Heavily favored Filipino pound-for-pound king and reigning WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2 38 KO) found himself in the similar scenario of being on the easy end of yet another lopsidedly successful title defense against former welterweight super champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley (46-6-1 39 KO 1 NC) in their Showtime Saturday night fight in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Hype leading up to the fight promised an entertaining bell-to-bell match seeing as both fighters have long established themselves as all out warriors in their veteran tenures in the ring. Both fighters prior to the bout combined for a total of 77 career knockouts and a whopping 98 victories, forming a formidable 79 percent knockout rate.
Furthermore, both men are known to be straight-forward fighters, utilizing classic speed and punching power to trample their opponents.
It was also made clear that a strong sense of mutual respect existed in between the two ring adversaries, as each gave the other profound praises in pre-fight press conferences and have acknowledged their friendship in everyday life.
The path toward the fight was vastly different for both camps which have had polarized experiences in recent years.
At age 39, Mosley has been finding himself struggling to keep a grasp on his dwindling career. Having won only two fights since 2007, the American welterweight is remembered for the most part as the losing party in the biggest fight of his career—against undefeated boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr., May of last year.
Mosley has since then fought only once before facing Pacquiao, against middleweight Sergio Mora—acclaimed champion of the boxing reality television show, The Contender. Their encounter ended in a split draw, with one judge scoring in favor of each and the remaining judge calling an even fight.
A number of critics and boxing experts alike have suggested Mosley's retirement, believing him to be past his prime after considering he has not won even half of his fights in the past four years and seeing his unimpressive outing against Mora.
Mosley does however have one fact going for him: He has never been knocked out in his entire career.
Pacquiao on the other hand has been on the better end of his career groove since avenging his 2005 loss to Erik Morales.
The pound-for-pound king of the ring became the first in boxing history to have carried a record eight world titles in seven different weight classes within his 13-bout winning streak stemming from the sixth round knockout of Hector Velasquez in September of 2005 to his most recently garnered unanimous decision win over Antonio Margarito in Texas in November of last year.
Quickly and consistently making his case as one of the greatest fighters of all time, Pacquiao's position is rivaled in this generation only by fellow welterweight Mayweather Jr.
No stranger to being the smaller man in the fight, Pacquiao was dwarfed by the physical advantages of Mosley in height and reach—Mosley being 5'9'' with a 71'' reach and Pacquiao being 5'6'' with a 66" reach—but he held the upper hand in the impermanent area of age at 32 and still very much in his prime.
Upon the customary singing of each participant's national anthem—Charice Pempengco for the Philippines and Tyrese Gibson for the United States of America followed by Jamie Foxx with America is beautiful—the MGM Grand Garden Arena crown erupted in a sea of cheers shouting "Manny! Manny! Manny!"
The lights were dimmed and both fighters were led out of their respective tunnels by their choice of music artists singing their entrance songs.
Mosley, in black and gold, was led by rapper James Todd Smith, better known as LL Cool J whilst Pacquiao, donning his signature headband and the colors of the Philippine flag, was led by the former singer of the band Survivor, Jimi Jamison to the tune of Rocky Balboa's Eye of the Tiger.
As both fighters approached the center of the ring to touch gloves and receive referee Kenny Bayless' last instructions, it was clear by the lack of aggression on their faces that no bad blood was present in between them.
The bout began with both fighters greeting each other by touching gloves, an action they would continue all night long with every intervention in the action.
Though most of the first round looked to have been spent by both boxers getting a feel for each other, Pacquiao was very characteristic of himself, looking to connect early and push forward. Mosley though was surprisingly evasive, bobbing and weaving and ultimately making a majority of Pacquiao early combinations miss their targets.
The second round gave shimmer of hope that the 9-1 underdog Mosley may very well pull an upset over the champion. Mosley continued to make Pacquiao miss and with a few quick combinations and showcased impressive speed for a man his age.
Pacquiao looked to move in but Mosley's block was just as sufficient as his offense.
In the latter part of the round, Pacquiao landed a good combination to throw Mosley off his groove, but Shane remained in control and finished in a satisfactory fashion.
There isn't a doubt in the world that Mosley was fighting in such a manner because he was fully aware of the dangers that come with letting Pacquiao have his way.
If somehow Mosley could keep up the pace he had set in these six opening minutes, he had a good chance of going home with a new image and some new leather around his waist.
Two knockdowns were recorded in the bout and the first of them came in Round 3.
Pacquiao became more aggressive, noticeably increasing his effort with every passing round. Mosley stuck to his new-found game of staying cool in the heat of the fight and looked for opportunities to counter the charging Pacquiao.
It seemed to have been working for Mosley until he allowed an opening for Pacquiao to place a stiff, straight right hand to the center of his face followed by a left upper-cut to his jaw, sending him to the canvas for the first time in a long, long time.
Mosley got up well before the 8-count but the look of disbelief on his face was apparent.
Pacquiao wasted no time in going for the kill, thinking perhaps that he could very well be going home much earlier than he could have expected. Mosley went on an obvious survival mode, clinching and holding on to his pumped-up opponent for dear life.
Pacquiao's combinations began landing flush and fast but the man who boasts his durability in the ring did not let his fame go to waste, Mosley would live to fight another round.
Though he was knocked down in the previous round, the fourth round was really the start of Mosley's night-long technical struggles.
The man dubbed "Sugar" didn't seem so sweet as he struggled to find a punch through all the remaining rounds.
Pacquiao took the the role of aggressor and hung on to it, coming in and out with short pauses to show for it.
Mosley certainly did not look anything like his usual self in the fight; staying away, opting to fight outside, trying to establish the jab and waiting patiently for Pacquiao to make mistakes and take his chances at a couple of counter punches.
Unfortunately for Shane Mosley, he wasn't Floyd Mayweather Jr. and learning how to execute Mayweather's complex defense at this ending-point of his career was certainly not going to cut it.
Pacquiao kept coming, Mosley kept running and the fight was indeed slipping away in Pacquiao's favor.
A sense of urgency must have kicked in for Mosley in the eighth round as he came out of his corner with his frame bent lower and an intention to land some shots because there was not a doubt in anybody's mind that he was down on the cards, and he needed to go out and score.
But with every Mosley advance came a Pacquiao flurry, forcing him to retreat each time.
The next two rounds followed in this suit; Mosley was taking the smarter shots, but Pacquiao was landing more of them.
It was clear that Mosley's efforts were too little, and at this point, too late.
"Sugar" Shane needed a miracle.
In Round 10, he got one.
The two boxers seriously stood toe-to-toe for the first time in the entire fight. After a short series of exchanges and blistering combinations, referee Kenny Bayless was soon counting off a knockdown on Manny Pacquiao.
It is debatable as to whether or not it was rightfully ruled as a knockdown since the footage shows the incident being more in the nature of a shove from Mosley's right hand.
But like any sport, the official's word is law and the knockdown count was administered.
The champion got up without a problem, somewhat laughing at what had just transpired. The laughter did not last and Pacquiao went straight to work. The "Pacman" exploded into a series of punches sending Mosley on a full retreat until the sound of the bell.
The penultimate Round 11 was more like an extension of the last minute of the previous one, Pacquiao pushed forward and looked for an opportunity to finish the fight right then and there, but if there's one thing Mosley has proven time and again, he knows how to stay on his feet.
Mosley survived by clinching the timer away, sending the bout into the twelfth and final round.
After all they have let out in the past half hour, the two men showed their appreciation for one another's efforts by sharing an embrace to start the last three minutes of their hostile encounter.
The crowd reignited and let out another thundering chorus of "Manny!" cheers.
Pacquiao did not hold back and forced the issue of trying to stop Mosley, an electrifying round for the champion, but his intentions were never met.
Mosley wanted to finish the fight. He had gone his entire career without tasting a bitter knockout and this, what could possibly be his last fight, wasn't going to be his first stain.
Both men headed into their corners with smiles on their faces to await the predictable decision of the judging panel.
Known as one that consistently looks to please his fans, Pacquiao sure did not disappoint after going the full championship distance of 12 rounds with
All three judges unanimously scored the bout in favor of Pacquiao; Duane Ford had it 120-107, Dave Moretti had it 120-108 and Glen Trowbridge had it 119-108.
Clearly the judges went against referee Kenny Bayless' call of a knockdown on Pacquiao in the tenth round. It was an unconventional and controversial decision but it wouldn't have affected the outcome of the fight anyway.
With another title defense under his belt and an impressive addition to his Hall of Fame resume, Manny Pacquiao is certainly piling on the case for what his legacy will ultimately be remembered as.
But in the light of glory comes the shadow of frustration.
When asked about his future plans during Showtime's post-fight interview, Pacquiao, accompanied by his manager Bob Arum gave not a mention or hint of desire in their answers to make the what-would-be historic Mayweather-Pacquiao fight happen.
Arum stated that Pacquiao will indeed be fighting this November and dropped the names of Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley as his potential match-ups for the bout.
Boxing fans around the world know what it is and there will be no resolution to it until one of the fighters speaks about it clearly and directly.
The chances of the all-time super fight happening this year are slim with the current comments being given, but deep inside every boxing fan, promoter and the two fighters that would be involved is the insatiable knowledge that it would be a crime to let this era, their primes, slip away without it taking place.
Carlo's scorecard: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 TOTAL
Pacquiao: | 10 | 09 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 08 | 10 | 10 || 117
Mosley: | 10 | 10 | 08 | 10 | 09 | 09 | 09 | 09 | 09 | 10 | 09 | 09 || 111
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