By Michael marley
LAS VEGAS—He wasn't involved in the recent Royal Wedding but Sugar Shane Mosley's adviser, first name James, is most certainly a Prince.
That's his surname.
A 46 year old rap music mogul from the hardscrabble Fifth Ward of Houston, Prince built a hugely successful label known as Rap A Lot with stars such as Bushwick Bill and Mr. Scarface. In boxing, he has been mainly known as the former adviser for Floyd Mayweather Jr., back when Mayweather was under the promotional aegis of Bob Arum.
These days, Prince had his hands full working with Mosley, ex-light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, super middleweight king Andre Ward and carefully revamping the gone wrong career of onetime hot prospect and Olympic silver medalist Ricardo Williams.
In a transparent attempt to be sly, I suggest that both Mosley and Prince will be beneficiaries Saturday night in the fight against Pinoy Idol Manny Pacquiao because Prince's former charge, Mayweather, has remained inactive and shown little interest in negotiating a super bout against the hard-hitting Pacman.
Prince smiled and then said, “I guess so...Most definitely, it is a situation that I saw coming and I then went to Shane and then to Bob. We took advanatge of the opportunity.”
I then asked the Texan if he thinks Mayweather-Pacquuiao will eventually be made.
“It can be but, by then, Pacquiao will be damaged goods for Mayweather after Shane beats him up.”
Prince, who launched Rap A Lot back in 1986, said that, when he runs into Mayweather now, “there is a lot of love in the air” and that hard feelings between them had never involved their personal dealings.
(There is a well known boxing anecdote about Prince sending some husky men with baseball bats to collect a debt owed to him by Mayweather years ago but I won't go there in this column. Let's leave it at this, the goons were swinging for the fences and they collected the debt quickly.)
“My beef with Floyd wasn't personal to him, it was other people around him,” Prince said. “There is no problem between us. When Floyd and I meet and we talk, there is a mutual respect between us.”
Prince said that Mayweather's one year layoff will not hinder him when he fights again.
“The guy is an exceptional boxer,” Prince said. “You're not talking about an average fighter at his age sitting out a year. Floyd does that and Floyd can come back without missing a beat.”
So I turned my question a bit, asking if Prince thought Mayweather should sharpen his focus on boxing and not spend time, attention and money on his own music company, on a boxing promotional outfit and his budding interest with buddy and rap superstar Fifty Cent in movies and other projects.
“I think Floyd should do what makes him happy, not what makes other people happy.”
We revisited the “damaged goods” remark and Prince said he really sees the 39 year old Mosley as scoring one of the biggest ring upsets in recent memory.
“I feel good because of the (training) camp we had in Big Bear and the spirits are good.”
I asked the sometimes controversial Prince if there were comparisons between the rough and tumble world of boxing and the machinations so often seen in the fight game.
“Boxing is more unregulated than rap music,” Prince said. “But, in boxing and in rap, you're dealing with the same mentality (of musicians and boxers).”
It would seem natural for the peripatetic Prince to shift from his advisory role and becoming a promoter.
“I feel like I'm in college to become a promoter,” Prince said. “What year am I in? Let's say that I am now a senior.”
Sounds like this Fresh Prince is getting to graduate.
It might accelerate his career change if Mosley can, indeed, shock Pacquiao.