"War at 154": Mosley v Wright For The Undisputed World Title!

24.12.03 - Gary Shaw announced today that SUGAR SHANE MOSLEY, boxing’s most exciting world champion, and WINKY WRIGHT, the sport’s most feared world champion, have agreed to lay it all on the line in “The War at 154,” to determine the undisputed world champion in the 154-pound division for the first time in 29 years. Unlike their predecessors who have held world titles in the 154-pound division, Mosley, the WBC/WBA/Ring Magazine super welterweight champion and Wright, the IBF jr. middleweight champion, will rumble for the historic opportunity of becoming the division’s undisputed world champion, Saturday, March 13, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The fight, promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC and Pound-for-Pound Promotions, in association with Square Ring, will be televised nationally on HBO World Championship Boxing.

“The minute Sugar Shane won the world super welterweight title, Team Mosley said they would only seek out the biggest fights,” said Shaw, Mosley’s promoter. “Mosley-Wright IS the biggest fight in their division. Everyone has had an excuse for not fighting Sugar Shane or Winky. But when the opportunity presented itself to fight for the undisputed title, Sugar Shane and Winky offered not excuses, but pens to sign their contracts. This fight belongs at Mandalay Bay, which has hosted the most memorable fights in the history of boxing. Tony Alamo deserves all the credit for bringing the fight to this magnificent property.”

Mosley, 39-2 (35 KOs), from Pomona, CA, (fight-by-fight record captured his third world title in as many different weight classes, September 13, 2003, in front of a sellout crowd in Las Vegas, NV, when he overpowered WBC/WBA super welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya en route to a 12-round unanimous decision in their long-awaited rematch.

The fight, which was televised by HBO Pay-Per-View, was the second-highest non-heavyweight pay-per-view in history, with over 975,000 buys and $50.2 million in pay-per-view revenue. It was the second time Mosley had dethroned De la Hoya from his world title perch, having beaten him in 2000 for the WBC welterweight championship. Mosley held that title for nearly two years, successfully defending it three times.

Mosley captured his first world championship, the IBF lightweight title, in 1997. Mosley’s lightweight title reign lasted two years through eight successful defenses – all by knockout -- before vacating to move up two divisions to welterweight.

“I have accomplished a lot in my career,” said Mosley. “No one has defeated De La Hoya twice and not many can boast three world titles in three different weight classes. Now I want to add the undisputed 154-pound world championship to my trophy case. History is always a little sweeter when you add some Sugar to it.”

“I am so happy for Winky that he has finally been given the career-defining fight he has deserved for so long,” said Roy Jones, Jr., a world champion in four different weight classes, including the undisputed light-heavyweight title, AND Wright’s promoter. “I have been in enough big fights to know that they do not come any bigger than this one in the 154-pound division. I also know I am promoting the Wright man in this fight. Mosley has a lot of guts stepping into the same ring with Winky.”

Wright, 46-3 (25 KOs), a native of Washington, D.C., now residing in St. Petersburg, FL, (fight-by-fight record is in the third year of his second tour as world champion. Nearly 42% (20 to you non-math majors) of Wright’s fights have been on foreign soil earning the supremely self-confident champion the moniker “International Man of Misery” (to his opponents!). Wright has fought professionally in eight different countries on four different continents. He captured his first world title in 1996, defeating WBO jr. middleweight champion Bronko McKart in McKart’s hometown. Wright then traveled to England, successfully defending his title three times in succession against the top world-rated British contenders. Wright lost his title to South African Harry Simon via a highly controversial majority decision in 1998. The fight, which took place in South Africa, was first announced a “Draw,” but after a so-called “error” was discovered in the addition of one of the scorecards, Wright was informed in his locker room that Simon was awarded the title via a recalculated majority decision. After losing another controversial majority decision to then-undefeated IBF jr. middleweight champion Fernando Vargas in 1999, a fight the vast majority of the media and spectators alike thought Wright won handily, Wright regrouped and captured the IBF title vacated by Felix Trinidad in 2001. He has successfully defended it four times.

“Shane Mosley and I will make boxing history and personal history on March 13,” said Wright. “Shane and I are the only two people in this division man enough to risk it all to become the undisputed world champion. Trust me, I know. I have offered the same opportunity to De La Hoya and Vargas over and over and over again. Now they are on the sidelines where they belong. March 13 is reserved for the big boys.”

"This is a match-up boxing fans have long anticipated and will talk of long after," said Tony Alamo, Sr. Vice President of Mandalay Resort Group (Mandalay Bay's parent company). "My hat goes off to Gary Shaw, the man who brought this event together, and to these two competitive, professional athletes who choose to rise above what others cannot, to settle in the ring the question of who is more deserving of these championship belts. Mandalay Bay is proud to host this historic event as it represents what we strive to deliver to our customers above all else - Boxing at its Best."

The last time the 154-pound division had an undisputed world champion was when Koichi Wajima reclaimed the title from Oscar Albarado via a 15-round decision, January 21, 1975, in Tokyo, Japan. Since then, the title has been splintered with only Terry Norris, De La Hoya and now Mosley ever holding two of the three belts simultaneously.

Article posted on 24.12.2003

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