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Manny Pacquiao watches as Shane Mosley goes down during their bout for the World Boxing Organization welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 7. Pacquiao retained the crown via a unanimous decision to extend his winning streak to 14 bouts.  (AFP/Gabriel Bouys)

 

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Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter

Did you ever think you’d see a Manny Pacquiao fight end in boos?

It took 58 fights over 16 years as a professional boxer, but the final bell of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title defense against Pomona, California’s “Sugar” Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 7 was greeted by a chorus of jeers after a largely uneventful 12 round waltz left a sour taste in the sellout crowd’s mouths.

The 32-year-old Pacquiao, now 53-3-2 (38 KO), won a wide unanimous decision by the scores of 120-107, 120-108 and 119-108, but has failed to produce a knockout in his last three fights.

Mosley, who turns 40 in September, slips to 46-7-1 (39 KO) and has likely seen his final appearance in a major fight.

If the fight itself lacked entertainment value, the event’s promotion made up for it.

Pacquiao was accompanied to the ring by Jimi Jamison, lead singer of the band Survivor, who sang the boxing staple “Eye of the Tiger.”

Mosley was accompanied by rapper LL Cool J who performed “Mama Said Knock You Out.”

Actors/R&B singers Tyrese Gibson and Jamie Foxx sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America,” while Filipina singing sensation Charice gave her rendition of “Lupang Hinirang.”

Once the bell sounded, Pacquiao and Mosley seemed to be in sparring partner mode as the two repeatedly touched gloves in a show of superfluous sportsmanship that drained the bout of any drama.

Any aspirations Mosley had in the fight quickly disappeared when, with a minute remaining in the third round, Mosley was dropped by a straight left hand as he dipped to the side and tried to counter.

Mosley, who had previously only been down twice (in 2002 against Vernon Forrest), was seriously dazed but survived the round by entering full retreat mode.

Pacquiao, who made a reported $6 million for the fight to Mosley’s purse of $3.95 million, didn’t press his advantage but cited tightness in his left leg for his inability to finish Mosley off.

The chants of “Manny, Manny!” were being replaced by boos by the sixth round as the fans grew restless for finality.

The fight blew open when Pacquiao attempted to throw an overhand left and tripped over Mosley’s leg.

Referee Kenny Bayless erroneously ruled it a knockdown, though replays on the overhead screen clearly showed that no punch had landed from Mosley.

Two of the judges scored the round 10-10 instead of the usual 10-8 afforded for a knockdown, while the third scored it 10-9.

The dubious knockdown awoke the sleeping giant Pacquiao and began to punish Mosley, who remained on the defensive and just tried to avoid being knocked out.

“I was expecting that he would fight with me at least five rounds of the 12 rounds, to fight toe-to-toe with me so that we could test our power and our stamina, you know,” said Pacquiao at the post-fight press conference.

“But what am I going to do if my opponent does not want to fight toe-to-toe?”

Defending Pacquiao, promoter Bob Arum deflected criticism of Pacquiao for the fight’s lack of excitement, saying, “[Manny] wasn’t exactly playing tiddly winks with some of the shots he hit Mosley with.

“I thought the crowd was booing not because of Manny but because they wanted Shane to engage him, that’s how I interpreted. Manny was on the aggressive the whole fight.”

Mosley, who rose to international fame on the strength of two decision wins over Oscar De La Hoya in 2000 and 2003, has now gone 0-2-1 in his last three fights, including a one-sided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year.

When asked to compare Pacquiao and Mayweather, Mosley said, “I think that Manny has good punching power — I wouldn’t say he is physically stronger. They were different kind of punches than anything I’d felt from anyone else. Mayweather is definitely more technical and defensive, but a very skilled fighter.”

Arum defended the unpopular decision of selecting Mosley over a third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez for Pacquiao’s first fight in Las Vegas since his 2009 drubbing of Miguel Cotto by citing Mosley’s English proficiency, which would make CBS and Showtime’s promotion of the event easier given the infancy of their partnership in promoting boxing fights.

Arum did admit he was incorrect in assuming that the Mexican native Marquez, who now lives in California, was not fluent in English, but said that he didn’t realize it until it was too late.

At the post-fight press conference, Arum narrowed Pacquiao’s next opponent to Marquez, former junior-welterweight and current International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight titlist Zab Judah of Brooklyn, N.Y. and current undefeated and unified junior welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley.

Arum stated that a fight with the undefeated Mayweather Jr., who lives in Las Vegas but was not in attendance at the fight, wouldn’t be possible until next year because of Mayweather’s inactivity.

Mayweather hasn’t fought since last May, when he decisioned Mosley.

BoxingScene.com reported earlier this week that Marquez accepted an offer to face Pacquiao a third time on Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand at a catch-weight of 144 pounds.

Marquez was most recently promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, which has the option to match the $5 million offer presented by Top Rank.

Their first fight took place at featherweight in 2004, with the fight being declared a draw after Marquez arose from three first round knockdowns to turn the tides.

They fought again in 2008, with Pacquiao scoring a knockdown in the third round, only to see Marquez come roaring back.

Pacquiao managed to win a narrow split-decision and take Marquez’s 130 pound title.

Marquez, now 37 with a record of 52-5-1 (38 KO), has won two lightweight title defenses since losing a one-sided fight against Mayweather Jr. in 2009, which was the only fight Marquez ever fought above 135 pounds.

Marquez was at the post-fight press conference to voice his desire to face Pacquiao a third time and promised to be a more dangerous proposition than Mosley was.

“This is a sport and outside of the ring we are friends. Inside the ring, we are enemies,” said Marquez.

Rodel Mayol returns with win

Former World Boxing Council (WBC) light flyweight champion Rodel “Batang Mandaue” Mayol continued his comeback with a 10-round majority decision win over spirited Mexican native Javier Gallo on the undercard of Pacquiao-Mosley.

The 29-year-old Mayol, who won the 108 pound title in 2009 second round knockout of Edgar Sosa but lost it in his second defense, started fast and seemed to be on his way to a knockout victory in the middle rounds.

The fight evened out down the stretch as Mayol’s stamina suddenly dropped, as had been the case in some of his losses.

The Cebuano Mayol raises his record to 28-5-2 (21 KO), while Gallo drops to 17-4-1 (9 KO).

(Editor’s note: Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America [BWAA] and contributes to GMANews.TV and the Filipino Reporter newspaper. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ryansongalia).

 

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Paris Hilton poses with Manny Pacquiao after his fight with Shane Mosley.  (Reuters/Richard Brian)

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