Whether you love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has had a way of staying in the public’s image year after year. Undeniable skill mixed with a heavy dose of bravado has a way of capturing our attention and Floyd’s time in the spotlight doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.
One man who has gotten to know the entire Mayweather family from top to bottom over the years is Grand Rapids Press lead sports columnist David Mayo. Having covered the boxing beat for well over two decades with contributions also going to the Ring magazine, Mayo has charted much of young Floyd’s progression and impact within the sport.
For years Mayo’s work on all things concerning the Las Vegas based Mayweather clan has been insightful and up to the date. As is often the case with sports journalism, reporters sometimes find a way to connect with certain athletes and Mayo’s time covering the Mayweathers has been worth notice.
Nowadays when Mayweather’s name comes up it is in association with the possibility of him fighting Shane Mosley, as the two Welterweights have had everyone buzzing about a hopeful showdown this coming May. Mosley was scheduled to face Andre Berto at the end of this month but the Haitian-American pulled out due to the concerns left from the devastating January 12th earthquake that took a tremendous toll on both his country and his mental well being. Berto’s absence has left the door wide open for Mayweather and Mosley to now meet and Mayo personally feels the fight will go through.
“I think the fight absolutely will happen,” Mayo told me earlier this week. “Mosley has stated, via his website, that he’s open to the blood testing Mayweather demands. The Berto pullout, while certainly understandable for the surface reason of the Haitian devastation, otherwise bears all the earmarks of an orchestrated maneuver.”
Berto’s withdrawal was met with sympathy from nearly everyone and understandably so. But in the world of boxing there is always something taking place behind the scenes and there are many who feel that perhaps there was more to the story than meets the eye, Mayo included.
“The fact Al Haymon advises both Mayweather and Berto heightens the thought that Berto’s pullout could have been for multi-faceted reasons,” Mayo continued. “Mayweather and Mosley absolutely are each other’s best option; the timing of the fight and availability of the date are both beneficial; there’s enough time to get it pulled together and still have a 90-day-plus window for promotion before May 1.”
Mayo went on to point out that the fight is such an extreme possibility that the UFC has already moved their schedule May 1st UFC 113 event back a week to the following Saturday in hopes of not clashing with a potential Mayweather-Mosley event.
When asked whether or not he feels both fighters are jumping at the bit to get the fight going, Mayo is both objective and optimistic in the same breath.
“To what degree anyone can be certain about a fighter’s motivation?” the Michigan resident stated. “It appears both Mayweather and Mosley absolutely want the fight. Mosley was Mayweather’s Plan B throughout the failed Pacquiao talks. Mosley certainly has made his intentions to pursue the fight well known in the last few months.”
The possibility of Mayweather and Mosley meeting up has been discussed for well over ten years now, as far back as early 1999 when Shane was the IBF Lightweight champion of the world and Mayweather was fresh into his stint as the WBC Jr. Lightweight king. Mosley was 30-0 with 28 knockouts while Mayweather had shocked many by dominating back to back foes who many thought would give him trouble in Genero Hernandez and Angel Manfredy.
While Mayweather wowed audiences with his precise technical skill, quickness and surprising ring awareness for a 22 year old, Mosley’s impression was left through his tenacity, speed, and tremendous body punching, which helped see him to eight successful defenses of his belt.
Still, as tremendous a matchup as it was there were rumors that Mosley was having difficulty making weight and he would move up two full divisions in September of 1999 against Wilfredo Rivera. A Mayweather-Mosley showdown became an afterthought and it wasn’t until many years later that the possibility of the two meeting again started to create interest as Mayweather began his trek up boxing’s weight ladder. Despite being several years removed from the initial interest in the bout, Mayo still sees a fascinating blend of styles.
“The matchup is outstanding,” Mayo said with full belief. “It’s the second-most-desirable fight in the sport today, behind Mayweather-Pacquiao. The speed conflict will be interesting to see. Mayweather is more technically sound than Shane and I think Shane has reached that point where he’s better some nights than others. It sort of depends which side of the bed he gets out of.”
True points from Mayo. In a sport that is all about ‘What have you done for me lately?’ Mosley has again found himself in high esteem following his whitewashing of Antonio Margarito roughly a year ago. But at age 38 and coming off of a lengthy layoff it’s hard to determine how primed Mosley will be for an athlete of Mayweather’s skill and versatility.
Still, in assessing the reporter’s closing thoughts, it’s obvious that any version of Mosley will be an extreme challenge and Mayo is just like anyone else in that he’s simply hoping the fight can be finalized.
“[Mosley] is also very much like a 40-something Roberto Duran; you don’t want to catch him on a good night or it’s big trouble. While they’ve had sticking points over the years, most of which were understandable, I like the fight a great deal. The sooner it’s made, the better.”
Also in the news this week
411 Mania correspondent Ryan Bates’ honest take on Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Top Rank photographer Chris Farina reflects on Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao, and the boxing world
Roundtable discussion: Insiders speak on potential Mayweather-Mosley clash
David Mayo is the lead sports columnist for the Grand Rapids Press. His work can be found at http://connect.mlive.com/user/dmayo/index.html and you can follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/David_Mayo
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected], www.Twitter.com/CRHarmony, and www.Facebook.com/CRHarmony. More of his work can be found HERE