Shane Mosley was hellbent alright. He was hellbent in surviving his fight versus reigning WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. After suffering a knockdown in the third round, Mosley turned on to defensive mode all the way, refusing to engage the Filipino boxing icon to a boxing match that promised fireworks.
Gone was the Mosley who defied the odds and brutalized Antonio Margarito. Gone was the Mosley who went on to give Oscar dela Hoya two memorable beatings. Gone was the Mosley who knocked Fernando Vargas out twice. Mosley was never inside the MGM Grand tonight to begin with.
For his part, Pacquiao did try to provide some explosive moments and even went for the knockout in the last two rounds. However, Mosley denied his Filipino opponent the satisfaction of being the first ever to stop him. In what was hyped as a shootout between two known offensive-minded pugilists, Mosley forgot all about offense and tried his best to finish the fight on his feet and with his wits intact as Pacquiao’s speed, weird angle-punching, and overall awkward style got the best of the American.
While Mosley enjoyed the advantages as far as physical attributes are concerned, Pacquiao easily gobbled whatever vantage points Mosley had. And whatever fight the American brought to the ring, the Filipino clamped on it easily as he floored Mosley in the third round. It was a running game since then.
Mosley’s highly vaunted right hand was never a factor in the fight. While he did let his right fly a few times, almost throughout the match, Mosley held his right hand close to block Pacquiao’s devastating left-handed shots to the head – a telltale sign of how much he got hurt with Pacquiao’s stinging left straight that resulted in a knockdown.
Mosley never again engaged Pacquiao, save for a few spurts of punches and hugging as Pacquiao maintained his assault. As the fight went on and with the crowd booing Mosley for lack of action, the American’s age became more and more obvious. As great as he once was, the Mosley that fought Pacquiao was but a shadow of his former self, an elite fighter whose career has long passed him by.
For Pacquiao, his victory over the aging Mosley does not add any luster to his storied career. However, his dominance over the American is far better that Mayweather’s and that should give Pacquiao and his cohorts a slight leverage in the negotiating table if and when Mayweather and his team decides to make terms for a showdown.
There is only one direction available for Mosley at this point: retire. In what could have been his only opportunity to redeem long lost greatness, Mosley squandered by busily defending himself rather than take chances and engage. In a momentous occasion where Mosley could have ended his career with a bang, he chose to go out in a fizzle.
Photo credits: CNN.com