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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mosley's title belt comes at a price, one Mayweather won't pay

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Mayweather vs Mosley
By Bob Velin, USA TODAY

When Floyd Mayweather meets WBA welterweight champion Sugar Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Saturday night, there will be plenty at stake for both fighters: money (lots of it), reputation, legacies, bragging rights and a perfect record (Mayweather's 40-0 mark).

PAY-PER-VIEW: Fight could set new mark

One thing that won't be at stake, at least for Mayweather: Mosley's title belt. The belt is up for grabs — but only for Mosley.

Mayweather wants no part of it, he said. His manager, Leonard Ellerbe, said Tuesday that while they mean no disrespect to the WBA sanctioning body, Mayweather is already a six-time world champion and this is strictly a business decision.

"Floyd's already the best fighter in the world," Ellerbe said. "What is he going to prove by winning the WBA title? He's going to give up 3% of his purse (to the WBA) to prove that?

"When it comes down to it, spending several hundred thousand dollars to call yourself the champion when you're already the best fighter in the world is not a smart business move."

Three percent of Mayweather's take could be considerable. The Las Vegas-based fighter is expected to take home more than $40 million for the fight (HBO pay-per-view, 9 p.m. ET), and because he is promoting himself and not fighting for a title, he'll keep it all.

"Floyd keeps all of his money, and (Mosley) gives 27% of his money to his promoter (Golden Boy)," Ellerbe said. "What Floyd has done — and I think other fighters will appreciate it down the road — he's been the first fighter to establish a business model that puts him in a position to control all of his revenue."

Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs) appreciates the bottom line, too, but said he feels that the belt means something for a fighter's legacy.

"I think (Floyd) should want it," Mosley said of the belt. "Everybody grows up wanting to fight for a belt and be the world champion. And for them to just dismiss it, like, 'Oh, I'm bigger than the belt,' I don't know.

"It just doesn't seem like he's in the sport for the sport. He's just in it for the money. … But I love the glory, the legendary status of being a champion and winning belts and being the best guy out there. If he did that, the money is going to come regardless."

Said Mayweather Tuesday: "All these fighters get the belts that I gave up. When you are bigger than the sport, belts don't mean anything. He needs a belt … A belt means something to him."

Mosley says Mayweather's résumé doesn't stand up to call himself the best welterweight, let alone the best fighter overall.

"As a welterweight, he hasn't fought another top welterweight," Mosley said. "I'm the first one he's fought that's a world champion, so it makes the fight a big fight."

Mayweather said his work ethic is second to none, and it will show Saturday night: "The only thing I want to do is just be the best. I'll just continue to work hard, and I'm pretty sure Shane's in good condition. We're going to put on one (heck) of a show."

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