Quake causes Berto to back out of fight

The strain of dealing with the Haitian earthquake was too much for Andre Berto, forcing him to withdraw from his fight next week with Shane Mosley at Mandalay Bay. The move could open up a much bigger fight matching Mosley against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Promoter Richard Schaefer said Monday he already was working on trying to make a Mosley-Mayweather match and said both boxers were interested in the bout.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to pull it off,” Schaefer said. “I’m cautiously optimistic we can put something together. It would be a great fight.”

Mayweather has been looking for an opponent ever since his March 13 megafight with Manny Pacquiao collapsed amid Mayweather’s demand for blood testing for performance enhancing drugs. Mosley would be an interesting choice, since he had links to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative lab and says he unknowingly used steroids before his 2003 fight with Oscar De La Hoya.

Schaefer said he wasn’t sure if Mayweather would demand blood testing for Mosley but said he already has talked to the Mayweather camp and been given assurances he wants the fight. If negotiations prove successful, it would be held either May 1 or May 8 in Las Vegas.

“Mayweather is interested, and so, of course, is Shane,” Schaefer said. “Now it’s a matter of negotiating the right deal structure that makes everyone happy.”

Berto and Mosley were to meet a week from Saturday at Mandalay Bay in a scheduled 12-round fight for Berto’s WBC welterweight title. The fight against the veteran Mosley was to have been televised on HBO and would have been the biggest of Berto’s career.

But Berto, who represented Haiti in the Athens Olympics, said he could not train properly for the fight in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit the country where his parents were born.

“As a result of this disaster, I am mentally and physically exhausted, and therefore I have no choice but to withdraw from my bout,” Berto (25-0, 19 knockouts) said in a statement.

Berto, who has many relatives on the island, had been in training in Florida and was to arrive in Las Vegas on Wednesday. But he said he could not go forward.

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