rank to get a fight with Cotto, who would certainly be the hotter name.

Mayweather has stirred up boxing once again, and there's nothing bad about that. Mosley, nearing the end of his career, is trying to stir up Mayweather.

At the end of the day, how big of a fight do you think Mayweather-Mosley could be? They've created some buzz around it already, and despite his poor reputation as a drawing "A-side," Shane has proven in the past that he's a great opponent as a "B-side" fighter, so to speak.

Is this a fight more for the long-time fans? How big of a fight would this be among the casual fans? I hope we find out, but for now, these are questions posed to everyone.

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