By Jake Donovan
For the better part of 2009, HBO and Golden Boy have collectively waffled over how exactly to proceed with the career of resurrected welterweight star “Sugar” Shane Mosley.
They have failed miserably. For that matter, so has Shane Mosley.
It should be a problem first for Mosley and Golden Boy to deal with from within, and then sort out the rest with HBO.
Instead, their follies have now somehow become Floyd Mayweather Jr’s problem.
Mayweather was barely five minutes into celebrating a virtual shutout over Juan Manuel Marquez in his first fight in more than 21 months before he was put on the spot to commit to his next fight.
The perception going into the evening was that Mayweather-Marquez was an expensive infomercial to sell a Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao super fight sometime next year, assuming that Pacquiao survives his November showdown with Miguel Cotto, by no means a given.
Three questions deep into what passes as a post-fight interview these days, it was clear that HBO and Golden Boy clearly had something else in mind.
Perhaps it wasn’t the plan all along, but script certainly changed somewhere along the way. You could see the agenda dripping a mile away when HBO color commentator Max Kellerman dropped Shane Mosley’s name when inquiring of Mayweather’s next dance partner.
This being a Golden Boy Promotions event, Mosley was already in the ring along with Bernard Hopkins, since that’s what they do when there’s an event featuring a Golden Boy fighter they consider to be worth a damn. Upon Shane’s name being mentioned during the post-fight interview, Mayweather granted the fighter the opportunity to share screen time.
To Mosley’s credit, he willingly obliged in his usual classy manner. The two fighters shook hands. Mayweather offered his token response when asked about any fighter. Mosley waited until Mayweather finished speaking before leaning into the mic and stating to the boxing world he just wants the two to get it on in the ring, to give the fans their money’s worth.
All would’ve been well had Mosley’s fifteen seconds of fame ended there. The four-time world champion was given his chance to plead his case, at which point the floor should’ve went back to Mayweather.
Regardless of how displeased anyone was with the event, the fact is that Mayweather-Marquez was the product HBO and Golden Boy offered to the paying public. Mayweather won, with miles of room to spare, earning the right to have the spotlight to himself for a few more minutes.
HBO and Golden Boy clearly felt otherwise, instead using the opportunity to try to clean up their own mess that has been created over the past few weeks.
The illusion created by night’s end was that Mayweather is at least partially to blame for Mosley’s inability to schedule another fight for the rest of 2009. The war of words reminded fans of the years-long debate over who is ducking whom in regards to a Mayweather-Mosley fight never materializing despite being arguably a decade a making.
However, the real issue is HBO pulling a fast one on Mosley and Golden Boy, resulting in a logjam at the start of their planned 2010 boxing season.
Had HBO honored their word, Mosley’s next fight would be against Joshua Clottey on the very last Saturday of 2009, which happens to be the day after Christmas. The fight was originally slated for December 5, until it was decided that such date would need to be kept open in case lineal middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik was medically cleared to face Paul Williams, perhaps another reminder of where Mosley ranks in the boxing superstar food chain.
It wasn’t the first time HBO “accidentally” double-booked, nor would it be the last. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer willingly backed off of the date, believing the network with which he enjoys a long-term output deal would do right by his company and more so his fighter in squeezing him in at the end of the year.
Schaefer and Mosley instead had the proverbial rug pulled from underneath them, after HBO had second thoughts about airing a fight so close to a major holiday, a weekend they’ve traditionally avoided at all costs.
Such news did not sit well with Schaefer, who rightfully could’ve stood firm on the December 5 date and told everyone else to wait their turn. Instead, he was offered a consolation prize – Shane sitting out the rest of the year, but with the guarantee of a fight at the start of 2010.
The package was an upgrade, with Mosley now offered a fight against fellow welterweight titlist Andre Berto. Should all parties agree to terms, the projected date is January 30.
Enter Bernard Hopkins.
The legendary former middleweight champion serves no other purpose in Golden Boy-promoted events other than to serve as a company figurehead. In assuming that role, he is afforded the opportunity to stand in the ring for any event featuring the GBP logo.
Hopkins had all of the motivation in the world to ignite the flames for a Mayweather-Mosley showdown to occur sooner rather than later. A guarantee of such fight being next for both welterweights means HBO’s first big pay-per-view event planned for 2010.
From the outside looking in, one could offer the argument that Hopkins was doing his job as Mosley’s “promoter” to hype up the most lucrative option out there for his fighter. If that’s what you believe, then ask Kassim Ouma, Rock Allen and Karl Dargan, among others, how much actual promoting Hopkins has done for anyone’s career other than his own.
Remember Golden Boy Promotions East?
Didn’t think so.
Realizing the situation for what it really is – Hopkins pushing his own agenda – it’s no secret that angling to secure a Mayweather-Mosley fight frees up the January 30 date he was originally promised, which comes on the heels of his 45th birthday a two weeks prior.
Even with the promise of a January 30 return, Hopkins will have been out of the ring for more than 15 months, since his virtual shutout of Kelly Pavlik. Keeping the date open for the Philly legend would be foolish, considering that he is still without an opponent.
It could be against Tomasz Adamek, or the winner of the November 7 rematch between Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson. With Bernard being Bernard, it would seem to be too short a window for either option to pan out at the negotiating table.
While Mosley put himself in his own predicament, the very least that he could be granted is for one of the two dates he’s been offered to actually pan out.
HBO and Golden Boy are the only two in a position of power to make that happen. Why their mess is now Floyd Mayweather’s obligation to clean up is anyone’s guess.
Current boxing politics suggest that Mayweather against the winner of Pacquiao-Cotto isn’t immediately realistic, even though it promises to be the most lucrative option available for all parties involved.
From that perspective, the next logical step would be a Mayweather-Mosley showdown sometime in the first quarter of 2010. There are better ways to secure such a fight than what was presented last Saturday in Las Vegas.
Then again, there are also much better ways to extend the career of a boxing star than the begging tour on which Shane Mosley has been forced to embark while HBO and Golden Boy continue to stumble over figuring out the next move.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of Boxingscene.com and an award-winning member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Contact Jake at