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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Take your pick - Money or Sugar

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Mayweather vs Mosley

Fans are calling it the eliminator, the duel to determine Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent even as Floyd (Money) Mayweather Jr. isn’t confirming – yet – to face the Filipino icon if he survives Sugar Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this Sunday morning (Manila time).

Mayweather, 33, slid away from a showdown with Pacquiao last March, citing irreconcilable differences on drug-testing procedures. The Money Man – he used to be known as Pretty Boy but the moniker just wouldn’t stick for obvious reasons – demanded Olympic-style random blood-testing which boxing commissions don’t require.

Mayweather’s camp has accused Pacquiao of taking steroids to retain his speed and power while moving up from one weight category to another. Pacquiao has passed every drug test administered by boxing authorities for his fights and there’s no shred of evidence even implying he ever took any illegal substance.

Bending over backwards, Pacquiao has agreed to blood-testing 24 days before a fight. But Mayweather wouldn’t budge, insisting on a 14-day cutoff. The speculation was Mayweather made an unacceptable demand for an excuse to wiggle out of a fight against Pacquiao. It seemed like Mayweather was buying time to get ready for the Filipino later this year.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, has gone to court to sue Mayweather, his rowdy relatives, Oscar de la Hoya and Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer for defamation stemming from the drug-use accusation. Pacquiao’s lawyer is Daniel Petrocelli who won for murder victim Ron Goldman’s father Fred an $8.5 million payoff in a civil case against O. J. Simpson in 1997. The other side is represented by Judd Burstein who ironically was Pacquiao’s lawyer in the case against Murad Muhammad a few years ago.

Pacquiao’s reluctance to shed blood two weeks before a fight is premised on his belief that it will take longer to recover from being drained of his energy and strength as a result of the extraction.

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Mayweather, 33, is a heavy favorite to beat Mosley, 38, not just because he’s younger. The Money Man is unbeaten in 40 fights and has a style that’s tough for Mosley to crack. Mayweather is an elusive target, likes to counter and moves around the ring like a gazelle. Mosley has a 46-5 record, with 39 KOs and a no-contest. He has lost decisions to the late Vernon Forrest twice, Winky Wright twice and Miguel Cotto.

Mayweather and Mosley haven’t been too busy lately. They’ve become very selective in their “old” age. Mayweather has fought only once in the last two years, battering a much smaller Juan Manuel Marquez last September. He didn’t see action at all in 2008. Mosley fought once in 2008, halting Ricardo Mayorga and once last year, stopping Antonio Margarito. The ring rust will be evident when they clash this weekend.

Mosley is slightly bigger than Mayweather in build. He enjoys a two-inch advantage in both height and reach. But being outsized doesn’t bother Mayweather whose main asset is quickness. In his mind, Mosley’s edge in physique is something he can exploit with his speed.

The fact that Golden Boy represents both Money and Sugar is intriguing, if not disturbing. Because of his age, Mosley has less of an upside than Mayweather and Golden Boy realizes the bigger money lies in a bout against Pacquiao.

“Mosley is managed by Golden Boy who for the purposes of this event at least, represents Mayweather as well,” wrote William Detloff in The Ring Magazine, which by the way, Golden Boy owns. “A win by Mosley is not necessarily the preferred outcome. If he were 24 or 25 or even 30, it surely would be but it’s hard to build a substantive growth plan for a 38-year-old fighter. A promotional company needs young fighters. Mayweather is unquestionably a pain in Schaefer’s neck – he made Schaefer sweat a long time before signing the contract – but at 33, he presumably has more big fights down the road than does Mosley. That makes a win by Mosley, if not bad news for Golden Boy, then at least not the best news.”

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The scuttlebutt is Mayweather will bankroll between $15 to 20 million for the Mosley fight. That’s no loose change for a tune-up. The future, of course, is where his heart is because that’s where he hopes to line his pockets. If Mayweather plays his cards right and beats Mosley, he’ll be looking at a $40 million paycheck in a battle against Pacquiao. For a fighter who owes the Internal Revenue Service a few millions and likes to live lavishly, Mayweather could certainly use a couple of juicy paydays.

As for Mosley, Mayweather should be able to do what it takes to stay unbeaten – even if there’s a lucrative rematch clause in their contract. It could be a boring match-up but that depends on how Mayweather intends to fight Mosley.

“A lot depends on whether Mayweather tries to control the fight from a defensive stance or actually presses the action,” said Don Stradley in The Ring Magazine. “There have been times when Mayweather has fought aggressively but it’s usually been against opponents who are hopelessly outclassed. Mayweather sticks to his shell defense and pecks out the win. There’s a chance that Mayweather will do exactly that against Mosley. Still, just the fact that he’s taking on a tough veteran of his own size is encouraging.”

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