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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mayweather-Mosley Kicks Off Today: And It's Bigger Than Pacquiao-Clottey

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Mayweather vs Mosley

By Frank Lotierzo

This afternoon Floyd Mayweather 40-0 (25) and Shane Mosley 46-5 (39) will meet at the Nokia Theater at Times Square in New York City in the first of their three city press tour promoting their upcoming May 1st mega-fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Wednesday afternoon the 3rd they'll be in Washington DC and Thursday the 4th they'll be in Los Angeles to conclude the tour and promotion.

Mosley, 38, is the defending WBA welterweight champion and Mayweather, 33, is a former WBC title holder and both are considered among the top-5 pound-for-pound fighters in professional boxing. Mayweather-Mosley or Mosley-Mayweather has been talked about and debated for years. And though it's coming to fruition (and it will unless one of them is injured during training) about five to seven years late, that doesn't detract from how big it is.

Mosley fought one of the most complete fights of his career in January of 2009 when he knocked out the rugged and tough Antonio Margarito to capture his title. And Mayweather never looked more purposeful and sure of himself than when he took apart Juan Manuel Marquez in his last bout this past September.

As most boxing observers know, this fight is being realized because Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao couldn't strike an agreement to meet later this year. Mosley's title defense against Andre Berto, who is a Haitian native, fell through due to the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti last month. And I don't care if Mayweather was forced to take this fight because he needed to face an opponent who was perceived to be a real threat to beat him this time. The bottom line is Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley will be two of the only three men occupying the inside of a boxing ring on the night of May 1st this year.

It's been said here that Mayweather brought up the HGH/PED's issue to get inside Pacquiao's head and to try and win the first two rounds of their fight before the bell rang for the first round. Nothing has changed and I still think that's the case. I've also said that against fighter-A, Manny is a bigger draw than Floyd at the gate, especially after the way he looked in defeating Miguel Cotto in his last fight. Not to mention Pacquiao's legacy is deeper than Mayweather's and he's fought and defeated better opposition than Floyd has.

Basically, Manny has upstaged Floyd at just about every turn since Floyd announced his comeback on the afternoon of Pacquiao-Hatton. But the truth must be told, and this time regardless of the reasons as to why, Mayweather is facing the better opponent. It's undeniable that Mosley is the bigger fish in a pond that contains he and Joshua Clottey. Mayweather is not just meeting the better opponent than Pacquiao is in their next respective fights, but his fight is going to do bigger PPV numbers.

There's just no way around it, anticipating Mayweather and Mosley in the ring is much more compelling and intriguing than the anticipation of Pacquiao-Clottey. And though both Pacquiao and Mayweather are favored to win if Clottey were to defeat Pacquiao it would turn the boxing world upside down and everyone reading this knows it. Granted, Clottey is a live underdog and he does bring some things like size and a presumed strength advantage into the fight that may trouble Manny, but how many expect him to win? On the other hand, Mosley beating Mayweather, even by stoppage, shouldn't be considered an upset by anyone who knows what they've been watching during the careers of both fighters.

This column has been critical of Mayweather over the last eight months. But it's never been personal or mean spirited and I've only stated it as I believe it to be. And that's Floyd Mayweather is a great fighter. But he's picked his spots and avoided the fighters who truly could've tested him throughout his career and perhaps even defeated him. So in many aspects I believe his undefeated record is a little hollow and manufactured. Maybe by the time he retires I'll see him in a different light? However, that's not the issue at hand today.

The bottom line is Pacquiao-Mayweather wasn't made and I could care less who's fault it was. All I know is Mayweather drew the tougher opponent as a result of it. Mayweather-Mosley is a bigger and more anticipated fight than Pacquiao-Clottey.

And it will be realized on May 1st, and the countdown to it begins this afternoon. Yes - seeing the names Mayweather and Mosley on the marquee gets the blood pumping more than seeing Pacquiao vs. Clottey. And that's in spite of Manny Pacquiao being boxing's biggest star and current pound-for-pound greatest fighter.

No one fighter, even if he's the biggest draw in the sport, is more interesting to the public than a genuinely interesting two-way fight.

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