x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

He didn't want to fight me: Manny Pacquiao

Both Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach, were disappointed at Mosley's benign effort.

Manny Pacquiao, left, dominated Shane Mosley from start to finish.
Manny Pacquiao, left, dominated Shane Mosley from start to finish.

A rowdy night in a gaudy city managed to fling a bevy of disappointment, even if Manny Pacquiao did dominate Shane Mosley to retain his WBO welterweight title and record both his 14th successive win and third consecutive unanimous decision.

Mosley felt disappointed at his own fecklessness. Pacquiao felt disappointed that his calves cramped and prevented peak efficiency. Both Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach, were disappointed at Mosley's benign effort. Mosley felt disappointed at blisters that kicked in halfway through.

And many of the 16,142 fans felt disappointed enough to spend the middle rounds jeering.

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"Our guy trying to win against the other guy just trying to survive," went Roach's description, and the three judges chimed in accordingly, scoring it 119-108, 120-108 and 120-107 in the emphatic decision.

As Mosley looked aged after promising not to, one judge accorded him two of the 12 rounds while the two others gave him one.

In a tell-tale quotation, Mosley said: "I thought one of the rounds I might have won was the round that Manny slipped and then I got extra points."

That would be the 10th, during which Pacquiao toppled suddenly and Kenny Bayless, the referee, granted a knock-down. Replays showed Pacquiao fell only from the oomph of his own left that connected with Mosley's head. Pacquiao grew irked over the decision and, according to Roach, Bayless later approached and said: "I'm sorry about the call. I missed it. I apologise."

From the get-go after the rousing entries, the bout went strangely lukewarm and the anticipated early flurries never materialised.

Almost all the impetus came from one side, as Pacquiao's punches ran pretty much two to one throughout and, in the most glaring statistic, his combinations outnumbered Mosley's by 31 to a mere five. For a rare exclamation point, Pacquiao sent Mosley crashing to the floor in the third round, only the third knock-down of Mosley's stellar 18-year career.

"I was pretty hurt, pretty stunned," said Mosley, who previously hit canvas only twice, in 2002, against Vernon Forrest. "It surprised me."

Echoing a characterisation often made of Pacquiao, the future Hall of Fame member said: "It didn't seem like a big shot when he took it but then the impact was very strong."

"I think he felt my power," Pacquiao said, "and that's why he didn't want to fight with me and he was running to finish the round.

"I wanted to fight toe-to-toe with him. I was surprised, I thought his studying, his training, the focus was to fight inside with me, but I was surprised that he ran and ran."

Roach went even more strident: "I don't think he tried to win the fight ... and when you get to that point in boxing, it's time to call it a day, I think." Referring to the American networks prone to air boxing, Roach said, "Will Showtime use him again? Will HBO use him again? No way."

Mosley and his trainer, Naazim Richardson, referred to foot blisters that limited Mosley roughly halfway through.

Richardson said Mosley needed to "take advantage of the angles, the particular angles that Manny was going to lunge at him," but that Mosley could not do so because of the right foot.

Mosley offered little initiative even before the foot allegedly hurt, and when the fight concluded Pacquiao turned from Mosley as the challenger approached.

Roach found that "very unusual for Manny to do" but said, "He would respect him a lot more if he tried and got knocked out trying to win the fight."

Pacquiao said: "I went to throw a lot of punches and he just, you know, go away. ... I tell you the truth, I'm expecting him to fight with me at least five rounds of the 12 rounds, we can test our power, our stamina. What I'm going to do if my opponent does not want to fight with me toe-to-toe? It's not my fault."

Straining for a challenge, eager to display the prowess that wowed viewers in his two fights of 2010, Pacquiao found himself limited by his own body. Early on, he said, he held back a tad because he had heard incessantly before the fight that Mosley would try to knock him out early. "Yeah, that's what I heard," Pacquiao said.

Further along through the rounds, Pacquiao wanted to ring up his usual efficient pounding but suddenly his own body would not allow it.

Roach said: "He has such big calves. It does happen," meaning the cramping. Through the middle and end rounds, especially once seeing Mosley improperly credited with a knock-down, Roach said, Pacquiao hiked his aggression and strained for a knockout. "I'm trying, you know, but my leg hurts," Roach quoted Pacquiao as saying in the corner.

Then again, that did blend seamlessly with a sigh of a night.

 

cculpepper@thenational.ae