Boxing: Ease of Pacquiao victory leaves fans yearning for Floyd
This was far from being a classic. In fact, it never really got started. Manny Pacquiao forced a dominant 119-108, 120-108, 120-107 points decision on Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, with the Californian hell-bent on defence and survival after being knocked down in the third round.
The missing ingredient for Pacquiao, who dismissed his corner from raising him aloft at the final bell in spite of retaining the WBO welterweight belt, remains the haunting figure of Floyd Mayweather Jnr. Everyone knows it. But 'Money' isn't buying it.
The flat atmosphere as 16,412 spectators trudged to the exits after the event showed the Filipino needs greater challenges.
Once Mosley had survived the final minute of the third round after being knocked sideways and down by a rapier right cross and left hook combination, he fell back into a survival mode Robinson Crusoe would have been proud of. Pacquiao hunted, Mosley shuffled backwards, or circled to his left to avoid the champion's flashing, dangerous, mainly left-handed attacks. Mosley was left with only a puncher's chance of victory, but could find neither the timing, nor the opportunity.
Pacquiao revealed afterwards he had had cramps in his left leg from the fourth round onwards, limiting his ability to twist. With Mosley overly-defensive, there were only fleeting moments of excitement over the championship distance.
"He ran and ran," said Pacquiao, who earned $20m for the contest. Mosley received half that amount. "He felt my power but did not want to stand with me. He wanted to get through 12 rounds. I thought he would fight toe to toe for at least five rounds, and then test our power and stamina. But what am I going to do if my opponent does not want to go toe to toe ? I'm disappointed for the fans."
Pacquiao was down himself in the 10th. It was a push, rather than a punch, which put him on the canvas. He shook his head. Yet referee Kenny Bayless gave the champion a standing eight count. What it did do was create an ire in Pacquiao which made him forget about his leg cramps. He emerged for the 11th and final rounds and threw everything at Mosley whose realistic goal at that stage was to go the distance. It was a disappointing denouement to a week which drew 1,300 members of the media to what was set up to be a major event.
Mosley, in dark sunglasses after the fight, his face marked and bruised, gave his side of proceedings: "He won the fight, he's fast and unpredictable. He's the pound-for-pound king for a reason. I fell short. Pacquiao throws different types of punches. His punches did not seem hard, but they were."
Mosley has now lost his last two fights to the two men considered the leading lights in boxing. "Mayweather is more technical, more defensive. It would be pretty interesting if they fought."
Promoter Bob Arum said that the booing in the arena, rare at Pacquiao fights, was not aimed at the champion. "The problem is this, and it is becoming a pattern. De La Hoya, Margarito, Cotto, Clottey, Manny does not allow any opponent to fight their fight. He takes them out of their game plan because of his power and speed.
"You are watching the greatest fighter I have ever seen in my 45 years in the sport," said Arum, who promoted Muhammad Ali. So what of Floyd Mayweather, then? "He would beat the crap out of Mayweather, I guarantee that," said Arum. "And the one who knows that best is a real student of the game -- Floyd Mayweather Jnr."
Earlier on the ringside bell had been tolled 10 times for the passing of Henry Cooper, who died eight days ago, at the age of 76. (© Daily Telegraph, London)