Mosley Back-Pedals to UD Loss in Rare Pacquiao Stinker

May 8, 2011 in Boxing, Sport by pacejmiller

By Manny Pacquiao’s ordinarily lofty standards as the pound-for-pound king and the most exciting boxer in the world, his 12 round unanimous victory over future Hall-of-Famer Shane Mosley was a complete stinker.  I’d actually probably say it was one of his worst fights ever from an action and excitement perspective.

So what the heck happened?  Even at 39, Shane Mosley was expected to be a good opponent for Pacquiao not because he posed a serious threat, but because he’s been known throughout his career as a skilled, exciting boxer with speed and power, and most importantly, liked to trade shots with the other guy.

Instead, this Mosley essentially back-pedaled all night (worse than Cotto in those last few rounds, and Mosley wasn’t even seriously hurt), all the way out of the ring and straight to the bank to collect his cool $5 million bucks for this sham of a fight (Pacquiao got a guaranteed $20 million).  I’m a little angry and very disappointed, because Mosley talked it up and made it seem like he was going to hunt Manny down like Team 6 on Osama.  He exuded confidence because, as he said, Pacquiao likes to trade, and that’s what’s going to give him an opportunity to knock Pacquiao out.  But when the time came, Mosley did jack all.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt before the fight despite his last two performances (against Mayweather and Mora), but he’s a shot fighter.  No doubt about it.  He just can’t pull the trigger anymore.  This wasn’t an Oscar de la Hoya situation where Pacquiao didn’t give him the opportunity to get his punches off.  Mosley just didn’t want to throw.

How the fight unfolded

After a pretty decent undercard which I missed, Mosley entered the ring first with LL Cool J rapping ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ alongside him (how ironic).  Pacquiao entered next to ‘Eye of the Tiger’, sung live (or lip-synched) by Survivor.  All good up to this point.  Everyone was hyped.  Jamie Foxx sang a song and everyone cheered.

The first round was a ‘feel out’ round where neither guy did much, but Pacquiao clearly won because he at least tried to engage a little.  Mosley just threw a few jabs in the air and kept moving back whenever Pacquiao looked like he might throw a punch.  But at least he was sharp, and I thought perhaps he was sizing Manny up and getting ready to go all out in the next round.

But in round 2 Mosley did more of the same.  Pacquiao turned it up a notch, but not by much.  He did have a couple of brisk moments where the crowd went ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ from his combinations, but by and large it was uneventful.

Round 3 turned out to be probably the best round of the fight because Pacquiao managed to land a couple of big shots (a left and a right) that put Mosley on his backside.  Mosley got up at about the count of 5, but from the stunned expression on his face and the wobbly legs it looked like he was ready to go.  However, Pacquiao didn’t really go after him with full force and Mosley survived.

If Mosley was tentative up to that point in the fight, after the knockdown, it was much much worse.  I couldn’t believe the bigger guy, the supposedly stronger guy, was running so much.  It was embarrassing to watch, and frustrating for the fans who paid good money to see what they thought would be an action-packed bout.

From round 4 onwards, Mosley just back-pedaled and Pacquiao chased.  Apparently in this round Pacquiao cramped his calf, which made mobility an issue for the remainder of the fight, a possible reason why he didn’t go after Mosley harder than he did.  Rounds 4 to 9 were really a complete blur in my memory because they were all the same.  Mosley refusing to engage and Pacquiao bringing brief moments of fake excitement whenever he landed a few blows before Mosley darted away again (it got so bad that the crowd cheered whenever Pacquiao got close to Mosley).

In round 10, the best possible thing that could happen in this fight happened.  Mosley clearly pushed an off-balance Pacquiao to the canvas, but referee Kenny Bayless inexplicably ruled it a knockdown (he apologised later).  Freddie Roach was fuming, and Pacquiao was bewildered, but soon the bewilderment turned to anger and he finally started putting his punches together and sprinted after Mosley instead of just stalking him.  At last, Pacquiao started belting Mosley with powerful combinations, but Mosley turned it up a gear and ran even faster, managing somehow to survive until the final bell.

Not surprisingly, boos rained down throughout the slower parts of the fight, and who could blame them?  Mosley looked like he had zero intention of trying to win the fight, and the only thing he cared about was walking away without a permanent injury (so he can snuggle up to his hot new 21-year-old girlfriend, who received the second loudest ovation after Pacquiao at the venue where I watched the fight).  At least against Joshua Clottey, Clottey covered up most of the night.  Mosley just ran.

The final scorecard: 120-108, 120-107 and 119-108.  This was quite astonishing, considering they used a ’10-point must’ scoring system for the 12 rounds and Pacquiao was ruled as having been knocked down in round 10.  Usually when a boxer is knocked down, the round automatically becomes a 10-8 in favour of the guy who scored the knockdown, but the fact that Pacquiao received perfect scores from 2 judges and only lost a point on the other, showed just how pathetially hopeless Mosley was on this night.

Final thoughts

What a stinker of a Pacquiao fight. Average or slightly above average compared to your run of the mill boxing match, but a stinker by Pacquaio’s standards.

Pacquiao was disappointed afterwards and showed it in the interview, because he knew he didn’t give fans what they wanted to see.  He complained about the lack of willingness to engage on Mosley’s part and his calf injury.  He was almost completely unmarked after the fight, whereas Mosley’s face was puffy and bruised, and was forced to wear sunglasses in the post-fight interview.

I had predicted that Pacquiao would be the first to knock Mosley out (he did pretty well by just being the second person — after Vernon Forrest — to knock Mosley down) because I thought Mosley would try and trade.  I think from what we saw in the fight, if Mosley did decide to trade, he almost certainly would have been carried out on a stretcher.  How he fooled everybody, including even his own trainer, Nazim Richardson, who pleaded all night for Mosley to do something.

I don’t really blame Pacquiao for what transpired here.  His job, first and foremost, is to win the fight, which he was doing with absolute ease.  He didn’t have to do much to dominate this bout.  Why risk anything if you can just coast your way to a victory?  I just wish he wasn’t so friendly to Mosley, allowing him to escape from the corner whenever he had him seemingly trapped, and not going after him until the 10th round knockdown error by the referee.  If the error occurred earlier the fight probably would have been less burdensome to watch.

That reminds me of a couple of things I noticed about the fight that really irked me.  One was that Pacquiao and Mosley would touch gloves at the start and end of every round and after just about every accidental head butt (there were a few) and separation by the referee.  I mean come on, it’s good to be friends after the fight but not in the ring.  They even hugged at the beginning of the 12th and final round.  It made me feel like Shane was just saying: thanks for giving me the chance to steal $5 million; I just fooled the world into thinking I was going to fight, but I was really here just to collect my paycheck and try and get out with my brain in one piece.

The second thing was Shane’s corner always taking an extra 5-10 seconds between rounds to get out of the ring.  I thought it was an obvious ploy to give Shane more time to recover so he can run faster the next round, and the referee should have at least warned them.

What’s next

Pacquiao’s next opponent will probably be Juan Manuel Marquez, who really wants to fight Pacquiao after believing he was robbed in two previous decisions (a draw and a loss).  Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum already sent an offer to Marquez, which he turned down, and they are sending a revised version to him.  Perhaps they were offering too little money, or perhaps he didn’t like the weight (which would almost certainly be welterweight).

Arum says if Marquez backs out then the next best option is Timothy Bradley, a legitimate young stud and title holder.  Not sure if a real danger for Pacquiao, but with Mayweather nowhere to be found, the best that could be hoped for.  Andre Berto might be in the mix, but he’s not as attractive now that he’s got a loss on his record (recently to Victor Ortiz).  And the other guy in the pound-for-pound chatter, Sergio Martinez, is just too big at 154 pounds.

I hope Pacquiao does take on Marquez again, because I think it’ll be a good fight.  Marquez is the only guy that has given Pacquiao real trouble since 2005, though I think it will be a massacre at 147 pounds.  A brutal, bloody massacre that will shut everyone up about Marquez’s earlier success against Pacquiao.

As for Shane Mosley, please retire and ride off into the sunset with your hot young girlfriend.  You’ve had a glorious career but you crapped all over your legacy tonight.  At least you got 5 million bucks out of it.