Shane Mosley's advisers met with Manny Pacquiao's promoters yesterday to finalise terms for the pair to meet in the ring in Las Vegas on May 7.
Pacquiao (52-3-2), the Filipino who is the only fighter to have won world titles in eight weight classes, was expected to reveal his next opponent during his 32nd birthday celebration in Manila on Friday. The WBC super welterweight and WBO welterweight title-holder did not make any announcement yesterday.
Mosley (46-6-1), himself a champion in three weight divisions, said James Prince, his adviser, and Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, would "go over the particulars and maybe sign" a contract for the fight.
"We've already discussed the fight about three-four weeks ago, so now we'll go over it again," Mosley told the Los Angeles Times. "Both sides just need to commit to what we've talked about and then I think we're done."
Arum had said Mosley was among three possible opponents, along with Andre Berto, the undefeated WBC welterweight champion, and Juan Manuel Marquez, Mexico's WBA and WBO lightweight champion, who has a draw and a loss against Pacquiao in their two previous encounters.
Floyd Mayweather Jr has long been the boxer fans would most like to see fight Pacquiao, but Mayweather is facing several felony charges relating to an alleged assault on his former girlfriend and could be sentenced to 34 years in prison if found guilty.
That further reduces the number of quality opponents available to Pacquaio.
A third fight with Marquez is unlikely to grab the boxing public's attention. Pacquaio, known as "The Mexicutioner", among many other nicknames, has repeatedly beaten Mexico's elite boxers, including an epic trilogy against Eric Morales. But one chink in his armour is his struggle to deal with good counter-punchers, and Marquez is arguably one of the best.
Pacquiao further enhanced his claim as the world's "best pound-for-pound" fighter with a one-sided title defence against Antonio Margarito last month.
Mosley, 39, whose last contest, against Segio Mora, ended in a draw, was outclassed by Mayweather in their bout in May, but the American will see a fight against Pacquiao as a chance to defeat another elite boxer in a career that has seen him beat the likes of Oscar de la Hoya (twice) and Miguel Cotto.
In the heavyweight division, meanwhile, David Haye has challenged Wladimir Klitschko to agree to terms on a title fight.
Adam Booth, Haye's trainer and manager, says a 50-50 split of earnings has been offered to the younger of the Klitschko brothers and the "path is clear" after resolving "all the old problems and disagreements."
Haye says "we have removed every possible excuse and have shown we are serious about making this fight become a reality."
Haye, who retained his WBA belt by beating fellow British boxer Audley Harrison last month, withdrew from a 2009 fight with Klitschko because of a back injury.
Haye said yesterday the fight "needs to happen for the good of the sport."
Wladimir holds three of the various world heavyweight titles, Vitali one and Haye the other.
Vitali Klitschko said Wladimir is ready to agree to a fight with Haye. "Wladimir is ready to fight Haye. It is always Haye who comes up with the excuses," the elder Klitschko told the Golzka newspaper. "Last year we had a signed contract and that wasn't enough. Haye has the last remaining title that doesn't belong to a Klitschko. There are no problems with us to make a fight with Haye."
* Compiled by Steve Luckings with agencies