Tuesday, April 27, 2010 | 10:14 p.m.
Shane Mosley won't accuse Floyd Mayweather Jr. of ducking opponents.
Mayweather will fight you, says Mosley — but only when you've become an older, distracted, less-dangerous version of yourself.
"I think he was fighting fighters at the right time," Mosley said. "At the end of their careers or when they were going through something in life. I think he was trying to get them all at the right time."
When Mosley (46-5, 39 KO) enters the ring against Mayweather (40-0, 25 KO) on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, there are some who would say he's fallen into that trap.
He's 38 years old. He hasn't fought in 15 months. His wife filed for divorce last year.
But when it's pointed out to him that perhaps Mayweather took all those facts into consideration when he agreed to the fight in January, Mosley shows no concern.
In fact, he hopes it's true.
"Maybe he believes that's true," said Mosley, on whether or not he's past his prime. "Maybe that's why the fight is taking place.
"But I know that's not true. It's not what Floyd believes, or thinks or says. I don't care about all that. I care about what I believe, what I think and what I can do in the ring."
Whether Mosely's age or personal life will hinder him Saturday, there's no question fans will likely see the most motivated version of the fighter in his 17-year professional career.
As the world clamored for a matchup between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, Mosley found himself on the outside looking in as arguably the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
He wanted one of the two. Either of the two.
So, when asked if it was fate that a potential fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao fell through at nearly the same time Andre Berto pulled out of a scheduled bout with him, Mosley can't help but smile.
"God always has a plan," Mosley said. "God's the best planner there is."
Mosley's lobbying for a mega-fight between one of the top two fighters in the world was never more obvious than on Sept. 19 last year.
As a representative of Golden Boy Promotions, Mosley entered the ring following Mayweather's unanimous decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The two fighters then got into a confrontation when it became obvious Golden Boy was looking to promote Mosley as Mayweather's next opponent.
Mosley caught some heat for the events that night, as Mayweather's advisor Leonard Ellerbe accused him of looking "desperate."
Mosley, however, has insisted what happened was nothing he had planned before stepping into the ring.
"I think that I went over this already a couple times and I'm not sure if you guys are getting the picture," Mosley said. "I am a part of Golden Boy Promotions, that's the reason I was in the ring. The reason why I said something to him was because he called me over. He welcomed me into the conversation, and that's when I said what I did."
Now that he has the matchup he wanted, Mosley has done everything possible to prepare himself both physically and mentally to take advantage of the opportunity.
Mosley understands that many watching Saturday's fight, including the judges, will assume he'll use his strength and aggression to make Mayweather uncomfortable.
While he does plan on using those qualities to his advantage, he's mapped out a game plan that won't set an early standard for the judges to score by and potentially hurt his chances in the later rounds.
"I never want to get into a situation where I say, 'I'm going to pressure this guy,' and then I have to go in the ring and live up to pressuring him for the whole 12 rounds," Mosley said. "Because if I don't pressure him, they'll say, 'Oh, something must be wrong because he's not pressing him, so Floyd won the round.'
"I can box, too. I've out-boxed guys I was supposed to knock out. This is what makes me 'Sugar' Shane, — being able to box, being able to punch, being able to slip and slide and do everything that boxing requires."
If Mosley's plan works, he'll solidify his spot in boxing history Saturday. And he knows it.
As big as it was for his career when he became just the second man to defeat Oscar De La Hoya in 2000, becoming the first to beat Mayweather would trump it.
"Every fight has its own significance, but this would be a great win," Mosley said. "It would definitely be a feather in my cap if I beat Floyd Mayweather."
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.