Arum Wants Mosley to Sign on Dotted Line

Times Staff Writer

Unhappy with the pace of negotiations with Shane Mosley for a rematch with Oscar De La Hoya, promoter Bob Arum has issued a take-it-or-leave ultimatum to Mosley. Arum is threatening to replace him with Fernando Vargas for the Sept. 13 date if Mosley doesn’t sign by Feb. 8.

Negotiations to hold the match at Staples Center are proceeding more smoothly, with Arum labeling the arena “the front-runner” in bidding against Las Vegas casinos. Still to be resolved is a request by Arum that the office of Mayor James Hahn be involved in the promotion

An agreement in principle was reached a month ago for De La Hoya and Mosley to meet in a 154-pound championship fight with De La Hoya receiving between $12 and $15 million and Mosley $4 million. Additional income for the fighters would be based on attaining specified pay-per-view levels.


But Arum has heard rumors Mosley has had second thoughts about his share of the purse.

“We made a deal,” Arum said. “Barry Frank [Mosley’s promoter] has the contract and I’m expecting it to be signed. If Mosley decides to push the issue, to not live up to the terms, he’s out, no ifs, ands or butts and we’ll see if Vargas is ready. Oscar is not going to put up with this. Any additional money would have to come out of Oscar’s guarantee and he’s not going to do that.”

Frank, who is in New Zealand, sent word that Arum is imagining problems.

“Barry Frank has a verbal agreement with Top Rank,” publicist Norman Horton said. “He just received the contract three days ago before he left for New Zealand. He has not had a chance to review the contract and go over it with Shane. He does not see any problems. No one is threatening to pull out. It’s just a matter of reviewing the contract, which should be done very soon.”

De La Hoya lost the first meeting between the two fighters, by split decision in June 2000 at Staples Center, but he has the leverage this time. Arum is obviously happy to use it to pressure Mosley.

While De La Hoya is coming off one of his biggest triumphs, a technical knockout victory over Vargas last September in Las Vegas, Mosley has lost his last two fights, both to Vernon Forrest. De La Hoya can make as much money fighting Vargas a second time, but, instead, he would like to avenge one of his two losses.

Mosley can’t make $4 million fighting anybody else and another victory over De La Hoya might be the only way Mosley can restore his image as one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters.

Arum has set the Feb. 8 deadline because that is the night Mosley will face Raul Marquez at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Center in what is considered a tuneup bout. Should Marquez somehow pull off an unlikely upset, the De La Hoya fight would be off anyway.


Vargas is serving a nine-month suspension for using steroids in his match against De La Hoya. Vargas can return to the ring in mid-June but is expected to take a tuneup bout before considering a major opponent like De La Hoya. If Vargas fought in June, he could come back in September, assuming he had a relatively easy victory.

Arum and Staples President Tim Leiweke will meet Tuesday to continue negotiations. Leiweke has offered a site fee of a little more than $7 million and, says Arum, the response from the Las Vegas casinos has not been positive because of the slumping economy.

“We are asking the Los Angeles mayor’s office to promote the city in conjunction with the fight,” Arum said. “But it’s not a case of gimme, gimme, gimme. In return, we would be willing to run a 30-second or 60-second spot promoting Los Angeles on the international broadcast.”