By Robert Morales
Flash back about eight months. "Sugar" Shane Mosley is preparing to challenge Saul "Canelo" Alvarez for his super welterweight title on May 5 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. A reporter wanted Mosley to explain how the fight would be different from his previous three, where he was soundly beaten by Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao and managed only a draw against light-hitting Sergio Mora.
Here are some of the responses from Mosley:
"I see myself not as an old warrior, but a young killer," he said at the time. "I don't buy into the 40-year-old (stuff). I'm coming to work like a killer. I'm coming to the fight like I fought with (Antonio) Margarito, like the training camp I had with Margarito, and even better."
"The haters are what keep me motivated," he said. "Some media members might be overlooking me because of my age. I'm considered an underdog. I like being the underdog and proving that I'm not. I'm not going to rule the fight, I'm going to dominate."
The fight was dominated all right, by Alvarez, which was no surprise.
But according to Richard Schaefer, guys like Mosley deserve another shot at the brass ring. Or in this case, a championship belt. That's why Schaefer and Golden Boy Promotions have been trying to seal a deal that would allow the 41-year-old Mosley to challenge Paulie Malignaggi for his welterweight title. Mosley had announced his retirement in the aftermath of the one-sided defeat to Alvarez.
If it happens - and there is no guarantee it will because Schaefer told BoxingScene.com on Tuesday that there are money problems with it - the fight would take place April 27 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Since that statement from Schaefer, other names have popped up as opponents for Malignaggi - like the possibility of matching Paulie with former two-time welterweight champion Andre Berto .
That said, we spoke with Schaefer at length Tuesday about this situation. We asked him what in his mind makes him think Mosley should be in a title fight at age 41, especially considering how poorly he has fought in his past four starts.
"First of all, we have to see that Shane fought Mayweather, Pacquiao and Alvarez and maybe these are ... at the time that they fought were the best pound-for-pound fighters and 'Canelo' was just too young and too strong and too big,"
Schaefer said. "So you have to, I think, put these losses in perspective because a lot of other fighters have lost against these guys."
It's true that two of those losses came against guys who will likely be all-time greats, and one who is striving to be. Still, Mosley was not even competitive.
But, Schaefer said of Mosley's fight against Alvarez, "There is no denying Shane Mosley came to fight." Perhaps what's most important here is, at what point do guys who are headed for the Hall of Fame wear out their welcome, and not continue to try and convince the public that things are going to be different this time? After all, just because Bernard Hopkins has been great post-age 40, doesn't mean Mosley can be. So far, he is far from it.
Still, Schaefer has his back.
"Shane believes he can be effective at 147 pounds," Schaefer said;
Mosley fought Pacquiao and Mayweather at 147, Mora and Alvarez at 154.
"You used the word 'deserving.' I think if Shane Mosley deserves one thing after he has entertained fight and sports fans for so many years, I do believe he deserves another opportunity.
"And whether he's going to be able to capitalize on that opportunity - if he has enough left to really become world champion - that's going to be a question which will be up to him to answer if in fact that fight happens."
Chances are many fans figured Mosley's shot at Alvarez to be that - "He deserves this" - fight. Mosley was already 40, and his performance had "retire" written all over it.
But Schaefer said Mosley came to his Golden Boy office a couple of months ago and looked revitalized.
"I don't know how to describe it, but between the mental and physical health, he really looks to be extremely motivated," Schaefer said. "Extremely fired up, hungry again to have the last opportunity."
And if the fight with Malinaggi doesn't pan out? Schaefer intimated he would help Mosley try and find something else.
"Well, I think Shane was mainly interested in another world title opportunity, so if the right opportunity comes up, I would certainly look at it, yes," Schaefer said.
Espinoza Now Optimistic
For some time there has been a call for a super bantamweight title unification fight between Abner Mares and Nonito Donaire. But since they are promoted by rivals Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Inc., not much headway had been made in getting it done. Alas, there has been some movement.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said in another piece on BoxingScene.com this week that Donaire will fight April 13 and that fellow champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, Vic Darchinyan and Mares were the three fighters being considered as opponents."
Mares' name being mentioned that way is, in and of itself, progress. Arum also noted that the Mares camp has been "conveying messages from Golden Boy."
Frank Espinoza manages Mares. Two weeks ago in this space he bemoaned the idea that this fight might never happen because of the animosity between Golden Boy and Top Rank. On Tuesday, he breathed a slight sigh of relief knowing the chances of it happening now seem greater.
"Richard (Schaefer) and I talked and we have reached out to Arum," Espinoza said. "Arum gave us a proposal, now I'm giving the proposal to Richard and we're just kind of like negotiating right now."
Nothing is concrete, of course, but Espinoza is stoked about what's happening.
"Just the fact that we got Bob Arum and Richard Schaefer to agree to (try) to make the fight is a tremendous step forward," he said. "Now we just have to negotiate a deal that makes sense for Abner."
Espinoza said he has been the go-between with Arum and Schaefer.
It was a situation Espinoza believed could bear fruit because he has strong relationships with both companies.
"I've been the guy talking to Arum and then getting back to Schaefer," Espinoza said. "This is the fight everybody wants to see and I'm going to do everything I can to make this a reality."
The real sticking point in all of this is the promotional end. Arum wants to pay Golden Boy a fee for the promotional rights to Donaire-Mares. However, on Wednesday Schaefer explained to BoxingScene that he felt Arum was lowballing Golden Boy with the financial figures presented to Espinoza. In response, Schaefer made a bold offer of $3 million dollars to Top Rank for the services of Donaire.
Arreola Finally Getting It?
Chris Arreola has taken an enormous amount of criticism for getting way out of shape between fights, then having to scramble to lose weight during camp. For example, for the biggest fight of his career - a challenge to Vitali Klitschko's heavyweight title in September 2009 - Arreola came into camp at 290 pounds before reducing to 251. He was stopped after 10 rounds at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Arreola weighed 263, 250 1/2, 256 and 249 3/4 for his next four fights. But finally, in a May 2011 fight against Nagy Aguilera, a light seemed to go on in Arreola's head: he weighed in at 234 and knocked out Aguilera in the third round.
In his next four fights he tipped the scales at 236, 236, 240 1/2 and 245. That last weight is not great, but he appeared in solid shape Wednesday at a news conference formally announcing his March 9 fight against Bermane Stiverne at The Hangar at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Calif.(on HBO).
Therein lies the key. Arreola said he is currently at 255, and there are nearly two months before the bout, which will be a title-eliminator.
"The main thing about the difference between the old Chris Arreola and the one that is now, is humility, being humble and understanding that my s**t does stink, as dumb as it sounds," Arreola said. "I do have to work on my craft, no matter how good I think I am; there's always going to be someone better.
"And the better I get, the easier fights will get for myself. The worst thing is, somebody wanting something for you more than you want it for yourself."
We asked Arreola if he was talking about Mexican and Mexican-American fans who were wanting him to become the first heavyweight champion of Mexican ancestry.
"Not just the Mexican fans, just boxing fans in general," he said. "Everybody; the writers, fans, people I see in the streets always like telling me I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it. They believed more in me than I believed in myself, or wanting it more for me than I wanted it for myself. That's bad. That's horrible."
Making Arreola's current shape even more impressive is that he hasn't fought in 11 months. A layoff that long a couple of years ago would have had Arreola pushing 300.
Robert Morales covers boxing for The Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.