By Jake Donovan
The World Boxing Council (WBC) isn't directly involved in Saturday's rematch between former champs Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga—in fact, they are heavily involved in another show in the Los Angeles area on that very evening—yet felt compelled to speak on the nonsense that came of their press conference on Tuesday.
At one point during the press session at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.—where the bout will take place (Saturday, Integrated Media PPV, 9:00 p.m. ET)—Mayorga delivered an open-hand slap to the rear-end of Mosley's girlfriend while on stage. The incident was immediately met with rage, as Mosley charged forward with his hands out in an attempt to choke Mayorga.
The scuffle was brief as several members from both camps quickly stepped in to separate the two.
Mayorga has since insisted that the matter was staged, that he was put up to it on orders from Mosley, who is serving as the lead promoter for the event. The claim from Mayorga that the fight before the fight was discussed in advance, of the belief that it would help drum up interest to boost ticket and Pay-Per-View sales.
Mosley continues to deny such claims, and has stated on the record that Mayorga is lying for the sake of trying to save face.
Rather than decipher who's telling to the truth, the WBC simply offered its take and strongly encouraged the fighters to keep it professional.
"The World Boxing Council expresses complete rejection concerning the embarrassing fight simulation between Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga at their press conference yesterday," WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said in a statement. "In a video that has been spread through media and social networks, a staged fight – previously agreed to – is shown between the fighters.
“Shane Mosley's and Ricardo Mayorga's actions could have generated more serious and unfortunate consequences. These actions are totally unacceptable for our sport.”
More so than the disgraceful view the sport is forced to take on, Sulaiman’s concern is that everyone’s safety is no longer taken into consideration.
“Our Lifetime President, Don Jose Sulaiman (may he rest in peace) suffered for many years after being injured during a fight between the camps of Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, a brawl that was previously agreed to without awareness that other people were nearby,” Sulaiman recalls of what his late father went through during the circus that came of the press tour for the June ‘02 World heavyweight championship fight. “The World Boxing Council has a very special esteem for Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga due to their glorious achievements in the ring.
“But at the same time, we firmly regret these actions that only hurt their image and their legacy.”
Both fighters have held WBC titles at different junctures of their respective careers. Mosley represented the WBC as its welterweight champion following his 12-round win over Oscar de la Hoya in their first fight in 2000. His title-winning effort at super welterweight also came with a victory over de la Hoya, claiming a debatable decision in their Sept. ’03 rematch to win the WBC and WBA belts.
Mosley also served as the IBF lightweight champion prior to his first WBC world title fight.
Mayorga was a unified welterweight titlist for 11 months. His reign began with a knockout win over the late Vernon Forrest—who twice beat Mosley in 2002 to end his title run—collecting the WBC and WBA titles. He lost both titles in a Dec. ’03 three-belt unification bout with Cory Spinks, dropping a 12-round decision.
Less than two years later, Mayorga collected the vacant WBC super welterweight title with a 12-round win over Michelle Piccirillo in Aug. ’05. His lone title defense resulted in a knockout loss to a comebacking de la Hoya in May ’06.
During fight week leading up to the de la Hoya fight, Mayorga threatened to pull out of the event in a last-ditch effort to extort more money from the promotion. He's pulled similarly questionable antics in past promotions—having threatened to pull out of other fights late in the event, disrespecting the memory of Spinks' deceased mother prior to their fight and his general lack of discipline in a lifestyle that includes booze, cigarettees and hookers.
For whatever reason, the WBC felt compelled to only now get involved, despite having nothing to do with this particular event, and with President Sulaiman currently on the press tour to promote the November 21 middleweight championship between Miguel Cotto and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.
Mosley and Mayorga held their first fight in Sept. ’08, with another sanctioning body’s international title at stake. Mosley scored a literal last-second knockout, dropping and stopping Mayorga just before the bell to end the 12th and final round. Four months later, he scored a career-resurrecting ninth round knockout win over Antonio Margarito.
It was the final great moment of his storied career, as he is just 1-4-1 in his last six starts. His last fight came in Nov. ’13, forced to quit on a stool prior to the start of the 7th round of his bout with Anthony Mundine in Sydney, Australia.
He was believed to be done with the game at that point, but decided to make another run when he was drawn into an online feud with a Twitter account he and many others believed was run by Mayorga or at least someone in his inner circle.
Mayorga was down for the sequel , though it became a matter of finding the right place and time to stage the grudge match. Along with competition from an ESPN-televised card at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the promotion was forced to overcome a drawn out court case with Don King, Mayorga’s on-again, off-again promoter who filed a motion to block the fight from happening on the basis of his fighter taking the fight without his prior knowledge or consent.
Mosley won the case in court, but lost at least a week on the campaign trail for an event in which he has pulled out all the stops in his tireless grassroots promotion.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.