Antonio Margarito took a pass on fighting Sugar Shane Mosley. But fight fans shouldn’t cry a river, as a pretty decent Plan B has been hatched. WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto has stepped up, and agreed to fight SSM on January 24.

The fight has been agreed to, in principle, and will take place on in either Las Vegas or New York.

The 25-year-old Berto (23-0) told TSS that he’s pumped up for the scrap, and thinks the style matchup will give fans good bang for their buck. The fight will run on “free” HBO.

“I’m an exciting fighter, and I need to be fighting exciting opponents,” said Berto, who acknowledged that he’s itching to test himself and take on a superstar. “Me and Mosley have similar styles, we get touched and we give back two, three, four shots. He has speed and power like me. People had been talking about Shane against Floyd Mayweather. This is the next best thing.”

The 37-year-old Mosley (45-5) told TSS that some Ts need to be crossed, but he is pretty certain the old guard versus new guard tussle will take place. He applauds Berto for taking the match. “Accepting a fight like this, it’s the mark of a true warrior,” he said, as he offered the theory that Margarito’s decision not to fight him came more from promoter Bob Arum than himself.

When asked to compare Berto to someone he’s taken on in his 15-year pro career, he didn’t hesitate. “Myself. I told Richard Schaefer and Eric Gomez that this fight is probably harder for me than Margarito.”

TSS asked Berto about that contention, and the Floridian agreed. “From his perspective, he’d have the speed advantage over Margarito,” Berto said. “It’s easier to fight a straight-forward guy, you saw that with Hopkins facing Pavlik.”

“Comparing himself to me, that’s a compliment. I was telling friends not that long ago, Shane Mosley was my favorite fighter. Now he’s my opponent.”

Thanks to Tim Struby, ESPN The Magazine writer, for putting us in touch with Berto. A Struby feature on Berto will run in ESPN Mag in January.