Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines retained his WBO welterweight title by recording an unanimous points victory over a lackluster Shane Mosley at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The 32-year-old southpaw, despite being hampered by cramp in his left leg midway through the bout, dominated all 12 rounds against his defense-minded American opponent to improve his career record to 53-3-2 with 38 knockouts.
It was Pacquiao’s 14th consecutive win since his loss to Erik Morales in Las Vegas in March 2005, and enhanced his status as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
Fighting for the second time since winning a seat in his country’s national congress last year, Pacquiao gained one-sided verdicts from all three judges — 119-108, 120-108 and 120-107.
“It wasn’t my best performance, but I did my best,” Pacquiao said ringside. “My leg tightened up in the middle rounds and I couldn’t move. This is the same problem I had when I fought [Juan Manuel] Marquez so we are going to have to work on this.”
Pacquiao sent Mosley crashing to the canvas in the third round with a searing straight left, but, despite pressing for the rest of the fight, he was unable to stop an -opponent seemingly more interested in survival.
“I got him with a lucky shot,” Pacquiao said of the knockdown. “Mosley is not slow. He is fast. He was waiting for me to make a mistake and he wanted to counter. I was careful with that. I think he felt my power. I want to fight toe-to-toe, but this is boxing. It depends on the style of the opponent.”
“Sugar” Shane Mosley, an 8-1 underdog against the 10-time world champion, slipped to 46-7-1 with 39 knockouts and was booed for much of the bout because of his defensive approach.
“Manny is an exceptional fighter with good speed and power — power that I have never felt before,” said the 39-year-old American, who has yet to be stopped in his professional career. “Early in the fight, I was surprised by his punching power. I fought my best and I came up a little short. We will go back to the drawing board.”
Loud chants of “Manny, Manny, Manny” rang out in the Garden Arena before the two fighters made their way to the ring.
Mosley came out first, led by American rapper and actor LL Cool J, before Pacquiao followed with Jimi Jamison of US rock band Survivor singing the group’s 1982 hit Eye of the Tiger.
Round one began with both fighters probing. Pacquiao connected early on with a left jab, before Mosley landed a solid right-handed punch to the body.
With the crowd again chanting “Manny, Manny, Manny” Pacquiao began to find a rhythm and he landed several telling combinations before ending the second round with a right hook followed by a straight left.
In round three, Mosley connected with another solid right, before the Filipino sent the American crashing to the canvas after setting him up with a right jab — only the third time Mosley had ever been knocked down.
Pacquiao began round four in the same vein, continually forcing Mosley to back-peddle, although the American connected with his first three-punch combination of the fight.
In round six, Pacquiao kept moving forward and landed a solid upper cut, before Mosley, mainly focused on defense, responded late on with a powerful right hook.
The Filipino, wearing yellow gloves to give hope to those fighting hunger and poverty in the Philippines, kept Mosley on the retreat in round seven with his agile footwork and a series of probing combinations.
Pacquiao unleashed several accurate body and head jabs early in round eight against a tiring Mosley to maintain control as the crowd booed the defensive American.
Mosley was initially more aggressive in round nine with his jab, but the Filipino southpaw countered with a flurry of combinations, before landing a crunching straight left on the American’s chin.
Pacquiao, continually moving forward, forced Mosley back on to the ropes in the 10th round. The Filipino was surprisingly adjudged to have been knocked down after being pushed to the canvas by Mosley. Fired up, Pacquiao ended the round in aggressive mode, hitting Mosley late on with a withering left.
Sensing the chance of a knockout, Pacquiao kept coming forward in the final two rounds, pummeling his opponent at every opportunity and twice pinning Mosley against the ropes.
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