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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Shane Mosley headlines buffet of spring bouts

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Mayweather vs Mosley
By Bill Dwyre

The wacky world of boxing keeps right on truckin' the next several months. It's a treadmill without an off switch.

Its menu will offer a range from filet mignon to liver and onions. Rest assured that somebody in authority will put ketchup on the filet.

The most palatable should be the May 1 fight in Las Vegas between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley. Mayweather is unbeaten and Mosley, based on his mugging of Antonio Margarito in January 2009, is dangerous.

This will be a competitive fight. Also, with five weeks to go, it is bringing some chuckles.

This fight is happening because the one everybody wanted, Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao, didn't. Mayweather took care of that with demands for blood testing to be done prior to the fight. Pacquiao said no thanks, half the world of boxing fans immediately leaped to the conclusion that the Filipino superstar had something to hide, and an angry Pacquiao responded by suing Mayweather for defamation of character.

This is normal stuff for boxing, where lawyers and liars are key parts of the entourages.

They had a conference call recently with the chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. His name is Travis Tygart and he said he was thrilled that this fight would be used to pioneer blood testing in boxing. Tygart has entered the boxing world. Think of a poodle surrounded by six coyotes.

Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy, which promotes Mosley and has an operational agreement with Mayweather's promotion company, said the conference call and the action it was announcing were "historic" and a "watershed moment."

Mayweather was deemed the catalyst for the blood testing, the visionary in this medical breakthrough. Floyd Mayweather Jr. becomes Jonas Salk. Can't wait for the movie.

Leonard Ellerbe, Floyd Jr.'s. manager, was asked why Floyd was doing this now. Ellerbe answered: "Why now, or why not now? Things change. Ten years ago, the Internet wasn't around."

That cleared that up.

Tygart and Mosley's lawyer, Judd Bernstein, credited Mosley with voluntarily stepping up to be part of the testing. Voluntarily?

1. Mosley was connected to the BALCO proceedings in 2003 and admitted taking some of Victor Conte's enhancing stuff, though saying he didn't know what it was. Had Mayweather taken the fight with Mosley and then, after all his drug noise over the Pacquiao fight, not demanded testing from Mosley, the fight would have lost all credibility. This wasn't visionary. It was ticket-selling necessity.

2. Mosley hasn't had a fight since January of last year. He is 38 and, if he is like all boxers, needs a payday. If necessary, he would have let them test him for excessive nose hairs.

Left unsaid was that, while it thinks more testing is better than less testing, the Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctions, monitors and controls this fight — not USADA. It has requested from Schaefer that a copy of any and all USADA tests be sent to them directly from the lab.

"One thing we won't do," says Keith Kizer of the Nevada commission, "is help one fighter get a mind-game advantage over another fighter."

Meanwhile, back to the fights, the usual circus, in quick and chronological order.

— Saturday, in Detroit: Arthur Abraham vs. Andre Dirrell in the continuation of a Super Six Tournament that has become noteworthy for injuries, pullouts, venue changes and an occasional fight. Figure they'll crown a champion along about 2018.

— April 3, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas: Bernard Hopkins, 45, vs. Roy Jones Jr., 41. This is a rematch of a fairly bad fight that took place 17 years go. They should call this promotion: "We Hope They Forgot." No need for Mayweather's medical magic for this one. They'll both have Medicare soon.

— April 10, Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas: Evander Holyfield vs. Francois Botha. Holyfield is 47. He has had 81 pro fights. Shouldn't there be a law against this?

— April 10, Atlantic City, N.J.: Kelly Pavlik vs. Sergio Martinez: Not a lot of politics here. Just two good fighters. Imagine that.

— April 24, Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario: Riverside's Chris Arreola vs. Jersey City's Tomacz Adamek. Many in the Eastern boxing press are upset because Arreola's promoter, Dan Goossen, prevailed and the fight will be in California, rather than in Atlantic City, where they could see it and they say an 18,000-seat arena could be sold out for the popular Adamek. Those of us in the West say, "Nice job, Dan."

— May 22, Staples Center: Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez. Marquez is 35, Vazquez is 32. They have fought three times before, Vazquez winning twice. Almost all of their 25 rounds have been bloody and brutal. They are calling this "Once and Four All." How about: "Enough Is Enough"?

Then, of course, there is May 10, a fight of a totally different kind. It is election day in the Philippines, where Pacquiao is making his second try at a congressional seat.

Many in boxing are concerned that, if he wins, it will be the last we will see of this incredible boxing talent. Not his promoter, Bob Arum, who said recently, "So what if he's a congressman? I figure their congressmen do the same as ours. Nothing."

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