- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Floyd Mayweather is ready to negotiate a fight with welterweight champion Shane Mosley in the wake of Mosley's fight with Andre Berto being canceled, Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe told ESPN.com on Monday night.
Mosley was due to face Berto in a welterweight title unification match on Jan. 30 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. However, Berto, a Haitian-American who had at least eight members of his family killed in the recent earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation, withdrew from the fight earlier Monday because he was "mentally and physically exhausted" from dealing with the catastrophe and needed to be with his family.
"I know everyone is rushing to make this fight with Mosley, but I want people to know that Floyd feels awful for Berto and his family for what they and their country are going through," Ellerbe said. "That is first and foremost. But if, in fact, Shane Mosley is available, that's the fight that Floyd would love to make. It's no secret that Floyd has been trying to make a fight with Shane for the last 10 years.
"Our condolences go out to Berto and his family because that is the human side of this. Everyone is talking about us making a fight with Mosley, but Floyd wants people to know that his prayers -- all of ours -- are with Berto. But he also wants people to know that he is ready to fight Mosley. That's the fight he wants more than anything. And Floyd has instructed me and Al [Haymon, Mayweather's other adviser] to make the biggest fight possible. We will be talking with [Golden Boy CEO] Richard [Schaefer]. Floyd against Shane is the biggest fight in boxing right now that can be made."
Mayweather had been tentatively scheduled to fight Manny Pacquiao on March 13 before that bout fell apart when the sides would not compromise on the drug testing protocol for the bout. Mayweather insisted on rigorous blood testing, which he would also be subject to, but Pacquiao rejected it.
Instead, Pacquiao took a fight with former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey, and they will meet on March 13 on pay-per-view at Cowboys Stadium. There is a news conference to formally announce the bout at the stadium on Tuesday followed by another news conference on Wednesday in New York.
Schaefer, who works with Mayweather, had said that Mayweather would fight a different opponent on March 13 in a competing pay-per-view from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
However, with Mosley becoming available, attention immediately turned to Mosley-Mayweather, which, aside from Pacquiao-Mayweather or Pacquiao-Mosley, looms as the biggest fight in boxing.
According to Schaefer, he has the MGM Grand Garden Arena on hold for May 1 and May 8. Ellerbe said that time frame is fine with Mayweather for a fight with Mosley.
"Most definitely," Ellerbe said. "Shane is a great fighter and if a deal could be made, Shane would be the toughest fight out there. That fight is tougher than the other fight [Pacquiao-Mayweather]. It's a mega fight if it can be made."
If the bout is finalized, it remains to be seen if Mayweather would insist on the same rigorous drug testing he wanted Pacquiao to undergo. Pacquiao denies he has ever used performance-enhancing drugs even though Mayweather has alluded to him using and Mayweather's father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., has said outright that he believed Pacquiao used PEDs, despite having no evidence. The accusation led Pacquiao to file a defamation suit against the Mayweathers and others, including Schaefer and Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya.
Mosley, however, has admitted to using PEDs and was connected to the BALCO scandal. Although he publicly denied using PEDs for years, Mosley admitted during grand jury testimony, which was later released, that he used designer steroids "the clear" and "the cream" and injected himself with EPO, a blood oxygen enhancer, during the leadup to his 2003 rematch with Oscar De La Hoya.
Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs), a five-division champion, and Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs), a three-division champion, have seemingly been on a collision course for years dating to the late 1990s, when Mosley was lightweight champion and Mayweather was junior lightweight champion.
More recently, Mosley repeatedly called Mayweather out before he got involved negotiating the fight with Pacquiao. In fact, Mosley crashed Mayweather's post-fight interview in the ring following his September victory against Juan Manuel Marquez and publicly called him out to his face.
Schaefer said he would try to make the fight.
"That is a super fight, and now my next order of business -- to see if we can put [Mosley-Mayweather] together," he said. "That is what I am going to be doing in the coming hours. The sooner the better if we can get this potential fight done. With Shane now being available and Floyd being available, that's a fight all fight fans and sports fans would embrace. This would be a huge showdown. Shane has wanted that fight for a while. That's what I am going to try to do."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
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