VEGAS (AFP) - Manny Pacquiao easily defeated challenger Shane Mosley Saturday to retain his World Boxing Organization welterweight title and extend his fight win streak to 14 consecutive bouts. The 32-year-old Filipino pound-for-pound king knocked Mosley down with a straight left hand in the third round before earning a 12-round unanimous decision in front of a sell-out crowd of 16,000 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. The mainly partisan Filipino crowd, clad in yellow to match Pacquiao's gloves, were delighted to see their hero get the decision 119-108, 120-108 and 120-107.
"He felt my power so he didn't want to fight toe-to-toe," said Pacquiao, who had Mosley on his heels the entire 12 rounds. "I was surprised he just ran and ran. He was always running every time I wanted to throw a lot of punches." Pacquiao, a 10-time world champion in a record eight weight divisions, was making the second defence of his current welterweight crown. The southpaw from Sarangani, who suffered from leg cramps in the middle rounds, dominated from the opening bell as Mosley spent the majority of the fight in full retreat, bringing back memories for Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach of a similar one-sided fight with Joshua Clottey last year. Mosley had claimed he would expose Pacquiao's weaknesses but there was no turning back the clock for the 39-year-old four-time world champion, who looked every bit his age. "He (Mosley) didn't try to win," Roach said. "He just tried to survive and when you get to that point in boxing it is time to call it a day." Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) was the aggressor, pushing forward and trying without success to go for the knockout, especially in the third and 11th and 12th rounds. After the fight, the multi-talented Pacquiao was scheduled to head across the Las Vegas strip to the Mandalay Bay hotel for a singing engagement with his band at a "Beach Party" in his honour.
In keeping with the party theme, he appeared at the post-fight news conference with American socialite Paris Hilton joining him and his wife, Jinky, at the podium. Pacquiao threw 552 punches compared to just 260 for Mosley. The biggest problem for Pacquiao wasn't his opponent but rather cramping in his left leg which began in the fourth round. "I told my coach to press my legs because I can't move," Pacquiao said. "My legs tightened up during the fight. I couldn't move. It is the same thing that happened to me against (Juan Manuel) Marquez. Now it has come back."
Referee Kenny Bayless awarded Mosley a controversial knockdown in the 10th round. Television replays showed that Pacquiao was throwing a punch off balance, slipped and went down with a little help from Mosley's right hand. Bayless apologized to Pacquiao after the fight for the mistake. Mosley said he didn't hear the chorus of boos and denied that he is showing his age. Even though he comes from nearby Pomona, California, Mosley's fans were heavily outnumbered at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. "You can't blame age," Mosley said. "Manny is an exceptional fighter. He truly is the pound-for-pound king. He has speed and power that I have never felt before. "He surprised me with that power with the knockdown. That's the most legitimate knockdown on me in a long time." Indeed it is the first time Mosley has been knocked down in nine years, since losing to Vernon Forrest in 12 rounds. Pacquiao earned close to $15 million while Mosley collected about $5 million. With Mosley out of the way, Pacquiao expects to fight next in November, possibly against Marquez. Pacquiao was supposed to fight Floyd Mayweather last year but that fell through in a dispute over drug testing. Pacquiao said Saturday that his legacy is solid with or without a Mayweather fight on his resume.