Let’s Not Get Carried Away On This Manny Pacquiao – Shane Mosley Fight “Agreement” [UPDATED]

It is certainly noteworthy when the best fighter in the world, in this case Manny Pacquiao, says he would agree to a fight with another of the best fighters in the world, in this case the top-5 pound-for-pound and #1 welterweight Shane Mosley. It’s an excellent fight on paper, and matches two of the top men in the awfully crowded welterweightish ranks, a group of stellar fighters that also includes Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto and Paul Williams.

But all Pacquiao has said is this: “No problem, we can fight. As long we negotiate.” Mosley has shown a willingness to do just that, agreeing to fight below the 147-pound welterweight limit where Pacquiao is more comfortable and offering to take the short end of the split — 40 percent. But there’s a lot that can happen between two guys saying they want to fight one another + it looking like the terms are favorable to both parties and the fight being signed for October 17.
Lest anyone forget, Pacquiao not long ago said he wanted to wait until Mayweather-Marquez in July was finished to sign a fight with anyone. There are all kinds of reasons Pacquaio might say something like what he said today, which could be an offhand comment inflated by the overeager Philippine press then blown even fuller of hot air by a Mosley camp press release, or a negotiating ploy to signal to Mayweather that he can make money with or without him.
Indeed, as I got to this point in the post, I went to check something at Google News and found Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, throwing cold water on the report.

“This has absolutely no credibility to it. Manny hasn’t decided who he’s going to fight,” Arum said. “It could be Mosley, or it could be [Miguel] Cotto, [Floyd] Mayweather Jr., [Juan Manuel] Marquez or [Edwin] Valero. They’re all in the mix.”

Arum said, “Shane’s a good guy, he’s definitely in the picture,” but Arum insisted Pacquiao will make no decision about his next opponent until watching the June 13 world welterweight title fight between Cotto and Joshua Clottey.

“Why would I eliminate options?” said Arum, who confirmed he was contacted today about a possible Pacquiao-Mosley bout by Mosley’s promoter Richard Schaefer. “I’ve also heard from Manny’s people that he wants to wait and see the Mayweather-Marquez fight [July 18] before he agrees to anything. That would mean we won’t be ready until November.

“All that he’s said is that he’s willing to fight Mosley. But he still has to explore the best deal.”

SportsCenter has been reporting on this Pacquiao-Mosley “agreement” this evening, and while I continue to be pleased by SportsCenter giving the sport attention, it has shown a disturbing knack for not reporting on boxing with much sense of nuance.

So: Settle down, everybody. Let’s wait until we have something harder than what we have now. Then? We can have a lengthy about debate the merits of Pacquiao-Mosley, a mighty interesting and important fight that wouldn’t necessarily be my pick for either man next, but… wait. I said we’d wait. I’ll wait. But you don’t have to, now that I think of it. And if you don’t wait, I guess I won’t either.
[UPDATED: The Pacquiao camp has poured cold water on things, too. News release after the jump.]

Pacquiao on Erroneous Press Release: Not Too Fast Mr. Mosley
MANILA–Boxing’s No. 1 pound-for-pound best fighter Manny Pacquiao was surprised and flattered over the enterprising reports which came out in the media that a fight with “Sugar” Shane Mosley has been forged Wednesday.
Apparently, a press release from a group associated with Mosley, the Entertainers and Athletes Group (EAG), came up with the story that Pacquiao agreed to fight the current WBA welterweight champion Mosley on Oct. 17.
“It’s funny that I am the last man to know about this supposed fight. I know everyone wants to fight me and I have said I will fight anyone, including Mosley. But I have not heard from my promoter or have seen any contract or fight detail. So, there is no fight yet,” said Pacquiao.
“I am flattered that even the great “Sugar” Shane Mosley is now going after me by any means. I am not closing the door on any negotiations, though, and I trust my promotional and training team to make the best decision for me,” added Pacquiao, almost a month after knocking out consensus 140-pound champion Ricky Hatton of England in only two rounds.
“For sure, my next match will be on June 18 to 21 and it will be against some of the best darters in the world,” said Pacquiao, who is bankrolling the $100,000 “Pacmania II Darts Tournament” in Burbank, California. “We have tried to invite Ricky Hatton to play a friendly match of darts with me, complete with a prize fund, but I guess he is still on vacation, according to his handlers. I hope he can still make it, so we can do a big side event.”
Top darters from all over America and other countries have already signified their intention of joining the event, one of the biggest darts competitions in years. Pacquiao, an avid darter, will compete with the likes of Brad Wethington, Scott Kirchner, Rob Heckman, Chris White, Ray Carver, Scotty Burnett, Nico Depaynos and Gary Mawson, among others.
Pacquiao is set to arrive in Los Angeles next week along with his family for a much-needed vacation. He will also fly out to New York to receive the 2008 Fighter of the Year award from the prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America on June 12 and attend the Miguel Cotto-Joshua Clottey Madison Square Garden fight the day after.
Filipino Rodel Mayol, now managed by Pacquiao, will be in the undercard. He challenges WBO light flyweight champion Ivan Calderon.
“I am not blaming people for coming up with ideas to lure me to fight them. I have said it before and I will say it again, I will not run away from a great fight. Floyd Mayweather is even using reverse psychology, saying he will not agree to fight me for a 50-50 purse. Of course everyone wants to fight me,” said Pacquiao.
“We will make the announcement at a proper time and a proper place after all the fight details have been discussed,” said the 30-year-old Pacquiao, a six-division champion who has won titles in the 112-pound flyweight division all the way to victories in other weight classes and over Oscar Dela Hoya at 147 pounds last December.
Pacquiao is still considering and choosing among a star-studded cast of would-be opponents including Mosley, Mayweather, who is facing Juan Manuel Marquez in July, Cotto, and a host of others.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.