By Michael Marley
You would think that, despite all the compliments that they keep trading across the ocean, Sugar Shane Mosley's worst enemy right now is Manny Pacquiao.
That's what you get for thinking, old boy, because suddenly, popping up in La Belle Provence, comes a genuinely agitated WBC light heavyweight champ named Jean Pascal.
Pascal, who could only manage a controversial draw when he fought now 46 year old Bernard Hopkins on Dec. 18 in Quebec City, saw fit to smear Hopkins' good name and character at an explosive Monday press conference touting their May 21 rematch in Montreal.
Monsieur Pascal had this parting shot to close out a heated verbal exchange when Philadelphian BHop decided to exit, stage left.
“You're a f----ing cheater!” the Quebec based Pascal yelled at the elderly by boxing standards.
Things took a turn for the emotional when Pascal said Hopkins was welcome to his two world title belts (IBO being the second).
“I know you're a thief so I'm giving them to you now but, after May 21, they're staying here.”
Then Pascal lowered the boom, accusing Bhop of cheating with illegal drugs, the same type of public allegations which brought a pending defamation lawsuit to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his Golden Boy pals from an accused Pacman.
“Are you willing to take a blood test for the fans and the rest of the world to prove you are clean? You're from the same family as Shane Mosley. Are you willing to take the test?”
Before departing the scene, Hopkins even sounded like the Pinoy Idol in responding to Mayweather's perpetual demand for random testing in order to make their Super Bout happen.
For the record, Hopkins said he would submit to any testing required by the provincial boxing board.
Tossing Mosely and his BALCO experience into the volatile mix was a brilliant tactic by Pascal or someone around him who gave him a working script.
The timing is impeccable, what with Mosley in the limelight (slimelight?) as we count down to his fight against Pacquiao May 7 and, for good measure, the daily court reports pouring in from San Francisco as the feds continue their quest to put BALCO Poster Boy and former Giants slugger Barry Bonds into jail.
In other words, Pascal paints with a very broad brush and, given Hopkins awesome physical conditioning and never exhausted ring efforts at 46, many people won't wait for a shred of proof to believe that, yeah, hell yeah, BHop must be cheating.
If Hopkins was 36, not to mention 26, I don't think the subject would ever come up.
Next thing you know Pascal will be dragging Charle Sheen's muddied name into the mix.
I'm sure there's little psychological damage done to Hopkins, who survived five years in prison as a young man.
I asked Pascal adviser Don Majeski if the furor was authentic at least on the part of the accuser.
“It's been talked about all over the boxing world,” the New York based agent said.
“People talk about Hopkins and say that maybe he is using HGH. I think Pascal said it to get under Hopkins' skin.”
Under his skin?
I should've halted Majeski there since I handle the puns and jokes around here. But he continued.
“Pascal can be kind of an abrupt guy but this has started some antipathy between the two fighters for sure.
“People do ask the question, how can Hopkins be so strong at age 46?”
Oh, and by “family,” Pascal's reference was not to Hopkins and Mosley being kissing cousins, nothing like that, but the fact that they were VPs at Golden Boy, with executive stripes and everything before Mosley departed in order to get under the Bob Arum promotional banner to gain the Pacquiao payday.
If we needed a reminder that Mosley visited BALCO, and that he left the facility with steroids and a doping calnder, and that he is well acquainted with BALCO Bad Boy Victor Contre - well then Pascal just gave it to us.
I'm required here, by fariness, to add the fact that Mosley, under oath and penalty of perjury, swore that he did take steroids before his second bout against De La Hoya but that he never had any inkling they were verboten.
Maybe Mosley thinks some people believe that and, given that some folks still think the world is flat, he may be right.
If he keeps up with this type of chatter, it might turn out that Pascal and his paintbrush may do more damage to Mosley than Pacquiao does.
Mosley may not be an innocent bystander but he's a bystander here, nonetheless.
I don't think Mosley will be picking up this theme on his new Twitter page but I could be wrong.
Maybe Pascal got under Mosley's skin also.