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Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley get in last words

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley both addressed nagging criticisms about each other as the hours ticked down to their Saturday night welterweight title fight.

“We don’t know how many fights he fought clean,” Mayweather said about Mosley at Wednesday’s final news conference, digging once more at Mosley’s 2003 use of performance-enhancing drugs.

“Mayweather deserves credit for taking this chance [to fight me],” said Mosley, who has knocked out 39 of his 51 opponents and stands as the toughest opponent Mayweather has fought since taking on a close-to-retirement Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.

Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) long has been jabbed by critics for failing to engage in a classic brawl, backing off and fighting in spurts, instead of going for the kill and chasing the highlight-reel slugfest. Despite his unbeaten record, critics say Mayweather tends to dominate only against smaller or less skilled foes, as he did against Juan Manuel Marquez last year.

The opportunity for both men in this bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas is to conquer their most biting criticism.

“Shane is a very dangerous guy,” fight promoter Richard Schaefer said, pointing out Mosley’s ninth-round technical knockout upset over Antonio Margarito last year. “These guys who’ve said Mayweather has been afraid to fight, to take on a guy like [Mosley], needed to apologize when Floyd signed up for this fight.”

Mayweather is expected to be far more active than usual against Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs), who like Mayweather has been well-schooled in boxing since his youth and knows how to apply his craft’s finest skills and traps.

Mayweather, reluctant to ever acknowledge the severity of his challenger’s talent beyond cursory respect, said the Mosley bout will “entertain fans.” Mayweather also defended his past practice to “take less punishment” in bouts. Take a look at who’s still active from the U.S. Olympic classes of 1996 (where Mayweather won a bronze medal) and 2000, he suggests.

“It’s not my fault I dominate,” said Mayweather, 33, sharply dressed in a blue-gray vest and large tie. “If I had been in a bunch of wars, I wouldn’t be here talking to you guys anymore.”

As for Mosley, he called Mayweather “a special fighter,” acknowledging it will take an unusual effort by Mayweather to beat him. “He deserves props,” Mosley said. “Maybe he’s decided this is the right time to take this kind of fight.”

Mosley also revealed that the independent anti-doping protocol that Mayweather insisted upon for this bout — performed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency — has subjected him to four blood draws and eight urine tests.

“Eight times, that’s a bit excessive, but I like this,” Mosley said. “Hey, I’m a clean fighter.”

Schaefer said the thorough drug tests mean he “never wants to hear another word about Shane Mosley and BALCO.

“I do hope when Shane wins that people give him the credit he deserves and tell how a clean Shane Mosley beat the best fighter in the world.”

lance.pugmire@latimes.com


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