Saul Alvarez-Shane Mosley set for May 5
Shane Mosley, the former pound-for-pound king, three-division champion and probable Hall of Famer, knows he has not looked good in recent fights. In fact, the 40-year-old Mosley is 2-3-1 in his last six bouts and 0-2-1 in his last three since his major upset of Antonio Margarito in 2009.
But Mosley, still with one of the most recognizable names in boxing, is getting what figures to be his last title shot after he and junior middleweight titleholder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez came to terms Friday night.
They will meet on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in the co-featured fight on the pay-per-view card headlined by Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) moving up to junior middleweight to challenge Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) for his version of the 154-pound title.
"This is more of a fight to prove myself. I know I didn't look good in my last couple of fights and I really want to make a statement in this fight," Mosley told ESPN.com on Friday night. "I just want to get in the ring, fight a world champion and win another belt.
"I'm very excited and happy. It's another chance for me to show that I still belong. He's a young guy and it's a tough fight, but I'm excited to get the fight. A lot of guys want to be in the position I am in to have this type of fight."
Said Alvarez, "This is the fight I was looking for. Shane Mosley is a tremendous fighter with a lot of experience and big victories in his storied career. Even though I have enormous respect and admiration for Mosley, because he is a great person outside of the ring, my goal is to defeat him with a great performance."
Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KOs), just 21, is already one of boxing's biggest stars. His addition to the Mayweather-Cotto undercard on Cinco de Mayo, a traditional weekend for a major fight featuring a Mexican star, is a huge boost to show that already figured to be the year's biggest to date.
"It's Cinco de Mayo, so when you add Mexico's biggest star to a card that already has Mayweather, the pound-for-pound king, and Cotto, Puerto Rico's biggest star, and 'Canelo' is fighting Mosley, who is a legend, that is a huge night," said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who had been working for weeks on the fight.
Because of the revenue Alvarez generates on his own, it was a difficult to have him accept a spot on an undercard, Schaefer said.
"It was not an easy fight to put together because it is really a main event on its own and could have sold out a venue on its own or even been its own pay-per-view," he said. "But this takes a mega event with Mayweather and Cotto, which is a huge fight and didn't need any help at all, and takes it to a totally different level. With these two fights on the card, it's one of the biggest events we've ever promoted. It will be a celebration of the sport of boxing, a shining moment for the sport. To have Mayweather, Cotto, Canelo and 'Sugar' Shane Mosley all on the same card, I get the chills thinking about it."
It took some convincing for Alvarez to agree to go on the undercard. In September, he was also on a Mayweather undercard, but only in terms of the pay-per-view broadcast. While Mayweather fought Victor Ortiz in Las Vegas, Alvarez headlined a card at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against Alfonso Gomez. Now they will fight in the same arena. Schaefer said that Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya was the driving force in convincing Alvarez, who will be making his fourth defense of the belt Mosley once held, to go on the undercard.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Oscar," Schaefer said. "He worked very hard on this to get this done. He did a terrific job. He pulled it together. He dealt with Canelo. It was challenging to secure the spot than getting the actual fight done. But Canelo knows it's a big fight. When we met with him, he said he knows it's a dangerous fight. Shane Mosley knows he has his back against the wall. He knows it's do or be done and that makes a veteran that much more dangerous." "Canelo said he's going to go into the fight and make a statement and that would be to stop Mosley, because nobody has ever done that before."
Mosley also believes he is not an undercard fighter, but accepted the spot because of the opportunity to fight Alvarez.
"I didn't have any negativity about being the co-main event," he said. "I know I am not a co-main event fighter, but I want to get in the ring. To fight someone like Canelo Alvarez will be tremendous for me at this stage of my career. I believe I'm a lot more experienced that he is. It's youth against experience. It's 'Sugar' against 'Cinnamon.'"
In his last fight, Mosley (46-7-1, 39 KOs) got knocked down in the third round and lost every round in a shutout decision to Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight title bout in May 2011. Mosley said he went into the fight with an injured Achilles tendon in his left foot.
In order to take the fight with Pacquiao, Mosley went with Top Rank, Golden Boy's chief rival, and gave up his stake in Golden Boy, which he had been a partner in for several years. Now, he is back with Golden Boy. Schaefer said Golden Boy will have Mosley under contract for the fight with Alvarez plus options on his next two bouts.
Mosley said he has no hard feelings toward Golden Boy and is happy with work the team there again.
"I have no grudges against Golden Boy, they're a good company," he said. "I can do business with them. I can do business with Top Rank, whoever is going to be fair. I wanted this fight, so we did what we had to do to get it. It would be great to beat somebody like Canelo to kind of show that the naysayers that say I'm old and can't do it anymore and should retire are wrong. This will be the victory to show I am still here and I haven't left yet."
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.