What a Difference a Day Makes
They say 24 hours is a long time in boxing. If recent events are anything to go by, those words certainly hold true.
Following the disappointment of having the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight snatched from our finger-tips, boxing fans were left with little to look forward to. If recent media reports are anything to go by though, we may yet be treated to a pretty damn good consolation prize: Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Shane Mosley.
Before rejoicing in the prospect of this excellent match-up taking place though, first and foremost thoughts and prayers should be with WBC Welterweight Champion Andre Berto. Scheduled to fight Mosley in a unification fight on January 30th, Berto was forced to pull out following the tragic events that have recently unfolded in Haiti. Although born in America, Berto’s family are from Haiti. The Welterweight Champ said in a statement that he lost “several family members” in the earthquake, and that his sister and niece, though they survived, were “left homeless”. Not surprisingly he has therefore opted to withdraw from what he called “an opportunity I have dreamt of since childhood”. He ended his statement by saying, “I am fully dedicated to helping the Haitian people recover from this catastrophic event”.
Condolences and best wishes to Berto, his family and his countrymen. One hopes that the rest of the world can be as dedicated as Andre Berto is to aiding the Haitian people in their recovery.
Purely in terms of the boxing landscape, Mayweather-Mosley is a fight that the world needs to see right now. Mayweather desperately needs to prove himself by facing an opponent whom he will not begin as an over-whelming odds-on favourite against, whilst Sugar Shane has been crying out for a fight of this magnitude ever since defeating Antonio Margarito a full twelve months ago. Despite not stepping between the ropes for a full year though, Mosley is unlikely to turn down the opportunity to climb into the squared circle with the man who calls himself ‘Money’. At age 38, he certainly does not have father time on his side.
The Sugar Man Mosley has largely been the Forgotten Man throughout the whole Mayweather-Pacquiao ‘Super Fight’ debacle. The linear and WBA Welterweight Champion has been either conveniently ignored or used as a pawn in negotiations by both the Pacquiao and Mayweather camps at various times, but neither has seemed serious about presenting him with a genuine opportunity. Probably because, despite his advanced age and relative lack of recognition outside of hard-core boxing circles, both camps were fully aware that Shane is potentially the most difficult fight out there. Now, finally, it looks like the man they call ‘Sugar’ will get his just desserts.
For Mayweather, this is not just a fight he wants or needs, it is a fight he simply has to take. Failure for him to do so may result in him losing what little respect there is for his reputation and his willingness to take on the best in the sport. As things stand at the moment, Floyd is in serious danger of forever being remembered as the fighter who ducked every serious challenge that came his way. A fight with Mosley will go a long way to removing such accusations. Should he put on a performance and pull out an impressive victory in this fight, it may even allow him to leap-frog Pacquiao in both the welterweight and pound-for-pound rankings. Likewise, the same could also be said for Mosley – which is what makes this fight such a great event.
The welterweight division right now is stacked with an unbelievable talent pool, and fans are faced with the unprecedented situation of having the top 3 pound-for-pound fighters as the top 3 men in the same division. A fight between the no.1 and no.2 pound-for-pound boxers in the world is a rare event. At least for now, it isn’t to be. A fight between the no.2 and no.3 pound-for-pound fighters in the sport though, is not a bad consolation prize. The mouth salivates at the thought of the potential match-ups down the road: Pacquiao to face the winner in the fall? Paul Williams to move back down to 147 and tackle one of the top 3? Or perhaps Andre Berto, given time for him and his family to heal, will be rewarded with that opportunity he “has dreamt of since childhood”?
It seems that even the promoters are now coming to their senses, and should Mayweather-Mosley go ahead as reports suggest, fans will be spared the ridiculous situation of having Mayweather and Pacquiao screen competing PPV events on the same night. Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, was quoted as saying that pitting a mega-fight like Mayweather-Mosley against Pacquiao-Clottey would be “totally wrong”. Phew. Perhaps there might yet be some sense to this mess after all.
Schaefer was further quoted as saying that “I have my work cut out for me in the next 24 hours”. Not surprising, really – because a day can be a hell of a long time in boxing.
One final thought:
Just an idea, but if Mayweather-Mosley really wanted to redeem some of the credibility the sport has lost over the last few weeks by doing something really special, why not demonstrate to the world that boxing isn’t all about out of control ego’s and greed by agreeing to donate a fee from every ticket or PPV fight sold to Andre Berto and his countrymen in Haiti? I’m sure that most boxing fans, like myself, would be proud to pay a little extra knowing that it was going to such a valuable cause.