Without firing a single punch Sugar Shane Mosley fought his way back to the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes with a challenge heard around the world.
In a sweeping campaign blitz that encompassed contacting boxing web sites, newspapers and television stations, Pomona’s Mosley, the current WBA welterweight titleholder and future Hall of Fame inductee, concocted a plan that hit home.
Pacquiao, the number one fighter in the world according to most Pound for Pound listings, was seen and heard on a video from a Philippine news company agreeing to fight Mosley if terms can be mutually agreed on.
Of course, that’s another hoop to jump through.
Meanwhile in Hollywood, California, at the Wild Card Boxing gym, master trainer Freddie Roach unraveled his interpretation of the various doors open to Pacquiao. A number of choices are available to Team Pacquiao.
“The easiest fight is (Floyd) Mayweather,” said Roach in between rounds while his young charge Amir Khan sparred with various boxers as he prepares for his showdown against WBA junior welterweight titleholder Andriy Kotelnik on June 27 in England. “Shane Mosley is the hardest fight.”
One other fighter is in the running for Pacquiao and that is Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto, who fights next week against Joshua Clottey in New York City on June 13.
“Cotto is the second hardest fight but he’s in for a tough struggle against Clottey,” said Roach.
As the Cotto fight loomed, more and more mention of the former junior welterweight and welterweight titleholder as the next Pacquiao opponent caused a ripple of concern with Mosley.
“I’m the WBA welterweight champion, not Cotto,” said Mosley, adding that when he beat Cotto’s victor (Antonio Margarito) last January, that should end all debate. “I deserve to fight Manny Pacquiao.”
If you know Mosley then you realize that for the Pomona fighter to step forward with demands outside of the ring is very un-Mosley.
“Why should he (Cotto) get that fight? He’s not the number one guy, I’m the number one guy,” exclaimed Mosley while in Los Angeles. “With me, he’s (Pacquiao) fighting for the world title and for the people. Filipinos want to see this fight.”
When news this week reached the Philippines that Mosley was pushing for a match with the current Pound for Pound king, a GMA news team found Pacquiao in a restaurant and asked him if he would consider the match with the Pomona speedster.
Pacquiao told the Philippine news station GMA that he was willing to meet Mosley’s challenge if terms could be negotiated and agreed by both parties. Pacquiao is promoted by Top Rank and to a smaller percentage by Golden Boy Promotions.
Top Rank’s Bob Arum did not return a call on Friday but Golden Boy’s CEO Richard Schaefer did earlier.
A match with Mosley and Pacquiao suits Golden Boy as does a match between the winner of Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18 in Las Vegas.
“It’s a great position to be in because they are all great fights,” said Schaefer on Thursday. “Even a Cotto fight would be good.”
Mayweather returned from retirement to fight Mexico City’s Marquez who has never fought at the welterweight level. He’s never fought at the junior welterweight level but is willing to move up two weight divisions to fight the former Pound for Pound champion.
“Marquez could give Mayweather a lot of trouble,” said Roach, who has seen Pacquiao battle with him twice. “I would have to say Marquez is the smartest fighter today. He’s like a scientist. Mayweather has never faced adversity like Marquez did when he was knocked down three times. He has always picked and chosen easy fights. He’s never faced adversity like Marquez.”
Another factor not in Mayweather’s favor is his penchant for negotiating outrageous terms.
“Mayweather is not going to get a 60/40 split against us,” Roach said. “If anyone is going to get 60/40 it's Manny.”
When all the factors are added up the winner looks to be Mosley.
“It very well could be Shane Mosley if he’s willing to accept a 60/40 split,” said Roach while thinking about the match. “And if he’s willing to drop the weight to 142.”
Pacquiao arrives in Los Angels either on Saturday or Sunday and then flies to New York to attend the Boxing Writers Association dinner where he will be awarded the Fighter of the Year trophy.
“I will probably meet with Manny and Bob Arum to discuss the possibilities,” said Schaefer. “We’re on good speaking terms with Bob Arum and that’s how we’re able to put on these great fights that people want to see.”
Mosley says people want Pacquiao to fight him.
“They should want the best fight out there,” Mosley said on Friday. “The best fighters fight each other.”
Mosley watched the video of the Philippine news team interviewing Pacquiao and had someone translate the Pound for Pound champion’s response. Though he knows Pacquiao is willing to accept the challenge, he also knows that negotiations have not even begun.
“Manny wants to retire anyway, so he might as well fight me and fight the best,” said Mosley, adding that Pacquiao is the deserving Pound for Pound champion. “I’ll definitely accept the 60/40 split in his favor.”
That might be the clincher.