With the two top fighters in the world both campaigning at welterweight and having left a trail of destruction in their wake, the division continues to be a focal point in developing big fights. If we reported every piece of "news" about fights that might be made in the weight class, the site would just become a repository for Pacquiao-Mayweather rumors, especially considering that there have been few, if any, reliable reports on what might be happening in their negotiations. However, as the world sits still waiting for a fight between the two top pound-for-pound boxers in the world, the rumor mill keeps churning. Here's a roundup of some recent events.
- Depending on who you want to listen to, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao may or may not be negotiating for a big fight at the end of this year. At one point, there was a quote from Oscar De La Hoya that a deal was close, but they now say that quote was taken out of context. Some reports say that Mayweather is now insisting on a 60/40 split, which is probably a deal killer. Also, Mayweather is sticking to his guns on the drug testing issue, and may be backing away from a reported $10 million overweight penalty. The only official word, however, is that negotiations are ongoing. Chances are, the quieter the parties are, the closer they are to hammering out a deal. If everyone had left their dirty laundry in the house during the first negotiation, then the parties wouldn't have ended up in an untenable position where neither guy could back down without losing face. In related news, Bob Arum continues to poo-poo the idea of Pacquiao defending his light welterweight championship against Timothy Bradley, calling Bradley a nobody.
- As previously reported, recent Mayweather victim "Sugar" Shane Mosley might be looking for a fight against Sergio Martinez for Martinez's true middleweight championship. That would give Mosley the opportunity for a title in his fourth weight class, and while he was thoroughly outclassed by Mayweather, he's still only one fight removed from decimating Antonio Margarito. In today's notebook, Dan Rafael reveals that Mosley has three targets: Martinez, welterweight titlist Andre Berto and former junior welterweight titlist Sergio Mora. Mora is probably the default, as both men are promoted by Golden Boy. However, there's a history between Mosley and Berto, as they were previously all set to fight until a disasterous earthquake hit Haiti, killing eight members of Berto's family and forcing him to cancel the bout. While Mosley might not be as inviting of a scalp as he once was, he still might be the biggest name that Berto can muster up, and a fight between the two could still be a great bout.
- As for Berto, he's not only looking at Mosley. Also per Rafael, his team had been looking at some easier fights, including a crack at former title challenger Alfonso Gomez. HBO wisely declined to pick up that fight, but did make a suggestion that they would pick up a bout between Berto and rising prospect Mike Jones. If this is the pressure team Berto is getting from HBO, then it probably makes Berto-Mosley all the more likely. If there's a young welterweight who Berto matches up poorly against, it might be Jones, who not only is a huge welterweight, but is also very athletic and a fine boxer. If the only options on the table for Berto are Mosley and Jones, then it almost guarantees that we'll get one more great fight in the welterweight division this year. An interesting writeup on Jones' background, including his struggle to prominence with smaller promoter (and hall-of-famer) Russell Peltz, is at Doghouse Boxing. Elsewhere, there are mentions that Berto might also target a unification bout with IBF titlist Jan Zaveck.
- Two former welterweights who have just moved up might also be looking at some action. As previously reported, Miguel Cotto has opened up to the idea of possibly rematching Antonio Margarito. Feeling that Margarito probably cheated against him, Cotto had foreclosed the idea, but now it looks like the biggest money fight on the table for him. A proposed December 4 pay per view has been floated. Another alternative mentioned by Arum is that Cotto could face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. if Chavez is able to win this weekend's matchup with Irish John Duddy. Another alternative on the table, which probably isn't very appealing to anyone, is a rematch between Cotto and Pacquiao, this time at 154 pounds. The only reason this might possibly be appealing is if you think Cotto was really hurt by needing to weigh in at 145 for their first bout. I can't see too much steam building behind that rematch except with hardcore Pacquiao fans and people who like watching car crashes.
- Margarito, on the other hand, says that he's not targeting Cotto but rather chasing Pacquiao. Margarito says that Bob Arum has promised the fight, which would give Pacquiao the opportunity to fight for a belt in his eighth weight class. If this is the case, then you might see Margarito on the sidelines until the Mayweather-Pacquiao situation straightens itself out. Then again, it might just be bluster, as trainer Freddie Roach has repeatedly stated that he would not have Pacquiao face the much bigger Margarito.
- It's not as sexy as the rest of the welterweight division, but things are also moving forward with the IBF title, currently held by Slovenian Jan Zaveck. His next bout is now scheduled for September 4 against Rafal Jackiewicz. The two met before, with Jackiewicz winning a tight decision in Poland. This time, the fight will be in Slovenia.
On a side note, I'd highly recommend checking out this weekend's notebook. In addition to reporting on the welterweight machinations, there are other interesting tidbits, including Marcos Maidana straightening out his promoter situation; a bangup fight between action prospect Don George and former chinchecker Curtis Stevens; another bang up fight between Ji Hoon Kim and Miguel Vazquez for a vacant lightweight title; and a possible fight between Rafael Marquez and Vic Darchinyan.