Sugar Shane Mosley could walk away from fight with Anthony Mundine unless cash is paid up front
Sugar Shane Mosley 47-8-1 (26KO) has sensationally threatened to walk away from his proposed bout with Anthony Mundine 44-5 (26KO) - demanding a large chunk of his $1 million purse be paid in advance to offset fears the fight will fizzle.
Despite being hyped as 'A Gateway to Floyd Mayweather', The Daily Telegraph can reveal US great Mosley could withdraw from the bout on Tuesday - a tick over 24 hours before the opening bell - if certain demands aren’t met.
When contacted Monday night Team Mosley refused to deny the walkout whispers, suggesting several contract "details" were still to be sorted.
Quizzed on suggestions his team could fly out of Sydney before Wednesday night’s bout at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, manager Hassan Abdul-Rahim Jnr said: "Call me back tomorrow morning and we’ll know for sure.
"There are still some things to work out, some things we need to look at, if you know what I mean."
Despite Mosley’s standing among the great fighters of the modern era, his bout with Mundine is in danger of being a financial bust.
Initially, organisers budgeted for Pay-Per-View sales of 80,000 and a crowd of 9000. Only a fraction of those numbers have been met.
Yet among those insisting the fight will take place is Australian boxing great Jeff Fenech, who has put an estimated $500,000 towards securing "our biggest fight since I took on Azumah Nelson 20 years ago".
When Mosley first threatened to withdraw from the fight back in August, it was Fenech who generously deposited $300,000 into an escrow account. Yet the Marrickville Mauler on Monday night denied reports he had been called on again this week to convince his long-time friend to stay in Sydney.
"There was a small problem but, as I understand it, everything has been fixed," Fenech said. “This is a bigger fight than Danny Green versus Roy Jones Jnr and everything I’m hearing tonight says it’s definitely on."
And the key, as always, is cash.
Yet as late as Sunday, only 1500 tickets had been sold for the Entertainment Centre bout - with promoters taking to Twitter with offers of freebies to celebrities like Sydney Swans recruit Buddy Franklin.
Fearing their fighter would not get paid, Team Mosley cancelled a range of weekend media commitments, including Channel Nine’s Wide World Of Sports, and also boycotted a proposed press conference at The Star casino on Monday - causing the event to be abandoned.
The Mosley camp have also refused to confirm their man will be at Tuesday’s weigh-in, scheduled for 1pm at The Star.
While Mundine has long promoted his own fights, the controversial athlete has stepped back from this one - with Los Angeles-based promoter Vlad Warton, the man who for years managed the career of Kostya Tszyu, in charge.
While the Redfern fighter has also been guaranteed close to $1 million, he is said to be situated behind private backers, Mosley and broadcaster Main Event when it comes to cash being handed out. All of which now has alarm bells ringing, with early predictions suggesting Australian sports fans no longer care enough about Mundine, one way or the other, to order this bout on pay-per-view.
While Warton failed to return with The Daily Telegraph’s calls last night, the promoter insisted on Sunday that "almost 6000 tickets" had been sold, ensuring the fight would go ahead as scheduled. Mundine also tweeted on Monday evening: "Don’t know who is saying the fight is cancelled ... the fight is on like Donkey Kong".
Incredibly, financial question marks have hung over the bout since August, when Mosley first threatened to withdraw from the fight, claiming $300,000 had not been put into an escrow account as agreed.
"I’m supposed to fight Anthony Mundine but they’re having money problems," he said at the time.
"If they can’t put a measly $300,000 into an escrow account until we fight then how are we going to fight for the money they’re talking about?
"We’re having problems (and) I don’t know what’s going to happen. That fight is really not a go."