Pacquiao triumphs in stride

Mosley never gave him run for money

Manny Pacquiao retained his welterweight belt by pounding Shane Mosley. Manny Pacquiao retained his welterweight belt by pounding Shane Mosley. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)
By Tim Dahlberg
Associated Press / May 9, 2011

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LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao was always going to get his $20 million. That was part of the deal that lured him to this gambling city, where wealthy whales and B-list celebrities gathered ringside to watch him beat up yet another pretender to his crown.

On Saturday night his opponent was a reluctant combatant, there seemingly only to get his own big payday. But Pacquiao wasn’t about to let that ruin his plans for a big evening on the Las Vegas Strip.

He fought poverty, beat Shane Mosley, and shared a dais with Paris Hilton. The president of the Philippines called to chat, then it was off with his massive entourage for a concert at a neighboring casino.

All in a night’s work for the little fighter who can.

“People know I’m trying to do my best,’’ Pacquiao said. “I think they’re satisfied.’’

Hard not to be when the most entertaining fighter since Mike Tyson worked as hard inside the ring as he did later in a concert that stretched into the wee hours of the morning. It wasn’t Pacquiao’s fault that Mosley spent most of the fight trying to find a spot between the ropes where Pacquiao couldn’t hit him rather than trying to put up a good fight.

Pacquiao floored Mosley with a left hook in the third round and spent the rest of the night chasing after him despite a cramp in his leg that made his opponent even harder to catch.

Much like with Tyson in his prime, though, Pacquiao mostly got a pass for his choice of opponent. Though the 16,412 fans at the sold-out MGM Grand arena booed in the later rounds, they were booing Mosley, not Pacquiao, for a fight that dragged on for 12 rounds.

Indeed, most fans seemed to be happy just to see Pacquiao in action. That’s the lure of the Filipino phenom, who continues to be the biggest draw in the sport. Mosley was the latest, a fighter who looked shot in his bout last year with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and looked even worse against Pacquiao. Once a great fighter, Mosley at 39 lacks the reflexes to compete anymore, even if he refuses to recognize it.

“I don’t think he tried to win the fight, he just tried to survive,’’ said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer. “When you get to that point in boxing, it’s time to call it a day.’’

Promoter Bob Arum tried to defend his pick of Mosley as Pacquiao’s latest victim, saying Pacquiao is so good that no fighter can look good against him. That’s bogus, of course, because there are certainly other fighters who could not only give Pacquiao a challenge, but could conceivably beat him.

No. 1 at the top of that list, as everyone in boxing knows, is Mayweather, who seems as reluctant to sign for a fight with Pacquiao as Mosley was to actually fight him. But the clamor for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight has waned with Mayweather inactive and facing legal problems that could land him in jail. That fight seems even longer away than it was before.